6-Way Switch Review!

eallen

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When a recipient of a Nashville I was building asked for a 6-way switch I did my usual, why not! I thought I would sharemy experience should anyone else pursue using one.

I had read a bit in the past about the Oak Grigsby 6-way & info seemed readily available. The owner asked for a series position to be included like a on a standard 4-way. I lazily found a series diagram so I wouldn't have to bother coming up with one. Soldered it up and...1st 3 positions were very unlively bridge only & the rest nothing special.

Now I'm no wiring guru but when I started trying to sort out the switch with the diagram it didnt add up. Thanks to the gracious assistance of @Deaf Eddie he was able to sort it out for me with the diagram below.

To shed a little light. There appear to be a couple maps of the switch contacts out there and the incorrect one results in a faulty diagram.

On to the review.
Good: With the right map the switch functions the way it should with 6 great tone variations.

Bad: the switch has a significantly longer throw than even the 4 & 5 way OG switches. I mean ridiculously longer requiring the switch slot to be enlarged by
.22"!

The throw is so long that the switch won't fully seat in the 1 & 6 position using a typical tele switch tip unless perhaps you find switch mounting screws with much smaller heads or endeavour to countersink the switch plate and use flush head. You can see how much further it had to travel when the tip was pulled up enough to clear the screw head. Strat switch tips will get by but are still tight on getting fully seated. Since I build as many rear cavity guitars I am not sure the longer throw would even be possible extending thru the thicker mounting surface of wood, certainly only with flush mounting screws.

Verdict: The poorly thought out switch slot issue that isn't worth the hassle IMHO.

Eric
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ReverendRevolver

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Freeway switches look cool but are pricey. I thought about one for my duosonic but I'm not coordinated enough, and a 6 position toggle when I only need 4 seems a waste.

More than 4 positions seem like a job for more switches. If I had 2 4 way sliders on my Mustang, I wouldn't need the toggle switch....
 

crazydave911

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I reduced my L6 to a four position rotary (definitely just needs 4 not 6) but still haven't figured out the wiring (the original six way uses two diodes :rolleyes:). Kinda funny, the series was the easiest to figure out :lol:
 

ctmullins

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MS Gulf Coast
I’m a huge fan of toggle switches over blade switches, and I’m a huge fan of the Freeway Switch six-position toggle. It’s fantastic for three-pickup instruments, and doesn’t take long to learn and become comfortable with.

FWS3.PNG


Tele_0147.JPG


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I also use one on my twin P-Rails guitar. This one does
  1. Bridge humbucker
  2. Both humbucker
  3. Neck humbucker
  4. Bridge P90
  5. Both rails
  6. Neck P90
Tele_0158.jpg
 

ruffone993

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I’m a huge fan of toggle switches over blade switches, and I’m a huge fan of the Freeway Switch six-position toggle. It’s fantastic for three-pickup instruments, and doesn’t take long to learn and become comfortable with.

FWS3.PNG


Tele_0147.JPG


4004_0208.JPG


G3_0710.jpg


EB0_0796.jpg


I also use one on my twin P-Rails guitar. This one does
  1. Bridge humbucker
  2. Both humbucker
  3. Neck humbucker
  4. Bridge P90
  5. Both rails
  6. Neck P90
Tele_0158.jpg
I’m with you on the Free-way 6-way toggle. I swapped the 3-way toggle for a 6-way in three of my guitars, I also swapped out the pickups in each one as well. I use them in all my builds too.
 

AAT65

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No switch should have more than three positions. It ain't right.

I'm actually serious, I took 5 way switching off my #1 tele, too fiddly and I never really used those sounds anyhow.
I agree also! I don't like 4 or 5 way switches. A 6-way blade would hurt my head. In the heat of a gig I want the switch to go back - middle - front and nothing harder to find than that. (For the same reason I just want master volume & tone.)
My 3-pickup guitar (Shergold Masquerader, which has a Tele bridge & Strat middle and neck pickups) came with a 5 way switch and I rewired it to have a 3 way traditional Strat switch (one pickup per position) and a push-pull tone pot to swap over to the 3 2-pickup combos (B+N, B+M, M+N).
 

hamerfan

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I also use one on my twin P-Rails guitar. This one does
  1. Bridge humbucker
  2. Both humbucker
  3. Neck humbucker
  4. Bridge P90
  5. Both rails
  6. Neck P90
Tele_0158.jpg
Thank you for this wiring scheme. Its the best one i have seen so far for twin PRails.
Just one idea: I think the neck pup sounds better with the rail to the fretboard. This also give a better parallel sound of the rails.
 

tomasz

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Europe
Thanks for sharing Eric!
I haven't used a 6way Oak Grigsby yet. I wonder if switching the screws to countersunk ones would help a bit. What I recently like is those plates with an angled switch slot, which create some space for the fingers. Still I like to use the style strat knobs just in case. Here is a regular Shaller 5-wa mounted on such a plate, just for reference:
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black_doug

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I bought the 6-way switch in October after reading about it here at TDPRI so that I could benefit from the 5 settings plus 1 and keep the option for tele bridge + neck. The tech installing it gave me a call to tell me about it’s significantly longer throw. I decided to have a 5-way installed with a push-pull tone pot to turn on the neck pickup.
 

eallen

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Some good suggestions.

My standard on all teles I build is the 5-way Schaller Megaswitch M with both a series and separate .22uf cap out of phase position. No slot lengthening needed, great flexibility for SS, SH, HH setups in a top quality switch that's not just stamped stell sandwiches together.

This 6-way & series setting was per request, though I find the series setting a prefered setting for many I build for, the long throw of this one makes it not worth it to me.

If you want great flexibility in a strat you should check out @Deaf Eddie 's rotary switch tone pit replacement option! Killer simple idea to double the options! www.deaf-eddie.net

Schaller Megaswitch M 5-way, no slot lengthening required.
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Tuxedo Poly

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That Megaswitch M diagram is geographically challenged.
The pickup representations are left to right with German names which is very confusing.

This follows the usual convention of bridge (steg) pickup on the right and neck (hals) on the left
SS3Amod.jpg


The 6 way Electroswitch review is useful.
I've never used one but did some research in case. The throw angle is 75 degrees compared with 60 for the 3 and 5 ways and 67.5 for the 4 way BUT Electroswitch have extended the length of the lever from 5/8" to 3/4" which should help with the knob-screw collision problem. The fact it doesn't is not good.
 

eallen

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That Megaswitch M diagram is geographically challenged.
The pickup representations are left to right with German names which is very confusing.

This follows the usual convention of bridge (steg) pickup on the right and neck (hals) on the left
View attachment 928244

The 6 way Electroswitch review is useful.
I've never used one but did some research in case. The throw angle is 75 degrees compared with 60 for the 3 and 5 ways and 67.5 for the 4 way BUT Electroswitch have extended the length of the lever from 5/8" to 3/4" which should help with the knob-screw collision problem. The fact it doesn't is not good.

Haha. True, I have used them for so long I forgot it was German. Geometry is probably normal for those from Germany. I just turned my guitars around to match.:lol:

You being a wiring guy Tuxedo you might enjoy the M model connections.
SS3B-19.png
 

RickyRicardo

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Calgary, Alberta
I just finished this monstrosity for a good friend as an experiment and what a nightmare to wire. I doubled up two J bass pickups and made them into humbuckers. The 2 volumes are push/pull and one is for coil splitting and the other is master series/parallel. Plus it has a pickup switch. My buddy says the different tones are infinite and all sound great but he's already picked out only a few. Personally I just don't see the need but I'm a traditionalist when it comes to guitars.

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