Unheard-of Strat Mod - Anyone?

AustinPaul

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I don't tend to change pickups much or at all mid-song, preferring to increase the volume instead of needed, or step on a boost pedal, or just pick harder (usually). I mostly change pickups when I want a different attack. I will sometimes play a song with the pickup switch in middle position and then change to the bridge for the solo if I want that sharp attack.

To me a strat is already confusing, so having thee MVs would not work. At all. But we all have different approaches.
I'm kind of from the Jimi/SRV school of Strat. I'm all over the pickups and vol. Tone, quite often on the bridge (I always make sure that I have a bridge-only tone).
 

AustinPaul

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I'm a fan of three concentric - volume and tone on each pickup. But, IMO, you really only need four pots total: volume for each pickup and then a master tone. However, if you're doing concentric, do all three.

I don't see any reason to do what you suggested: tone on bridge only. You can make it a master tone with the same functionality at no additional cost or effort. So even if you go with your proposed approach (one concentric pot/s), make it a master tone.
See, my whole point of the bridge-only tone is because that's the only pickup I ever adjust the tone on. For example, when I get a new Tele, I immediately disconnect the the neck pickup from the tone circuit. Do I need to make an already warm pickup warmer, or just tame some brightness from the bridge? Bridge only in my case. I might even pass on the tone control as rolling off the vol tames the highs as we know, but for my style, I often want full strength on the bridge, while fattening it with some tone roll-off.
 

tfarny

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See, my whole point of the bridge-only tone is because that's the only pickup I ever adjust the tone on. For example, when I get a new Tele, I immediately disconnect the the neck pickup from the tone circuit. Do I need to make an already warm pickup warmer, or just tame some brightness from the bridge? Bridge only in my case. I might even pass on the tone control as rolling off the vol tames the highs as we know, but for my style, I often want full strength on the bridge, while fattening it with some tone roll-off.
It sounds like you know what you want to do, the only thing is to do it! It doesn't matter that it wouldn't work for some of us. Thank goodness controls are easy mods.
 

fender4life

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I assume it's been said, but if not, be aware that when in position 2 and 4 your pot values will be halfed because there will be 2 pots in parallel which with 250k pots will be like having a 125k. Plus many pots are lower then spec so could be as low as 100k. You would lose a lot of sparkle and output.
 

NoTeleBob

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See, my whole point of the bridge-only tone is because that's the only pickup I ever adjust the tone on. For example, when I get a new Tele, I immediately disconnect the the neck pickup from the tone circuit. Do I need to make an already warm pickup warmer, or just tame some brightness from the bridge? Bridge only in my case. I might even pass on the tone control as rolling off the vol tames the highs as we know, but for my style, I often want full strength on the bridge, while fattening it with some tone roll-off.
If that works for you then go for it. Amps have tone controls too, so there's always that. Or an EQ pedal or maybe just cheap Timmy clone with bass and treble You wouldn't be the first person to go without tone controls.
 

hopdybob

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2 hummys, bridge and neck, i single in the middle.
B>B+N>N>N+M>M
why? with the B+N combo humbucker, you come in Les Paul territory.
cutting bass will help with the in between sound
G&L PTB tone setup
 

jvin248

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.

Main advice I'd give: Pull the stock wiring harness in as much of one piece as possible and then get new control parts and wiring for all the modding. That way when you've exhausted all the solder you have you can easily go back to stock. What happens otherwise is you scorch all the pots and lose parts and can't get back to the stock tones you remembered you actually really liked until curiosity got the better of you for a narrow time...

I'd suggest checking out the Armstrong Blender mod (wiring only SSS blends to HSH or anywhere between), the 7-tone Strat/Gilmour mod, a Junior bridge humbucker only build, and try other pickups like lipstick, goldfoil, Gretsch-styles, and others. Cut custom pickguards to load up.

Have fun with it, but keep the original parts where you can easily go back to stock.

.
 

AustinPaul

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If that works for you then go for it. Amps have tone controls too, so there's always that. Or an EQ pedal or maybe just cheap Timmy clone with bass and treble You wouldn't be the first person to go without tone controls.
"Amps have tone controls too, so there's always that." C'mon now. I've been at this for 45 years, and at a pretty high level. In all of those years, I've never seen or heard of this kind of mod. My question was more like a poll than one of seeking guidance.
 
Last edited:

AustinPaul

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.

Main advice I'd give: Pull the stock wiring harness in as much of one piece as possible and then get new control parts and wiring for all the modding. That way when you've exhausted all the solder you have you can easily go back to stock. What happens otherwise is you scorch all the pots and lose parts and can't get back to the stock tones you remembered you actually really liked until curiosity got the better of you for a narrow time...

I'd suggest checking out the Armstrong Blender mod (wiring only SSS blends to HSH or anywhere between), the 7-tone Strat/Gilmour mod, a Junior bridge humbucker only build, and try other pickups like lipstick, goldfoil, Gretsch-styles, and others. Cut custom pickguards to load up.

Have fun with it, but keep the original parts where you can easily go back to stock.

.
Thanks, but stock parts have never been an option. A friend gave me the guitar - gutted, with the exception of a shorted stacked HB.

I don't think I've explained myself well. The object is to get individual vol control of each pickup along with some creative switching schemes. Again, this comes from my constant tone blending on my Les Pauls, and most of that comes from vol knobs, not the tone controls.

Cheers
 

willietheweirdo

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This seems like a fun option as well (though my preference would be to have the middle position be the middle PU alone):
1655406405988.png


Roll off the detent on the no-load blend pot and it's like switching to the trad 2 or 4 except you get to dial in the quack. Basically like a broadcaster with another pickup and a tone knob.
 

AustinPaul

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This seems like a fun option as well (though my preference would be to have the middle position be the middle PU alone):
View attachment 994663

Roll off the detent on the no-load blend pot and it's like switching to the trad 2 or 4 except you get to dial in the quack. Basically like a broadcaster with another pickup and a tone knob.
Gotta love the almost limitless options on a Strat. Let's not even get started on adding HBs to the mix and then splitting them on top of the aforementioned! Lol
 

willietheweirdo

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Gotta love the almost limitless options on a Strat. Let's not even get started on adding HBs to the mix and then splitting them on top of the aforementioned! Lol
If I had a nickel for every time I changed my mind about strat wiring, I would have a strat again! Oh well, it keeps my Central GAS System preoccupied...
 

chris m.

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I have wired Strats many different ways, including using a Deaf Eddie pre-wired superswitch to give me a ton of combinations. From that experience I found that most of the "extra" sounds I could get were pretty useless to me. For example, all three pickups in parallel does nothing for me. Out of phase does nothing for me. Putting pickups in series instead of parallel isn't a useful sound to me, either. YMMV of course.

I really do like the N+B combination-- to my ears it sounds very Tele-like. I also like having a master tone control. So after lots of experimentation I now wire my Strats this way, which is very easy to modify from stock wiring. 1) Make volume knob a master volume, which it is already. 2) Make middle tone knob a master tone knob. Very easy to do-- wire it up like a Tele to the volume pot. I like doing the "Fezz Parka/50s mod" where I wire the tone control to the middle lug of the volume pot-- instead of using a treble bleed.

3) Use third knob as a "spin-as-needed" for the neck pickup, similar to "spin-a-split" wiring for a humbucker. All you have to do is run an extra wire from the neck pickup hot (positive) lead through the third pot and then over to the output side. When it is turned to 0 and the switch is in the bridge pickup position, you have just the bridge pickup. As you turn the knob towards ten you get more and more neck pickup blended in. Turned to 10 it is full N+B in parallel. On 10 it sounds very Tele like. At lower levels it tames the amount of treble coming out of the bridge pickup in a manner that is more pleasing to me than backing off on the tone knob-- by blending in a little bit of neck pickup instead.

My main concern about your proposed wiring scheme is I think you'll end up with a fairly fiddly interface that ultimately is not likely to give you more utility and useful sounds than a simpler wiring scheme. YMMV of course. The pickups matter a lot as well. If you have really hot pickups, being able to cut their volume, wire them out of phase, tap them, etc., is more useful. If they are classic Strat pickups then anything that makes them sound thinner is typically not very useful, but perhaps having a series wiring option is useful for more girth.
 

chris m.

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Exactly. Three vols.
With a Les Paul, how much experience have you had putting the switch in the middle position and then varying the mix and tone using all four knobs? I have a lot of experience with it and found that whether with modern or traditional wiring that it didn't really buy me too much. I find myself mainly going from using neck, neck+bridge, or bridge, via the switch, and mostly using either neck or bridge. I do use the volume knobs and tone knobs, but don't find it ergonomic to just sit in the middle and adjust via the knobs. Faster and easier to mostly use the switch and then slightly tweak with the knobs after that.

I would think that three knobs may be similarly less ergonomic and useful than you might think. It's way faster to flick a switch than to turn a knob, never mind three knobs. Also, all three Strat pickups in parallel is a pretty blah sound, IMO.
 

AustinPaul

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I have wired Strats many different ways, including using a Deaf Eddie pre-wired superswitch to give me a ton of combinations. From that experience I found that most of the "extra" sounds I could get were pretty useless to me. For example, all three pickups in parallel does nothing for me. Out of phase does nothing for me. Putting pickups in series instead of parallel isn't a useful sound to me, either. YMMV of course.

I really do like the N+B combination-- to my ears it sounds very Tele-like. I also like having a master tone control. So after lots of experimentation I now wire my Strats this way, which is very easy to modify from stock wiring. 1) Make volume knob a master volume, which it is already. 2) Make middle tone knob a master tone knob. Very easy to do-- wire it up like a Tele to the volume pot. I like doing the "Fezz Parka/50s mod" where I wire the tone control to the middle lug of the volume pot-- instead of using a treble bleed.

3) Use third knob as a "spin-as-needed" for the neck pickup, similar to "spin-a-split" wiring for a humbucker. All you have to do is run an extra wire from the neck pickup hot (positive) lead through the third pot and then over to the output side. When it is turned to 0 and the switch is in the bridge pickup position, you have just the bridge pickup. As you turn the knob towards ten you get more and more neck pickup blended in. Turned to 10 it is full N+B in parallel. On 10 it sounds very Tele like. At lower levels it tames the amount of treble coming out of the bridge pickup in a manner that is more pleasing to me than backing off on the tone knob-- by blending in a little bit of neck pickup instead.

My main concern about your proposed wiring scheme is I think you'll end up with a fairly fiddly interface that ultimately is not likely to give you more utility and useful sounds than a simpler wiring scheme. YMMV of course. The pickups matter a lot as well. If you have really hot pickups, being able to cut their volume, wire them out of phase, tap them, etc., is more useful. If they are classic Strat pickups then anything that makes them sound thinner is typically not very useful, but perhaps having a series wiring option is useful for more girth.
Thanks for your input. I'm gonna go the road less traveled. No buttons, just a few simple switching options. Like all three, neck only, bridge/neck (a la current Strat Pro 2s). No quack, no fancy options. I've got other Strats so I'm not losing anything. I'll just grab another Strat.

I'll confess, I have a lot of guitars, yet - muscle memory - my hands fall naturally to wherever the controls are on whatever guitar I grab. Us humans, we're remarkably adaptable.

Let's close this on that note. Appreciate everyone's thoughts.
 

chris m.

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Thanks for your input. I'm gonna go the road less traveled. No buttons, just a few simple switching options. Like all three, neck only, bridge/neck (a la current Strat Pro 2s). No quack, no fancy options. I've got other Strats so I'm not losing anything. I'll just grab another Strat.

I'll confess, I have a lot of guitars, yet - muscle memory - my hands fall naturally to wherever the controls are on whatever guitar I grab. Us humans, we're remarkably adaptable.

Let's close this on that note. Appreciate everyone's thoughts.
I have a Jaguar that uses switches for the pickups. I kind of like it. It uses master volume and tones. It also has a strangle switch that adds a cap to make it sound thinner.
 

Dostradamas

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My strat has been hanging so long without a pickguard I put strings on it so I can still play it and keep the neck from wandering.

So many options I just can't decide.

3 stacked pots sounds like way too much for me.

2 knobs one switch is likely where I will end up.
Master volume
Tone on middle only
standard 5 way
Bridge
Bridge/middle
Middle
Middle / Neck
Neck

Maybe just a neck and bridge with a 3 way


AHHHHHHH too many choices
 




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