Update - Strat "Unheard Of" Mod

AustinPaul

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Sep 23, 2021
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Location
Austin
Admins: Apologies if this should have been added to my original post. I'll fix if needed.
__________________________
Back in June I posted about a Strat mod I was going to try - two volumes, one tone.

I was going to mod my '76 hardtail, but I just ended up fixing the bad pot in it. So I used my MIM Strat as the donor. Something was wrong with the neck pickup. It's had Fender Fat 50s in it for about 10 years.

FF - My tech said the neck pickup was bad, so I suggested we swap the middle and neck pickup. The middle is now a dummy; just there for appearance. Anyway, now with two pickups, the mod made even more sense and became slightly easier.

Final result - position 1 =bridge only, 2-4 are redundant =bridge & neck, and 5 = neck. Old master vol is now neck only, old neck tone is now bridge volume, and former middle/bridge tone is now bridge only.

I absolutely couldn't be happier with the results. I just wish I'd done it sooner. I'm already thinking about which of my other Strats will get the same mod. I just have to decide how I want to go about it with all three pickups. Probably neck/middle on one volume, the bridge on the 2nd volume, and the tone for the bridge only.
 

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loudboy

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May 21, 2003
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1,415
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Sedona, Arizona
I just wired up a Strat and switched the Neck and Middle on the selector switch - it now gives me:

1 - Bridge
2 - Bridge/Neck, a nice combo not available normally
3 - Neck
4 - Neck/Middle, I prefer this setting for the classic Strat quack tone
5 - Middle

Not really losing much, and I gain the new sound, which I use a lot.
 

timbgtr

Tele-Meister
Joined
Mar 21, 2012
Posts
471
Location
Maryland
I just wired up a Strat and switched the Neck and Middle on the selector switch - it now gives me:

1 - Bridge
2 - Bridge/Neck, a nice combo not available normally
3 - Neck
4 - Neck/Middle, I prefer this setting for the classic Strat quack tone
5 - Middle

Not really losing much, and I gain the new sound, which I use a lot.

I transposed bridge and middle on the switch to more or less get this, but with bridge + middle for the quack. Whichever one you like, this is a great mod, I recommend to all to try.
 

Havins

TDPRI Member
Joined
Jul 30, 2015
Posts
65
Location
Glendale, Az
I would replace the middle pickup and use a 3 way switch. Send the middle pickup to the second volume pot directly and the bridge and neck pickups thru the switch. You can blend in the middle pickup as you want. A low setting won't be heard but will help cancel 60 cycle hum....
 

BCblues55

Tele-Meister
Gold Supporter
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Nov 11, 2014
Posts
205
Location
Charlottesville, Virginia
Four-way switch gives you the neck and bridge in series. Very useful to have.

My #1 has that with the middle pickup on a toggle so I can add it if I want quack (which I rarely do).

The guitar looks completely “normal” but covers a lot more ground.
 

Whitebeard

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Jun 26, 2009
Posts
239
Location
Port Richey, FL
Admins: Apologies if this should have been added to my original post. I'll fix if needed.
__________________________
Back in June I posted about a Strat mod I was going to try - two volumes, one tone.

I was going to mod my '76 hardtail, but I just ended up fixing the bad pot in it. So I used my MIM Strat as the donor. Something was wrong with the neck pickup. It's had Fender Fat 50s in it for about 10 years.

FF - My tech said the neck pickup was bad, so I suggested we swap the middle and neck pickup. The middle is now a dummy; just there for appearance. Anyway, now with two pickups, the mod made even more sense and became slightly easier.

Final result - position 1 =bridge only, 2-4 are redundant =bridge & neck, and 5 = neck. Old master vol is now neck only, old neck tone is now bridge volume, and former middle/bridge tone is now bridge only.

I absolutely couldn't be happier with the results. I just wish I'd done it sooner. I'm already thinking about which of my other Strats will get the same mod. I just have to decide how I want to go about it with all three pickups. Probably neck/middle on one volume, the bridge on the 2nd volume, and the tone for the bridge only.
I've thought about installing two concentric pots and one blender pot. Anyone here tried that?
 

Peegoo

Doctor of Teleocity
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Oct 11, 2019
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Beast of Bourbon
If you're not using the middle pickup, remove it. Tape a piece of foil inside the plastic cover and reinstall just the plastic cover. This gives you a 'normal-appearing' Strat, but without the middle pickup's magnetic capture of the strings. It will alter the tone a little. Maybe. Try it and see.
 

AustinPaul

Tele-Meister
Joined
Sep 23, 2021
Posts
137
Location
Austin
If you're not using the middle pickup, remove it. Tape a piece of foil inside the plastic cover and reinstall just the plastic cover. This gives you a 'normal-appearing' Strat, but without the middle pickup's magnetic capture of the strings. It will alter the tone a little. Maybe. Try it and see.
Thanks for your suggestion. Meh, it's fine as is. It's not hurting anything. I might even dig into that pickup one of these days and see if it can be resurrected.
 

AustinPaul

Tele-Meister
Joined
Sep 23, 2021
Posts
137
Location
Austin
I would replace the middle pickup and use a 3 way switch. Send the middle pickup to the second volume pot directly and the bridge and neck pickups thru the switch. You can blend in the middle pickup as you want. A low setting won't be heard but will help cancel 60 cycle hum....
Had I known the one pickup was bad, I would have ordered a 3-way, but it was already on the bench and the clock was ticking.

Your idea sounds like a good one too, but my ultimate goal was always to be able to blend in/out the bridge/neck volume, and to still be able to roll off highs from the bridge as needed.
 

AustinPaul

Tele-Meister
Joined
Sep 23, 2021
Posts
137
Location
Austin
Four-way switch gives you the neck and bridge in series. Very useful to have.

My #1 has that with the middle pickup on a toggle so I can add it if I want quack (which I rarely do).

The guitar looks completely “normal” but covers a lot more ground.
+1. Yep, that's what I have on my Silhouette Special.
 

AustinPaul

Tele-Meister
Joined
Sep 23, 2021
Posts
137
Location
Austin
Admins: Apologies if this should have been added to my original post. I'll fix if needed.
__________________________
Back in June I posted about a Strat mod I was going to try - two volumes, one tone.

I was going to mod my '76 hardtail, but I just ended up fixing the bad pot in it. So I used my MIM Strat as the donor. Something was wrong with the neck pickup. It's had Fender Fat 50s in it for about 10 years.

FF - My tech said the neck pickup was bad, so I suggested we swap the middle and neck pickup. The middle is now a dummy; just there for appearance. Anyway, now with two pickups, the mod made even more sense and became slightly easier.

Final result - position 1 =bridge only, 2-4 are redundant =bridge & neck, and 5 = neck. Old master vol is now neck only, old neck tone is now bridge volume, and former middle/bridge tone is now bridge only.

I absolutely couldn't be happier with the results. I just wish I'd done it sooner. I'm already thinking about which of my other Strats will get the same mod. I just have to decide how I want to go about it with all three pickups. Probably neck/middle on one volume, the bridge on the 2nd volume, and the tone for the bridge only.
Lots of great input, and also to hear what some of y'all have done for custom mods. Thanks for your comments!

Essentially what I ended up with is similar to a Tele, but with vols for each pickup, and tone for the bridge only. But, as we know, a Tele can't nail that Strat neck pickup tone, anymore then a Strat can cop that special thing a Tele bridge pickup brings. What I have with this one Strat is different from the stable. I'm fortunate to have a nice stable, so I can reach for something else when I need it.

And let's be honest, many of us Strat players flick from neck to bridge throughout a tune or gig, and that's it. I'm glad that's fully intact for that as it is - and it's dead simple to use. Sometimes on stage, with an audience, etc., things can get a little jumbled, especially if you haven't settled into the set and even hitting the right pedal can be a challenge! Lol
 

2HBStrat

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Oct 21, 2019
Posts
3,345
Location
Four Rivers Area of Middle America
Admins: Apologies if this should have been added to my original post. I'll fix if needed.
__________________________
Back in June I posted about a Strat mod I was going to try - two volumes, one tone.

I was going to mod my '76 hardtail, but I just ended up fixing the bad pot in it. So I used my MIM Strat as the donor. Something was wrong with the neck pickup. It's had Fender Fat 50s in it for about 10 years.

FF - My tech said the neck pickup was bad, so I suggested we swap the middle and neck pickup. The middle is now a dummy; just there for appearance. Anyway, now with two pickups, the mod made even more sense and became slightly easier.

Final result - position 1 =bridge only, 2-4 are redundant =bridge & neck, and 5 = neck. Old master vol is now neck only, old neck tone is now bridge volume, and former middle/bridge tone is now bridge only.

I absolutely couldn't be happier with the results. I just wish I'd done it sooner. I'm already thinking about which of my other Strats will get the same mod. I just have to decide how I want to go about it with all three pickups. Probably neck/middle on one volume, the bridge on the 2nd volume, and the tone for the bridge only.
You could also try three volume controls and no tone controls. I had a Strat wired up like that for a while. I had the hottest pickup, a DiMarzio SDS-1, in the middle position.
 

AustinPaul

Tele-Meister
Joined
Sep 23, 2021
Posts
137
Location
Austin
You could also try three volume controls and no tone controls. I had a Strat wired up like that for a while. I had the hottest pickup, a DiMarzio SDS-1, in the middle position.
I always like to be able to roll highs from the bridge pu, and any highs I want roll off elsewhere, can be accomplished by small volume decreases off the neck vol.

Anyway, I'm about 2 months into this mod and it's everything I wanted. I really like it a lot.

1 vol for neck
1 vol for bridge
TBX Tone for bridge only
Pickup selector is: bridge, bridge/neck, neck
Middle pu is disabled for now - and I'll likely leave it that way -

Thanks!
 




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