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Thread: Another Cool Strat Pickup Wiring Mod....

  1. #1
    Addicted to solder.... duhvoodooman's Avatar
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    Default Another Cool Strat Pickup Wiring Mod....

    Some of you "Strat Cats" who've been over to GuitarNuts.com have probably seen this before. The electronics/wiring guru over there, John Atchley, shows a nifty wiring mod for 3-single coil Strats that he calls the "Strat-Lover's Strat". This mod adds a couple of nice tonal options while being fairly straightforward and simple to do, and also doesn't alter the guitar's appearance or the function of the control pots themselves. All the stock pickup combinations are still available. I'm strongly considering trying this on my Strat Plus this weekend.

    Atchley's page on this mod is HERE. Basically, it consists of replacing two of the stock pots with push/pulls and rewiring the pickups.

    One push/pull allows the bridge p'up to be activated in series along with whatever other p'up(s) are active. This allows you to run the bridge and neck p'ups simultaneously and in series, for a "bigger" sound than Strat's are normally capable of achieving. You can also run it in series with the middle p'up (as opposed to in parallel, which is what bridge-middle position on the 5-way selector switch gives with a stock Strat), or even with all three p'ups at once (though the neck and middle will still be in parallel).

    The second push/pull is used to change the phase of the neck p'up relative to the other two. This gives you those interesting nasal/hollow out-of-phase tones, with the neck/bridge in series p'up combination giving the most useful results, according to Atchley.

    The GuitarNuts site shows electrical schematics for this modification, but I personally prefer a diagram more in line with what the "guts" of the guitar look like, so I worked up the attached drawing by modifying a stock Strat wiring diagram I found on the Seymour Duncan site. Note that the two 6-contact push/pull switches are not shown where they would be physically (which is underneath two of the pots), nor is their up/down orientation implied from the diagram. That has to be determined during the actual installation & wiring. The choice of which two of the three pots to replace with push/pulls is up to you, though the volume (switch #1) and the neck tone (switch #2) are logical choices.

    There is an "optional" part of the mod that also allows you to switch from one tone pot to the other as a "master tone" control when the bridge p'up series switch is engaged, but I personally don't see much advantage to that change.

    Attachment 516
    DVM's Ever-Expanding Gear List:

    Guitars - '05 Gibson Custom Historic Series '59 Reissue (R9); '12 Fender American Standard Stratocaster; '08 Heritage H-555 Semi-hollowbody; '06 Carvin CT6M California Carved Top; '89 Fender Strat Plus; '10 Agile AL-3000; '12 G&L Tribute ASAT Classic Bluesboy Semi-hollowbody; " Kwik-Keef Konvertible" '09 Squier CV '50s Telecaster; '10 Squier CV Telecaster Custom; '12 Squier Vintage Modified Cabronita Tele + Bigsby; '12 Xaviere XV-890HSS w/ FR Trem; '12 Epiphone Masterbilt DR-500MCE; '71 Yamaha FG-300

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  2. #2
    Custom Deluxe SuperSwede's Avatar
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    Its very cool that people still make improvements on a design that dates back to the early 50īs !
    I bet a lot of the standard strat fans will love this mod.
    I can't say that I've given up on a flanger cause I've never liked the effect either. I also can't say the same about Tremolo. I hate them both equally. - Tone2TheBone 2009

  3. #3
    Regular Fretter Tim's Avatar
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    That's a good Strat site indeed. I did the shielding mod on the back of the pick guard and in the pick-up holes sometime back. I could not find any cooper sheets so I used aluminum foil instead. The foil works fine. Some of those other mods look mighty tasty, but I do not think I am ready to even attempt to conquer them yet.

  4. #4
    Advanced Fretter tremoloman's Avatar
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    I'm always eager to try something new. I may just give this one a try. I also want to do the "Voodoo Strat" setup I saw somewhere...
    "It's funny the way most people love the dead. Once you are dead, you are made for life." - Jimi Hendrix

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    Addicted to solder.... duhvoodooman's Avatar
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    I've started down the path, opening up the Strat this weekend, diagraming all the current connections and then disconnecting and removing the volume and neck tone pots. I fit up a couple of 500K push/pull pots I had, to make sure there was enough room in the body cavity, and it's good to go. The 250K pots I need are on order from StewMac and should arrive sometime late in the week.

    Here's a modification of my above diagram, where I integrated the DPDT switches with the pots, to give a more realistic idea of what the wiring will physically look like when done:

    Attachment 541
    DVM's Ever-Expanding Gear List:

    Guitars - '05 Gibson Custom Historic Series '59 Reissue (R9); '12 Fender American Standard Stratocaster; '08 Heritage H-555 Semi-hollowbody; '06 Carvin CT6M California Carved Top; '89 Fender Strat Plus; '10 Agile AL-3000; '12 G&L Tribute ASAT Classic Bluesboy Semi-hollowbody; " Kwik-Keef Konvertible" '09 Squier CV '50s Telecaster; '10 Squier CV Telecaster Custom; '12 Squier Vintage Modified Cabronita Tele + Bigsby; '12 Xaviere XV-890HSS w/ FR Trem; '12 Epiphone Masterbilt DR-500MCE; '71 Yamaha FG-300

    Amps & Cabs - Mesa Boogie Express 5:25 10" combo; ultra-modded Fender Blues Junior; Vox AC15 Heritage handwired 1x12 combo; Allen Sweet Spot kit amp; BYOC Tweed Royal kit amp (switchable 5E3/5F1 hybrid); Trinity 18W kit amp; Homebuilt 1.5W Firefly Head; Epiphone Valve Jr. combo + mods; Jet City Picovalve 5W head; Drive 2x12 cab w/ Celestion G12M Greenback + G12H30; AB Custom Audio 1x12 cab w/ Celestion Alnico Blue (UK made)

    Pedals/Effects - Too many to count, including TONS of DVM's Home-built Pedals - See some of 'em HERE and HERE, TOO!

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  6. #6
    Addicted to solder.... duhvoodooman's Avatar
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    Default Mods done!!

    I completed the "Strat Lover's" pickup wiring mod a couple of nights ago and have been exploring the new tones for the past two days. Some pretty cool new sounds available. I've recorded some new clips for those interested in hearing the sonic impact of these changes. All are recorded through the clean channel of my Peavey Delta Blues with no effect other than a splash of reverb. The same couple of riffs are repeated in each clip for each different pickup combo, to keep the basis of comparison as constant as possible. Here are links to the three clips, which demonstrate the pickup combinations in the order listed below each link. There are no "bridge tones" or "middle-bridge tones" clips, because the mods don't add any new tones when the pickup selector is at either of those two positions. The three clips represent the other three positions of the 5-way selector switch:

    Neck Tones Clip

    1. Neck only (stock tone)
    2. Neck (in-phase) and bridge in series
    3. Neck (out-of-phase) and bridge in series


    Middle Tones Clip

    1. Middle only (stock tone)
    2. Middle and bridge in series


    Neck-Middle Tones Clip

    1. Neck (in phase) and middle (stock tone)
    2. Neck (in-phase) and middle, with bridge in series
    3. Neck (out-of-phase) and middle, with bridge in series
    4. Neck (out-of-phase) and middle (added 9/18)


    EDIT 9/18/06: There's a 4th combo available from the neck-middle pickup pickup selector switch position that I forgot about the first time through, namely neck (out-of-phase) and middle. This one is very thin and nasal sounding, but I've added it to the original clip for the sake of completeness. The neck and middle pickup switch position has the two pickups in parallel, so the tone is thinner to begin with. Now, make the neck out-of-phase with the middle and the resulting tone becomes absolutely anorexic!

    Thus, the wiring mods add a total of 6 new tones to the Strat's 5 stock tones. So far, the new ones I like the best are:
    • Neck (in-phase) and bridge in series--kind of halfway between the Strat neck tone and a humbucker. Definitely warmer and fatter than stock Strat tones.
    • Middle and bridge in series--John Atchley describes this as a "hot Strat quack", and that's right on the money. I'll use this often!
    • Neck (out-of-phase) and bridge in series--the lower you go on the neck, the more hollow and nasal this sounds. Quite different; you wouldn't want to over-use it, but it's a cool tone to have on tap.
    Last edited by duhvoodooman; September 18th, 2006 at 06:44 PM. Reason: I missed one....
    DVM's Ever-Expanding Gear List:

    Guitars - '05 Gibson Custom Historic Series '59 Reissue (R9); '12 Fender American Standard Stratocaster; '08 Heritage H-555 Semi-hollowbody; '06 Carvin CT6M California Carved Top; '89 Fender Strat Plus; '10 Agile AL-3000; '12 G&L Tribute ASAT Classic Bluesboy Semi-hollowbody; " Kwik-Keef Konvertible" '09 Squier CV '50s Telecaster; '10 Squier CV Telecaster Custom; '12 Squier Vintage Modified Cabronita Tele + Bigsby; '12 Xaviere XV-890HSS w/ FR Trem; '12 Epiphone Masterbilt DR-500MCE; '71 Yamaha FG-300

    Amps & Cabs - Mesa Boogie Express 5:25 10" combo; ultra-modded Fender Blues Junior; Vox AC15 Heritage handwired 1x12 combo; Allen Sweet Spot kit amp; BYOC Tweed Royal kit amp (switchable 5E3/5F1 hybrid); Trinity 18W kit amp; Homebuilt 1.5W Firefly Head; Epiphone Valve Jr. combo + mods; Jet City Picovalve 5W head; Drive 2x12 cab w/ Celestion G12M Greenback + G12H30; AB Custom Audio 1x12 cab w/ Celestion Alnico Blue (UK made)

    Pedals/Effects - Too many to count, including TONS of DVM's Home-built Pedals - See some of 'em HERE and HERE, TOO!

    DVM's Gear Photos
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  7. #7

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    Another fantastic write-up, DVM, and some great clips to boot. I really liked the Neck (in-phase) and bridge in series tone - very wide and warm. That'd sound really chunky running through the Tonebone or Tone Driver.

    My MIK Squier would be the perfect base for this mod, and I'm giving some serious thought to doing it. Perhaps I could also bother you for a parts list for this particular project.

  8. #8
    Regular Fretter tot_Ou_tard's Avatar
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    Yes very impressive Vood. With the clarity, precision, and completeness of your write-ups you are going to turn all of us into guitar modding adventurers.

  9. #9
    Addicted to solder.... duhvoodooman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nelskie
    Another fantastic write-up, DVM, and some great clips to boot. I really liked the Neck (in-phase) and bridge in series tone - very wide and warm. That'd sound really chunky running through the Tonebone or Tone Driver.

    My MIK Squier would be the perfect base for this mod, and I'm giving some serious thought to doing it. Perhaps I could also bother you for a parts list for this particular project.
    Yeah, the 3-pickup combo is good, too, but I was expecting more than I got from that one, I guess. It doesn't sound very much different than just the neck & bridge in series, IMO--just a bit muted. But it's still very definitely useable. Of the six new combos, really the only ones that don't seem readily useful to me are two of the neck out-of-phase combos-- with the bridge & middle together, and with just the middle. Both are too thin and nasal for my taste, but who knows? Seems like every tone has a home somewhere, if you can just find it!

    I may try to record & post a couple more clips as I have time over the next few days. Probably a couple through the drive channel of my DB to demonstrate the new pickup combos with an overdriven tone, and maybe some through the Valve Jr.

    The "bill of materials" for this mod is very short--mainly two 250K audio-taper push/pull pots from the parts supplier of your choice. I used StewMac, P/N 1215 at $9 each. You should be able to re-use the 0.022 mfd tone cap that's currently on your neck tone pot, but in case you can't, you can get a package of a dozen of 'em from StewMac for about $4. Not a bad item to have a few of on hand. I bought a package of 0.047's while I was at it. You'll also need some fine wire, because the mod requires an additional 6 pieces of wire to be added for the various switch runs. I don't think any of them were longer than about 3 inches! I used some #26 multi-strand instrument wire I got here at work. I wouldn't recommend anything larger than about #22 or so, due to the small solder contact points you work with on these push/pull switches.

    The rest of the project is all soldering work--LOTS of soldering work!
    Last edited by duhvoodooman; September 18th, 2006 at 06:43 PM. Reason: Updated per edit of previous post.
    DVM's Ever-Expanding Gear List:

    Guitars - '05 Gibson Custom Historic Series '59 Reissue (R9); '12 Fender American Standard Stratocaster; '08 Heritage H-555 Semi-hollowbody; '06 Carvin CT6M California Carved Top; '89 Fender Strat Plus; '10 Agile AL-3000; '12 G&L Tribute ASAT Classic Bluesboy Semi-hollowbody; " Kwik-Keef Konvertible" '09 Squier CV '50s Telecaster; '10 Squier CV Telecaster Custom; '12 Squier Vintage Modified Cabronita Tele + Bigsby; '12 Xaviere XV-890HSS w/ FR Trem; '12 Epiphone Masterbilt DR-500MCE; '71 Yamaha FG-300

    Amps & Cabs - Mesa Boogie Express 5:25 10" combo; ultra-modded Fender Blues Junior; Vox AC15 Heritage handwired 1x12 combo; Allen Sweet Spot kit amp; BYOC Tweed Royal kit amp (switchable 5E3/5F1 hybrid); Trinity 18W kit amp; Homebuilt 1.5W Firefly Head; Epiphone Valve Jr. combo + mods; Jet City Picovalve 5W head; Drive 2x12 cab w/ Celestion G12M Greenback + G12H30; AB Custom Audio 1x12 cab w/ Celestion Alnico Blue (UK made)

    Pedals/Effects - Too many to count, including TONS of DVM's Home-built Pedals - See some of 'em HERE and HERE, TOO!

    DVM's Gear Photos
    Visit MY WEBSITE!

  10. #10
    Regular Fretter Justaguyin_nc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by duhvoodooman

    Neck Tones Clip

    1. Neck only (stock tone)
    2. Neck (in-phase) and bridge in series
    3. Neck (out-of-phase) and bridge in series


    [/LIST]
    Thanks for the clips DVM... I was wondering what a Neck and Bridge sound like together... Fender came out with a Classic Player 50's Strat wired that way... seems pretty cool..but its like $800.00... http://www.musiciansfriend.com/produ...ter?sku=512766

    Would like to hold that 2 tone... just for a little while..

    Designed by Fender Custom Shop Master Builder, Dennis Galuszka.

    The Classic Player 50s Stratocaster guitar features an alder body, a maple neck with a 9.5 radius, 21 medium jumbo frets and Gotoh vintage-style locking tuning machines. 57/62 vintage-style single-coil pickups (reverse wound/reverse polarity middle pickup) with a 5-way switch and custom pickup switching offer distinct voicings, The electric guitar's custom 2-point vintage-style tremolo along with the Gotoh tuners let you whammy wildly while locking in your intonation.

    FenderŪ Classic Player '50s Stratocaster Features:
    Designed by Custom Shop Master Builder,
    Dennis Galuszka
    Alder body
    Maple neck with a 9.5 radius
    21 medium jumbo frets
    Gotoh vintage-style locking tuning machines
    57/62 vintage-style single-coil pickups (reverse wound/reverse polarity middle pickup)
    Custom 2-point vintage-style tremolo
    5-way switch and custom switching.

    5-Position Blade:
    Position 1. Bridge Pickup
    Position 2. Bridge and Middle Pickup
    Position 3. Middle Pickup
    Position 4. Neck and Bridge Pickup
    Position 5. Neck Pickup

    Would this be about the same as this mod wiring?

  11. #11
    Addicted to solder.... duhvoodooman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Justaguyin_nc
    5-Position Blade:
    Position 1. Bridge Pickup
    Position 2. Bridge and Middle Pickup
    Position 3. Middle Pickup
    Position 4. Neck and Bridge Pickup
    Position 5. Neck Pickup

    Would this be about the same as this mod wiring?
    Not really very comparable. This Classic Player 50's wiring adds the bridge & neck combo while dropping the neck & middle combo, so it's a substitution, not an addition. Personally, that seems like a nice tradeoff to me, since I find the neck-middle position to be the least useful of the 5 stock pickup choices. The bridge-neck should have more bite to it, I'd expect. One drawback is that it wouldn't be hum-cancelling, since the winding/polarity of the neck and bridge p'ups are the same.

    Also, since you're still going through the 5-way switch and not using any special switch wiring, I would assume that the bridge & neck combo will have the two p'ups in parallel, as the 5-way Strat switch typically works. This will make for less power & fullness of tone than the "in series" combination you get from the wiring mod I did. You'd end up with more of that "quack" character to this pickup setting, I would think.

    With the Strat Lover's wiring mod, you still get all 5 stock Strat tones plus 6 new ones, though a couple are of questionable usefulness. So it's a much more significant tonal upgrade, IMO, than what this Classic Player 50's wiring offers.
    DVM's Ever-Expanding Gear List:

    Guitars - '05 Gibson Custom Historic Series '59 Reissue (R9); '12 Fender American Standard Stratocaster; '08 Heritage H-555 Semi-hollowbody; '06 Carvin CT6M California Carved Top; '89 Fender Strat Plus; '10 Agile AL-3000; '12 G&L Tribute ASAT Classic Bluesboy Semi-hollowbody; " Kwik-Keef Konvertible" '09 Squier CV '50s Telecaster; '10 Squier CV Telecaster Custom; '12 Squier Vintage Modified Cabronita Tele + Bigsby; '12 Xaviere XV-890HSS w/ FR Trem; '12 Epiphone Masterbilt DR-500MCE; '71 Yamaha FG-300

    Amps & Cabs - Mesa Boogie Express 5:25 10" combo; ultra-modded Fender Blues Junior; Vox AC15 Heritage handwired 1x12 combo; Allen Sweet Spot kit amp; BYOC Tweed Royal kit amp (switchable 5E3/5F1 hybrid); Trinity 18W kit amp; Homebuilt 1.5W Firefly Head; Epiphone Valve Jr. combo + mods; Jet City Picovalve 5W head; Drive 2x12 cab w/ Celestion G12M Greenback + G12H30; AB Custom Audio 1x12 cab w/ Celestion Alnico Blue (UK made)

    Pedals/Effects - Too many to count, including TONS of DVM's Home-built Pedals - See some of 'em HERE and HERE, TOO!

    DVM's Gear Photos
    Visit MY WEBSITE!

  12. #12

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    Sorry for bumping up such an old thread, but I just did this mod and I'm getting alot of hum especially with the series switch engaged. I am positive that I did the mods correctly except I'm concerned about the grounding. I think I've formed a ground loop somewhere but I don't know where. The other mods on this guitar are two switches to activate the neck or bridge pup in parallel and a killswitch. Can anyone help me out? Thx

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