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Old 07-14-2007, 01:46 AM   #1
TwoString
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TwoString's Friday Night Strat Mods (PICS!!)

Hello all. I didn't have a damn thing to do tonight, so I figured "as long as I'm changing strings, I might as well bust a mod."

I've had a push/pull laying around for a couple of years just waiting to be put in this guitar. The switch is used to activate the neck pickup no matter what position the 5 way switch is in. All you have to do is connect a wire from the 5 way (neck lug) to the switch (SPDT) and connect the other side of the switch to the incoming signal at the volume pot (the same lug the output from the switch wires to). I did the same mod to my first strat and loved having the bridge/neck and all on pickup choices. Rhythm with the neck/bridge combo is just about the best sound to use on lighter rock/pop songs (Toad The Wet Sprocket, Gin Blossoms, etc...I never thought I would feel this old at age 24 ). Also while I was at it, I removed the neck for cleaning.

Body before


Pickguard removed - I cleaned off the buffing compound since I plan to shield this guitar soon.


Closeup of the controls before the mod


Switch installed


Switch wired
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Old 07-14-2007, 01:46 AM   #2
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Normal


Neck pickup activated


Neck removed


Cleaning with 0000 steel wool


Taped up to polish frets


Oil prep
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Old 07-14-2007, 01:47 AM   #3
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Second coat of lemon oil


After an hour of soaking and rubbing


All done, time to put it back together


Stringing


End Result


Headstock - note the string wrapping, I might be using these pics for a strat setup thread soon


So, 4 hours work and I've got a clean fretboard, polished frets, fresh strings and 7 pickup combinations.
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Old 07-14-2007, 01:54 AM   #4
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what did you rub on the headstock!? its so nice and glossy!

my strat's headstock is cool but not sooooo cool!
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Old 07-14-2007, 01:56 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by UniverseZero
what did you rub on the headstock!? its so nice and glossy!

my strat's headstock is cool but not sooooo cool!


That's all natural. My other strat has more of a matte finish on the headstock, but the '63 reissues had a really deep gloss finish. Nice vintage tint to it too.
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Old 07-14-2007, 01:59 AM   #6
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nice mod! good job on the cleaning there... i usually just wipe the neck the dust off my warlock and les paul =P
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Old 07-14-2007, 02:01 AM   #7
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Wow, good job cleaning the fretboard...
looks charming. Nice simple mod there that rocks.

Now you have got yourself a nice strat.

I should clean my guitar neck too...you don't want to know how it looks now..
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Old 07-14-2007, 02:10 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TwoString
That's all natural. My other strat has more of a matte finish on the headstock, but the '63 reissues had a really deep gloss finish. Nice vintage tint to it too.


You are lucky.... I have a '96 strat and it is barely tinted and very matte.... cool guitar!
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Old 07-14-2007, 02:33 AM   #9
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I love the Neck + bridge combo.
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Old 07-14-2007, 02:39 AM   #10
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I'm curious, why is the neck-on switch on the middle tone control?
I'm also not really getting into the graphite (right?) saddles with the chrome hardware and the black strings, but that's your personal taste.

Man, I'm in one of those "I don't mean to be an asshole, but..." moods tonight.
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Old 07-14-2007, 02:58 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Will_Minus
I'm curious, why is the neck-on switch on the middle tone control?
I'm also not really getting into the graphite (right?) saddles with the chrome hardware and the black strings, but that's your personal taste.

Man, I'm in one of those "I don't mean to be an asshole, but..." moods tonight.


lol.... Remember, Tone and playability over looks
Looks good. I got a question, do those vintage tuners hold tune better than modern tuners?
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Old 07-14-2007, 03:26 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Will_Minus
I'm curious, why is the neck-on switch on the middle tone control?
I'm also not really getting into the graphite (right?) saddles with the chrome hardware and the black strings, but that's your personal taste.

Man, I'm in one of those "I don't mean to be an asshole, but..." moods tonight.


Actually, the bottom tone control was rewired to control the bridge pickup. It's just something that’s become normal to me so I usually forget to mention it. It's the first mod I do to any strat that crosses my path. It just didn't make any sense to me to not have a tone control on the brightest, most treble-heavy pickup. The middle pickup has no tone control because I've never seen a point in it. The middle pickup is so balanced because of the position it's in, I just move the wire over a lug and set that tone control for the bridge.

The graphite saddles are another mod I've relied on for years. The graphite slips and slides better, which comes in handy since I set my tremolo to float (I recently put 5 springs in to settle things up while I'm doing various mods and other work...this guitar will be going off for a refret soon). The graphite is also a softer material that wears away under pressure from the strings. This allows the string to "bed in" to the saddle since it will naturally wear away where there is more stress, which eliminates binding points and other friction areas on the saddle. After a few months of heave activity, the saddles are completely worn in and any fear of string breakage is completely gone...same for tuning issues caused by string binding at the bridge.

I've been using DR coated strings because they last for months and the tone never changes. Even if the coating chips off, the strings never tarnish or rust and the tone remains the same. I change all six strings whenever the first one breaks. My last set lasted me probably 4 months, which is a testament to the quality of the strings since I play at least a couple of hours a day. I don't really care what color they are as long as they aren't horrible looking. DR makes clear coated strings, but I haven't been able to find a set. And since I have to get them in some color, the black coated strings look better than the blue/red/purple/whatever color the strings come in. I had to buy a set for a jam once and GC only had the blue coated strings left…after the first hour, there was blue dust all over my pickguard. The black coating is a little more durable and doesn’t look as bad when it starts to flake.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rockr09
lol.... Remember, Tone and playability over looks
Looks good. I got a question, do those vintage tuners hold tune better than modern tuners?


The vintage tuners hold tuning far better than modern non-locking tuners, at least in my experience. No goofy wrapping techniques or "locking" knot-tying, the string has enough friction points in the tuner post to keep it from slipping. It takes a few hours for the strings to settle in though. Once they're there, they don't move, although my strings go sharp when the guitar sits for a day or so. To get them back into tune, I just grab the string and give it a good wiggle and it usually falls right back in to perfect tune.
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Old 07-14-2007, 04:31 AM   #13
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Why don't you use a graptech nut as well?
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Old 07-14-2007, 10:40 AM   #14
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^^ Lots of details I didn't know.

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Old 07-14-2007, 10:46 AM   #15
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simple but beautiful.

good job.
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Old 07-14-2007, 01:22 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rockr09
Why don't you use a graptech nut as well?


I just didn't need it. There was a need to change the saddles, but the nut has been working just fine. I just enlarged the slots and added some graphite from a pencil and I haven't had any problems. I do a lot of tremolo work, full floating trem quite a bit (just right now) and I love behind the nut bends and harmonic squeals (yes, you can do them even if you don't have a trem).
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Old 07-14-2007, 07:18 PM   #17
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What I meant was why isn't the neck-on switch on the neck control?
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Old 07-14-2007, 07:46 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Will_Minus
What I meant was why isn't the neck-on switch on the neck control?


Oh...I just prefer to have it on the lowest tone control so it's in line with the 5 way switch. It's easier to grab and make quick changes for me.
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Old 07-22-2007, 09:22 PM   #19
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TwoString, a couple of questions...

First off what kind of switch is that specifically, and where to get etc.

also, could i wire a similar setup so that the bottom tone know is a push pull switch that turns the BRIDGE pickup on and off and is the tone control for the BRIDGE pickup? I would leave tone 2 for the neck pickup.

I hope to do this mod the the american standard that i will be getting in a few weeks.

thanks


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Old 07-22-2007, 11:19 PM   #20
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For the pots, check StewMac

To make the bottom tone control work for the bridge pickup, just move it over to the post on the 5 way switch that connects to the bridge pickup...should just be the next post over. You'll see three wires coming off of the switch...one leading to the volume control, one leading to the first tone control, and one leading to the bottom tone control. All you need to do is move that last wire over one lug on the 5 way switch. As for wiring the push/pull so it controls the bridge pickup, instead of connecting the wire for the switch to the neck pickup lug, connect it to the bridge pickup lug. Should be that easy.

Let me know if you need any more help.
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