Hi there. First time poster here. Found myself a little project, and I need the opinion of some experienced minds.

I found an old 90's tele knock-off next to a trash compactor. It's just two single coils at the neck & bridge. A volume, & a tune knob. I want to turn this thing into Frankenstein's Monster. But, at the same time I don't want to do all the work and absolutely hate the guitar.

First, I'll say that this guitar isn't worth much of anything. But, I thought it was constructed with enough quality I might be able to have some fun with it and make it worth a darn. So, leaving the body and neck intact and replacing everything else that unbolts... lol. Plugged it into my Princeton Chorus and didn't hate the sound.

So, this is what I want to do. Again, this guitar is only equipped with the volume, tone, neck SC pup, and slanted bridge SC pup. The very first thing I'm wanting to do is yank out the bridge pup and drop in something of higher quality like a DiMarzio Cruiser. At the same time, I want to have a much thicker sound. So, I'm intending on routing out the neck position, and dropping in a humbucker. I haven't decided which yet. But, I'm leaning more towards just a standard Strat bucker, nothing too "jazzy".

At this point you're saying, "been done." And, I know. But, I'm not finished. This is where things get tricky. I'm wanted to pop in a 500k push/pull pot and eliminate the tone knob (essentially, conglomerate down to 1 knob... just for the hell of it really). And this is what I was thinking:
- Looking at various diagrams the one I liked the most was the George Lynch style. Obviously, I want to go backwards with the pups. But, either way. And, I was thinking I could wire the pot almost like a rhythm/lead switch that was on my Les Paul. So, this is a two part question.
1. In doing so, is the bucker going to absolutely just drowned out the bridge? Because, if so I might as well go with the "traditional" Lynch wiring.
2. Regardless of #1, if I were to choose a pickup that would be engaged at all times, which should I wire to be so? The bridge, or the neck? Or, is it either? With the Lynch style, if you don't know, pushing or pulling engages 1 pup and cancels the other. I truly don't know. This may very well be what my R/L switch was doing on my Les. You tell me.
The lead/rhythm switch on your LP just switches between pickups. It's just bridge/both/neck, very standard pickup switch.

I don't know why you'd use a push/pull to switch between pickups, it doesn't let you blend both and it's kind of a pain to do quickly IMO. I guess if you really want a streamlined look it might be the way to go, but it seems a bit silly to me to handicap your pickup options for the sake of just having one knob on your guitar.

In a similar vein, I would think that the neck pickup would drown out a Cruiser in the bridge. The cruiser isn't a particularly hot single coil, so basically any humbucker is going to be hotter, and then you've got to deal with the issue of the neck pickup being inherently louder. Usually you want a hotter pickup in the bridge, or at the very least an even match. With a cruiser in the bridge you're looking at perhaps a significant mismatch in the opposite direction, and given that you'd have no individual volume controls, you might get into trouble. Granted, you can always raise and lower the pickups to give yourself some breathing room, but it seems like you'd be painting yourself into a corner to start.

To add to that, if your push/pull doesn't let you blend the two, it becomes even less practical to have a hotter neck pickup, since I assume the Lynch setup just lets him go between clean(ish) and distorted quickly. You'd want something much hotter in the bridge in that case, especially (again!) given that you have no individual volume controls. I suspect the Lynch setup might be awfully limiting to someone who maybe doesn't want to use 5 backup guitars to give other tonal options, or can't get a set of custom pickups developed and named after them. I'd shy away from using this setup just because Lynch does, because it's basically the result of thousands of dollars worth of rig custom tailored to his tone. Your results may be very disappointing, unless you're more famous than I'm assuming.

Long story short, if your goal is to have one knob and two pickups, sure, it can be done. You'll probably want to reconsider your pickup choices, given how I assume the setup is supposed to work. If your goal is to actually have a reasonably flexible way to use those two pickups beyond a rigid binary, you'll have to sacrifice a bit of the cool factor.

Let us know your thoughts and priorities and we can certainly help you refine the idea. It's not a bad start, you just need to decide how much you value flexibility.
Quote by Roc8995

Long story short, if your goal is to have one knob and two pickups, sure, it can be done. You'll probably want to reconsider your pickup choices, given how I assume the setup is supposed to work. If your goal is to actually have a reasonably flexible way to use those two pickups beyond a rigid binary, you'll have to sacrifice a bit of the cool factor.

Wow, phenomenal feedback. I'm just a guitar mod noob. But, I felt that was advice you should have to pay for. Let's dig deeper.

Obviously, there is a certain "cool" factor to the 1 knob idea. I pretty much intend to stick close to the "Used Parts & Repairables" aisle for my pups, pots, machine heads, etc. But, I also don't intend on spending my money and time on converting a piece of junk into a more expensive piece of junk. So, my idea is flexible.

There's 2 factors the went into the solitary volume knob idea. #1, on every guitar I've owned I've never even touched the high pass knob. I crank it up to 10, and rock. In fact, the very first guitar I bought was a Squier Tom Delonge signature. Admittedly, I wish to somewhat emulate that look to an extent. But, at the same time I want a much more powerful & as versatile as possible sound. So, the tone knob is out... indefinitely. #2 (which I failed to mention the first time, [Edit]) is, space, or rather, rear-panel-access is somewhat limited on the body. I think there is enough room to install a 4-way switch... but then again I don't actually know how those mount into a guitar (whether it be from behind, or if they lay in a cavity). And, I don't want one anyway. Given I'd already predetermined I'd be filling 1 of the holes creating another doesn't sound too appealing. So, I'd prefer to limit myself to the realm of the two holes already drilled into the body for the volume and tone.

But, in regards to pups I am all ears. I have almost no idea what I should look for. I just saw a good deal on the DiMarzio and it got phenomenal ratings online. I have a general enough understanding that for the sounds I want the guitar to produce that a humbucker is going to be necessary. This might sound confusing. But, I'm not necessarily trying to blend a thick alternative sound with the twanginess of the tele. But, I want both. I guess, the best way to describe it would be, I don't want to give up the twang.

In the process of writing this, I've pretty much come to the realization that some sort of switch is going to be necessary. So, to refine my plans:

- What type of SC - Humbucker combo should I be looking for? Or, what should I be looking for in the two? And,

- At this point I would say I'm probably just going to shoot for a 500k pot and a simple 3-way toggle switch. Does this idea seem a little more practical?
Last edited by rossw3653 at Aug 30, 2013,
Have you considered a stacked single coil or power rails style humbucker for the neck? You wouldn't need to do any routing.
Maybe put in a concentric pot (essentially two pots stacked on each other) and use one half for volume and the other to blend pickups. That could be interesting if it could be jammed into the space you've got.
+1 on the rails in the neck, no need to route unless you like the look or have a specific humbucker you really want. Duncan makes a bunch of excellent "rails" or "little" type pickups that would be great in the neck. The Little 59 or the Vintage Rails seem like what you're looking for.

Then in the bridge you could do the same type of pickup, if you like. You'll have fewer options in the tele bridge pickup shape (assuming your guitar uses that) but there are still plenty to choose from. The obvious choice here seems like a Tele hot rails in the bridge and a Vintage rails in the neck, but there are a lot of good pickups out there so I don't want to make it sound like you need to stick to Duncan or anything.

The switch and volume knob setup seems good. Lots of people ditch the tone knob, nothing wrong with that. You could also just do an independent volume for each pickup, if you've already got two holes drilled for pots. That way you could blend and balance however you wanted. Concentric pots as mentioned above are also a good idea. You could have one pot that controlled volume for both pickups, and blend them that way.
You could also consider these options:
1. Use a dual-gang blend pot for panning between your two pickups. You'd then need a second pot for volume, or just not bother. You could pair that with a kill switch.

2. Use a push-pull or push-push to toggle one pickup on and also have a kill switch for the other pickup before the pot. It wouldn't be super clean, but you'd be able to select the bridge, neck or blend.