#1
Hi guys,

I have an old HSS Strat with which I started experimenting not so long ago. It has two stock ceramic single coils (~5kOhm) and a stock hot output humbucker (~15kOhm). Since I am a big fan of Steve Morse I wanted to install a tune-o-matic bridge and make it HSSH configuration, but since that involves routing and some non-reversible mods I started messing around with the pickups and wiring instead. Therefore, I installed one DPDT switch (to select bridge and neck together), replaced the neck single with a humbucker (8kOhm A2) and installed two SPDT switches (to split each humbucker); I kept the 5-way as it was. This gave me a huge amount of combinations. I could “emulate” the combinations of many guitars For example:

· SSS Strat (S-SS-S-SS-S)
· HSS Strat (H-HS-S-SS-S)
· HSH Strat (H-HS-S-SH-H)
· SS Tele (S-SS-S)
· HH Tele/Strat (H-HH-H)
· SH Tele (S-SH-H)
· HS Tele (H-HS-S)
· SSH (S-SS-S-SH-H) my favourite

I think I covered most of them... As I already anticipated, those were too many options, but I still wanted to experiment with the sounds. In addition, I removed one of the tones and made the other master. Then I reinstalled the tone but as a bass control like a PTB circuit. After more or less figuring out what I liked the best, which was the thick sound of the humbucker on the neck for soloing, the highs on the bridge for riffs and power chords and the low volume and gain of the middle (the PU is as low as possible) for strumming. I rewired it again, this time with two DPDT switches (one for neck and bridge together and the other as a “blower”, but in this case is bypasses the controls only but not the 5-way switch), the SSH configuration and the 5-way with the PTB. I forgot to mention that before buying the neck humbucker I placed my current bridge humbucker in the neck; the sound was so thick and loud that the poor new neck humbucker did not stand a chance against it, even in the HSH configuration; so this time the bridge humbucker went in the neck. This was also fun to experiment with, but as I kept on reading and learning, I did one last mod, which is its current state. I removed the humbucker, and installed a single in the neck on the other single in the bridge (tele style), I kept the PTB as it was and wire the switch tele style (S-SS-S). I also rewired the two DPDTs for series/parallel and phase in/out. This is by far my favourite combination; the versatility of “just” two pickups is unbelievable; I used to think that more pickups gave more versatility and sound options… I like the sound contrast between the neck and the bridge, both on parallel reduce volume for strumming and series gives a nice boost for soloing; the phase in/out is interesting to experiment with but I still need to get used to it. I may wire separate tones or separate volumes and leave the bridge raw and use the tone only for the neck. What do you think?

Since these were all “simple” mods, now let us more to the heavy stuff! This was my first guitar (bought in ’99 if I recall), I have played, practiced and gigged with it many times, so the body has many marks that give it a lot of attitude, I could go over the edge and sand the borders to give it a “uniform” worn look. The neck is nice (thin, 21 fret, rosewood), but the frets are wearing out. I bought a cheap maple neck from amazon and I sent it back the way it came, it was trash. Now the most affordable quality neck I can find is a Göldo for about 130CHF, single piece maple, vintage frets and probably thick (http://www.goeldo.de/bodies-und-necks/guitar-necks/1513/vintage-neck-for-strat?c=105
). Then put a new white pickguard and leave it at that. Does it seem like a good plan? By the way, I have the wiring diagrams for most of the configurations I tried; I can share them with you if you want them.

Cheers,
Walter

P.P. If you live in Zürich and want to get together and jam, send me a PM.


--- UPDATE 10.07.2017 ---

I made a minor mod to the tone controls. I removed the PTB (treble and bass) wiring and now have a tone control knob (treble) "greasebucket" style for each pickup. I like the options that it gives me, but the volumes drops too much when I roll off the tone completely from the neck pickup.

I checked the wiring and everything is right, master volume and tone por each pickup. What could be wrong? I have 500K pots (the ones that came with the guitar for those two pickups), I've recently cleaned them and measured the resistance throughout their range adn they are fine. For the greasebucket I'm using the standard Fender values, 0.1uF capacitor between left and middle legs; 0.022uF capacitor in series with a 4.7kOhm resistor from the right leg to ground.

I like to roll off the tone of the neck for soloing and use the bridge for chords, but in this case the bridge is louder. The pickups are stock ceramic single-coils, with DCR ratings of 5.1kOhm on the neck adn 5.3kOhm in the bridge.
Last edited by waltervt at Jul 10, 2017,
#2
My Fender Baja Telecaster has the same switching options you currently have on your guitar.. I don't use the out of phase sounds much, except when I'm in a playful mood on stage and just want to make some werid noises. But the series pickup configuration does produce a nice thick sound with a lot of output that you don't normally get from a telecaster.

If you like the neck, but the frets are worn, it seems to make more sense to me to get that neck refretted or maybe just even get the frets dressed to tidy up some of the fret wear, rather than buying a whole new neck. It'll probably be cheaper than any aftermarket neck worth buying, too.
I like analogue Solid State amps that make no effort to be "tube-like", and I'm proud of it...

...A little too proud, to be honest.
#3
Quote by Blompcube
My Fender Baja Telecaster has the same switching options you currently have on your guitar.. I don't use the out of phase sounds much, except when I'm in a playful mood on stage and just want to make some werid noises. But the series pickup configuration does produce a nice thick sound with a lot of output that you don't normally get from a telecaster.

If you like the neck, but the frets are worn, it seems to make more sense to me to get that neck refretted or maybe just even get the frets dressed to tidy up some of the fret wear, rather than buying a whole new neck. It'll probably be cheaper than any aftermarket neck worth buying, too.

Cool, nice to see that you have the same wiring (and the same avatar too)! I'm gonna play around for a while to get used to the phase in/out sound, to see if I keep it. The series/parallel is amazing and that is gonna stay.

Where I live a refretting will cost a fortune and a new good neck plus nut and machine heads will also not be cheaper. Should I retire the old gal and buy a Tele? I have my eyes on a Ibanez TM302, that way I have a brand new tele to wire the way I like best and keep the old strat for experiments or set it back to stock and sell it for whatever I get.
#4
It's the stock wiring on the Baja Tele. The series and parallel switching is useful but personally, I think out of phase sounds work better when you've got separate volume and tone knobs per pickup, like on a Les Paul, because that allows you to blend the pickups together in a way that results in some more usable and less extreme out of phase sounds. so you're not forever stuck with this brittle and hollowed out, nasal honking sound. It can actually make that type of guitar a whole lot more versatile, by allowing it to achieve thinner, 'lighter' sounds without being totally ridiculous and over the top.

if it's not economical to sort out the frets on your guitar, I guess buying another guitar but continuing to experiment with the old one seems like a good plan - that way you have a platform for experimentation, and if you discover something you really like, you can do the same to your main guitar, rather than experimenting with the guitar you're using all the time and possibly doing something with it that doesn't work for you and being stuck with it until you get the time to change it again.
I like analogue Solid State amps that make no effort to be "tube-like", and I'm proud of it...

...A little too proud, to be honest.
#5
Are you guys avatar buddies?  
"A well-wound coil is a well-wound coil regardless if it's wound with professional equipment, or if somebody's great-grandmother winds it to an old French recipe with Napoleon's modified coffee grinder and chops off the wire after a mile with an antique guillotine!"
- Bill Lawrence

Come and be with me
Live my twisted dream
Pro devoted pledge
Time for primal concrete sledge

#6
Versatility is in the player, not the instrument...
Quote by reverb66
I'm pretty sure the Bible requires that you play through a tube amp in Texas.
#7
Quote by PlusPaul
Versatility is in the player, not the instrument...

I agree with 5 out of the 8 words in this post (can you guess which 5?), but I think that versatility of a player and versatility of an instrument are two separate things and they are not mutually exclusive.
I like analogue Solid State amps that make no effort to be "tube-like", and I'm proud of it...

...A little too proud, to be honest.
#8
Quote by Blompcube
I agree with 5 out of the 8 words in this post (can you guess which 5?), but I think that versatility of a player and versatility of an instrument are two separate things and they are not mutually exclusive.


I agree and I'll add that a versitle player will likely be able to coax more out of a less versitle guitar than a player with less experience might.
"A well-wound coil is a well-wound coil regardless if it's wound with professional equipment, or if somebody's great-grandmother winds it to an old French recipe with Napoleon's modified coffee grinder and chops off the wire after a mile with an antique guillotine!"
- Bill Lawrence

Come and be with me
Live my twisted dream
Pro devoted pledge
Time for primal concrete sledge

#9
--- UPDATE ---

I made a minor mod to the tone controls. I removed the PTB (treble and bass) wiring and now have a tone control knob (treble) "greasebucket" style for each pickup. I like the options that it gives me, but the volumes drops too much when I roll off the tone completely from the neck pickup.

I checked the wiring and everything is right, master volume and tone por each pickup. What could be wrong? I have 500K pots (the ones that came with the guitar for those two pickups), I've recently cleaned them and measured the resistance throughout their range adn they are fine. For the greasebucket I'm using the standard Fender values, 0.1uF capacitor between left and middle legs; 0.022uF capacitor in series with a 4.7kOhm resistor from the right leg to ground.

I like to roll off the tone of the neck for soloing and use the bridge for chords, but in this case the bridge is louder. The pickups are stock ceramic single-coils, with DCR ratings of 5.1kOhm on the neck adn 5.3kOhm in the bridge.