4-way switch in Telecaster

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by ToneRanger, Mar 6, 2006.

  1. ToneRanger

    ToneRanger Member

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    Hi, this came up in another thread and I'd like someone with experience/info/opinions to chime in...

    Acmeguitarworks offers 4 way switching for tele, which offers a combination of neck and bridge pickup in series in addition to the three traditional sounds (bridge, bridge+neck parallel, neck). Has anyone tried
    this or is somebody using this on regular basis?

    The idea sounds great: a humbucking sound from the two single coils.

    I'm a bit suspicious though, 'cause I had a Deaf-Eddie switch in my strat for a while which offered bunch of different sounds in series and parallel and those didn't work for me at all, the special sounds were very muddy in comparison to the stock sounds. It really didn't work as well as the S1-switch I tried on a guitar store earlier (this was again with a strat).

    So, anybody wanna chime in?

    How does the Tele Police feel about this? ;)
     
  2. Jon Silberman

    Jon Silberman 10Q Jerry & Dickey Gold Supporting Member

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    This is a readily reversible, non-invasive mod so even the strictest of Tele cops should not arrest you for doing it.

    I have 4-way switches on all of my 2-single coil guitars. On my '52 RI, the both PUPs in series setting is powerful and and somewhat dark (it's possible you'd consider this muddy but it is what it is), killer especially for fat, bluesy leads. You gain this and lose nothing so why not?

    The only thing to keep in mind is that if your neck PUP is the standard metal cover Tele type you'll need to lift the ground on it when you wire in the new switch. The instructions that come with the switch will explain/diagram what you need to do and it takes all of a couple of minutes to accomplish.
     
  3. Cliff

    Cliff Member

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    What Jon said. The series configuration is a good, usable sound. Not exactly humbucker, but good.
     
  4. ToneRanger

    ToneRanger Member

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    Thanks guys.. The only concern is that if it's muddy like the strat sounds I had with the Deaf-Eddie switch. Anyway, it's easily reversible (actually I'm thinking about the Acme prewired so I dont wanna screw with it, maybe I'll just not use the position if I dont like it).. Think I'll go with it! Just hope the switch feels sturdy so I know what I'm doing all the time, I'm a big fan of 3-way switches even in strats.
     
  5. riverastoasters

    riverastoasters Member

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    It's a good idea as long as the ergonomics are good for you. Different people have different reactions to switches on their guitar.

    I have this sort of switching on a couple of guitars:

    http://www.zen-pharaohs.com/guitars/Fender/Merle/merle_haggard.htm
    http://www.zen-pharaohs.com/guitars/Fender/Scottish_Tele/scottish.htm

    I got used to the various switch schemes with a little practice on each. Then again, I don't use pickup toggling for effect all the time.

    The Tele police probably don't like it, but that usually means it's a good thing.
     
  6. jreardon

    jreardon Member

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    I' ve just bought a Fender Custom Shop Tele that has the 4-way switch installed.

    I'm more of a Strat person than Tele, however, I wanted to get a Tele again. I tried about 8, including one with an S1 switch, in the shop before I settled on this one. I didn't realise that it had a 4-way, until I got home :NUTS I just knew in the shop it sounded better than the others.

    I've now played it at two gigs and it's great. Fellow band members thought it sounded almost like a Strat at times. I didn't find position 4 to be muddy at all, it was just different to position 2.
     
  7. Jon Silberman

    Jon Silberman 10Q Jerry & Dickey Gold Supporting Member

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    Thought I'd add, I don't find the 4-way setting on my Tele muddy either but on my Reverend Rocco with replacement Z90s which also now has a 4-way, position 4 is muddy. To address the issue, however, I also added a mini-toggle blower (volume and tone pots bypass) switch. With the switch on (in bypass mode), it adds a significant amount of treble and "bite" to the tone. In positions 1-3, it's overwhelming (so I don't use it there) but in position 4, it's magic.

    You can add the same switch to your Tele also with no new drilling/reversible mod very simply with a combination push/pull tone pot.
     
  8. mainsale

    mainsale Member

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    I'm now a huge fan of 4-way switching after using Acme's assembly with treble bleed cap with Fralin P-92/Blues Special pups in an Am. Std. Tele upgrade. The series position is wonderful and I would not describe it as muddy at all. Maybe because of the P-92. I have now converted all of my single coil Tele's to 4-way switching. By the way, you will be very favorably impressed with the build quality and components used in the Acme 4-way switch assembly.
     
  9. ToneRanger

    ToneRanger Member

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    Thanks for the replies!

    mainsale, the Acme stuff looks really professional. I've been in contact with Brian via email and it seems like I'll be buying from there. Still a bit suspicious with the 4-way, 'cause I'm a KISS (keep it simple stupid) kind of guy.. I'll have to think about it, 'cause if I don't like it, I don't want the extra position with the switch to get in the way and then again I don't wanna screw with the Acme prewired assembly to remove it..
     
  10. Jon Silberman

    Jon Silberman 10Q Jerry & Dickey Gold Supporting Member

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    I can't think of much that would be simpler than a switch with 4 instead of 3 positions. How could the extra position get in the way? It's the same size switch in the same location as before.
     
  11. jpervin

    jpervin Supporting Member

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    Not having the instructions in front of me, does this involve taking a wire and soldering one end to the neck pickup cover and the other end to the bottom of the volume pot? I just recently put in a 4-way switch in my '50s Tele and am now just getting around to restringing it. I did look at the instructions but wasn't quite sure what the ground lift involved.
     
  12. Jon Silberman

    Jon Silberman 10Q Jerry & Dickey Gold Supporting Member

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  13. John Phillips

    John Phillips Member

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    One thing I've noticed having fitted quite a few of these for customers now (and one for myself, with two different sets of pickups) is that the tone and usefulness of the series setting is very pickup-dependent, and probably even guitar-dependent - much more so than the parallel setting. I don't know why.

    Sometimes the result is clear and powerful, sometimes confused and muddy (or variations in between). Sometimes it seems a lot louder than the individual pickups, sometimes less so. I've even had the same set of pickups (not just the same model, the actual same pickups) sound drastically different in two different Teles - borderline muddy in one, clear and powerful in the other.
     
  14. mainsale

    mainsale Member

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    Order the pickups and 4-way assembly from Acme and they'll take care of the extra grounding requirement for you.
     
  15. Jet Rink

    Jet Rink Member

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    I think it's a must. I made that "mod," a long time ago and it essentially gives you a nice mini-boost, if you will.

    Jet
     
  16. mainsale

    mainsale Member

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    Toneranger, take a look at a Fralin P-92 "Split Single" for your neck position. I can't tell you how pleased I am with mine!
     
  17. ToneRanger

    ToneRanger Member

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    Easily :)

    I mean if I end up hating the sound and never using it, it can get annoying. For example, with the three-way switch if I want to go to the neck pickup I can just "crank it" and not think about it too much and those things can get a bit hard while trying to nail the harmony vocal, stomp the too many stomp boxes and play the guitar lines all at the same time. Usually I like to keep it simple, the standard Tele switching is wonderful, it's really natural when it's threeway.

    Anyway, having read all the answers, it seems like I should still try it (although I have this strange gut feeling I shouldnt, must be the "millions of options" switch experience with my strat).

    If someone has clips with the four-way that would be great. Like demonstrating all the different positions, and going between them..

    It's also really interesting what John Phillips said that the outcome will/can vary. Anyone have the 4-way switch with Fralin Vintage Tele pickups with a ash body & maple neck?
     
  18. ToneRanger

    ToneRanger Member

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    You have this in a Tele? What do you have in the bridge position? Pictures please! :)

    What kind of pickup is this, I couldnt find it in the Fralin website.. It's in the Acme site though, looks really cool and the name sounds promising.

    I'll go for the Fralin stock tele pickup for the neck with this guitar, I really want as classic a Tele possible, as I already have a Telesonic, which is kind of a twisted one.

    I'm really getting into Teles so I'll possible get another one in the future so I'm always on the lookout for new pickups, so please tell me about the P92!
     
  19. Jon Silberman

    Jon Silberman 10Q Jerry & Dickey Gold Supporting Member

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    I give up! :) Look, no one can answer for you either exactly what your own guitar and PUPs will sound like or whether you yourself will like what you hear. It's an easy mod. Shouldn't take you more than an hour. If you don't like it switch it back. Just do it and tell us your opinion.
     
  20. dmkozak

    dmkozak Member

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    Don't want to make this any more complicated than it's already become (And, it really shouldn't be this complicated. Try it. Both pups together in series, in phase, will give you a tone you do not presently have.), but there's another possibility; a five way switch which also adds both pups in series, out of phase, will give a hollower, janglier sound. Another sound type from your existing ax. It will have fewer uses than the series in phase, but when you need it, the out of phase sound is good to have.
     

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