Alt 3-position strat wiring

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by package, Oct 22, 2011.

  1. package

    package Supporting Member

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    I used to have a strat with a 3-way switch wired up so the middle pickup was not switched, rather it had its own volume knob. You could blend it in with any of the other pickups (or combo) or turn down their shared volume and just have the middle on its own. Tone control was a master for all three. The switch was neck, neck/bridge, and bridge.

    I thought it was a Dan Armstrong wiring scheme, but all I can find for him is super strat diagrams--the opposite of the simple, effective design above.

    Does anyone have a wiring diagram for what I explained above? I just picked up another strat and want that versatility/simplicity again. I can follow a diagram, but it would take me a week of trial and error to come up with it myself.

    Thanks,
    package
     
  2. fumbler

    fumbler Member

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    Cool. That seems like it would give some interesting blending possibilities for the parallel quack positions.

    You should start by looking for a standard TELECASTER diagram. Just wire the neck and bridge like a 3-way tele with one volume and one tone pot.

    Then wire the middle pickup straight to it's own volume pot. The input to this pot also get connected to the master tone pot (in parallel with the neck/bridge volume pot input). The output from the middle volume pot should be wired to the output from the neck/bridge volume pot (so both outputs get combined in parallel and then go to the jack).

    That's it.


    Although let me state my preference for wiring strats with a 5-way switch, master volume/master tone/blender. It's a little less confusing to control when playing IMHO.
     
  3. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

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    not quite.

    you have to wire the one tone to the outputs of the two volumes, not the inputs, or you'll just have all the pickups wired together all the time. (it's often easiest to just wire the tone pot to the output jack's hot.)

    also, you have to reverse the "in" and "out" of each pot, so the pickup(s) go to the center lug and the clockwise lug becomes the output; otherwise, turning either one all the way down would kill the entire signal, like on a gibson.

    thing is, these two details both create problems;

    putting the tone on the outputs of the volumes means you're wired "50s style", which makes the pots interactive, where turning one down changes how the other behaves.

    reversing the ins and outs of the volumes for "independent" wiring alters the tapers of the pots in a less than great way, and leaves residual noise in even when all the way "off".
     
  4. fumbler

    fumbler Member

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    Dangit! Walter got me again.

    I always tell everyone that the reason I had children was that I wanted to make sure that I always have all of my mistakes pointed out to me.
     
  5. Phostenix

    Phostenix Member

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    Walter can double check my work on this. :)

    I've got 2 drawings of this setup. The first is the typical Strat blend knob setup where the knob works "backwards" - CCW is full up (blended in) and full CW is off. If you use a 250K No Load pot, the middle pup will be completely out of the circuit at full CW.


    [​IMG]


    With the volumes like they are in the above setup, if the Master Volume is turned down it takes the Middle pup down with it, so you can't get the Middle pup by itself.


    So, the 2nd drawing is wired up for 2 independent volumes - like a Les Paul. I'm showing 500K pots here since they are connected in parallel with each other all the time, so the end result is like a 250K pot.


    [​IMG]


    You can choose whichever works the way you like best.

    I'm pretty sure the tone control will work normally in both setups.


    .
     
  6. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

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    both diagrams look right to me.

    the tone pot will work in both instances, but in the second one, it'll be interactive, in that turning the volume down a bit will make the tone act like another volume coming off of "10", and turning the tone down a bit will make the volume drop off faster from "10" than before.

    it's the "50s wiring" thing, which some folks like and some don't.

    also, reversing the inputs and outputs of the volume pots (necessary to get "independent" operation) makes the taper from full to off not as nice, and leaves a little noise in even when all the way down.

    the first one is more popular because you don't sacrifice the behavior of the controls just to get the middle pickup by itself. (actually, what's more popular is doing the blend pot with a 5-way, so you get all the regular strat tones plus N+B.)
     
  7. Phostenix

    Phostenix Member

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    The first one won't give you the middle pup by itself. That's why I don't like that setup.
     
  8. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

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    it will if you just keep the stock 5-way switching.
     
  9. Phostenix

    Phostenix Member

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    But, we weren't talking about a stock 5-way here. :)
     
  10. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

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    Oh yeah :jo

    The 3-way thing can be cool, because when you engage the middle pickup, you can just "slap" the switch back to get M+B, and slap it up to get N+M, instead of hunting for it with the 5-way.

    How about making the last knob a 3-way rotary switch, with one way being no middle pickup, the next being middle with whatever else is going on, and the last being middle by itself, all still under the master volume and tone?
     
  11. Clorenzo

    Clorenzo Member

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    Yup, that's neat. I designed something similar for one of Harry Jacobson's H-S-H guitars years ago. I designed some crazy wirings for him but this is probably my favourite, it should be very versatile and intuitive to use. I used a double (4-pole) on-on-on rather than a rotary and there are split, auto-split and series options too, but it's basically the same idea: toggle / middle only / toggle + middle (what we called the "mode switch"):

    [​IMG]
     
  12. package

    package Supporting Member

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    Wow! Thanks for all the interesting input to my dilemma! Phostenix, in the first diagram, would removing the purple lead between the master and middle vol pots remove the dependence noted by Walter?

    My goal is to maintain the simplicity of the 3-way switch. I'm a meat-fisted tele guy and am baffled by having to choose between 5 detents. And I never, ever use neck/middle or middle/bridge settings on a strat. That quack is like nails on a chalkboard to me. I love the neck/bridge setting, though. And middle alone.

    I'll try both wiring types and see what works best. Again, thanks to all for posting here.

    Regards,
    Package
     
  13. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

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    oh, OK.

    how about just a two-way rotary to control the middle pickup? one way is stock "tele" (neck and/or bridge), and the other is middle by itself.
     
  14. VaughnC

    VaughnC Supporting Member

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    Yup, I was thinking of a pull-pot with its switch inserted between the pickup selector and volume control...one way stock Tele with one tone control, and the other way middle only with the other tone control wired to it.
     
  15. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

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    hmm, i don't think typical DPDT push-pulls have enough contacts to...

    no, it might work!

    the first tone would be tied to the output of the 3-way switch and get dis-engaged when it does, while the push-pull's actual pot could just be wired straight to the middle pickup, getting kicked in with it by the DPDT part.
     
  16. VaughnC

    VaughnC Supporting Member

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    All you'd need is a SPDT switch (pull-pot or whatever)...with the high side of the volume control connected to the switch's center (common) terminal, the regular selector switch's output lead connected to one of the other switch terminals (along with tone pot1), and the middle pickup's lead connected to the remaining switch terminal (along with tone pot2). Switched one way is stock 3-way Tele (+tone1), switch the other way is middle pickup only (+tone2)...both sharing the single volume control.
     
  17. Lolaviola

    Lolaviola Supporting Member

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    I think this is like the Bill Lawrence "Hendrix" wiring. There are diagrams on the web if you search.
     
  18. Phostenix

    Phostenix Member

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    Removing the purple wire would disable the middle voulme control, leaving you with no ability to add in the middle pup.
     
  19. Phostenix

    Phostenix Member

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    Here's my version of that:

    [​IMG]
     
  20. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

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    there it is!

    you could sub out a regular DPDT push-pull pot for that switch, using one side of it (one row of contacts) the exact same way.
     

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