Strat Wiring: Bridge Tone Questions

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by Sixstringedmatt, May 6, 2016.

  1. Sixstringedmatt

    Sixstringedmatt Member

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    Hi all,

    I've been reading a TON of posts about changing the wiring on my strat and admittedly very confused. I was hoping someone could explain if it's the right choice for me and how it might affect the versatility of the strat generally.

    I'm playing a basswood strat with Tonerider Pure Vintage pickups. I'd like to wire the neck to have its own tone pot and the bridge to have its own tone pot. I understand this might open things up on the 2 and 4 positions to be a bit more full, but I've heard I'll make a trade off on the sound for my bridge. I don't really adjust the middle tone knob so I'm not worried there.

    Here's my understanding/questions specifically of how the mod will affects things. The 2 and 4 position are the most important for me and I assume I am making the right choice on those position with this mod.
    • Bridge: How much of the "true strat" tone will I lose from moving the tone pot to the bridge? I still want that twang and "The Shadows" vibe, but I don't mind losing a little brightness.
    • B/M: I want Knopfler and Cray in spades. A lot of quack. I hear this mod will enhance this position.
    • Middle: I don't use this pickup as much and realize it will be "always at 10" I don't envision regretting that at all... right?
    • N/M: I want to improve my SRV Lenny or Mayer Slow Dancing tone. A lot of cluck. I hear this mod will enhance this position.
    • Neck: No change in tone due to the mod.
    Cheers,
    Matt
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2016
  2. DRS

    DRS Member

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    I wired my strat so the neck and bridge had their own tone pots. Works great. 1,2 and 4 sound the same, I use the middle wide open any way, and it is great having a tone control on the bridge. It should have been the stock wiring from day 1.
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2016
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  3. Sixstringedmatt

    Sixstringedmatt Member

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    Thank you! I was under the impression that since the middle tone is out of the equation it opens up the 4th (mid/neck, right?) position and slightly affects bridge and middle though.

    Did you lose any bite on the bridge at 10 on the tone knob?

    One thing is for sure, people switch the position numbers with the actual pickup selection which confuses me. I've heard bridge called position 5 and 1 in a ton of threads...
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2016
  4. Lewguitar

    Lewguitar Member

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    You'll lose a tiny bit of treble if you put a tone pot on the bridge but it's still the right thing to do.

    You could use a no-load tone pot that disconnects itself when it's turned to "10" if you want to squeeze the last drop of treble out of the bridge pickup.

    With a no-load the pickup will sound exactly the same as it did without a tone pot.

    I wouldn't bother with that but if it's important to you, then go for it.
     
  5. Sixstringedmatt

    Sixstringedmatt Member

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    Thank you @Lewguitar . I don't think I would mind a little treble loss from the bridge in exchange for the wider tonal options. I'm not as picky about the bridge so this seems like something I may not even notice. However, what about this affecting the 2nd position quack? Does that benefit or negatively affect the tone when moving the control to the bridge?
     
  6. Lewguitar

    Lewguitar Member

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    Yes. When you combine two pickups that each have their own tone pot you also combine the tone pots.


    Your guitar will sound a little less muffled in the 2 and 4 switch positions if you leave the tone pot off of the middle pickup.
     
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  7. Sixstringedmatt

    Sixstringedmatt Member

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    @Lewguitar The 2nd (B/M) position would always have 1 tone pot when switching from my current wiring to this new mod, right? If that's the case, does the reduction in the bridge treble affect quack? Sorry if I'm being dense!!
     
  8. Lewguitar

    Lewguitar Member

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    I don't think so. It would be the same sound when the middle and bridge pickups are combined as when you had the tone pot on the middle pickup and not the bridge pickup.

    However, when the neck and middle pickups are combined and you don't have a tone control on the middle pickup, THAT sound will be less muffled.
     
  9. Sixstringedmatt

    Sixstringedmatt Member

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    Perfect. Thanks so much!
     
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  10. candid_x

    candid_x Supporting Member

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    That's not as I think I've heard it. On "modern wiring", where the bridge and middle or combined, I first find it cumbersome when switching from br/middle to and from nk/middle, because I have to adjust the lower tone pot, and second, I hear greater clarity with just one pickup assigned to a tone pot. I virtually always wire the bridge alone to the bottom pot and neck to the middle tp. That's how I like it, first for fewer tone adjustments, and second, 2 and 4 sound clearer to me, maybe just because the middle is out of the tone circuit. So the EJ/JV schematic works best for me.

    I don't like no-load pots because a) I always want the bridge and neck pickups in the tone circuit, even when on 10, and 2) rolling into the tone circit with my pinky has to overcome the resistance of coming off 10, and I always seem to overshoot the runway. No resistance on the knob/pot makes for easier subtle adjustments.
     
  11. Lewguitar

    Lewguitar Member

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    Yeah. I keep it simple.

    Standard 250k pots. No no load pots needed by me.

    No tone pot on the middle pickup.

    Neck pickup gets its own tone pot and bridge pickup gets its own tone pot.

    That's with a standard Strat pickguard.

    My other Strat has a custom pickguard with just a master volume and master tone. And that's my favorite configuration.
     
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  12. David Garner

    David Garner Supporting Member

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    Full disclosure - I can't stand the tone of a Strat bridge without a tone load.

    Having said that, I've tried standard wiring, 1 tone to middle, 1 shared neck/bridge, and the Eric Johnson/Jimmie Vaughan wiring. Of those, I prefer the EJ/Vaughan setup.

    But my favorite is master volume, master tone, and blender pot, and both of my Strats are now set up this way.
     
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  13. Lewguitar

    Lewguitar Member

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    That works too. Learned that trick from Lindy Fralin.
     
  14. cygnusx1

    cygnusx1 Member

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    You should also consider wiring in a small mini switch to turn the bridge on when ever u want. I did this to all my strats so I could have that tele neck and bridge set up. Sounds awesome!
     
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  15. Lewguitar

    Lewguitar Member

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    Or do: master volume and tone and use the third hole for a blend pot to add the bridge pickup to the neck or vice versa.
     
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  16. LReese

    LReese Member

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    The loading of a tone control on the bridge pickup is nice, but I can do without it. You can adjust the effect by playing with resistors or different value tone pots.

    If you use a superswitch and you can have a tone control on all 3 pickups without having a double load on one of the positions - you can even disable the tone controls in certain positions if you want.
     
  17. scott944

    scott944 Member

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    The good news is that whatever you choose is easy to change if you don't like it.
     
  18. macatt

    macatt Supporting Member

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    You can buy blender pots that do not have the indent and operate the same, bypassing the the tone on 10.

    S Mac
     
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  19. macatt

    macatt Supporting Member

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    This works very well too. Just more soldering than simply moving one wire on the standard switch though.

    S Mac
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2016
  20. Starshine

    Starshine Member

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