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Imagineer

Selector Switch Location?

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Imagineer    0

Here’s the next installment of “Stupid questions from Imagineer”…  

What determines where the pickup selector switch is located?      This weekend, the time management gods should be smiling upon me and I might have some time to get back into my ES-335 copy, righty to lefty conversion.    First on the agenda is to locate and mark where I want the controls and switch.     It's not as simple as just mirroring the locations because the controls I’m using are stacked.   So including the switch, there will only be 3 new holes in the body.   Also, to make things cleaner (and easier since it a semi hollow), I’m thinking of locating the selector switch near the controls (similar to Teles and Strats).    
   
Being a non-player (so far), I’m not familiar with the pros and cons of having the selector switch located; below or above the strings, forward of the pickups or behind.   It seems to me it’s more efficient to have the switch located below the strings.

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ScottR    1,355

Sometimes there are body construction or shape constraints, but mostly it is a matter of personal choice. Production guitars also factor in the economics of producing the guitars.

I prefer below the strings and I just had this conversation with a buddy that decided he liked the Les Paul placement better...even though none of his guitars utilize that.

SR

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curtisa    465

As a former Strat guy I prefer the switch to be below the strings. My picking hand is already in that position so it makes sense to have the switch close by. Fender doesn't get much credit for it, but for its time the Strat was a surprisingly ergonomic guitar. with a lot of good design ideas going into it

I'm not sure why Gibson put the switch on the upper bout of a Les Paul - visual balance being diagonally opposite to the knobs? Les Paul's personal preference? I guess if your playing style had your picking hand towards the neck pickup more often you'd prefer the switch to be located in that vicinity.

I personally despise PRS's decision to put the 5-way rotary switch below and behind the bridge on their earlier Custom series. I love my Custom 22, but making quick pickup changes on the fly is a logistical nightmare, particularly when the tremolo arm is installed. Makes absolutely no sense to have a switch that requires a twisting action to be located so far from where your hand naturally rests while playing.

As Scott suggests, economy also a plays a part. Having all the controls in one place means you only have to cut one cavity to fit them in, and wiring also becomes a little bit easier.

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StratsRdivine    102

One area that I had concern about was with power strumming / sweep picking regarding the location of the switch in a standard Strat.  My guitar tech accidentally installed the switch backwards so that bridge position (where the humbucker is on the HSS) was "up", and I was afraid that players might keep knocking it into the "down" position (standard bridge pup position), knocking out of the humbucker.  SO we switched it back around into the standard formation.  However, this got me thinking about the position,  I suppose most sweep strums are perpendicular to the strings, but if some guys do any Pete Townsend windmilling, strumming from top right down to bottom left, they might knock the switch if in standard Strat position.

Evidently, this has not been a concern since so many Strats have been sold since 54, but if I designed the Strat, I would have placed the switch a little farther away.  

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ScottR    1,355
On 3/10/2017 at 5:43 PM, StratsRdivine said:

but if I designed the Strat, I would have placed the switch a little farther away.  

I've always felt the same way. I built one with the controls recessed to get them out of the way.

 

SR

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komodo    81

I guess it's just me, but I always thought the LP was nice since you are usually changing the pup position on the fly. It's closer to your head and I could get more accurate switching, and faster, especially in the dark. That said, maybe it's just because it's 3-position. My current custom strat has three mini toggles down by the knobs and its no brainer easy on-off for each pup.

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