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12 Way Strat Switch


i-j-c
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Have any of you guys used the 12 way strat switching...??

All the strats I used to build a long time ago...I made this switching using micro switches...I loved the sound..

On my current project...I will be doing this again...I have decided on my projects now and will be making another post complete with pictures on the progress/build...I'm building two at the same time..a bass and a guitar..

Anyway the 12 way switching..here is a diagram....

hrm3-1.jpg

This modification yields 12 settings. It requires three mini-toggle switches (one is a 3-way), each relating to its own pickup. Here's what you get:

# each pickup alone (three settings)

# three parallel pairs

# three series pairs

# three pickups in parallel

# three pickups in series

# three pickups in series/parallel

All combinations are in phase. The tone controls follow the standard Strat convention, i.e., no tone control for the bridge position. They operate on the neck and middle pickups and provide particularly interesting sounds in the series settings.

please note the three way is on/on/on switch...

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Whats the point??

Duh...to impress his bandmates with his ultra-cool new Strat with lots of little switches on it?

Either that or it's to see how many different combinations of crappy sounds he can squeeze out of the humble Strat.

I can make fun of this just because I went through this "Fender Jaguar" phase as well. I actually just restored my Strat from having three ultra-cool but mismatched SD pickups, a preamp boost I never used, and all sorts of parallel/tapping switching just to look cool. For some reason, though, it still sounded like crap coming out of the amp once it went through effects or processing. It was also much more difficult to remember what settings I needed for actually performing on stage.

One new set of EMG-SA pickups and I'm back to the sound I really wanted. Clean signal throughout, simple to use in concert. Lots of little switches make for a cool looking axe, but c'mon, you'll never use 'em. I'll stick to my five-way switch and lack of push-pull pots and mini-switches from now on. But I'll keep the 9-volt battery :D

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To look cool ???????

First...I don't play bands anymore...just for personal pleasure. Secondly to look cool...umm nope...the micro switches are hardly visible anyway...and fit in the space where the regular strat switch goes....that's it. One thing though and that pickup selection this way is probably not ideal for a live stage performance...unless you are used to the switch positions...so out goes the cool theory..it's just experimental...that's all. Also, I have neither had a Jag or want one and have not been through 'any phases' - whether to be cool or not...

To answer what's the point - I just like to experiment with wiring...to see what's possible, what sounds you can get...that's all...I did this originally way back in 1985...and it was most certainly not for looking cool...what utter crap!

I was just sharing ideas as I thought this was a forum for that...!

Anyway for the guy who asked parallel/series...here's a long explanation

On a stock Strat, pickups are wired in parallel at the "2" (neck/middle) and "4" (middle/bridge) positions. It is just a modification which not only allows you to select pickups in any combination, but to select whether they will be wired in series or parallel. I consider this one of the most useful modifications possible (after shielding). Without going too deep into the theory we can say that series vs. parallel pickup wiring affects the final tone in a couple of ways:

1. Pickups typically have an impedance of about 4k to 10k ohms. When the pickups are in parallel, each is a fairly low impedance inductive load on the other. In short, each pickup is effectively a primitive high-pass filter between the other pickup and the amplifier. When the pickups are in series, they do not load each other and the filtering effect is much less noticeable because the variable impedance component is now in series with the (typically quite high) input impedance of the amplifier.

2. The above mechanism also has a noticeable effect on the output level of the pickups. In every case that I've tried the guitar is noticeably "hotter" when the pickups are wired in series. Again, this is because the pickups are not acting as a load on each other.

3. The effective inductance of two inductors (coils) is radically different when those inductors are wired in series than it is when they are wired in parallel. Inductance is one of the factors that modifies frequency response.

4. Depending on how sensitive the first gain stage (stomp box, amplifier, etc.) is to impedance and inductance, the actual difference in tone between series and parallel wiring may be subtle or very noticeable.

Inductance is similar to resistance in that the total inductance is simply added when inductors (pickups) are wired in series -- but you take the product over the sum for parallel inductors. Let us say simply for the sake of argument that each of the pickups has an inductance of 10mh (inductance is measured in Henries, or more commonly, in millihenries):

* In series, our total inductance will be 10mh + 10mh -- or 20mh.

* In parallel, our total inductance will be (10mh X 10mh) / (10mh + 10mh) = 100mh / 20mh -- or 5mh.

Remember, inductors work just the opposite of capacitors -- they tend to impede high frequencies while passing low frequencies. Of course, it's not quite this simple because the pickups aren't simply inductors -- each is also generating a signal. However, I'm sure you can see that tonal response will vary quite a bit depending on whether the pickups are in series or parallel. It's difficult to reliably quantify this difference but I'll go out on a limb and describe pickups wired in series as having a bit more midrange punch than the same pickups wired in parallel. Usually. No guarantees.

So, which is better?

Unfortunately, that's one of those questions that has no answer. The sound of the two methods is just different. Keep in mind, though, that most pickups were designed with the idea that they would be combined in parallel by the stock wiring and that is the "sound" the pickup designer was striving for. I would recommend that you wire Strat pickups in parallel if you aren't going to provide switching between series and parallel. On the other hand, I regard the ability to switch between series and parallel wiring as one of the most tonally useful modifications you can perform -- much more useful than pickup phasing, in most cases (though combining series and out-of-phase wiring produces very interesting results in some cases).

Wiring the Humbucker:

Most humbuckers have the two coils of the pickup wired in series. With four-wire humbuckers you can install a switch to change between series/parallel wiring for the humbucker coils. If you aren't going to use a switch, series wiring of the two coils will provide the "intended" sound and usually a "hotter" output.

Hey! What Happened to the Sound?

When coils (or pickups) are wired in series you have to short across one coil (or pickup) to turn it off -- you still have to provide a complete circuit for the other coil or pickup. With coils or pickups wired in parallel you have to open the circuit to a coil (pickup) to turn it off -- shorting the coil will short all of the coils when they are in parallel.

Sorry to bother you, just sharing ideas that's all..

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wow cool! cheers!

well im revamping the wiring, so i will have a concentric vol pot (but both HBs will be on the same volume as its a motherbucker and ill have a P90 on the other) its a strat and the other 2 holes will be taken up by the on/on toggle and a 3 way on/on/on selector which is for the P90/MB/both. so there will be a 3 way switch, but i do want a seperate one for the parellel/series. the 5way switch btw is a fender superswitch, that will be purely for mothbucker wiring options if it matters.

thanks so much :D

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to tell you the truth i think its a brilliant idea, except im not a fan of strats. i love being able to experiment with different sounds. think about it this way, if it wasnt for people thinking like this then the strat would still be outfitted with a three way switch and a lot of songs wouldnt sound quite the same. i am going to have one pickup and two pots on my current guitar, but im also gonna have a mini 3 way on/on/on to get as many possible sounds as i can.

and oh yeah, dont flame the new people for sharing brilliant ideas that your puny minds are too small to grasp. thats a good way to not make friends.

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lol yeh i agree it is a cool idea! thats the reason im using a 5 way, 3 way and 2 way switch on my strat which will have a motherbucker and a P90... the differnt switches allows me to open up 5-6 MB sounds using different coils, then mix them with the P90 for thhe best range of sounds i can get! :D

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thats the reason im using a 5 way, 3 way and 2 way switch on my strat which will have a motherbucker and a P90... the differnt switches allows me to open up 5-6 MB sounds using different coils, then mix them with the P90 for thhe best range of sounds i can get!

Yeah, you'll get a range of sounds. Good luck keeping your settings straight, though.

and oh yeah, dont flame the new people for sharing brilliant ideas that your puny minds are too small to grasp. thats a good way to not make friends.

The only "puny" mind I see here is yours, Meegs. I think you should take a look at some of Ormsby's work before you accuse him of having a "puny" mind or lack of creativity. Also, I HAVE used complex wiring and switching schemes before, and they are simply too complicated for anything other than one-off recording. There's a reason why Gibson and Fender never sold very many Les Paul Recording or stock Jaguars. They're simply too complicated for gig use.

I don't have a problem with people sharing ideas, but like Perry said, "what's the point?" What kind of special sounds are you really trying to get, or are you just doing it to do it? There comes a point where simplicity and elegance goes a lot further than complexity and "porcupine" guitars. I don't like the idea of having to keep a notebook with all of my settings just on the guitar.

BTW, if you're looking for friends on the internet, buy a dog instead.

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i do see the potential problems with keeping it in order, but i can handle that. i cant stand fender these days. people just want something that has proven the test of time. no one is willing to go the extra mile and experiment. i understand what your getting at and what i said was just a joke, but seriously a guy can experiment. i wouldnt use all the miniswitches, but i have many guitars with lots of different switching. i took a stock gretsch and replaced the pickups and pots to where i can get out of phase for every possible combination. its not that hard to keep it in order and some of the combos i dont even use, but its just having that extra ability to flip a switch to get a desirable tone instead of having to change guitars. the only problem im having is getting the sound of two entirely different guitars out of one guitar, but that will be remedied when i start on a doubleneck.

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...There's a reason why Gibson and Fender never sold very many Les Paul Recording or stock Jaguars. They're simply too complicated for gig use...
There are a lot of reasons why the Jaguar didn't sell extremely well, but the switching system had only a little to do with it - don't forget its horrible tremolo, the 24" scale, and the fact that it was the most expensive Fender solid-body available at the time. For all that, it was still Fender's flagship model until Jimi came along in '67-'68 and changed the world.

I agree that these arcane "96-way" switching systems are for people who don't know what they want, and definitely not for gigging musicians, but let's not rewrite history to support that position. Fender sold plenty of Jags between '62 and '68. It wasn't exactly a failure.

BTW, if you're looking for friends on the internet, buy a dog instead.

:DB):D
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Heck..I'm way too old a decrepid to argue...

I just like to experiment that's all...and not with just wiring...it's a hobby for me that's all...but I've said what I said..so no point in rewriting history..

Anyway...if I can post anything that anyone finds remotely useful (for whatever reason)...great..if not..fine, no probs...I have a life!

I have a number of mods I have made over the years...not just wiring...some have been used...some not...most have...and are still being used..I'm happy to post that stuff...if anyone finds it useful......if not...fine..

Way too old guys...just take it easy...

Cheers,

Ian :D

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Now if only someone would take the time to figure out how to do that with a 12-way rotary switch with a couple of waffers on it, then we'll have a winner! remembering those switch positions could be too much of a pain for the gigging guitarist!

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As I said..it's not ideal for that sort of thing..though I do have two friends..who still use the same guitars today gigging, with that wiring I did for them back in 1986...it's second nature to them now...they're old a decrepid like me...and sit doen most of the time...so that might be the answer..haha

..(though I might add it did not take 18 years to get used to..:D)....I've since (1986) done more than 20 circuits like that for gigging guys..

I'll give anything a try....!

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BTW, if you're looking for friends on the internet, buy a dog instead.

I would not be surprised if Brian may take a slightly different position with regards to this particular forum.

Guy posts a quality diagram of a versatile, albeit complicated, wiring scheme in the electronics forum a guitar building site and within the first 5 replies are one of the most respected members making a condescending, dismissive 3 word post, and another "expert" taking jabs at the poster himself as well as his effort.

Welcome to Project Guitar, hey where you going ... come back .... dang, another one gone :-(

-jeff

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Whoah, Nelly!! That got outta hand really quick! First of all, I don't think anybody was taking the original poster to task - however, there are definitely two schools of thought on these Swiss Army Knife switching systems, and a lot of us simply don'r find them practical, especially on a dark stage at 11:30 PM on a Saturday night (frankly, having more than 5 choices would drive me to distraction, especially if there were alcohol involved! B) ). As for the "buy a dog" comment, I believe that was in response to the previously unmentioned (but at least as "offensive") "puny minds" comment that Meegs made, so it's hardly fair for you to point out one without mentioning the other. Besides, unless you came here with the express intention of being offended, there's really been nothing said that was worth getting upset about. This is hardly a flame war - it barely qualifies as a squabble.

Ian, seriously, thanks for sharing - while I personally have no use for your setup, I acknowledge that you put quite a bit of work into it, and I'm sure that someone may well find it useful. Sorry you got caught up in this, but it appears that some of us need to grow a little bit thicker skin.

Now, can we please get back to wiring, or building, or whatever we were doing before this became an armed conflict? :D

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whatever we were doing before this became an armed conflict?

reminds me of that darkness video where they were hunting and they had the les pauls as guns. :D

but anyway who cares the point is everyone is here to learn something, its just there is a difference between pointing out something of difference and being an utter arse. thats why i dont even ask questions anymore. its just the f'ing internet if you cant help someone without shooting their balls off than just shut up and dont say a word its in the rules anway that the golden rule still applies, so if you cant say anything nice then just move on. its not worth getting into a fight with someone who is on the other side of the globe just because you cant tell a joke from seriousness on something written in pixels on a machine that shows no emotion.

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To me, if I can put some extra trick into my guitar I will do it. As a builder, I can think about what it's actually doing when I'm gigging. Plus I'm the one that designed and wired it, so I never have trouble keeping it straight. But I do things in modular form. So I have lots of guitars with regular switching, and then a push/pull or additional mini toggle does what I want. That way if you just want to play the guitar straight, you can. Just leave those supplemental controls alone. I've come up with totally useable tricks that I never would have if I thought like Gibson/Fender want me to think. Like they are the only ones that can design a guitar. Pffft! Don't get me started.

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