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Strat And Tele Sounds From The Same Guitar


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I'm building a 3 pickup Strat-style, and I've been struggling for a while to find simple, no-fuss way to add the Tele "outside pickups in parallel" sound to it. An idea finally occurred to me last night, and I thought I'd share it. It's really simple, but I've never seen anyone do this before. Using a standard 5-way Strat switch and a DPDT to swap the neck and middle pickups, you can have the following combinations:


1. Neck

2. Neck+Middle

3. Middle

4. Middle+Bridge

5. Bridge


1. Middle

2. Neck+Middle

3. Neck

4. Neck+Bridge <-- this is the extra combo I wanted

5. Bridge

There are still some issues with this kind of switching, but it seems far more intuitive to me than having a switch that adds the neck or bridge pickup to whatever combination is selected. Plus it avoids having to buy a fancy and expensive "mega" switch. Any comments?

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You can do the whole thing a lot easier. On the 5-way, run a jumper from the main contact on the bridge pup to the main contact on the neck pup with a simple on/off toggle. You'll need to arbitrarily designate one as the "control" pup. When it's on (in any position), throw the switch to "power up" the other.

Maybe you don't think this is easier. I suppose either way would work.

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Hey...I posted this a little while ago as an easy way to get the neck bridge combination for someone only a couple of weeks ago...

But I didn't think of using a switch...Brilliant...

The neck in the middle is anti-intuitive which is why I don't like the idea on practical grounds and, only adding one extra sound is a little ineffective, but of course, it would work.

On and H/S/S strat, the full HB bridge+middle can sound a bit weird depending on the pickup...on mine it sounds a bit like a thin tele bridge pickup alone...a bit thin and spiky!

I think though if you were going to add a switch, there are more interesting variations available that are more intuitive perhaps...

A common one is to add the neck pickup into any position with a switch. This gives you






giving you the n+b you are after at 5 plus the very effective all three at 4 with the switch on (although 2 and 3 are the same)

More effective I have found is a volume control on the middle pickup and a three way...so you mix in amounts of middle pickup to taste...and giving you all possibilities except middle alone. I recently read that dan erlwine suggestes this for a les paul with three HB's with a standard LP three way, and before hin Jeff baxter for converting an old three way switched strat with low mods...so showing that nothing is "new" under the sun.

A phase switch on the middle pickup can creates some great variations...since you are considering a switch, that could give a lot more useful variety (though not specifically giving you that combination). Remeber, a strat doesn't sound like a tele and the B+N is going to sound different again (though a cool sound in itself) on a strat...the neck/bridge isn't the "classic" tele sound, but is largely effective because the bridge and neck pickup on a tele are so different, while on a strat, much the same in character.

The old three mini toggles replacing the selector is perhaps the ultimate mod giving you all combinations and kinds of phase variations, replacing and mounting in place of the entire selector. (you need to find a 3 way on-on-on dpdt toggle for the middle switch however).

I always liked the idea of a rotary "mode" switch that could be used to switch the connections and even the tone control, so on each position of the middle rotary (former tone) say, you would have a whole new set of selections. I have even a project along these lines on hold at the moment, but it would be complicated to work out.

Guitar Nuts 2 forum and GDB studio are highly recommended sites for ideas like these...I am sure GN2 could add to your idea or give you ideas for which an added switch might be of more use and give you this combination in a more logical way...

Certainly it would work and not an idea I had specifically heard of before....good thinking...


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