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Psw's Nightmare Strat Wiring Project...


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OK...here is my next proposed project...

A bit of a branching out from the sustainer stuff...however this guitar has numerous electronic and other features that will be of interest and perhaps another thread when it is finished like the Blueteleful Telecaster Project (see link in signature).

I may be slow getting this done...but I have recently got some great tips from the guys over at Guitar Nuts 2 Link...so at least have a resemblance of a plan...

First...here is a pic of the condition it is in now!!!!


I devised some very clever :D switch pots...4pdt twist base, dpdt push pull switch and 500kA pot functions...very stealth.


I also installed a 24 connector "Super Switch" selector...

I had all kinds of high hopes for it. The pot idea was to make a discrete Sustainer control that would turn the thing on, switch the harmonic function and the Drive control pot...and I didn't want to add a whole bunch of switches or even drill into the face of the guitar.


The guitar is a high end Squier Contemporary Strat in Mahogany...


The pickups have been replaced with a Seymour Duncan JB Humbucker in the bridge and a pair of Fender Noiseless JB hot pickups for the neck and middle. It is a great playing guitar...shame it has been hanging on the wall like this unplayed for almost a year!!!


The proposed wiring idea is to use the super switch and a "mode" switch to get combinations like this as the base selections...

Mode switch down

A. Bridge

B. Bridge + Middle

C. Bridge + Neck

D. Middle + Neck

E. Neck

Mode switch up

A. Bridge + Middle + Neck

B. Bridge * Middle

C. Bridge * Neck

D. Middle * Neck

E. Bridge * Middle * Neck

So 10 selections right there...

The first bank being parallel similar to a strat but instead of the middle alone, a bridge and neck selection in position 3 ©.

The second bank of selections include all three in parallel (+) and in series (*) and series selections similar to the first.

This was devised by Mike Richardson but modded further and recommended by ChrisK at GN2...thanks Chris!

Along with this, basic scheme...a parallel/series switch on the bridge HB will give two flavors of this pickup and so adding 7 more variations. Parallel HB's have a lighter more single coil like flavor while still being humbucking...noise reduction is something I am looking for more and more these days...so no coil splitting.

Another addition will be a phase switch on the neck pickup (PP tone control)...this can work really well with combinations in series and especially all three pickup selections...this switch will give a further 6 variations....and a further 4 with the HB in parallel with the neck in OoP mode.

So...the result should yeild...27 combinations!!!!!!


In addition, this guitar is fitted with a new stealth sustainer...the middle control, so integrating that will be testing...so effectively another two variations....

Also...I fitted a piezo element into the neck socket...so this may be worked into the scheme as well doubling the selection flavors effectively. Almost 60 different wiring configurations!!!!

Of course...they may not all work out...we will have to see!


This project has not yet been restarted again quite yet, so progress may be slow on this...but since there has been a renewed interest in exotic wiring, I thought I might make my mistakes a little more public rather than presenting the finished "product"...

Comments and suggestions are welcome...first thing will be stripping all those colorful wires out of the thing!!!!


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These photos with the ones above give an idea of what the "Guitar Nuts" guys have called "Uber Switches"... :D



I fashioned aluminium plates to activate a pair of dpdt mini switches added to a push pull pot. It kind of was inspired by car radios which often have a secondary switching function surrounding the knob...or at least they used to!

In reality for even this thing, I don't really need to have 4pdt switches at all so half of the switching power wont be needed. I was influenced by things like the fender S-1 and similar guitars that are 4pdt switches, and I do need one for the sustainer...but definitely a bit of overkill for the rest of the guitar.

Still...amazing what you can come up with, perhaps I should have asked myself first if it was really such a good idea compared with just biting the bullet and drilling a 1/4" hole for a mini toggle or two or if the switch pots alone wouldn't have been enough already... :D

You do not need to make up switches like these to do exotic wiring or follow this thread as it progresses.


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B)B) you hypocrite... and then i am the addict! lol

nice work dude, and i love those uber-switches, they looks pretty cool!. the only thing missing is the kahler :D :D

i'd love to hear every sound of your guitar!

and the series/parallel is waaaaaaaaay better than the coil-split thing... who would want hum?

cheers buddy, now please, don't add a varitone or else...

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you hypocrite... and then i am the addict! lol

Well...yes :D

It is a major failing of mine that I often do things because I can....or as the guitar nuts guys put it...

"Judgment comes from experience, and

experience comes from poor judgment."

In this case...quite a bit of poor judgment...the mess I wired myself into is intended as a warning! Now I have to find a way to wire myself out of it.

Ironically, the proposed plan only uses half of the switching power of those "uber switches" yet still offers a ridiculous number of combinations.

Not the number calculated as possible by ChrisK...

As a combinatorial example, for three coils counting phase, taking 5 combinations at a time out of the 47 possible (17 sans phase and an additional 30 with), there are 1,533,939 possible combinations.

C475 = 1,533,939

Be thankful that it isn't permutations (P475 = 184,072,680).

I may make further use of the 4pdt switching powers...

One suggestion was to switch a different tone cap in for series mode for instance. I kind of like the idea of switching the master tone to a pickup dedicated tone in an alternative mode.

But...as above, just because you can do something does not mean that you should. Plus, there is precious little room in this guitar as you can see and if I do the piezo and sustainer all the circuitry has to fit in their too. The super switch is more than twice the size of a normal selector and this thin body strat is such that the SS actually hits the underside of the back plate as is!

A motivation for this thread is to show people the problems and tricks to solve them...or the compromises required...as I go. Typically, I tend to show things off that I have already shown work and all the frustration is hidden behind the end result. I too have all the weird buzzing and typical problems (volume pots wired to work backwards, etc) and I thought that since there was an interest in this kind of thing, this thread would be a good way to explore them with a very exotic wiring job.

I will also need the peer pressure to go through with it (It has hung on the wall now unplayed for 10 months!) and helpful suggestions may well ensue.

Along the way, I hope people will be able to ask about various things that might help clear up some misconceptions and with any luck...at the end of it I will be able to demo the various sounds that come out of the thing.


and the series/parallel is waaaaaaaaay better than the coil-split thing... who would want hum?

Well...I hear the JB HB sounds great both ways...the effects are quite different, with parallel you are still sampling a broader area of the string...with coil splitting the inactive coils magnet still compromises the potential for a single coil sound but the placement would create more of a "quack" in combination with the middle pickup. Just putting an HB on a strat seriously compromises the strat-i-ness :D

At the moment I am trying to find slightly different but usable sounds to set my guitar sound apart while still covering the bases you would expect. The series sounds, especially with the phase switch, will be veering towards that Brian May thing...so that should be interesting.

I did think of you when I made the decision though!

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I did think of you when I made the decision though!


c'mon Pete, there's a lot of people watchin' us... jk.

the reason i dont like the coil-splitting thing is b'cos i usually play near to the PC, or the TV. but even with those things off, the "hum" is something that annoys me.

and, as Neal Moser said

pickup series/parallel switch. Sounds like a coil tap but has less hum.

and you're right bout the strat-i-ness, but i think most of that thing comes from the 60-cycle hum (and who'd want hum?)

btw, did ya fixed your issue with the killswitch?

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I think a parallel HB might be a better compromise on this guitar to balance the bridge HB with the neck and middle. To be fair though, all of these pickups are reasonable hot and very rich in harmonics so probably balance out pretty well. All the pickups are noiseless so it is probably better to keep that feature.

Lately, noise seems to bother me...a lot of what I am working on has a lot of space in it...if you are playing with silence, you want silence!

Of course there are so many things that interfere with guitar sound...always turn off the mobile for instance when recording!

btw, did ya fixed your issue with the killswitch?

I don't think I will be contemplating a kill switch on this thing.

My kill switch on the tele works and with a dirty sound it is no problem at all. Getting used to tapping the gaps takes a while to get used to (pushing the button turns it off so it is a little "anti-intuitive")...there is a slight noise when playing it very clean and will ping the reverb sound I tend to use.

The interference with the sustainer was misunderstood...if you simply short the guitar then the signal is dead all over the guitar including the input to the sustainer (that is wired directly to the HB)...but there may be various ways around it and there may well be a whole host of interesting variations like the "maim" switch I created or the more tremolo kind of effect I was proposing...

Again...things can go a little far....

The sustainer is another such device...when you first get your hands on one you tend to put it on everything and people get the idea that they can develop a whole style based on the technology (which I suppose you could) but it is most effective in small doses. My mini switch I used was a left over from what I was trying to work on...a sustainer control where it would sustain or create a harmonic when you discreetly touch the switch (mounted to the side of the driver) for notes here and there...but that is not to be either!


This project is about getting a lot of sounds out of a guitar without it being covered in switches and all of them being easily...some of them like the series sounds I have not done much with before.

The purpose of the thread is to show how to achieve these things and demonstrate things like wiring a series parallel switch, phase switch or a 24 connector super switch.

Since I am actually doing it, I will be able to show people as I go, take pictures and take suggestions and dispel some of the myths and fears.

Mainly...you guys will be putting the required encouragement and pressure to get me to actually complete the project!


BTW...there are some interesting non-electronic features to this guitar that may be revealed along the way or have it's own thread when it is done :D

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I uh, I like a 2 humbucker combination. Wired in series. Maybe a coil split or Strat quack option. Master vol/tone, nothing fancy :D Concentric pots, if I'm feeling adventurous.

Opposite sides of the electronics pond, Pete. Sometimes I don't even know what to say to your schemes.

But making your own switch to throw that hidden mini-switch is pretty awesome.

What I want to see here is a simple drum/bass groove backing track, and then a sample of all the bazillion wiring combos on this guitar. With a text walkthrough of where in the song each combination comes in. That's your project, lemme know how it goes :D

Edited by Xanthus
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