More Versatile Switching for Three-Pickup Guitars

By John Gee

I add a mini-toggle switch to my three-pickup “Strat”-configured guitars. I use only one tone knob and add the mini-toggle as an on/off switch for the bridge pickup. I have the bridge hot wire go to the mini toggle before it hits the 5-way, so that I can get all three pickups on at the same time or the neck and bridge together for the “Tele” sound.



9 comments to More Versatile Switching for Three-Pickup Guitars

  • bigmack209

    does this increase noise b/c it has to bypass the switch when it’s “on”?

  • John Gee

    I can’t figure out how to insert a file of a wiring diagram that I have. If anyone can let me know I’d like to post it. But… Use the Duncan (3 single coil, one volume, one master tone, 5-way switch wiring diagram) adding a mini toggle in the pick guard where your second tone pot would normally go…. the hot wire from the bridge pup goes to the middle position of the mini toggle. One side then goes to the point on the 5-way where the bridge pup would normally go. The other side goes to the 4th position of the 5-way (the one that eventually goes to the volume pot). Works beautifully

    If anyone can tell me how to insert a file I’ll post the diagram… Thanks

  • joe

    Hey guys — I finally wired up John’s mod for a the guitar I’m using on the “Mongrel Strat Project.” You can witness the results here:

    It works exactly as advertised — all the usual sounds, plus neck/bridge and neck/middle/bridge, with all settings subject to the same tone control. The only reason NOT to do the mod is if you rely on separate tone settings from the two knobs — as if ANYONE does that. ;)

    However, I used a .047uF cap rather than .1uF in John’s diagram. The latter is just too dark for me. I might even lighten up to a .033uF.

    Thanks, John! :)

    • John Gee

      Nice video Joe… I guess I should have left the cap. size out of the diagram. I even switched it up a few times, now I’m using a .047, but I guess it depends on the pickups. I did this mod the first time with a set of Suhr V54′s that are very bright to begin with, but I’ve changed pickups a few times since then and changed the wiring a dozen times. I settled, for the time being, with a set of California 50′s and this mod with a .047 cap and it sounds oh so sweet. I also find that whatever capacitor you use the best way to experiment is to turn the tone knob down just a hair to get the full effect of the capacitor. You see Joe, I really am a tone monger, I wake up in the middle of the night sometimes and solder together an idea that pops into my head. Thanks for sharing that video. Hey, by the way, when does this thing end and somebody gets a new set of pickups, or even a guitar…. Thanks for the site, It’s very cool, John

  • Paul

    Just checked out the mongrel strat video…I very much like the combined settings, especially the neck/bridge. Usually that setting on a strat will pop your eardrums, but the lipstick seems to be trimming the sails of the treble just enough..for some reason, as played here it puts me in mind of Richard Thompson…my strat is a bright-as-all-hell ash/rosewood one…might have to try something like this.

  • Paul

    Aha! Good call. The man’s a genius. Been relistening to the Richard & Linda stuff recently…had forgotten that there’s some harsh lyrical content in there…as well as some wonderful guitar.

  • Oinkus

    My strat HSH has 2 humbuckers wired series/split/parallel a master volume and tone and a blend knob. Can get a veritable plethora of amazing sounds. The Anderson pups don’t hurt either.

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