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    This page came about as an exercise for me to get an understanding of what can be acomplished by changing the pickups and a guitars wiring. I was trying to get away from the tinny twang of my standard strat and have done that... and more ! I now have three humbucking double coil pickups with switches so I can "split" the coils by grounding out one side and get a single coil sound. Also a big improvement is moving a tone control from the middle pickup to the bridge. The standard Strat does not have any tone control in the bridge position (which is too bright already). I have the tone controls in the bridge and neck positions and leave the middle without . I've tried wiring 2 pickups to one tone control but volume is effected between switch positions. I have also tried separate capacitors, but prefer one capacitor for both tone controls. Another mod I like is a bridge switch which engages the bridge pickup in any position. The web site links below have more detail and you should read them also before you start. The 500k ohm push/pull pots  were distributed by All Parts #EP 286. ph. 281-391-0637
   Many thanks to Seymour Duncan and Rodney Gene for their expertise and great pickups, and John S. Atchley for his great website and all responding to the guitar newsgroups ! ( Links at bottom of page). 
Fender Stratocaster- a very versitile guitar with modifications. Seymour Duncan Little 59ers. Les Paul sound in single pickups space.
Original Strat pickups and 250k ohm pots and new 500k ohm push/pull pot. 500k ohm push/pull pot.- a pot and switch combined.
Add - A - Bridge Mod. Switch the bridge on in any selctor position ! Push/Pull pots raised - change humbucking to single coil sound.
Hold strings from guitar with a rag. Solder iron and .032 rosin core solder.
 
Pickguard positioned for working. .022uf capacitor grounded to side of tone pot.
 
Starting to solder a wire to outside of pot case. Solder applied after wire heated.
Volume pot shown mounted too high. Adjusting height nut on volume pot.
 
Side view of pick guard. Correct Height- few threads over nut when tight.
 
Common ground. A globby mess of solder and wires. A quick fix if you tighten a screww too much and lose its grip.
 
Pick guard screws at bridge are longer. Finished Mod.... !   Adjusting pickup height.

Guitar Wiring R1=500k, R2 & R3=250k DPDT push/pull audio taper. Tone capacitor= .033uF. Diagram by Steve Glass.

 Thank You Steve Glass for this detailed wiring diagram ! See Seymour Duncan's site for more diagrams.... Jim

Strat Original Potentiometers (pot=vol. and tone controls) were 250k-ohm. I purchased 250k ohm push/pull DPDT pots which include a DPDT Push/Pull switch... I later changed the vol. R1 to 500k as the sound was a little dark.. the 500k brightened things up... and a 1 Meg pot for R1 would be brighter still. R1 push/pull splits the bridge and neck pickups for non-humbucking single coil sound. R2 splits the middle pickup. R3 engages the bridge p/u in any selector switch position (neck and bridge or all three p/u's at once !). The tone capacitor is .033uF   I won't try to explain much about the Strats 5-way selector swith. There are two sides separated by an electrical insulator. There is a common point and only three other terminals on each side of the switch. The 2 and #4 position are selected when metal on the rotary switch bridges 2 terminals. It will make sense when you get a look at it.

The wires here only describe electrical connections and how the circuits look electricaly. Each pickup has a shielded cable that carry the wires  and keeps things tidy.
  The red and white wires (A- and B+) are normally connected together from each pickup in humbucking mode and insulated. In this circuit a jumper is brought to R-1 from the neck and bridge pickups. When the Potetiometer switch is pulled the jumpers are grounded shorting out one of the two coils on both the bridge and neck pickups.... This is known as splitting. These should have similar characteristics to a Strats single coil configuration.

R3 has aPush/pull pot configured to connect the bridge pickup at any of the 5-way switches positions. This adds the ability to have both the Neck and Bridge pickup active at the same time. (Telecaster ?, Les Paul ?) .

The Tone controls have been moved to the bridge and neck and function in the #2 and #4 positions also. There is no tone control in this circuit for the center position #3 with the middle pickup used alone. I am going to leave this for a clean signal and may return to a single coil middle pickup If this proves to be too bright I could work with pickup height to get the desired output.

 The Little '59ers By Seymour Duncan have a wonderful depth of tonality and a great improvement in sound. I have got away from the bright treble single coil sound and hear more overtones , musical color and depth. The '59 replicate the 1959 Les Paul patented pickups. Todays Les Pauls are much hotter- higher output than the warmer sound in 1959. When my Zoom GFX 707 guitar effects processor is used the sound can be a little too thick...

Pickup height ? Press the strings down on the last fret and measure the distance from the string to the pickups pole pieces. You might start a 1/16 at the bridge and 1/8" at the neck and bring things lower if too hot or bright. Some use a nickle or a drill bit or a nail as a feeler guage.The fender manual says at the low E string correct height is .024" for each pickup and .020" for the high E string. The Little 59er has pots which also individualy adjust if one string is louder than another.

Note: This information is provided for Your information. You should take your guitar to a reputable guitar shop if you are not comfortable with using a solder iron. Modifications to your guitar may void its warranty.
  You can e-mail me with any questionsand I'll have more information after I've experimented some.

Your Friend,   Jim
 

 Questions, Comments ;e-mail me !

Links
http://www.seymourduncan.com
http://guitarnuts.com

 



 

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