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Unstrung's Thanksgiving weekend strat project 
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Pendulous
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Post Unstrung's Thanksgiving weekend strat project
Hey guys,

What are your opinions for a good set of tones on the five way switch? I mean obviously at the extreme positions you'd have bridge or neck but then the choices for the other three sounds are a bit more ambiguous. What's struck you as 'good' tones to have?

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Fri Sep 26, 2014 4:51 pm
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Magnitogorsk
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Post Re: Two humbuckers and a five way switch
How does it usually go for the other two positions(meaning other than neck/bridge/both-in-parallel)?

Both in series?

Coil splits of one or the other?

A bucking combo of one coil from the neck with one coil from the bridge?

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Fri Sep 26, 2014 8:21 pm
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Scratch mixing the fossil record
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Post Re: Two humbuckers and a five way switch
for clean tones-- man do i love 2 and 4. i have literally never used the third position for any single recorded tone of myself ever with a strat. i assume safely that i never ever will unless dared to, and loaned a strat to do that on.

but 2 and 4, absolutely amazing sounding.

can't say, dirty, honestly.. never used any guitar with a 5 way switch for dirty sounds.

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Fri Sep 26, 2014 8:52 pm
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Simethicone
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Post Re: Two humbuckers and a five way switch
I use the middle position on my Strat all the damn time. :idk: I also never use 2 and 4 unless going for an overt funk stereotype tone. :lol: But I'm weird. :red:

I also can't think of any guitar I've owned, let alone played, that had two 'buckers and a five way switch. :idk: Even when I had Soloists, IIRC they were all three-way switches. I figure with a pair of 'buckers, two and four would be tapped?

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Fri Sep 26, 2014 11:04 pm
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Post Re: Two humbuckers and a five way switch
Snaxocaster wrote:
I use the middle position on my Strat all the damn time. :idk: I also never use 2 and 4 unless going for an overt funk stereotype tone. :lol: But I'm weird. :red:

I also can't think of any guitar I've owned, let alone played, that had two 'buckers and a five way switch. :idk: Even when I had Soloists, IIRC they were all three-way switches. I figure with a pair of 'buckers, two and four would be tapped?


ha-- no, i think i'm weird as well! i know loads of folks who do well with the middle position-- i always kinda found it a little too 'ducky' sounding-- but i haven't ever used a strat full time, just had one on loan for a few months to do some recording with- so i'm not an authority on 5 way switches :D all the guitars i've owned have had three way switches so as to prevent confusion... :D two extra ways? entirely too many options...

WRT position two and four-- man-- for uberclean bell tones, i lurve them! they have this super chimey nasally quality that i really love-- especially in layers with other shiz... so cool sounding.. i can totally see those for CHANKA CHANKA funkay... but that kinda stuff isn't.. uh.. lets just say that's outa my wheelhouse. :D

yeah.. i can't say i've ever played a dual hum with a 5 way.. curious to hear how that's configured!

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Sat Sep 27, 2014 4:45 am
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Magnitogorsk
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Post Re: Two humbuckers and a five way switch
In slightly more detail...

With that setup, essentially you have four single coils to play with. But the phase+polarity is semi-goofy between them.

Usually you would go with a 3-way:

1. bridge: both bridge coils in series, as a standard humbucker.
2. middle: bridge in series plus neck in series. The two pickups go into the output jack in parallel though. This is is standard LP style 2-humbucker setup.
3. neck: both neck coils in series.

With a 5-way, you have the potential option to put a couple weird coil combos in. (The trick though, i don't know if you are aware Geoff, is that to access most/all of the options, the 5-way has to be one of those expensive "super switches". (like this: http://www.stewmac.com/Pickups_and_Elec ... 7Aodsx8AdA ))

It is worth noting that mixing the wrong single coils from the neck and bridge will hum like a motherfucker. If you mix the correct coils from each it will hum-buck pretty well though.

Personally, the only EXTRA position that i generally would like with a double bucker guitar, would be to run both pickups to the jack in series, which sounds kind of goofballs for output, but can hum a bit more than they would normally. I was not a huge fan of any of the out-of-phase or out-of-polarity settings on a humbucker. Actually, i do still have a single coil guitar wired up with that shit, but actually i never use those positions.

It is decently useful though, IMO, to have:

1. bridge,
2. bridge+neck in series,
3. bridge+neck in parallel,
4. neck.

BUT. That one position is NOT, in my opinion, in the end, worth the trouble of using a really expensive switch and trying to figure out the wiring for whatever specific pickups you are using.

IMO, it is much more useful to leave the thing as a standard 3-way, but to add coil splitting switches or push-pulls on the volume controls. The split coil sound is actually kind of useful, IMO, especially if you are using higher power buckers.

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Sat Sep 27, 2014 8:45 am
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Pendulous
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Post Re: Two humbuckers and a five way switch
chris_d wrote:
How does it usually go for the other two positions(meaning other than neck/bridge/both-in-parallel)?

Both in series?

Coil splits of one or the other?

A bucking combo of one coil from the neck with one coil from the bridge?


I don't know? I don't think there's a standard.

Well, I think I'd like to have the coils do the strat "in between" sound in one of the positions. As well as I'd like the Les Paul both humbuckers in series sound, which I guess logically goes in position 3. As the fourth sound, who the hell knows.

The strat in between sound is individual coils from each pickup... out of phase? I don't recall.

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Sun Sep 28, 2014 5:05 pm
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Magnitogorsk
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Post Re: Two humbuckers and a five way switch
The strat "4" position is a wacky one. For one thing, part of the sound, is just the physical location of that middle pickup.

My memory is a little fuzzy, but if i recall correctly, i believe the middle pickup is indeed out of phase, and possibly, also out of polarity(i.e. the orientation of the magnets' north/south poles is opposite), with the bridge and neck pickups.

I would suspect that for a thinner sound your main decent bet might be to make that last position one single coil from each pickup, whichever way would be out of phase(i.e. hum-bucking).

This would be less of a strat "4" though, and more of a telecaster "2". :idk:

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Sun Sep 28, 2014 6:22 pm
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Pendulous
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Post Re: Two humbuckers and a five way switch
I don't think I care for just plain single coil sounds. I find when they have to compete with a humbucker I just never use them, because the output difference makes them intuitively obsolete. Now if I can get some sort of twangy plinky plinky spank by going parallel with another coil, then I might still have use for it.

Image

This looks pretty neat... Though I hope I don't end up having to order that switch to make it happen.

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Mon Sep 29, 2014 12:10 am
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Winston Wolf
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Post Re: Two humbuckers and a five way switch
I always like the humbucker run in parallel instead of split. I do that on my LP's. It get that nice mild tone without the hum.

how about
1 Bridge
2 Bridge Parallel
3 Bridge + Neck
4 neck Parallel
5 Neck

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Mon Sep 29, 2014 8:27 am
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Pendulous
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Post Re: Two humbuckers and a five way switch
That's got maximum parallel bucker sounds but no plinky strats!

Maybe I should learn how a super switch works and make up my own array of sounds.

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Mon Sep 29, 2014 8:26 pm
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Winston Wolf
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Post Re: Two humbuckers and a five way switch
Those parallel HB sound plinky enuff no? but I hear you.

maybe
Neck
Neck SC
both in Parallel
Bridge SC
Bridge

add 1 button for self destruct mode.

Image

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Tue Sep 30, 2014 10:46 am
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Pendulous
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Post Re: Two humbuckers and a five way switch
Hehe!

Well I think I'm going to just wire it like a Fender Big Fapple Strat. And if I don't like the coil tapped neck pickup, maybe someday I can try something else in that position.

So I'd have: Bridge, Bridge and Neck pickups single coils parallel, Bridge and Neck buckers parallel, Neck single coil, Neck.

This is turning into quite the project though. I neglected to realize before I ordered a pickguard from Warmoth that I'll have to route for the neck humbucker. And it is looking like I will indeed have to order a super switch, as the stores here aren't stocking them.

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Tue Sep 30, 2014 12:28 pm
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Pendulous
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Post Re: Unstrung's Thanksgiving weekend strat project
So I changed the thread title to reflect on the direction this here thread is going...

Made a project out of the guitar this long weekend. Super switch and pickguard (Warmoth) arrived during the week so now I'm going to town on it.

Here is how it looked before the work... a really trashy single humbucker guitar, with a homemade plexiglass pickguard. I was jamming on it and loving the Duncan JB tones and the feel of the neck but wanted to get more out of the guitar, hence the original talk of how I should go about getting five tones out of two humbuckers.
Image

I had to brutalize the guitar body with some chisels a bit to get the pickups to fit. Not only to make room for the neck humbucker, but also Warmoth apparently like their bridge humbucker to be 5mm closer to the neck. I really should have remove the bridge before I did this. I think I might have fucked up one of the saddles. I have spares though.
Image

I have since wired it up and am stringing it. I poked the poles with a screw driver and it sounded like I got the pickups hooked up right. We'll see later today...

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Sun Oct 12, 2014 3:42 pm
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Pendulous
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Post Re: Unstrung's Thanksgiving weekend strat project
I... think the pickups might be out of phase? I'm not even that sure.


I went with the Fender Big Apple Strat switching scheme. On my guitar I omitted the tone controls.

1: Bridge, sounds good
2: A single from each pickup in parallel... a bit weak and nasally, but I'm uncertain. I've had pickups out of phase before and it was worse than this, so I dunno.
3: Both humbuckers in parallel... again, same as above. I mean shouldn't it be about the same output as the humbuckers alone?
4: Neck single, sounds like I'd expect it to
5: Neck humbucker, wee that's a keen sound

I followed the schematic for this guitar to a tee, including obviously the colour of the conductors... just, no tones.

And here's the look of it, for what it's worth:

Image

Just about the guitar itself... it was some sort of Mexican Fender a friend from high school had when I met him in I dunno, 1999? He doesn't play anymore so he left it with me and I've just been doing mean things to it since. It's weird in that it's a Mexican Fender but it had cheaper tuners than a normal Standard Strat and the writing on the headstock was just solid black.

I disliked the thin frets of the neck so I got a Mighty Mite neck on ebay... cheap because it was left handed. I made side inlays by drilling shallow holes and filling them with a mixture of glue and marijuana ash. :lol: This was a long time ago.

The neck pickup is an SD Full Shred. Too bad I might have to open it up and change shit up... I was really glad to see this done.



Edit:



Well comparing to this guy, I think it actually sounds about the same so maybe I got it right. The middle positions do have a bit of a nasally thing and aren't as high output as the sole humbuckers, so... guess we're there? It's my Big Fapple Strat.

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Sun Oct 12, 2014 4:11 pm
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Magnitogorsk
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Post Re: Unstrung's Thanksgiving weekend strat project
Depending on where you sourced your buckers from, it is possible as well that you have one or the other(but maybe more likely to be the neck one) spun 180ยบ, and so kind out of polarity with the other. It can be a relatively easy test to spin it and see if it sounds better/worse. I have had guitars that seemed to make a difference, and others that didn't. I have no clue why, maybe something to do with the magnet polarity/arrangement in the specific pickups i was using.

I have also flipped the magnets inside before(kind of a pain to do) but if anything, if they are already in the correct way, that only makes it sound thinner/weirder.

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Sun Oct 12, 2014 7:48 pm
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Pendulous
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Post Re: Unstrung's Thanksgiving weekend strat project
Aha.. yes, it seems the neck pickup coils are backwards compared to the original schematic. Hmmm!

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Mon Oct 13, 2014 2:29 am
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Simethicone
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Post Re: Unstrung's Thanksgiving weekend strat project
Reverse that bastard, then! :panic: I actually like how position 2 sounds in the video, which is something I don't normally say about position 2.

Speaking of, one of my friends has that same pickup combination but reversed- Full Shred in the bridge, JB in the neck- and it actually sounds pretty great

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Sun Oct 19, 2014 12:53 pm
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Pendulous
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Post Re: Unstrung's Thanksgiving weekend strat project
Well I reversed it and the neck bucker split has improved, now that the active coil is closer to the nut. But the other sounds are even more off, like now it's pretty damn plain to hear that something aint right. So I guess I'm gonna have to swap some wires to get it actually in phase or sumshit.

But that will be another day. I'm tired of opening up this guitar, so I'm just going to let it rest for now. As it is three of five sounds are great... seriously great! The JB into my Laney is a glorious rhythm tone, probably perfect for me. And the Full Shred in the neck just smokes... all the good of a neck humbucker but no flub or loss of definition. The split coil sound is also quite fine.

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Sun Oct 19, 2014 8:03 pm
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Winston Wolf
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Post Re: Unstrung's Thanksgiving weekend strat project
Yeah sounds like futzing with it would just be a pain and you might not like what you have now. There are times I am very happy with my LP jr with 1 p90 1 volume 1tone and I think 1'knob too many


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Mon Oct 20, 2014 10:35 pm
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