Fender 
Standard 
Stratocaster

This was my first electric guitar and eventually came to be the reason why I started modifying electric guitars.  A few years back I started having trouble with the pickup selector switch (poor contact, noise, etc.).  I bought a new one, but when I opened up the guitar I found that my new switch and the original didn't match up.  One had 8 contacts in a row, the other had four on each side.  How could I know in which order they ran?  I consulted the web, and eventually found some wiring diagrams... and then I started getting obsessed with experimenting.


Modification: On-board preamp (I do not recall the brand, but it was not worth the money):
Control: Gain only controlled by rear tone knob.

Function: This is actually a stacked control, with the bottom portion controlling the tone.  However, I wanted to maintain the standard appearance, so I set the tone to a pleasing level and kept lower section below the pickguard.  In hindsight I probably should have reversed the wiring between the gain and tone portions of the controller.  This would have let me keep the tone portion accessible and I could have simply left the preamp all the way up.


Modification: Phase switch on middle pickup.
Control: Push-pull pot under the middle (tone) knob.

Function: Throws the middle pickup electrically out of phase with whatever other pickup it is combined.


Modification: Neck pickup "on" switch
Control: Push-pull pot under the volume knob.

Function: This is a simple SPST (single pole-single throw) switch which adds the neck pickup to combinations where the neck p.u. would otherwise not be present.  This gives you at least two additional combinations of pickups.  If you already have the bridge p.u. selected with the 5-way blade switch, then add the neck pickup, the combination is usually described as Telecaster-like, but I guess that would depend on your pickups among other things.  As you have probably already guessed, the other combination is all three pickups at the same time via the bridge/middle pickup + the neck.  I found neither combination to be particularly special.


Modification: High-pass capacitor
Control: n/a

Function: Placing a very low value capacitor (.001 microfarad works for me) across the appropriate lugs of your volume knob (or knobs) will keep your tone from loosing the high frequencies (i.e., getting "muddy").



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