Add-in Switch

The addition of a simple SPST (single pole-single throw) switch can add a pickup to combinations where the that pickup would otherwise not be present.

For example, you could add a switch to a Strat to turn on the neck pickup.  This would give you at least two additional combinations of pickups, depending on what other modifications you have already performed).  Say you already have the bridge pickup selected with the 5-way switch, then add the neck pickup with the switch.  This combination resembles that of  a Telecaster.  As you have probably already guessed, the other combination is all three pickups at the same time via the bridge/middle pickup + the neck.

Alternatively, you can use a blender to accomplish this as well.  The advantage of using a switch instead of a blender is that you can hook it through a push-pull pot and keep your tone or volume knob.

Personally, I found neither of these new combinations to be particularly awe-inspiring on standard Strats.  However, if you have a collection of very different sounding pickups in your guitar, perhaps new combinations would stand out more prominantly than with my vanilla arsenals.




About the schematic
Depending on how you wire things, you can add in either the bridge or the neck.  The diagram below has the neck pickup added in when the switch is pulled.  Note that, other than the addition of a push-pull, the only differences between this and a stock Strat are the two purple wires coming from the switch.

Note that the push-pull in this diagram is the foremost knob.  This is the most intuitive approach.  If I had added in the bridge pickup, I would have designated the rear-most knob for this purpose.  Similarly, since I always switch the phase of the middle pickup, the middle knob is reserved for this purpose.  It's the little things that keep you from going insane in the search for the perfect sound when you take that solo!

As is stated above, you could add a separate switch (toggle, push-button, etc.) to accomplish this purpose just as well, but why?  This push-pull retains the stock appearance and plays into the whole James Bond mystique of gadgetry!  If you want to see switches and knobs out the yazoo, check out my Eddie von Frankenberger.

Make certain you know how to ground things properly (don't forget the string ground!) before attempting this or any other mod.  Be sure to read my "All About Grounding" page.

Note: The image below is larger than displayed.  If you wish to print it, save it and resize as desired to take advantage of the actual resolution.

Components pictured:
  • 3 single coil pickups
  • 3 pots 250k Ohms, at least one of which must be a push-pull (unless you install a separate switch)
  • standard 5-way switch
  • jack



Another crazy idea
You might also go the idiot-proof approach.  Let's say you always want the "Telecaster" configuration of having the neck and bridge output.  You could wire not one, but both these pickups to be added into the output.  Regardless of whether you were in position #1 or position #5, you would get the same combination.  In all the other positions that feature the middle pickup, you would have all three pickups.  Neat, huh?!  All you need is a DPDT switch to do both at the same time, which is what you have on a push-pull pot.  Here's what you get:
Switch off
1
) Neck
2) Neck + Middle
3) Middle
4) Middle + Bridge
5) Bridge
Switch on
1
) Neck + Bridge
2) Neck + Middle + Bridge
3) Neck + Middle + Bridge
4) Neck + Middle + Bridge
5) Neck + Bridge






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