Tonight my 3 new GFS pickups, pick-guard and electronics are being delivered for installation in my Squier Fat Strat. I also purchased a push/pull pot to split the bridge HB. I've been looking at mods and schematics and I've come up with a few questions. Browsing through the Fender schematics, the Standard HSS has a completely different strategy for the tones with all being tied to the pickup side. Is there an advantage to this or would you recommend the traditional wiring?
On Guitarnuts there is also the option to move the tone control from the middle to the bridge. I've seen a couple schematics on Fender's site that instead tie the middle and bridge to the same tone (or so it seems from my limited understanding). What are your experiences with this configuration? Yngwie: separate caps for tone and bridge AND middle tones tied
And congratulations on your new GFS pickups. Several of us around here have these and most of us love them.
I haven't got much in the way of practical experience with how these two tone circuits play, but you've been here all day and nobody's come along with a useful answer, so here I am.
Your post has turned me on to something I guess I'd missed before. Guess I never really bothered to look. Apparently the standard strat wiring (along with the one through your bottom link) is a master tone guitar. I guess you might call it a "dual master tone"...
The point is that it's got two paralel RC filters which are selectively connected across the overall "mix" output of the guitar. In one position of the switch they are actually both selected in parallel. I have an idea of what would happen if I used my mixing board to split a signal through two separate channels and set the eq differently on each. There, though, everything is buffered and the different components essentially independent of one another. Inside the guitar, though, is a far more complex equation. That RC filter actually has an L or 2 in there as well. Maybe somebody will come along and do the math for us?
Anyway, in the case of that bottom link you're deciding which combination of the two pots act as the master tone for the guitar.
On the top link you've got the tones strapped across the individual pickups, and it seems to me they should act quite a bit more independently. This would seem to mean that turning down the tone on one will still let all the treble from the other pass through.
I did notice in that schematic as well that the second side of the switch is being used to split the humbucker in the B+M position. You probably already knew that, but then you did mention adding a seperate switch to split the bridge. If you wired everything else as in the diagram that switch will be useful in exactly 1 position of the 5-way. Otherwise you get 2.
---edited for spelling and clarity, should do that before I press the post button.
I checked out the docs on the Yngwie strat. This explains the odd tone wiring:
Controls Master Volume, Tone 1. No-Load Tone Control (Neck Pickup), Tone 2. No-Load Tone Control (Bridge and Middle Pickups) Pickup Switching 3-Position Blade: Position 1. Bridge Pickup Position 2. Middle Pickup Position 3. Neck Pickup
In that case I'll go standard strat wiring, w/ a bridge tone mod, and a push/pull to split the HB. Should I use separate caps for more tone control?
The 5-way selector switch is actually a 3-way shorting selector switch used back in the 1940's (often in inter-office intercom stations).
It became the 5-way switch when folk started filing notches into the detent mechanism to add some stability to the practice of balancing the switch such that it selected two pickups at a time (the "notch" positions). While a popular mod in the 60's, Fender itself didn't start using the 5-way switch until the 70's.
In essence, the only "vision" of the original Strat switching was the selection of one of the three (yow!) pickup at a time. In his ever-present awareness of costs, Mr Fender realized that since only one pickup was selected at a time, one capacitor could be easily shared between the two tone controls. There wasn't a tone control for the bridge to enable the maximum brightness in tone when the bridge pickup was driving the typical amplifier of the day with their typical lack of high frequency response.
With the adoption of the 5-way switch, two tone controls could be selected at the same time. However, when they share a capacitor (as most Fender offerings do to this day), the frequency response as a function of pole (not terminal) location is the same, with only the parallel combination of the two pot's resistance determining the depth (amplitude) of effect.
When separate capacitors are used, the combined effect is indeed the combined effect of two parallel RC series circuits.
While the tone circuits can be directly wired to the pickups that they are used with, there will be some subtle effect to doing this (not necessarily bad). If one pickup is selected, the other pickup is coupled to the common tone cap (if used) thru its respective tone pot, and then to the selected pickup thru its respective tone pot.
If both tone pots are turned most of the way down, one has both pickups heading toward being in parallel, but with minimum high frequency response. One could have both the neck and bridge in parallel, but only in an abated Jazz tone kind of way.