Hi everyone, I was wondering if anyone could help me with a rewire idea: the standard Strat 3 SC setup with a master volume, master tone, and killswitch (so I don't have to cut into the pickguard). Opinions of pros/cons would be much appreciated as well. I don't have much experience doing wiring and since this combines a few things I thought I should ask. Thanks
What you propose to do is fairly straightforward. We've had a lot of interest in Kill switches lately, so if you hunt around in this section, you'll find some diagrams. And switching from 2 tones to a master is also easily doable.
Our friend Wolf has an excellent website here where I found this:
This shows you how to wire a Master Vol and tone. The Solo Switch could be easily made into a kill switch by removing the jumper wire on the DPDT switch that runs between the 2 upper lugs.
That, however, would leave your pickup coils "hanging", a potential noise issue. This is solved by running a wire to ground where the jumper was, from the left upper lug. And you don't really need a DPDT switch for the kill switch anyway, a SPDT will do.
But the above idea can easily be reworked into what you want.
As for pros and cons of this setup, obviously having a tone control for the bridge pickup is a good 'un! Conversely, I did find that when I had this setup on a Strat I missed some of the ability to use two pickups, one with the tone up, and one with the tone all the way off. It makes for some interesting overdriven sounds (in my opinion) and is a bit of a drawback of the arrangement.
My biggest plus to having one less knob on the front of the guitar was space- I was forever knocking the volume back with my strumming hand, and this was my main reason for the change, placing the volume pot in the 'neck tone' hole and the master tone in the 'middle tone' hole. I just plugged the old volume pot hole with a rubber bung, but depending on the type of killswitch you use, having it where the old volume knob was could afford you the same extra strumming room, and put the switch in a handy spot for easy manipulation, perhaps even with a pinky finger whilst still plucking the strings!
And the final pro of a killswitch? Well, let's just call it stuttering-technical-breakdown-rock'n'roll-chaos! Woo-hoo!
'My Sound? Hell, if I can hear myself, that's my sound!' -Carl Perkins
I should also add that the diagram perspective is as if you were looking at the pots from the bottom, not a "through the pickguard view".
This is important so that your pots work in a right-handed direction. If you've got a lefty Strat, then just mentally assume it's a "through the pickguard" view and all will be fine.
EDIT: As to Andy's point about knocking the volume knob while strumming, I have the same issue with Strat-type gits. On my latest Strat project (recently posted in the gallery section), I wired the volume pot the opposite way, for a lefty. This way, rather than knocking the volume back, you're knocking it up- and if you set it at full-on to start with, you won't knock it back.
Of course, this changes the pinky use of the volume as well, I'm still getting used to this new arrangement for pinkie use- time will tell but I think I may end up prefering it this way.