I have just changed the 5-wayswitch on my 1983 Tokai Strat, but the new layout (4 terminals on top on both sides) is different from the old one (4 terminals on top and 4 below, but on the same side). I tried to transpose the wires in what seemed like a logical way, but when I plug the guitar in now, the in-between, humbucking positions (2 and 4) sound very thin as though there is a phase issue. I have taken a photo of the switch as it is now, which I hope will show that a wire has been reversed somewhere along the line. Can anyone tell from this photo where the problem lies?
The middle p/u is a Lace sensor. I have had to extend the original wires a little bit as it was obviously fitted in the bridge position prior to my buying it. The 'live' red wire from the p/u is between the 2 cloth covered wires facing towards you in the picture. As far as the 2 earth wires (green and white) are concerned, I soldered them to a single black extension wire which you can see between the 2 cloth covered black wires.
I think yew is on the right track. You can either swap the phase of the M pup, or do it to both B and N pups. Lace normally have orange for hot, white for the other end of the coil that goes to ground, and green for the case, which also gets grounded. Could your red wire be described as orange? A likely fix is to swap the red/orange wire with the white wire, so red and green are grounded, white is hot.
My switch is an OAK, but it seems to be the exact same format as the CRL switch that they detail here. When I flip the switch into the 5 positions, everything seems to line up as the CRL format (and my own logic) suggests. Is this article correct, as my guitar is currently wired to the CRL type, even though the switch is an OAK?
I haven't tried to re-wire it according to the OAK setup as it just looks wrong to me, but maybe I am just being too mistrustful.
You can check your switch wiring by tapping on the poles of the pickup with a screwdriver tip, stepping through each of the 5 settings. If pickups are on, you'll get a thump through the amp. Do positions 1, 3 and 5 sound OK when playing? If you are getting the right pups active in each setting, but this thin sound on 2 and 4, then the phase reverse should fix it.
And thanks for that article on switches - we should store that somewhere.
When positions 1 3 and 5 are selected, the pickups sound fine, but the out of phase sound is in position 2 and 4. I have only played at quiet volume, but there is also a big volume drop off in positions 2 and 4; this is probably because the sound is so thin compared to each p/u being played individually. I want to crank it up a bit later on and see if the out of phase sounds are to my liking as I am a bit Peter Green fan. Maybe it'll end up being a happy accident :-)
John, when you talk about the phase switching, do you mean swapping the red 'hot' wire with the white 'ground'?
Well I just managed to play it at a good enough volume and I think I'm going to stick with the out-of-phase option at the moment. I like the sound in position 2, although position 4 is a bit too whiny for my tastes. I can always change it out in the future if I get tired of it, but it gives me something new to chew on, and that's got to be a good thing ;-p
When you say 'reversing phase', how do i go about doing that exactly?
When you were talking about the Lace Sensor earlier, you seemed to be saying that it was case of switching the live wire with one of the ground wires, but if I were to do that with the bridge p/u, which only has one live and one earth, would it work in the same way or am I misunderstanding things?
No, you've got it. Switching the "live" and "earth" on any pickup switches its phase with respect to other pickups that you don't do that to.
Because you have the OOP at 2 and 4, that means the middle pickup is the "odd man out", so to speak. But if you want the OOP to remain at position 2, but not at position 4, then switching the bridge connections will bring the bridge back in phase with the middle pup.
The bridge will then be OOP with the neck, but that is of no concern since you don't have the N + B combo available as an option with regular Strat switching.
But it works best if you've got two separate insulated conductors on the bridge pickup. If it's one insulated wire with a braided shield for the "ground" you might have some noise issues. Inside a shielded guitar it might not be problem, but we try to avoid it.
The bridge p/u has 2 cloth clovered wires, so I guess any potential noise shouldn't be as bad
I'm loving the out-of-phase neck/middle sound at the moment and really can't see a time when I will drop it. Trying to sort out the problem has allowed me to learn a bit more about wiring and switches, so I'm very pleased about that.
I remember every little thing...as if it happened only yesterday. I was barely seventeen, and I once killed a boy with a Fender guitar. I don't remember if it was a telecaster or a stratocaster, But I do remember that it had a heart of chrome and a voice like a horny angel.