Just getting around to posting after using this mod for about a year... it's buried a bit in the GuitarNuts website, and I don't know how many others have tried it, but I would encourage anyone confident with a soldering iron to consider it... it's at
It's not an simple one to implement, you'll have be confident with reading hand-drawn schematics, and soldering. But.... it's killer! First I should note that I'm using a Nashville Tele (3 pickups, 5-way switch) - this is actually a Strat mod:
Here's what I have at my disposal on the 5-way with the flick of a toggle switch:
Pos. 1) Neck + Middle + Bridge, series Pos. 2) Neck + Middle, series Pos. 3) Neck + Bridge, series Pos. 4) Middle + Bridge, series Pos. 5) Neck + Middle + Bridge, Parallel
So by giving up the 'middle pickup only' (which I never used anyway) I have every possible series and parallel combination, and I've found ALL of them very useful. If you follow the positions above, what's also cool is that in positions 2, 3, and 4 of the 5-way, I can toggle between series and parallel with a flick of the toggle switch. Very handy for rythm/solo switching.
This did require replacing the cheap stock 5-way switch with a 4-pole version (fits in same space, about $22) and adding the 2-pole toggle. I can visit anything from standard Tele chicken-picking to a much more Santana-smooth series humbucker sound, and everything in between. i.e. I can be playing on a neck+bridge Pos.3 for rythm then flick the toggle to series for slide solo- keeps the same flavor, but smoother and much more sustain, perfect for slide. Guitar players that come to the club are amazed that I'm getting a pretty decent Santana tone on a Telecaster.... Anyway just had to drop in my 2 bits. I love this mod. Can't see myself playing without it.
Mike Richardson, I am forever indebted. Fantastic work.
Actually, Mike's diagram does not show all the possible combinations, only the 10 that made the most sense to him while he was deep in design mode. What about doing any of those combinations with a phase reversal?
No big oopsie, just an observation. And no, I don't have such a circuit either. It would take at least two more DPDT toggle switches to implement a full switching arrangement with all possiblities. Or one 4P4T rotary switch, that would work too.
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I agree, there are of course other combinations, (series/parallel, phase reversed, volume control per pickup, etc) but I sure like the ones Mike picked, and the tradeoff becomes having the most useful vs. having to do too many switch/knob actions to dial them in. Quick switching is important. Mike's got them all neatly packed into the good old familiar 5-way. Great stuff. I did add Mike's phase switch originally, but I didn't find the out-of-phase tones useful for the stuff I do onstage- so I replaced the phase switch with the Stellartone ToneStyler, which has also proven to be very useful, adding a whole new slate of tones with miminum 'control fuss'. Recommended. My goal is to have the most versatile guitar possible,(don't have the space or $$ for 2 guitars onstage) but without modifying the guitar body and with minimum control fuss. Mike's mod does this for me.
I implemented the Mike Richardson scheme in an aftermarket chambered padouk Strat copy with a 1 7/8" fatback padouk neck w/ an ebony board. It has a DiMarzio VV Heavy Blues in the bridge, a VV DP401 in the middle, and a VV Blues in the neck. These are all stacked single coil humbuckers. (I include all of this detail because it's relevant to the results.)
The PP vol pot is the mode switch. A PP tone pot is directly across the neck PU, and the other is directly across the bridge PU. The PP tone pots also reverse the phase of each respective PU. (This is also important.)
It is indeed phenomenal, with these pickups, in this guitar. The tone pots directly across each PU actually shunt the high freq's from the other PU(s) in a series chain around the PU actually having its high's reduced.
I do indeed recommend Mike's scheme, primarily for its switch layout logic.
Check out my "ToggleCaster" design in the schematics section. One can do interesting things w/ a MIM Nash Power Tele, eh? (I did this before I found Mike's "vision".) It's now one of my pickup testers.
The StellarTone stuff is interesting, especially after other's and myself had a thread going on the FDP forum about/over a year ago directly related to the "peaking" effect of a tone cap. One of the things that Fender have subsequently "fixed" on the Highway gits (grease bucket tone control(s)) is this effect. A small cap (0.001uF) across the tone pot (such that at "10" the cap goes directly to ground (well, common)) will actually create a response peak up to 20dB at resonance, at the expense of response beyond resonance. Actually, any cap, including the normal one does this. (The term "spectrum energy density" comes to mind...) I actually use a three section air capacitor from an old radio (35 to 1,400 pF total) to "tune" this cap value, which one will see in all of my wiring designs. This cap also exists for "free" in varying effect, in every guitar cable.
HOLY RESPONSES BATMAN, GAIN FROM A PASSIVE PU CIRCUIT!
The StellarTone switches in different RC combos to vary the filter frequency. It ain't hard to do, a BCD of Hex switch could do this w/ a few caps and resistors. HOLY SWITCHING BATMAN, A CAPACITIVE TONE DAC.
Even if they've filed for a patent, anyone can legally build them for their own use (ya just can't sell it).
I agree- I find the mid hump(s) works to advantage on the Tele, in some of the ToneStyler positions, the particular resonant frequency complements a certain pickup combination perfectly. (I'm still in the process of trying them onstage to find my favorite combinations...). I did try this myself years ago, I got a small rotary switch off of an old HP audio test set, and wired several caps to it. Had 5 positions, I believe. Worked pretty well, but soldering/unsoldering different caps in every week to test for the best values was very tedious. Sold it with that guitar, the buyer loved the mod. I always meant to do it again, but then ToneStyler came along and saved me the work. As you get older, the cost matters less and the time matters more.... Cheers Lou
A small cap (0.001uF) across the tone pot (such that at "10" the cap goes directly to ground (well, common)) will actually create a response peak up to 20dB at resonance, at the expense of response beyond resonance.
Interesting. The physics is well beyond me, but is the effect to lift the highs while losing the very highs?
Presumeably this is why a 0.01 cap across the bridge pickup of a strat produces such a Santana-ish "upper-mid" emphasised sound.
i'll certainly defer to Chris on this one, but i would guess that the cap and the inductance of the pickup forms a "tank circuit" making it have a peak at resonance. i would also guess that pickups with a higher inductance for the same internal resistance, might have a more pronounced effect.
what say, Chris?
i almost forgot. what kind of radio is that cap from? not a typical AM radio?
Last Edit: Mar 9, 2006 18:01:15 GMT -5 by UnklMickey
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