Dan Armstrong's A More Versatile Strat
As appeared in Guitar Player Magazine
Feb, 1987

Clive, thank you for providing hard copy of this article.


Here's a simiple way to rewire a Stratocaster-type guitar, using only the stock parts and retaining all five stock pickup combinatinos. The neck tone control (middle knob) becomes the master tone control, and the middle tone control (third knob) becomes a fader that, when turned down, blends in four new combinations.

When the fader is full-up, everthing is as usual. When it's turned down, the results are:

First position (neck pickup only). The middle pickup is added to the neck pickup in series.

Second position (neck and middle pickups in parallel). The neck pickup fades out while the bridge pickup fades in--still in parallel, but out of phase with the middle pickup. This allows for varying degrees of "out-of-phaseness".

Third position. This one isn't affected by the fader, and remains middle pickup only.

Fourth position (middle and bridge pickups in parallel). This becomes a combination of middle and neck pickups out of phase, in parallel.

Fifth position (bridge pickup alone). This becomes a combination of the middle and bridge pickups in series.

The tone of the pickups together is series is a great deal thicker and stronger than the same pickups together in parallel. Pairs of pickups wired out of phase produse a rather thin tone, but with the added opportunity to cross-fade created here, some interesting and useful sounds can be achieved.

Notice in the diagram the fader's lugs marked X and Y. Reversing their connectios will casue the pot to work opposite the way described here, but the fader action will be smoother. For best fader action, replace the stock pot with a 250k ohm linear-taper pot

All that's required to perform this surgery is the ability to understand the diagram and make decent solder joints. You also need about a foot of wire. I do, however, suggest that stock capacitor in the control circuit, a .05uF, be replaced by a .01uF, which provides a much more usable range of resonances. (Note that the .01uF capacitor may still be too severe for some tastes, so experiment! Try .005uF, .015uF, .02uF, etc., if you're really interested in differences in tone control effects.) This done, you will find yourself with an extra .05uF capacitor on your hands. Insert it in the string ground line to minimize or eliminate the nasty electric shocks to be had while holding the strings and touching the microphone or another guitar.

May you find as much joy in the wondrous sound of the electric guitar as I do.

Click an image below for a larger version.


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