Advice please: Wiring a Strat with a 5 way Super Switch

Lazyfinger

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Hi guys, I'd really appreciate your help with this. I am trying to wire my Fender Strat with unique sound combinations using a 5 way super switch.

For example,

1st Volume pot should control the bridge pickup only.
2nd Volume pot should control neck and middle pickups.
3rd pot will be the Tone that manages tone for all 3.
Has a treble bleed mod for volume.

As for the super switch:

Pos 1: Bridge
Pos 2: Bridge + Middle
Pos 3: Bridge + Middle + Neck
Pos 4: Middle + Neck
Pos 5: Neck

A member at SD forum provided a good instruction for it, but I wasn't able to interpret it into a wiring diagram unfortunately. I am adding his instructions below and including a crude diagram that I pieced together.

So if you guys can advise me or use his instruction to accurately draw lines and connection points in the provided wiring diagram, I'd really appreciate it. Thanks a bunch.


————————
What i would do is

Put each pickup to one pole of the 4 pole super switch

Then attach the volume of of the bridge pickup to

Lugs one two and three of the bridge pole

Then the volume for the neck middle middllugs two three and four of the middle pickup pole

Then the same neck middle volume to the
lugs three four and five of the neck pole

Conect the tone
Which is a master tone for all of them
To the output jack

I would suggest using the tone on the neck middle volume and no tone on just the bridge in position one.

Individual volumes go between the pickup and the switch. Master tone go between the switch and the output jack.
 

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Which part of the instructions do you understand, and which do you not?

Is there a reason you are asking here rather than continuing over at the SD forum?

Individual volumes go between the pickup and the switch. Master tone go between the switch and the output jack.

Volumes on a Strat are normally between the switch and the output. This approach is more like a Gibson Explorer for example, except for the super-switch and three pickups. Is this what you are expecting?


I would suggest using the tone on the neck middle volume and no tone on just the bridge in position one.
This seems contrary to your expectation and would involve more wiring.
 
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Which part of the instructions do you understand, and which do you not?

Is there a reason you are asking here rather than continuing over at the SD forum?



Volumes on a Strat are normally between the switch and the output. This approach is more like a Gibson Explorer for example, except for the super-switch and three pickups. Is this what you are expecting?



This seems contrary to your expectation and would involve more wiring.

So I am not sure the poles being referred in the instruction, are these the yellow points in the switch in diagram? Plus how can I wire up 3 different lugs to 1 volume wire? Which lugs do they connect to on the pot? I guess what I'm asking if someone could connect some lines in the diagram I provided, it would be clear to me and I'd understand which wire goes where. I asked for a wiring diagram in the SD forum, but haven't received a response yet after 3-4 days. Thanks.

Yes, I was hoping for 2 volumes. First volume on strat controls the bridge pickup, 2nd volume controls the neck and middle, and then last pot - tone knob controls tone for all 3. And cap only treble bleed option. The pickups combinations are as listed on the first post. Thanks.

For example a wiring diagram below I can clearly understand:

But wiring my requirements are custom and different as listed in the first post.
 

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Here are some resources to help explain what a pole is. A super switch has four of them and, in the case of a five way super switch, a common lug and also five other lugs for the different positions. The common lug can be used as an input or output. Lugs on the same pole can be joined with jumper wires such as 1, 2 and 3, for a bridge position.



Study the above and see if you can figure some of it out.
 
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Hey thanks for the links. I've read the SD tutorials before, but it was confusing at the time, specially part 2. But the StewMac diagrams and explanation helped me understand better and then the SD stuff started to make more sense.

Thanks for helping me to try to figure it out own on my own, it's more satisfying this way. Also having the actual Super switch at hand helped me visually and physically understand, it was a lightbulb moment, with the way it's designed it seems more obvious.

I'm sure I made mistakes here, but here's my first iteration of trying to figure it out, please point out the mistakes. I intentionally left out connection for capacitors to keep it simpler and probably a few other things unknowingly.


Thank you again.
 

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Hey thanks for the links. I've read the SD tutorials before, but it was confusing at the time, specially part 2. But the StewMac diagrams and explanation helped me understand better and then the SD stuff started to make more sense.

Thanks for helping me to try to figure it out own on my own, it's more satisfying this way. Also having the actual Super switch at hand helped me visually and physically understand, it was a lightbulb moment, with the way it's designed it seems more obvious.

I'm sure I made mistakes here, but here's my first iteration of trying to figure it out, please point out the mistakes. I intentionally left out connection for capacitors to keep it simpler and probably a few other things unknowingly.


Thank you again.
I had the same "Aha" moment when I received my super switch. The physical stuff is apparently so much easier to understand than the logical stuff :)
 
Definitely. The amount of stuff I learned in guitar forums and tinkering with wiring and swapping pickup and pots, and jacks, and then actually hearing and feeling the difference , has been invaluable . It’s been way more practical than two semesters of college physics and labs. Learning how solder because of this hobby taught me how to repair electrical wires on cars. God knows how many thousands of dollars I saved that way. And I’m still learning and enjoying.
 
@Lazyfinger okay good, that is what I was hoping to do was to guide you rather than just giving a diagram.

How it is currently won't work, however:
  1. The ground leads look fine, assuming the back of the pot is also joined to a common ground.
  2. The neck and middle are both jumped together permanently on the switch for input and output and to each other, as if you had just joined the hot wires of both pickups directly to their volume pot.
  3. The volumes both have an input, but no output from the middle lugs, so neither will work to adjust volume.
Here are some suggestions:

  • Start with determining a signal flow and dedicate a pole to each pickup, including the common lugs.
  • Each volume pot needs an input and output.
  • Will each volume pot be before the switch or after?
  • etc
Try to solve each part of the flow one by one.
 
I guess I was following the SD wiring too closely, haha. I applied your hint about Gibson wiring and looked up 2 volume, 1 tone wiring diagram. I understand now that outside lug on pot is signal in, and middle is perhaps signal out, the other lug is ground.

Let me know if I'm on the right path or getting some things right. Thanks.

Edit: The hot tip of jack is connected to the outside lug of tone pot, not the middle.
 

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It has moved forward a bit. That approach would work for the bridge, but not for the neck and middle.

Effectively, you have joined the neck and middle signal into the volume pot. The volume pot has no way of distinguishing what output it is then sending to the switch so you are sending a combined parallel signal of neck and middle to the tone pot in positions 2, 3, 4 & 5.

For this approach to work, you would have to put the neck and middle pickup hots to the switch first, then to the volume pot and from there to the tone. Hence, my earlier question.
Will each volume pot be before the switch or after?
In other words, following something similar to an Explorer type wiring completely will not work, as you have three pickups and not two.
A better, more elegant approach than one volume before the switch and the other one after, I discuss below.

I understand now that outside lug on pot is signal in, and middle is perhaps signal out, the other lug is ground.

Yes, generally this is the case with modern wiring. But not always, sometimes the middle lug is used for signal in and the outer lug to the left as you look down at the back of the pot is used for output (see below about Jazz Bass wiring). In either case, the pot applies variable resistance between those lugs.

There are various ways to wire a tone pot, but your tone pot wiring is also in need of revision.

  1. Another thing worth looking at for your wiring would be putting both volumes after the switch with a pole each for all three pickups.
  2. Use the commons to go to the volume pots. You will have to jump the commons of neck and middle.
  3. Then wire the volumes and tone similar to a Jazz Bass wiring. (A Jazz Bass wiring has the hot input to the middle lug and then out to the left outer lug. This means the volumes can be used individually without affecting each other.)
So the above should give two jazzy solutions to explore (pardon the pun).

It might be worth having a read through the articles at the link below as a starting point of what is going on with guitar wiring. Once you understand what different components are doing and can trace signal flow, then it becomes easier to understand what is going on when looking at existing diagrams and then thinking through your own wiring schemes.

 
So my first attempt with putting switch between pickup and volume, was that more appropriate way of doing it ? I know I didn’t have the volume pots sending out the signal , only receiving it.

Also can I use the schematic below but modify to give middle pickup its own pole, use the jumper between and neck and middle common lugs and then send signal to volume pot? And then bridge pickups gets its signal from just bridge pickup common lug wired to bridge volume?

But what I am understand from you that also may not work? As I don’t yet have a option to send output from both volumes to output Jack without affecting one another? So another option would be to connect wires from switch to middle lugs of volumes and treat that as signal in to the volumes . Then connect the 2 outer lugs of 2 volumes together like daisy chain and then connect to tone, and then send it to output Jack?
 

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I did already explain most of this.

So my first attempt with putting switch between pickup and volume, was that more appropriate way of doing it ? I know I didn’t have the volume pots sending out the signal , only receiving it.
No, as explained before, that simply will not work. A volume pot has to have an input and output signal; otherwise it does not work as a volume pot.

Also can I use the schematic below but modify to give middle pickup its own pole, use the jumper between and neck and middle common lugs and then send signal to volume pot?

If you ignore the red and white wires of the humbuckers then you would be following what I mentioned in my last post from pickups to switch and then out via commons.

  1. Another thing worth looking at for your wiring would be putting both volumes after the switch with a pole each for all three pickups.
2. Use the commons to go to the volume pots. You will have to jump the commons of neck and middle.


And then bridge pickups gets its signal from just bridge pickup common lug wired to bridge volume?
Yes, although to be accurate, the bridge pickup sends it signal to the jumpers 1,2 & 3 of the switch and then via the common to the bridge volume.

But what I am understand from you that also may not work?
It will work for pickup selection and volume.

As I don’t yet have a option to send output from both volumes to output Jack without affecting one another?
That is the next thing to solve.

So another option would be to connect wires from switch to middle lugs of volumes and treat that as signal in to the volumes . Then connect the 2 outer lugs of 2 volumes together like daisy chain and then connect to tone, and then send it to output Jack?
This is what I was suggesting regarding how a Jazz Bass pots are wired. Look for a diagram of a Jazz Bass wiring.

  1. Another thing worth looking at for your wiring would be putting both volumes after the switch with a pole each for all three pickups.
  2. Use the commons to go to the volume pots. You will have to jump the commons of neck and middle.
  3. Then wire the volumes and tone similar to a Jazz Bass wiring. (A Jazz Bass wiring has the hot input to the middle lug and then out to the left outer lug. This means the volumes can be used individually without affecting each other.)
 
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Now I see what you mean about having 3 pickups and 2 volumes changes things from standard wiring diagrams. The diagram I found below shows 2 pickups wired to the switch first, and 1 wired to the volume first.

Thanks for the links to the articles, I will go over it end of this week. And thank you for having the patience to break it down and keep going over it.
 

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Based on your input and what I am understanding so far, I am proposing this now. But I'll keep working on it if it doesn't work. Thanks.
 

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Now I see what you mean about having 3 pickups and 2 volumes changes things from standard wiring diagrams. The diagram I found below shows 2 pickups wired to the switch first, and 1 wired to the volume first.

Thanks for the links to the articles, I will go over it end of this week. And thank you for having the patience to break it down and keep going over it.

That approach would work, all you would need to do is adapt it to use the super switch for your pickup selections and volumes and tone configuration.
 
Based on your input and what I am understanding so far, I am proposing this now. But I'll keep working on it if it doesn't work. Thanks.

Bingo, this looks like it.

As long as the jumpers are on the correct terminals of the super switch for what you want to do, that should work.
 
@Rick in this case Freeway switches, whilst they offer flexible switching, does not meet the requirements of the OP.
 
@Rick Thanks for the suggestion, but I already purchased the 5 way super switch, had I known about the Freeway, I would've considered it for all the cool options.
 
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