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February 29, 2008

Wiring strat bridge pickup with tone knob

I like Fender Stratocasters, always have. There is one thing that always bothered me, however. The bridge pickup. The default wiring of most Strats makes it so that there is no tone knob for the bridge pickup - only for the middle and neck pickup. Why? That is STUPID! I don't think many people do use the middle pickup very much - I know I don't, because it tends to sound a bit thin (regardless of what you do with the tone knob).

There are some Strats that come with a tone knob for the bridge pickup, but my Deluxe Players Strat certainly didn't. I decided the time has come for a tone knob for my bridge pickup!

I started googling for info about how to wire the bridge pickup with a tone knob. Found some schematics and some descriptions. I opened up the belly of my guitar and took a look.

It is very easy to do, really. You don't really need any schematics, if all you want to do is to have your bridge pickup use the tone knob your middle pickup currently uses. Here's what you do:

  1. Find the wire that goes from your middle pickup to the tone pot, via the 5-way switch .
  2. Desolder this wire at the 5-way pickup switch.
  3. Solder the wire to the where the wire of the bridge pickup is attached at the 5-way switch. Done.

You see, it is just a matter of moving one wire from one spot on the 5-way switch to another. It is very logical, I would say.

Why do this in the first place? Well, man - you can really use the bridge pickup now! I roll off the tone knob half way or so, and I get a great, fat tone without that ice-pick sound I always had before.

I think this is a mod that everyone who owns a strat should do. It is really a must for myself. It's quick and simple to do, and it makes your strat so much more usable. The bridge pickup on a strat CAN sound great and be a great asset in your playing, but without the tone knob, it's very hard to use the pickup well.

I used to roll off the volume knob a bit to tame the highs on the bridge pickup, but then I get a lot less gain and grit - a compromise I don't worry about any more. I keep the volume knob almost, or all the way up and set the tone knob to 5 or 6.

Great tone is now within my reach - all I gotta do is to start playing something that sounds good. Which isn't always that easy, as we all know. At least, I can't blame it on the bridge pickup any more...

By Robert Renman - www.dolphinstreet.com

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Posted by Robert Renman on February 29, 2008

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