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Author Topic: Rewire before Replace on Stratocasters  (Read 4445 times)

DetroitBlues

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Rewire before Replace on Stratocasters
« on: August 24, 2011, 08:16:29 AM »
It has become very customary for many of us to replace our pickups on our stratocasters because the bridge pup sounds like an ice pick.  I'd suggest you don't!

I'm not sure why I didn't notice this before, but ever play an American Standard strat and think it sounds great, but the MIM standard strat sounds a little too bright?  While reading some Fender forums, I realized there is no tone control wired up to the bridge single coil on a MIM Standard, but there is a shared tone control on the American Standard.  While I believe it could be a marketing ploy to get us to either buy an American guitar or invest in aftermaket pickups, I'd suggest you do something rather simple first rather then spend $100 to $300 on new pickups.

Be brave and in between restringing, remove the pickguard and flip it over.  Take a look at the pickup selector switch. 
You'll see three wires that go straight to your pickups (should be white wires)
You'll see three wires going to the pots. 
There are two sides to the selector switch, first side has the white wires going the pups, 2nd going to the tone contols
You'll notice there is no wire on the 2nd position on the tone control side.  That is the tone control position for the bridge
A simple modification is to get a small bit of hard wire and solder it to from the 2nd position to the adjacent 3rd position. 
What you have just done is made the 2nd tone control a tone pot for both the middle and the bridge.
Now you have improved the tone of the bridge pickup while costing you near nothing unless you didn't have a piece of wire and a soldering iron set.


pictoratus

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Re: Rewire before Replace on Stratocasters
« Reply #1 on: August 24, 2011, 07:11:04 PM »
Good advice DB.

I did something similar to that but instead changed the wire from the 2nd position to the 3rd giving my bridge pickup the tone control but not one for the middle. The middle doesn't sound as brittle as the bridge originally did though.

Another tip to try before changing pickups is to try different values for the tone caps. You will be surprised how much the sound can change.

DetroitBlues

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Re: Rewire before Replace on Stratocasters
« Reply #2 on: August 24, 2011, 10:25:14 PM »
Good advice DB.

I did something similar to that but instead changed the wire from the 2nd position to the 3rd giving my bridge pickup the tone control but not one for the middle. The middle doesn't sound as brittle as the bridge originally did though.

Another tip to try before changing pickups is to try different values for the tone caps. You will be surprised how much the sound can change.

Plus many caps aren't really the values they're labeled as either....