Experts on left-handed stratocaster wiring please read

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Experts on left-handed stratocaster wiring please read

Postby Cody Van Liew » Thu Feb 25, 2016 3:11 pm

Hi all!

So I just purchased a new set of pickups and am about to fully rewire my left-handed fender stratocaster. Ive ordered pickups wound for a lefty, but I'm running into trouble with the potentiometers. First of all, I can't seem to find left handed potentiometers of acceptable quality. Typically, I prefer CCW rotation for increasing volume or brightness but I'm wondering if i cant wire right-handed pots in my setup that would be CW for brighter.

I know you can't wire right-handed audio taper pots to work left-handed but could I wire right handed pots to function right-handed for use in a left-handed setup?
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Re: Experts on left-handed stratocaster wiring please read

Postby Joshua Levin-Epstein » Thu Feb 25, 2016 3:36 pm

It sounds like you're asking if you can use RH pots in a left hand guitar. Unless I'm missing something, you can but they will work backwards to what one might typically expect. So you would need to palm the front of the knob for a volume swell (and I cant picture that) as opposed to the back of the knob.

Jimi Hendrix used RH pots. OK, he used RH everything. Maybe that's why he was so good...
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Re: Experts on left-handed stratocaster wiring please read

Postby Cody Van Liew » Thu Feb 25, 2016 3:42 pm

I've already got a left handed volume pot that works great and am used to so I would only be needing to install right handed tone controls, which I could easily learn to use with an opposite rotation. I just want to make sure they can feasibly be installed and would work properly before I start soldering
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Re: Experts on left-handed stratocaster wiring please read

Postby David King » Thu Feb 25, 2016 5:54 pm

The answer is yes but success is dependent on the pot's quality. PEC makes good pots which you can get from Mouser/Digikey.
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Re: Experts on left-handed stratocaster wiring please read

Postby Cody Van Liew » Mon Feb 29, 2016 3:38 am

Update: I have received my pickups, cap, pots, etc.

This wiring situation is certainly above my head. I am very comfortable soldering but I do not know how to wire things to work properly without a clear wiring diagram.

When looking at a potentiometer, either left or right handed, how does you know which lugs to solder what to? To me they appear totally symmetrical without any markings or one side or the other indicating what each lug may be for. Can someone explain this to me? I would also need to know where to attach the capacitor in this situation. Like which lugs is the capacitor supposed to make contact with, regardless of the handedness of the pot?

I have received wiring diagrams from the man who wound my pickups, but my individual setup will vary from what was used in the wiring diagram. For example, the lower tone control will be right handed, but the upper tone control and volume control are left handed. So I think if someone could explain how to know which lugs are for what on a pot then I could maybe reason the rest out myself. It doesn't help that I am wiring a pretty complex setup (push/pull pot for lower tone control to allow coil tap of bridge pickup, toggle switch to add neck pickup to which ever position on the 5 way selector is selected, killswitch, and a mix of left and right handed pots.

Thank you very much for the time you are all donating in reading and responding to this question. I do appreciate it.
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Re: Experts on left-handed stratocaster wiring please read

Postby Mark Swanson » Mon Feb 29, 2016 10:20 am

One suggestion for you- you should pick up a cheap VOM (Volt Ohm Meter) that has a continuity tester on it. This is something that you will use a lot, the more you learn about it and if you shop around you can get cheap ones that will work very well for guitar wiring.
With the continuity function, you can use the two probes to show when two terminals or wires are connected or not, it's that simple. So, you can turn a pot to its full travel on each side, and see what is getting connected and what is not. Same goes for switches, flip a switch through its positions, and use the tester to tell you what is getting connected to what.
    Mark Swanson, guitarist, MIMForum Staff
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Re: Experts on left-handed stratocaster wiring please read

Postby Peter Wilcox » Mon Feb 29, 2016 12:19 pm

I'm assuming your only confusion is in which way the control knobs turn. My thought would be to wire up the pick guard whichever way you think might be correct, set it in the guitar and put on one string. Plug it into the amp and try the controls. If you don't like the direction of rotation of any of them, just reverse the wiring of its outer lugs. The middle lug will always stay unchanged.
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Re: Experts on left-handed stratocaster wiring please read

Postby David King » Mon Feb 29, 2016 1:16 pm

Another suggestion is the you pull the cover off the back of a pot and watch it in operation as you turn the shaft. You will quickly see what a simple device it is and how it needs to be implemented.
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Re: Experts on left-handed stratocaster wiring please read

Postby Peter Wilcox » Mon Feb 29, 2016 1:29 pm

Maybe I can't fix it, but I can fix it so no one can fix it
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Re: Experts on left-handed stratocaster wiring please read

Postby Eric Baack » Tue Mar 01, 2016 12:10 am

Mark Swanson wrote:One suggestion for you- you should pick up a cheap VOM (Volt Ohm Meter) that has a continuity tester on it. This is something that you will use a lot, the more you learn about it and if you shop around you can get cheap ones that will work very well for guitar wiring.
With the continuity function, you can use the two probes to show when two terminals or wires are connected or not, it's that simple. So, you can turn a pot to its full travel on each side, and see what is getting connected and what is not. Same goes for switches, flip a switch through its positions, and use the tester to tell you what is getting connected to what.


A multimeter is EXTREMELY useful for a great many things.
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Re: Experts on left-handed stratocaster wiring please read

Postby Peter Wilcox » Tue Mar 01, 2016 3:10 am

Eric Baack wrote:
A multimeter is EXTREMELY useful for a great many things.

And you can get one free at Harbor Freight - unfortunately the current coupon expires tomorrow (but they'll have another one soon). :(
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Re: Experts on left-handed stratocaster wiring please read

Postby David King » Wed Mar 02, 2016 1:47 am

I'd suggest spending a little bit more and getting a more reliable one. I have an Extech that measures all the usual as well as capacitance, frequency and temperature that cost me around $35 on sale. The most useful feature is a light that lights up and beeps if you get close to a live AC circuit. A true lifesaver on many occasions.
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Re: Experts on left-handed stratocaster wiring please read

Postby Cody Van Liew » Wed Mar 02, 2016 3:28 pm

Thanks for all the feedback so far, it's been a great help!

I also found a great channnel on youtube called "breja toneworks", I believe, which has many videos explaining many possible stratocaster wirings (or les Paul style) as well as explanations of pots and 5 way switches. Its also been real helpful.

I need some time to soak this all in and I'll be back to this thread if I hit any more walls! :-)
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