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5 tones on a Tele? Not sure if this is a dumb question

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5 tones on a Tele? Not sure if this is a dumb question

Postby Matthew Lau » Fri Nov 10, 2017 11:24 pm

I've been thinking of making myself a solid body guitar for a while.

I'd like to build a Strat-Tele: Stratocaster body, telecaster pickups and bridge, 5 way switch.
However, I'm not too familiar on electronics.

Would it be possible to have 5 usable tones?

I was thinking of: bridge; bridge/neck parallel; neck; bridge/neck serial "humbucking"; and "esquirish wah peddle sound" with an orange drop.


While I know the neck pickup will affect the strings a bit, I'm not sure how much of the Esquire third tone is due to the lack of bridge pickup vs the extra capacitor.

Would love your thoughts.


Alternatively, I could move the tele neck pickup position to avoid harmonic interference at 24th fret.
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Re: 5 tones on a Tele? Not sure if this is a dumb question

Postby Freeman Keller » Sat Nov 11, 2017 2:08 pm

Matthew, the big problem is going to be figuring out if you can get the necessary connections out of a standard 5 way switch or some sort of "super switch". I had a project a while back where my customer wanted certain switching options with pickups that he had chosen. He wanted to use two three position slide switches and what I ended up doing was simply drawing a wiring diagram for each combination that he wanted (series, in phase, out of phase, yadda yadda) and then figuring out a switch combination that would provide it. I then mocked everything up before committing to the guitar. I happen to be an electrical engineer by training and profession (altho there is really nothing in my training that prepared me for this LOL) and I charged the guy two hours of labor for "engineering" his wiring.

I would suggest you do the same thing - figure out one wiring system, breadboard it to make sure it works, then figure out how to fit the switch into it. You may or may not be successful but I can promise, it will be fun

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Re: 5 tones on a Tele? Not sure if this is a dumb question

Postby Peter Wilcox » Sat Nov 11, 2017 3:59 pm

Matthew, I can't help you with the single coil switching, since I am the dumbest switch guy on the block. However, here is one of my versions of the Strat-Tele. I used rail type humbuckers in it.

cafe-pickups.jpg


The bridge is a tele rail, and the neck is a strat rail. The switch is an import type 8 lug 5-way. Here is the diagram I used for wiring (could be different color codes but easy to figure out.)
http://caliguitar.com/pickup/data/wirin ... 5way_s.pdf
This is the wiring code for their pickups:
http://caliguitar.com/pickup/h11.htm

Here are some other possibly helpful links to pickup wiring and switching stuff:
http://guitarwiring.blogspot.com/
http://guitarelectronics.com/guitar-wir ... nnections/

Good luck!
Maybe I can't fix it, but I can fix it so no one can fix it
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Re: 5 tones on a Tele? Not sure if this is a dumb question

Postby Mario Proulx » Sat Nov 11, 2017 11:15 pm

What you want is a 4 way switch(bridge/bridge-neck/neck/bridge-neck in series).

BTW, an Esquire has just a bridge pickup, not a neck pickup...
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Re: 5 tones on a Tele? Not sure if this is a dumb question

Postby Gordon Bellerose » Sun Nov 12, 2017 10:43 am

Yeah, to get the 5 combinations you want, humbuckers would be a lot better to work with.
Of course you would need humbuckers with 4 lead wiring.
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Re: 5 tones on a Tele? Not sure if this is a dumb question

Postby Mark Swanson » Sun Nov 12, 2017 10:48 am

Going with humbuckers would remove any chance of getting a real telecaster sound. Nothing but telecaster pickups will give you that. It is possible to wire your guitar that way, I have done it quite a bit. There is a good website for these schematics, the DBG Studio. Thanks to Bill Machrone for turning me on to this, RIP Bill. http://www.geocities.jp/dgb_studio/index_e.htm
Schematic # 2S07 will give you what you want.
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Re: 5 tones on a Tele? Not sure if this is a dumb question

Postby Mario Proulx » Sun Nov 12, 2017 12:51 pm

Isn't the "bridge with capacitance" attainable simply with the tone control instead of hard-wired?

I'm missing something here...
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Re: 5 tones on a Tele? Not sure if this is a dumb question

Postby Mark Swanson » Sun Nov 12, 2017 11:11 pm

Yes, it is. But most of the time all you can get is three-way or five-way switches, and that gives you something to do with that extra position. You can still have a tone control and having the possibility of two caps would give even more cut, who knows why you would want that.
I don't put any tone pot at all on my guitars, and this switched in one is all I ever need.
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Re: 5 tones on a Tele? Not sure if this is a dumb question

Postby Joshua Levin-Epstein » Mon Nov 13, 2017 6:31 am

My choice would be tele style pick ups, one being reverse wound reverse phase for humbucking when used together.

I've wired Teles with 5 way super switches. The effect was 1) bridge and neck Parallel/out of phase, 2) bridge, 3) bridge and neck in phase, 4) neck, 5) Bridge and neck in series. While this seems elegant in concept (going from least to greatest volume) it has several drawbacks. Most importantly, when you want to go right to the bridge pick up, one tends to overshoot and get the out of phase setting , losing volume. It is a pretty complicated wiring because it uses all 4 poles, and very easy to screw up....Also, while the 5 way super switch will fit in the tele cavity, it can get pretty crowded in there if it is contemporary instrument with separate ground wires for the various grounded cavities.

I changed over to the 4 way switch which is very easy to wire and no bulkier than the 3 way. I install a phase switch under the tone control so it is less likely to go to the out of phase sound inadvertently. This gives you 6 sounds, the sixth being in series out of phase. This gives you some of the out of phase sound without as much loss of volume.

Vintage style bridge pick ups tie the negative side to the ground plate. You'll need to break that connection, run two conductors from the pick up and ground the plate separately. There's one of those extra ground wires I mentioned earlier.
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Re: 5 tones on a Tele? Not sure if this is a dumb question

Postby Mark Wybierala » Tue Nov 14, 2017 11:44 am

Reaching for additional switching options can be like going down the rabbit hole. You can end up with so many options that it becomes hard to remember what position sounds like the one you want and the resulting responses will sound different depending on which amp you're plugged into. Inevitably on any guitar you'll find that there are two positions you'll use - maybe three. You want to keep the switching simple so that you can operate the guitar on the fly and play it rather than have any concern about phases and polarities. The four position tele switch is available from Allparts and the switching is intuitive. Too many wires and additional toggles for humbucker switching are an opportunity for breakdowns and frustrating troubleshooting. The ultimate guitar is the one that works every time you pick it up.
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