• We would like to remind our members that this is a privately owned, run and supported forum. You are here at the invitation and discretion of the owners. As such, rules and standards of conduct will be applied that help keep this forum functioning as the owners desire. These include, but are not limited to, removing content and even access to the forum.

    Please give yourself a refresher on the forum rules you agreed to follow when you signed up.

Souping Up My SSS Stratocaster For More Tonal Options

wow-102

New Member
In my spare time, I tinker with my instruments so they give me more awesome results. This describes one of those mods.

I have a great playing MIJ SSS Stratocaster. The 5-way switch is OK but I wanted more tonal options.

I decided to soup up my Stratocaster with a bare upgrade pickguard that I got on eBay designed to control three single-coil pickups. I searched for "upgrade fits any sss strat" to find it. It came with two quality Bourns pots mounted to a printed circuit board. The included Treble Bleed volume control circuit eliminates the brilliance becoming "muddier" as the volume is dialed back.

It has six mini toggle switches instead of the stock 5-way blade switch. Three of them are on-off-on to control each pickup by turning it Off or On (in either normal-phase or reverse phase.) The other three are on-on switches to put select pickups in either parallel or series circuit. The switch layout is simple and intuitive. The end result is an instrument that goes beyond the stock five pickup tones.

The solderless connectors made it a snap to wire everything up and install this upgrade. It just dropped in with no surprises. After the upgrade, I now have 35 unique pickup tones. (see the picture)

This upgrade is better than the 5-way switch because I can now do things that my Strat couldn't previously do. I can turn on each individual pickup (in normal-phase or reverse-phase) and put them in either parallel or series connection for fatter tones. I can turn on both the bridge and neck pickups to make it sound like a standard Telecaster. This also gives me all those Brian May (guitarist for Queen) Red Special fat pickup tones. And I can turn on all three pickups at once.

The versatility of this upgrade gives me "tone nirvana" with pickup tones I always wanted (but could never get from stock guitars.) I am pleased with the new voices this upgraded guitar gives me. These upgrades turn even the cheapest axe into a Tone Tyrannosaurus.

strat-sss-all.jpg
 
Last edited:

Kent

Inspired
Does this soup come with any sides or croutons? It sure must be delicious given the hype.

It is always telling when new people come onto a forum with their bright idea, thinking that they are smarter than everyone else, and try to solicit users. Be gone, Soup Nazi.
 

lauke-lux

Fractal Fanatic
Oops, the look is not terrible, and seems like it will be a mess to remember which switch setting to use :sweatsmile:. "Hey Jack, what are you doing" ."...Huh ??? I'm looking for sound nr 25 but don't remember the switch settings...can't you help me ? The public can wait another minute...."
 

Dave Merrill

Fractal Fanatic
Same guy has another thread for a similar Tele mod. Not cool. Best to ignore, which I did, me complaining is just making it more visible.
 

unix-guy

Legend!
I'm curious why some of you have your knickers in a twist over this post and the other one about the Tele?

The OP has not mentioned any product, website, etc...

I mean, it does seem a bit odd to come to Fractal forums and post guitars for your first posts, but not like that doesn't happen.

thinking that they are smarter than everyone else, and try to solicit users.
Where are either of those demonstrated in the OP?
 

Stratman68

Axe-Master
I'm happy with my USA Fender Deluxe 2006. Threw in lindy fralin Blues special hybrids with a blender in the second tone knob. Blends the bridge pup in with the neck pup......The hybrid pole pieces, for those that do not know are not exaggerated like the fenders normally are. Much better balance imho. Been like this for 14 years.
 

Andy Eagle

Power User
That is beyond terrible. The only additional sounds that don't mess up the 5 great ones you have already have are the two extra you get with the Gilmour mod. Yah 35 tones 28 shit ones and a note pad to remind you how to get to the original 5. win win.
 

Muad'zin

Fractal Fanatic
That is beyond terrible. The only additional sounds that don't mess up the 5 great ones you have already have are the two extra you get with the Gilmour mod. Yah 35 tones 28 shit ones and a note pad to remind you how to get to the original 5. win win.

In the end we all tend to gravitate to a few basic tones anyway. I sometimes think to have my strats wired for only 2 settings, bridge humbucker and middle/neck single coils. No coil splits for humbuckers, no serial/parallel switching, just those two. I've had splitter switches in the past, they always end up in the wrong setting in the heat of the moment so I removed them entirely. If only I knew how to wire for those two settings.
 

Joe Bfstplk

Axe-Master
I figured out a way to get the notch positions to be series or parallel while still keeping the order of the 5 choices the same. An extra switch links neck and bridge to get those together, or in addition to the middle, depending on the 5-way's position. Total, 9 sounds, all useful. Works great, and no manual, training, license, or notes required....
 

Andy Eagle

Power User
I figured out a way to get the notch positions to be series or parallel while still keeping the order of the 5 choices the same. An extra switch links neck and bridge to get those together, or in addition to the middle, depending on the 5-way's position. Total, 9 sounds, all useful. Works great, and no manual, training, license, or notes required....
You can use a push pull to get 'series parallel' and another to get 'add neck pickup' and keep stock look and stock function until you want them.
 

Joe Bfstplk

Axe-Master
Does anyone else hate push-pull switches on control knobs? Don't like pulling them up with a pick in my hand.

Much prefer push-push, but for some reason they're far less common, especially on production guitars.
...and for some reason, they seem to be rather complicated, rickety, and fragile.

Not sure why nobody has looked to the old Bic Clic pen design for inspiration. The push-push mechanism on those is simple and seems to be fairly robust.
 

Andy Eagle

Power User
There is no good quality one available and now CTS make a great push pull so until one of that quality comes along I will only use the push pull.
 

jefferski

Fractal Fanatic
I prefer push-pull for the same reasons - much easier to engage at any moment vs having to pull up. I've had one on one of my Strats for probably 30 years now, still works great. A couple of those to engage neck and series/parallel, which I also have on my other Strat and one of my PRS is simpler for me than multiple toggle switches.
 
Top Bottom