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robgilmorobgilmo Frets: 1405
So I have this 3 way switch on my stratty strat, but it doesnt sound very stratty strat, it sounds very unstratty strat. Now while I have no plans to change this is the near future I would like to do it some time, but a 5 way switch wont fit, or at least I dont think it will fit. Can anyone with a five way switch be so kind as to measure the slot to make sure? 


If I cant fit a five way can I get the two and four positions with a 3 way? Ive tried the inbetween jammed switch method and it sounds nothing like a strat, so I need a cunning plan that doesnt include chopping up my pick guard. Push/pull switch on the tone or volume perhaps?

If needs be I could widen the slot out to meet the screws, thats as far as I would go with modding the puck guard.

https://i.imgur.com/biLB6Qu.jpg

https://i.imgur.com/OTkb3Mg.jpg

https://i.imgur.com/fb2RHZz.jpg



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  • thegummythegummy Frets: 891
    I thought all the slots were the same size on Strat pickguards but hopefully this photo helps:



    Re: getting the in-between sounds with a 3-way switch - if you added a middle-on switch it would allow you to add the middle pickup to either the bridge or neck pickup.

    Just out of curiosity, how did it end up with a 3-way switch?
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  • ColsCols Frets: 293
    I’m pretty sure a 5 way switch will drop straight in to the same slot occupied by your 3 way.
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 32773
    edited October 11
    It won’t fit. The original switch is a Japanese ‘short frame’ switch which was used by Matsumoku. The only ways to make it fit are to hack the pickguard, make a new one or possibly modify a CRL-type switch, but even then you will need to lengthen the slot in the guard slightly.

    There are 5-way versions but they are extremely rare and can only be found NOS or salvaged from something else, and there is a very poor quality alternative type which will also fit but is almost as rare.

    If you don’t want to bother, the easiest way to modify the wiring is to make one tone control a master tone and the other a blend control for the middle pickup.
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone."
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  • Can’t you do what we used to do before Fender fitted the 5 way switches and just position the lever so that two pickups are on at the same time?
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 32773
    Can’t you do what we used to do before Fender fitted the 5 way switches and just position the lever so that two pickups are on at the same time?
    Those short-frame switches are very difficult to balance - the mechanism is different from the CRL/Oak Grigsby type.

    @robgilmo - PM sent ;).
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone."
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  • enjoenjo Frets: 68
    Also the 500k pots probably won't be helping the tone issue, 250K is the norm on single coils. If it sounds overly bright/trebley changing them might help - if/when you change the pickups you might want to look at changing these to match whatever you put in. 
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  • FunkfingersFunkfingers Frets: 3321
    I had the exact same three-way switch on a Seventies MIJ Telecaster copy. I never found anything that retro-fitted the slot and screw spacing. Luckily, a replacement metal control plate sidestepped that problem.

    ICBM said:
    modify the switch
    The construction of the switch makes it possible to physically dismantle. There is no need to work on the soldered connections.

    The lever portion of the switch will have three "notches" that define the three positions currently selecting the individual pickups. 

    The physical difference between the three- and five-way variants of the switch are two additional "notches" in the lever to select the "in-between" pickup combinations.

    Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to file out the two additional notches without losing the edges of the original three notches.

    ICBM said:
    the easiest way to modify the wiring is to make one tone control a master tone and the other a blend control for the middle pickup.
    This is the second neatest solution.


    The third solution is to replace the original Japanese lever selector switch with three mini switches.
    EITHER DPDT on/off (or on/ons wired to give on/off) selecting each coil individually.
    OR DP3T on/off/on offering on/off/reversed phase

    robgilmo said:
    I've tried the in-between jammed switch method and it sounds nothing like a strat
    If the guitar steadfastly refuses to sound like a traditional Fender, consider adopting a Brian May Red Special style circuit. 

    enjo said:
    the 500k pots probably won't be helping the tone issue, 250K is the norm on single coils. If it sounds overly bright/trebly, changing them might help - if/when you change the pickups, you might want to look at changing these to match whatever you put in. 
    The stock 1Meg and 500k pots were chosen to compensate for the dogbreath pickups. I suspect that the dimensions of the pickup covers and pickguard cut-outs do not conform to Fender specifications.
    "It's no wonder the Pacific Ocean is blue."
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 32773
    ICBM said:
    modify the switch
    The construction of the switch makes it possible to physically dismantle. There is no need to work on the soldered connections.
    Not easy on those short MIJ switches - I meant modify the *new* switch. It would be feasible to drill and tap two new screw holes in it. But even then the slot in the pickguard will need lengthening or at least sloping at the ends, so the lever can go fully into those positions. 

    Luckily I have a better solution for robgilmo :).
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone."
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