Basic Guitar Electronics – Stratocaster Five-Way Switch Wiring

blues telecaster pickupsLet’s try something a little more difficult with the Strat style five-way switch: three pickups into a five-way switch with 1 Volume and 2 Tone controls (SPOILER ALERT: It’s not difficult at all).

Let’s talk about wiring a five-way switch to your Stratocaster. We covered the Telecaster and its three-way switch and one Tone control; now we’ll look at the Stratocaster and its five-way switch and two Tone controls. Even though we’re talking about the Fender Strat and how it’s wired, the switch will work the same way in any guitar with one Volume and two Tone controls. If you are changing your switch it might also be a great time to check out the other components in your guitar to see if they are also due for an update. Be sure that you have high quality pots with the right values, and check the value of any capacitors as well. Check your Output Jack for wear as this is another very common part to wear out.

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What are the Best Stratocaster Pickups for Rock?

blues stratocaster pickupsIf you’re a Rock or Heavy Metal Stratocaster guitar player looking to upgrade and improve your sound, check out this list of the best Rock pickups for the Strat.

Perhaps your guitar tone is getting stale, or perhaps it never sounded that good to begin with. Well, before you buy a new one, review this post and put some thought into upgrading your pickups instead. If you play Rock or Metal through a Stratocaster then this information should be especially useful to you. In making our selections, we looked at a number of things. For example, since Rock guitar players are probably going to use a lot of overdrive and distortion, they’ll need a high output pickup capable of delivering a lot of voltage to the amplifier, to push the preamp harder for a better sounding overdrive. But, lots of overdrive and distortion can also be very noisy, especially in a Strat, with its stock single coil pickups.

So, because noise is a serious issue, it’s probably best to use a humbucking pickup. For those who don’t know, a humbucking pickup is two coils working together to cancel out noise and just leave the pure guitar signal, in much the same way a balanced XLR mic cable does. Because a humbucker is two coils, we need those that can fit into a single coil space. Of course, all of the other things that you might look for in a pickup — such as even, clear tone across all strings — are still important. So, all that said, here are what we consider to be some strong candidates for the best Rock pickups for the Strat.

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What are the Best Stratocaster Pickups for Blues?

blues stratocaster pickupsGreat Blues tone is just an upgrade away. If you are a Strat player looking for the best Blues pickups, the below list should point you in the right direction.

It is possible to upgrade your guitar at a reasonable price: change the pickups. Quite often, the results can be significant, especially with lower priced guitars in which the quality of the pickups is questionable. It is possible to get the sound you are looking for simply by selecting the right pickups rather than buying a new guitar. Pickups are fairly easy to change yourself, as they require minimal knowledge and a few tools. There are probably more brands of pickups than brands of guitars and amps combined. That said, it’s no surprise that there are pickups for virtually every style of music, type of player, and type of guitar. Naturally, it can be hard to know where to begin when faced with so many options. This post narrows it down to a Stratocaster body style, with three single-coil pickups, and a five-way switch configuration, but any of these should also be available as a single. From smoothe David Gilmour to Stevie Ray Vaughan’s “Texas tone,” or from vintage to modern, this list covers most Blues players. Continue reading “What are the Best Stratocaster Pickups for Blues?”

What are the Best Stratocaster Pickups?

Stratocaster PickupsWhether you want to change the sound or the feel of your instrument, you are only limited by your imagination.

The Stratocaster is one of the most flexible guitars ever made. When compared to many Gibson models such as the Les Paul or SG, there is a dramatic difference with regard to your customization options. One of the most popular areas of focus for Stratocaster modification is the pickups. This change will have the most dramatic effect on your guitar’s sound.

There are a zillion options out there for pickups. Some good, some great, and some just plain awful. Among the “great” options, the “right” pickup depends on not only your budget, but also your taste. This is a very subjective area and opinions differ. So while some may prefer a vintage-style / low-output Stratocaster pickup, others may opt for a noiseless or active model. There are no right or wrong answers here, just what works best for you. Hopefully this list will help you get started in making this choice.
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Seymour Duncan SHPR-1s P-Rails – a P-90 and a Strat Pickup in a Humbucker-Sized Package

Seymour duncan hpr p-railsIf your guitar has humbucker-sized mountings, yet you dream of the sounds of a P-90 or a Strat, the Seymour Duncan SHPR-1s P-Rails can make this a reality.

First things first: If you are looking for a full-fledged humbucker, go out and buy a full-fledged humbucker. Just wanted to put the whole “…well, it’s not really a real humbucker” argument aside. This pickup is meant for folks who have a humbucker-fitted guitar, yet are looking to get P-90 and / or Strat tones out of it.

Some might say: “well, why don’t you just put a P-90 or a Strat pickup in the guitar?”
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Fender Texas Specials Stratocaster Pickups Really are Special

Fender Texas SpecialsIf you want a vintage Strat pickup that is extra hot, these are seriously worth considering.

It’s hard to believe that these pickups just celebrated their 20th anniversary. They first made their debut in January 1992 as the stock pickups in the Stevie Ray Vaughan Stratocaster. Not too long after, they became available as a standalone product. SInce then, they have become quite popular.
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Guitar Pickups That Changed My Life

misc-single-coils pickupsPickups that transformed both my playing and my tone.

This is a celebration of my favorite pickups. The title may seem a bit much, but it is true; these pickups absolutely changed my playing style as well as my tone. I am a bit of a pickup nut. At one point I owned over 100 different pickups, but had only about a dozen or so in a guitar. This is a pretty clear indication of obsessive compulsive disorder. But, at the same time, there are many worse ways of spending one’s time and money.
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What Kind of Stratocaster Should I Buy?

Fender StratocasterIf you are thinking of purchasing your first Fender Statocaster, here are a few helpful tips.

We have good news and bad news:

The good news is:

There are so many models to choose from.

The bad news is:

There are so many models to choose from   :  –  )

Seriously, if you’re thinking of purchasing a brand new Strat from Fender, you really have so many different models to choose from. You may or may not have enough to spend on a brand new Fender Strat (depending on prices in your local store) so, with the many choices, what is the right one for you? Ironically, only you can answer that question, because the guitar you choose really depends on the style of music you play, and your spending budget.  Continue reading “What Kind of Stratocaster Should I Buy?”

Reader Question: Strat Bridges and Claw Mounting Screws

Don’t concern yourself too much with claw mounting screws. Set them so that your string tension feels right, and then you can pretty much leave them alone.

Mark Writes:

Can you please tell me the what’s and hows of the screws on the tail of the bridge? That is, when you’re putting a screw in and the thread of the screw is facing the neck and the head of the guitar, and the head of the screw is facing the rear of the body. I have some adjusting to make with the action and need to adjust each string to the curvature of the neck. I have a pretty clear understanding of how to do this, but have not yet gotten the idea of the screws mentioned.  Continue reading “Reader Question: Strat Bridges and Claw Mounting Screws”

How to Adjust Your Strat Bridge Angle

How to adjust your Strat bridge angleIf your Strat bridge is leaning too much towards or away from the neck, these simple steps will get you back to the right angle.

A reader recently asked how he could adjust the angle of the tremolo bridge on his Stratocaster. In his case, the bridge was leaning towards the neck. Adjusting this is a very simple process. The main thing to keep in mind is to not tighten the trem claw screws too much (covered in step # 3). Your goal is to have the perfect balance between the tension of the strings and the tension of the tremolo springs.
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