ASK-HBS: SSS – With a 3-Way Switch

ASK-HBS: SSS - With a 3-Way Switch



Is it possible to mod a standard SSS Stratocaster using a 3-way switch so that position 1 is just the neck pickup, position 2 is the neck and middle pickups together, and position 3 is all three pickups?

Thanks for your thoughts!



Hello Chris, thank you for the great question.

Unfortunately, I cannot think of a way to do what you ask with only one three-way switch. When the Fender Stratocaster first came out, they all had three-way switches, and each position selected one of the pickups. There was no way to combine the neck and middle or the neck and the bridge like we do today because the switch does not have the correct design. Guitarists learned that they could combine the pickups by holding the switch in-between positions. Jamming some cardboard in there would allow you to play like that, and before long the five-way switch was born. The five-way is identical to the 3-way but has divots to keep the switch in the in-between positions, removing the need for cardboard.

I hope this helps answer your question. Thanks for reading Humbucker Soup!


Our resident electronics wizard came by his skills honestly — first as an apprentice in his father’s repair shop, later as a working musician and (most recently) as a sound designer for film. His passion for guitar led him to Humbucker Soup, where he continues to decode the wonders of wiring and the vicissitudes of voltage. Ed has never taken his guitar to a shop — he already knows how to fix it.