Saturday, March 2, 2013

Fender Jaguar Rewiring with Series, Parallel and Phase Switching

Here is a fuller diagram of a wiring circuit for a Fender Jaguar with series/parallel and phase switching based on this diagram which I found on the forums. The basic idea is to make available all possible switching options for two pickups. This is a relatively easy mod to make. You only need need to rewire the three DPDT switches in the lower bout. If you have a Jaguar with older SPST switches they will need to be replaced with DPDT switches. The diagram shows the wiring from the bottom, so in this diagram both pickup switches down selects both pickups in parallel, both pickup switches up selects both pickups in series. In original Jaguar wiring both pickup switches down turns the pickups off, both pickup switches up turns the pickups on in parallel. If you want preserve the "up on in parallel" aspect of the original wiring you can use a reversed image of the wiring of the three switches.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Super Duper Wicked Awesome Strat Rewiring

Below is a diagram for the wiring I currently run in my Stratocaster which allows a lot of switching possibilities beyond the standard 5-way switch. The diagram is a further modification of a Strat wiring diagram I came up a few years ago which is in turn based on the Guitar Nuts' Strat-Lover's Strat diagram with the addition of a "Neck-On" switch also available from Guitar Nuts. The circuit also includes a phase switch for the middle pickup. My starting premise for wiring mods in all my guitars is that I want the guitars to look stock rather than to drill holes or rout for new or additional switches. This is best achieved by using either a Fender S-1 switch (which are expensive and the knobs don't look stock), or push-pull pots. All that is required to do this modification is the purchase of three 250K push-pull pots (Fender part 0992257000) available online from parts dealers for about $12 each, extra wire, and soldering equipment. With all switches down the circuit functions as a normal Strat with 5-way switching. Pulling up volume knob adds the bridge pickup in series to whatever pickups are selected via the 5-way switch. Pulling up the tone 1 knob puts the middle pickup out of phase. Pulling up the tone 2 knob adds the neck pickup in parallel to whatever pickups are selected via the 5-way switch. The switches do work in combination, but there are several combinations which are redundant. The new pickup combinations that this circuit allow are:

1. neck and bridge pickups in parallel (tone 2 switch on and 5-way switch in position 5).
2. neck, middle, and bridge pickups in parallel (tone 2 switch on and 5-way switch in position 4).
3. bridge and neck pickups in series (volume switch on and 5-way switch in position 1).
4. bridge and middle pickups in series (volume switch on and 5-way switch in position 3).
5. bridge pickup in series with neck and middle pickups (volume switch on and 5-way switch in position 2).

The middle pickup phase switch can be used at any time to add to the variety of tones selected above, or with standard 5-way switching (think Jimmy "Chicken Stratch" Nolen and the JBs). It would be relatively easy to modify this circuit by swapping wires so that the volume switch adds the middle pickup in series rather than the bridge pickup which would result in the combinations of bridge and middle pickups in series and neck and middle pickups in series. You could also swap wires to add the bridge pickup in parallel rather than the neck pickup. If your middle pickup is reverse wound reverse polarity then you will have humbucking in both series and parallel. I really like the sound of the neck and bridge in series and in parallel, however, and the diagram below allows both. The circuit may seem like overkill, and more importantly like bowl of spaghetti in your wiring cavity, but it's fun to try different wiring schemes. Leo Fender's original Strat wiring included only a three-way switch, selecting each single coil individually, but there are many more possibilities.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

DIY Crown Race Setter from PVC Pipe

You need the right tool for the job, but sometimes the right tool is just too expensive. I work on my bikes all the time, but I haven't bought a crown race setter as installing a fork crown race is something I almost never do. The Park CRS-1 can be had for about $70, but I use a couple of pieces of PVC pipe instead. I first tried using a 1" inside diameter length of pipe, but it was not large enough and would get stuck on the larger diameter section of the fork steerer tube near the crown. I then tried a 1 1/4" inside diameter length of PVC, but it was too loose and was difficult to center and keep in place when using a rubber mallet to set the race. It then occurred to me that two lengths of PVC might nest, with the 1" PVC serving as a guide for the 1 1/4" PVC. This was the easiest time I've ever had setting a race. I didn't even have to use the mallet--I just slid the outer PVC down really hard twice or three times and the crown race was set. You might have a couple pieces of PVC laying around or you can pick up a couple lengths from the hardware store or home center. Remember that PVC is measured by inside diameter. Make sure that the larger pipe is cut longer than the steerer tube, especially if you're going to use a rubber mallet or hammer.. It's also a good idea to use the factory-cut end of the PVC against the crown race as this provides a smooth even surface. In the photos below I used 1" and 1 1/4" PVC on a 1" steerer tube. I haven't tried this on other diameter steerer tubes, but 1 1/4" PVC alone might work on a 1 1/8" steerer, or some combination of other diameter PVC.