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SurfGuitar101 Forums » Gear »

Permalink Stratocaster pickup position swap

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Hey all,

I just executed what I consider a master stroke on my newly assembled surf Strat and thought I should voice some support for the mod. It's not a new one but it sure is a good one.

I was finding that I prefer the sound of the middle position to that of the neck, due to the greater clarity of the middle. Perhaps this is due to the big strings (62 low E) or maybe it's the particular pickups themselves (just some Squier Duncan Designed.)

At any rate, I decided that I wanted to be able to flip easily to the middle rather than search for the actual middle position of the switch so I moved the middle pickup to the neck spot and vice versa. This is without changing the wiring, of course.

The great bonus of this move is that now the #2 switch position becomes bridge + neck. I never ever use the bridge + middle position so it's a perfect trade.

Two big improvements for nothing more than a pick guard pull!

My Strat is set up the same way, except I had to swap the pickup wires on the switch because they weren't long enough to physically swap the pickups.
Like you I also never use the bridge + middle position but I need bridge + neck for surf.

I'm not sure I understand this post. So you just swapped the middle pickup and neck pickup in the pickguard? If you are using pickups of the same output such as pure vintage 65's, what did that accomplish? Also, my opinion of blending the neck and bridge at a 50/50 ratio does not provide a good sound at all. Just my opinion. You need the blender pot and carefully adjusted pickup heights and pot control to really open up the blend.

The Kahuna Kings

Yes, I simply traded the positions of the neck and middle pickups. If you had pickups that were wound differently from one another you'd be better served to switch the wiring instead but these are just universal Squier pickups so I did it the easy way.

What it accomplishes is a change in the functionality of the switch. I wanted to be able to flip quickly between bridge and middle positions by swatting the switch to either end of its travel rather than have to carefully place it in its middle position to get the middle pickup.

And the secondary effect is the creation of the bridge plus neck sound, which sounds great to me. I reject the notion that a blender pot is necessary to make this work. Both the Tele and the Jag (and really the Jazzmaster too) make it work just fine without that hassle.

That is a clever, easy mod. As long as your wires are long enough, of couse. I did the switch via the wiring to get the same set of switching options, mainly to get the neck+bridge combo. In my case, I agree that no blender pot is necessary as that combo sounds good as is, though a blender would allow you to fine tune the sound to your liking.

I have done this with lots of 3-pickup guitars, but I do it by moving the pickup leadwires on the 5-position switch. Often there are differences between the bridge and middle pickup. The bridge pickup often has a higher impedance (and more windings) than the other pickups, to moderate high frequencies. Sometimes the bridge pickup is slightly longer than the other pickups, to match the wider string spacing at the bridge. When I replace guitar pickups I deliberately select brighter pickups for middle and neck positions than at the bridge.

Another mod I make to all my strat model guitars is connecting the bridge pickup to the same tone control used by the middle pickup. After all, the bridge pickup is the only one I ever use the tone control on, to cut brightness.

The Insanitizers!

I did the same pu switch on my Strat quite a while ago for a bit. I eventually put them back and got a pull pot installed on my volume that switches the bridge pu on in any position. Very happy with that mod.


Home of Surf & Twang

I got the “push pull bridge on” thing going and it sounds great. Except I never play it anymore heh.

Daniel Deathtide

Nicely done. An elegant solution for what is, after all, your guitar.
The middle pickup is often overlooked but I like it as well.
I once built a single pickup ( neck) Strat ala the SRV yellow guitar and it sounds amazing but if I had to do it over again I think I would use a middle pickup only configuration. Having a single pickup guitar for practice is a good way to simplify and focus.

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