My 1976 Stratocaster has a fairly storied past. It was purchased from a heroin addict outside a music store in Detroit in 1979 for the princely sum of $75 dollars. This thing’s been with me on five continents for close to thirty years. People ask me about it not because it’s a particularly great guitar (it surely is not!) but because it doesn’t sound much like a strat. Well, you can partly blame it on the fact that I never intended to play a Strat. Never liked ’em. So I always wanted it to not sound like a Strat. Hence, there were many home-made modifications.
- The pickups have been replaced with a variety of humbuckers… most recently a complete set of Seymour Duncan JB ’59s which are supposed to sound like, what? Jeff Beck; Jazz Box? Who knows?
- The 5-position switch was replaced with a 3-position switch. The three positions now function as follows:
i. Front pickup
ii. Front and Rear pickups together in parallel
iii. Rear pickup
- There is a mini-switch that toggles the middle pickup on and off. The middle pickup is therefore unaffected by the 3-position job.
The two obvious benefits to this wiring are:
- You can get an ‘all pickups’ combination which adds another flavour to the usual ‘out of phase’ sounds (positions two and four.)
- You get the ‘front and rear’ only effect, which is definitely more ‘Gibson-like’ even without changing pickups.
Plus, unlike other wiring mods I have seen, with this scheme you give up nothing; ie. the guitar retains all it’s inherent ‘Stratitude’.