Souping Up My SSS Stratocaster For More Tonal Options - forum Guitar
I have a great playing MIJ SSS Stratocaster. The 5-way switch is OK but I wanted more tonal options.
I decided to soup up my Stratocaster with a bare upgrade pickguard that I got on eBay designed to control three single-coil pickups. I searched for "upgrade fits any sss strat" to find it. It came with two quality Bourns pots mounted to a printed circuit board. The included Treble Bleed volume control circuit eliminates the brilliance becoming "muddier" as the volume is dialed back.
It has six mini toggle switches instead of the stock 5-way blade switch. Three of them are on-off-on to control each pickup by turning it Off or On (in either normal-phase or reverse phase.) The other three are on-on switches to put select pickups in either parallel or series circuit. The switch layout is simple and intuitive. The end result is an instrument that goes beyond the stock five pickup tones.
The solderless connectors made it a snap to wire everything up and install this upgrade. It just dropped in with no surprises. After the upgrade, I now have 35 unique pickup tones. (see the picture)
This upgrade is better than the 5-way switch because I can now do things that my Strat couldn't previously do. I can turn on each individual pickup (in normal-phase or reverse-phase) and put them in either parallel or series connection for fatter tones. I can turn on both the bridge and neck pickups to make it sound like a standard Telecaster. This also gives me all those Brian May (guitarist for Queen) Red Special fat pickup tones. And I can turn on all three pickups at once.
The versatility of this upgrade gives me "tone nirvana" with pickup tones I always wanted (but could never get from stock guitars.) I am pleased with the new voices this upgraded guitar gives me. These upgrades turn even the cheapest axe into a Tone Tyrannosaurus.