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SSS5 (S/P - RWRP Bridge)

strat sss5 image

click for SSS5 diagram & details

This wiring has lots of unique features. The most important one is the ability to toggle the 2 and 4 positions between series and parallel. Fender guitars typically combine coils in parallel. This is part of what creates that signature Fender “chiminess”. But there’s another way to connect two coils: in series. Connecting two coils in series produces a stronger, more midrange-heavy tone. A Gibson humbucker has its two coils connected in series, and if you’ve ever plugged a humbucker-equipped guitar into an amp that you’re used to hearing with single coils, you know the difference in output and gain that the humbucker produces. It packs a wallop, and drives the amp harder. Now you can have both options available on your Strat, and toggle between them quickly and easily.

We use our ToneShaper pushbutton switch to toggle the 2 and 4 positions between series and parallel. This switch fits neatly between the first two pots and the 5-way, and is completely unobtrusive while remaining readily accessible. In the “down” position it protrudes from the face of the pickguard only slightly, and in the “up” position it’s still very low-profile, so it won’t get in the way of your finger if you like to do volume swells.

Here's another unique feature of this wiring configuration: the 4 position combines the bridge with the neck, rather than the middle with the neck (click the diagrams and details link above for a picture). This was proposed to us by a customer who said he uses the bridge/middle frequently, but not the neck/middle. He asked if we could provide the bridge/neck in this position instead, which mimics a Tele in the middle position. Getting the bridge/neck together is a common request, and is easily accomplished here. If you like this series/parallel wiring, but would prefer the conventional neck/middle combo in position 4, then please see our SSS4 wiring configuration.

One consideration with this change is that with most Strat pickup sets, the middle pickup is reverse-wound and reverse-polarity (RWRP), so it hum-cancels when combined with either the neck or bridge pickup. With the wiring scheme shown here, the bridge pickup becomes the common pickup, so we order special RWRP bridge pickups for use with this wiring, so that hum-cancelling is retained in both the 2 and 4 positions, and regardless of whether the coils are in series or parallel.

Finally, to make this wiring truly custom, we’ve used a superswitch rather than the standard 5-way, so that we can customize the tone controls. The standard Strat switch assigns the tone controls to specific pickups, but the superswitch assigns them to specific switch positions. We’ve assigned the lower tone control to position 1 only, so this control isn’t active in positions 2 and 4 (even though the bridge pickup is on in those positions). The benefit is that you can adjust the tone of the bridge pickup in position 1 (rolling off a little treble if needed), without affecting the tone of the 2 and 4 positions.

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