The Anatomy of the Stratocaster 5-way Switch
Part III: Transferring the Basics to
Hello and welcome back to “Mod Garage.”
Believe it or not, this is the last installment
on the Stratocaster 5-way pickup selector
switch, and you’ve almost mastered your
switch degree. Now that you know about
the basics of the switch and how to wire
it up, it’s time to talk about the different
switch types from different manufacturers,
and how to transfer the standard wiring to
all of these switches.
OAK 5-way Switch
The open OAK/Grigsby (now Electroswitch)
5-way switch is very similar to the CRL.
It has the same high quality and a similar
switching sensation, but the lugs are oriented a little differently.
These closed switches are often called budget or import switches. They have only one
row of lugs, but still two stages. Often, they
come from Japan or Korea.
EYB Megaswitch S
StewMac 5-way Switch
Below, you can see again the schematic of
the CRL 5-way switch we used as the standard. It has two stages (two “rows”) with
four soldering lugs each.
The Megaswitch S, from the German
company EYB, is a combination of open
and closed switches, offering an open
PCB-based construction. This switch
offers an extra ground lug, marked with
a red G in the diagram.
Besides the open CRL switch, you can
find many other switches in guitars, and
I’d like to show you the most important
ones. All you have to do is to transfer the
wiring from the CRL switch to the corresponding lugs of the other switch, and
that’s it—it’s like painting by numbers.
See the wiring chart below.
The open StewMac 5-way switch from
Stewart MacDonald is a very commonly
used switch in the USA, but a rare bird
over here in Europe. It’s a very high quality
switch, with improved gold contacts and a
very smooth switching sensation. I have one
in one of my own Strats, and it hasn’t let
me down for almost 20 years. The orientation of the lugs is a little bit unusual.
Far East 5-way Switch
Congratulations! That’s it. I think your new
knowledge about the basics of Strat switching is very valuable, and you can develop
your own mods from there. We’ll have a
similar lesson when we switch over to the
Telecaster and the Les Paul mods, and talk
about the different 3- and 4-way switches.
But before that, we’ll do a lot more Strat
mods—starting next month with some
email questions I received about the mods
we did during the last few months. Until
then, keep on modding!
lug stage 1
A to lug A / stage 2
1 hot wire from bridge pickup
2 hot wire from middle pickup
3 hot wire from neck pickup
to volume pot
- unconnected -
to tone pot (middle pickup)
to tone pot (neck pickup)
Dirk Wacker lives in Germany and has been addicted to
all kinds of guitars since the age of five. He is fascinated
by anything that has something to do with old Fender
guitars and amps. He hates short scales and Telecaster
neck pickups, but loves twang. In his spare time he plays
country, rockabilly, surf and Nashville styles in two bands,
works as a studio musician for a local studio and writes
for several guitar mags. He is also a confessed hardcore
DIY guy for guitars, amps and stompboxes and runs an
extensive webpage about these things. singlecoil.com