Friday, March 18, 2011

Fat Strat Mod (Fender + Charvel)

This Fat-Strat (HSS Stratocaster) modification project is based on functions of classic Strat and Charvel guitar wirings. The target of this construction is to get well known, vintage Strat single-coil pickup vibes, and hot, crisp, dynamic humbucker tone, typical for single-pot Charvels.


How it works?

The 5-way pickup selector works like in common Stratocaster guitar. Pots order: master volume, neck tone, middle tone. 

Humbucker wire colors are based on Seymour Duncan coding.

Capacitor values are selected to get smoother, more vintage tone on the neck, and modern (0,022uF) on the middle pickup. You can use different values as well.

Humbucker tone

The first selector position will give you a typical Charvel-style configuration. The humbucker will be connected only with the 500K volume pot, than the guitar signal will go right to the jack socket.

This single-500K-pot-wiring will make the tone very dynamic and crisp. Treble losses will be less significant than with other, common guitar configurations.

I added also some extra option - the coil splitter. It's based on the push-pull in the middle pickup tone pot.

The first position of the pickup selector (humbucker solo) will give the most dynamic, hot and crisp tone of this guitar wiring project. Common Fat-Strat sounds „calmer” here.

I recommend some modern, quite hot guitar pickup – for example Seymour Duncan JB.

Single-coils tone

The tone of SC pickups will be typical for Stratocaster on the  4th and the 5th position (middle+neck, neck). On the 3rd (only middle) the guitar tone will be a little bit brighter than common Strat.

To make a Charvel style wiring, I used the 500k volume pot. As you probably know, Strats got a 250K here. To get back the typical Strat tone, I used the 500K resistor between the hot and the ground. With this thing, the wiring will be working for the guitar pickup signal like with a 250K v-pot.

The resistor will be connected with the hot path only when the neck single-coil will be activated – on the 5th or the 4th position. That's why, on these positions, you will get really classic Stratocaster tone. On the other positions with singles, a guitar will be working like with the 500K volume pot load (and 250K tone) – a little bit brighter.

If you're interesting in modding your Stratocaster to get some hotter and more aggressive tones, without sacrificing the classic neck and the neck+middle Strat sounds, this guitar wiring project will be helpful.