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Leo’s original vision behind SSS, a 3 way switch, two tone knobs; and neither wired to the bridge.

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by Silverman, Sep 3, 2019.

  1. Silverman

    Silverman Strat-Talker

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    I know this all seems very standard to us now, but if you think about it its an odd setup. The middle pickup is of greatest use when combined; the second tone knob seems extraneous; and having neither wired to the Icey bridge seems crazy. Even the Tele had a third, in between position - why would this be overlooked on the successor?

    CAn anyone explain the original intent and vision Leo had behind setup?
     
  2. Dick Blackmore

    Dick Blackmore Senior Stratmaster

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    Amps were duller back then so the bright bridge was acceptable.
     
  3. sssstratsss

    sssstratsss Strat-Talker

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    Couldn't you wedge the switch in between positions? My dad had an old MIJ strat that had been modified (we think)-it had a 3 way and you could still get the 2-4 tones just by leaving the switch between the positions. It was really easy to knock it into the next slot though so idk if you're supposed to be able to do that or not. lol
     
  4. Triple Jim

    Triple Jim Senior Stratmaster

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    That really depends on the preference of the player. I never combine the middle with one of the others because I don't like "quack". I do find the middle pickup to be very useful though, when I want a sound similar to the neck pickup with less bass. To me, Leo had it right.

    Of course if you disagree, wire it the way you like it!
     
  5. Class A Knob

    Class A Knob Senior Stratmaster

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    I wired my neck to one tone and the bridge/middle to the other. I almost always have the bridge at 10, though, so yeah.
     
  6. dirocyn

    dirocyn Senior Stratmaster

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    I agree, it seems pretty nutty to me. It seems as though Tele neck is designed to sound like an acoustic guitar--probably a Martin dreadnought or similar. Note that the sound would be closer to this with 13s, like it had originally. The Tele bridge is intended to sound like steel guitar--it is a steel guitar pickup. Leo wasn't thinking of the "electric guitar" as being a different kind of instrument, he was thinking of a "regular guitar" but amplified. IMO this is important for understanding Leo's thought process.

    The Strat's pickup (the pickups were all the same, originally) is somewhere in between the Tele's neck and bridge--I'm not sure they're intended to actually sound like anything in particular--just to be itself. The explanation that amps (or speakers) were less bright makes a whole lot of sense, but IDK whether that's accurate.
     
  7. slowesthand

    slowesthand Senior Stratmaster

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    The Telecaster did not have an in between position initially. All the way forward was the neck pickup with treble roll off to simulate a bass.
    Middle was the neck pickup with tone control, rear was bridge pickup with the same tone control.

    The Strat makes a lot of sense at the time. The neck and middle each had their own tone control, and the bridge was bright to cut through.
     
  8. Mr Dunlop

    Mr Dunlop Senior Stratmaster

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    The dark circuit lasted 15 years on the telecaster wiring.
    Not till 1967 did the in between position combine the neck and bridge on the telecaster wiring.
     
  9. CalicoSkies

    CalicoSkies Senior Stratmaster

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    Deleted
     
  10. fezz parka

    fezz parka Making a record.... Strat-Talk Supporter

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    The five way switch was only standard from 1977 on. Long after Leo left the building. Before that...it was the same as the first ones.

    As others have pointed out...post 67 wiring for the Tele had the neck/bridge combo and dropped the dark circuit. Before that...bridge/neck/dark. I remember Hendrix around that time saying Telecasters had two good sounds and one bad. He was talking about the pre 67 Tele.

    The Broadcaster/Nocaster had a blend circuit to give B/N. It got dropped in 52.

    Leo thought the in between combos sound on the Strat was gimmicky. IMO he was right. And the Dark circuit on the Tele was dropped after he was just a consultant.

    You need to do some reading. ;)
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2019
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  11. jaxjaxon

    jaxjaxon Strat-Talker

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    I don't think Leo was as involved as much with the Stratocaster Set up as he was with the Telecaster development. My understanding of the 5 way switch is it was put into production because so many owners where using the inbetween settings and that set up became too popular to ignore.
     
  12. CB91710

    CB91710 This is a Custom Title Gold Member Strat-Talk Supporter

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    Yes, it was in response to customer request, but as Fezz said, not until 1977. Leo sold the company in '65 and stayed on as a consultant for a few more years, with a non-compete clause when he separated. He was long-gone from CBS-Fender by the time the decision was made to go to the 5-way. Leo was president of Music Man 2 years before the 5-way was added.
     
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  13. BuddyHollywood

    BuddyHollywood Strat-Talker

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    1 volume and 2 tones seems illogical to me too. I never understood the rationale behind that. I prefer a master tone knob for the whole guitar or even no tone knob at all. On Strats that I build if it's an SSS I will wire the bridge and neck pickups to the first volume knob and the middle pickup to the second knob which I make a volume knob and then the third knob becomes a master tone for all 3 pickups.
     
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  14. DeMelo

    DeMelo Strat-Talker

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    So was the delta tone, and a handful of other slight details.

    As for the original scheme, the strat was designed in the early 50s. The music they were meant to make and the amplification were different back then. Changes came in a “need to improve” basis.
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2019
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  15. esseff

    esseff Strat-O-Master

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    Marketing!

    The Strat was meant as an upmarket model. 3 pickups gotta be better than 2.

    No tone on the bridge was to give it a bit more output. These days pups are overwound on the bridge.
    .
     
  16. Seamus OReally

    Seamus OReally Strat-O-Master Silver Member

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    There’s no tone control on the Strat bridge because Leo was a pig-headed old guy who liked a lot of high end in his music, and nobody was gonna screw up the pure sound of that pickup, no way, no how.

    In “The Sound Heard ‘Round the World,” Leo is quoted as exclaiming, listening to an all-Fender equipped country band, “That’s how it oughta sound! It’s just a shower of brilliance!”

    He just felt that’s the way it oughta sound, and didn’t want some customer mucking it up.
     
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  17. EC Strat-boy

    EC Strat-boy Strat-O-Master Strat-Talk Supporter

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    Nothing like position 4 for blues. Love it.
     
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  18. EC Strat-boy

    EC Strat-boy Strat-O-Master Strat-Talk Supporter

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    I prefer a master tone as well. And a midboost !!
     
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  19. fezz parka

    fezz parka Making a record.... Strat-Talk Supporter

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    Hate it. :) Sounds like everyone else.

    It's the great equalizer. Yeech.
     
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  20. Silverman

    Silverman Strat-Talker

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    I think this makes the most sense to me, according to my ideas surounding the intended use for the guitar at the time. Perhaps his thinking was, if you needed to roll down the tone on the bridge, why are you on the bridge in the first place?

    I'm a big "in-between" fan though. I personally think Fender should exchange the middle on posish #3 for Neck and Bridge.
     
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