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The 'Stracciatella' 3/Volume w/Varitone Modification [incl. Video]

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by GRE2608, Dec 9, 2011.

  1. GRE2608

    GRE2608 Strat-Talk Member

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    Hello guys!

    Following quite some days and nights of experimentation, I have come up with a mod that offers great tonal variety through a 3/Volume configuration and a Varitone on the 5-Way switch.

    Please check the video as well as the wiring diagram on the pdf and hopefully you will be tempted to try the mod. I am sure you will enjoy the result as it resolves many long lasting issues and modding requests!

    I am looking forward to your feedback.

    All the best,
    Savvas Efstratiadis
    GRE2608

    Stracciatella 3/Volume w/Varitone Mod

    Credits to:
    Dennis Komninos for cross testing the mod
    Nick Bakouros for rolling the video
    :)
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Dec 9, 2011
  2. bluejazzoid

    bluejazzoid Strats Amore Strat-Talk Supporter

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    That's a really unique and cool idea... I've never seeing anything quite like that! Thanks for posting the video!
     
  3. MrMilezz

    MrMilezz Strat-Talker

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    Wow! Thats really cool!
     
  4. ITSGOTQUACK

    ITSGOTQUACK Strat-Talker

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    That is very sweet my friend. The schematics are very nice and make plenty of sense. Nice job. Really should've sprung for 3 VOLUME knobs though. lol J/K
     
  5. GRE2608

    GRE2608 Strat-Talk Member

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    Thanks for your replies guys!

    I would really appreciate if some of you would find the courage to try the mod and upload your comments or even a video demonstrating your tones.

    I want to emphasize that the 'Stracciatella' is really a "mod platform" rather than just a specific mod. You can use your own Treble Bleed capacitor and resistor values as well as change the capacitors of the Varitone to produce any tonal palette suits your style. Add this to the variety of pickup options available on the market and voila... The 'Stracciatella' becomes the most versatile guitar on the planet!

    @ITSGOTQUACK Will do my friend! Will do! I'll post some photos asap...
     
  6. madmat

    madmat But I digress Strat-Talk Supporter

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    If you're interested I've got another mod for your mod. :)
     
  7. GRE2608

    GRE2608 Strat-Talk Member

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    PM me...
     
  8. GRE2608

    GRE2608 Strat-Talk Member

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    @ITSGOTQUACK This is the Photoshop teaser version...

    [​IMG]

    ;)
     
  9. OLDGREYGIT

    OLDGREYGIT Senior Stratmaster

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    Forgive my ignorance, but can you get the wiring so all three pups go through the 5-way tone arrangement?
    Now that would be my sort of thing.
    Also, the Schotkys, could they be used in an existing standard loom?
    ps, my amp is an old style Marshall clone, with just volume and tone; that's it!
    Sorry for so many questions.
     
  10. blasphemoustrat

    blasphemoustrat Most Honored Senior Member

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    I like the idea, it seems like it would be less smooth in a gig type setting, i had a prs clone that had just two volumes for a while, and it was awkward to go from full bridge to full neck.
     
  11. ledet

    ledet Strat-O-Master

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    This. It wouldn't be too well suited for live situations, if you had to use mid+neck for a rhythm part and then switch to bridge only for the solo you'd have to turn two pots down and one up instead of just flicking the switch. If you had to turn a pedal on for the solo too, it would be pretty stressful.

    But it's probably cool for recording, you can get pretty much any tone you want if you have time to dial it in. Very cool mod! :)
     
  12. GRE2608

    GRE2608 Strat-Talk Member

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    @OLDGREYGIT - If you move the beginning of the purple line from the hot side of the middle pickup to the corner of the red line (below the pickups common ground / before the "MONO-OUT"), then the combined signal of all three pickups will be affected by the tone selector.

    I chose to keep the tone on one pickup, so that I could blend some clear tones in my signal if required. You could alternatively connect it to the neck pickup for a stronger effect.

    Hope this helps.

    Please clarify a bit more your question about the standard loom and if possible send in a diagram of your current situation.
     
  13. GRE2608

    GRE2608 Strat-Talk Member

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    @blasphemoustrat+ledet

    Firstly I want to thank you guys for taking the time to read through and send your feedback!

    At start, it does seem kinda tough to deal with 3 pots during a live session but having played around with this guitar for quite a while I must admit that you get the hang of it quite easily after some hours of playing.

    Now, if one was to ease up the use of this mod on a "live" instrument they could easily install stepped pots, that would:
    a. speed things up when changing settings and
    b. most importantly ensure accurate and repeatable tone results
     
  14. OLDGREYGIT

    OLDGREYGIT Senior Stratmaster

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    If people are worried about three volume controls.............
    Richard Thompson seems to get along fine............
    Cheers, that was the answer I wanted.
    Still intrigued about the diodes, mind you.
     
  15. bluejazzoid

    bluejazzoid Strats Amore Strat-Talk Supporter

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    Just a thought: maybe you could combine stepped pots for each volume control with an additional separate on/off button switch (like on the Deluxe Player's Strats) to easily turn each pickup on/off, yet still retaining the ability to have the volume pre-set before turning on a pickup.

    Of course, I'm not sure if "adding a button switch" for each pickup would mess up the functioning of the circuit as-is, or add noise, etc.
     
  16. GRE2608

    GRE2608 Strat-Talk Member

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    @OLDGREYGIT

    Could you please clarify what intrigues you about the diodes!?!
     
  17. GRE2608

    GRE2608 Strat-Talk Member

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    @bluejazzoid

    Hello again BJ!

    Part of my design spec was not to alter the looks, nor the parts of the original Start. Just add some "near zero cost" passive components like diodes and resistors and voila!

    Still, there is no reason not to use switches as they can be easily incorporated in the circuit. One could use the special switch pots (typically DPDT) to add this functionality too.

    Thanks!
     
  18. GRE2608

    GRE2608 Strat-Talk Member

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    Stracciatella for HSS + HSH Strats (using 1N5819 diodes)

    Hello everyone,

    following some more studying I can now give you the 'Stracciatella' for both HSS and HSH Strats using Humbucker coils. I crosschecked the info on many sources, but you can have a look at this wikipedia article that provides the most concentrated info about coil outputs.

    And I quote:
    The output voltage of pickups varies between 100 mV rms to over 1 V rms for some of the higher output types. Measurements taken with an Oscilloscope with a hard strum on all 6 guitar strings can produce a larger output voltage swing, typically peak voltages of +/- 5 volts for single coil pickups and +/- 10 volt peaks on dual coil pickups.

    Respectively the only thing one should do in order to use the 'Stracciatella' mod on an HSS or an HSH Strat would be to swap the 1N5817 diodes shown in my wiring diagram with 1N5819 diodes for the Humbucker coil(s) on their guitar.

    The 1N5817 has a Peak Repetitive Reverse Voltage of 20 Volts; a limit 4 times more that the typical peak of a single coil that is ~5V. Following this safety factor the 1N5819 diode offers a PRRV of 40 Volts which is again 4 times more that the typical peak of a Humbucker noted at ~10V. Both types of coils produce just milliamps of current so the 1A current limit (25A surge current) of these diodes is by far more than what will ever be required.

    Note 1: The wiring diagram of my original post remains exactly the same for all versions (SSS/HSS/HSH). Humbuckers can be either the typical 2-wire coils used in standard Strats as well as 4-wire HBs with its two coils connected in series.

    Note 2: The 1N5817 and 1N5819 belong on the exact same design family so all their other characteristics like Forward Voltage (voltage drop) etc are very similar. Respectively, the resulting volume reduction observed on an SSS Strat will remain very low also for the HSS/HSH Strats (<5%). I attach the diodes datasheet for those that want to snoop around.

    Hoping that some of you have already been tempted to try the mod I am really looking forward to your posts.

    BR,
    Savvas
     

    Attached Files:

  19. OLDGREYGIT

    OLDGREYGIT Senior Stratmaster

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    I'm an electronic nonce!
    What 'function' do the diodes perform?
    I suppose I'm asking why they are there!
    Sorry if my question is very basic.
     
  20. GRE2608

    GRE2608 Strat-Talk Member

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    Hello OLDGREYGIT,

    A diode is for electronic circuits what a one-way (non-return) valve is for hydraulic networks. They permit the electric current to flow only onwards and not backwards.

    The problem:
    When a pot is at 10 it directs 100% flow toward the amp and 0% toward the ground; thus max volume. When the pot is at 5, 50% goes to amp and 50% to ground; thus half volume. Finally if a pot is at 0 volume, 100% of its signal goes to ground; thus a silent output.

    But, if we get 3 coils connected in parallel and because current prefers the easiest path to flow, if one of the pots is at 0, part of the signal from the other coils goes to ground by traveling through the left and right pot lags of the silenced pot and thus we get lower volume output. E.g. if pot#1 for coil#1 is adjusted to 5 for 50% output when it is connected on its own, it will only produce about 35% output when paralleled with coil#2 which is silenced via pot#2. LesPaul wirings are well known to exhibit this behavior and to overcome the issue you have to have the "silenced" coils pot at about position 3, so the pot creates some reverse flow so the current from the other coil won't flow through it !and! be silent enough so you can't hear it effect the resulting tone of the other pickup. In reality you always have part of the "other" pickup contributing to the output signal slightly altering the tone !or! part of your signal lost to ground. The only workaround available before, was the use of special hand-made no-load pots that are customized by scraping part of their resistance material to have an open circuit between their left and right lugs at one of their end points (0/10). This creates another problem though, which is to loose some part of your adjustment range.

    Hope it makes sense up to now...

    The solution:
    With the use of diodes we enforce a one-way path for current and restrict the output of a coil to find a way back to ground through another silenced (0 Vol) pot. Shottky diodes are known to exhibit very low voltage drop (compared to standard diodes) especially at milliamp currents that pick-up coils produce and as such we have absolute minimum loss of our signals strength.

    The Stracciatella mod:
    By employing a diode at the exit of each volume pot we can independently control the volume of each coil without effecting the output of the other coils. Moreover we completely free up our 5-Way switch which is then used as a varitone switch by engaging different capacitor combinations to the circuit. We further apply a treble bleed on each of the volume pots as trebles tend to get lost due to the resistance of the pots.

    If you read my pdf I have color coded each part of the circuit with a respective color coded short explanation below the diagram. Have a look and let me know if you need any further info.

    BTW: Don't ask me "how come no-one thought of this before" coz it still beats me too...
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2011
    wbhr likes this.
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