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five-way switches mod?

Discussion in 'G&L Bass Forum' started by fender3x, Apr 7, 2009.

  1. fender3x


    Mar 12, 2006
    I have little time to actually do a mod of my ASAT right now, but I have had lots of time to think about doing it. Really not planning to do surgery until summer, but I have recently had another idea about how to do switching. Here’s my ideal:

    - Standard Serial (with caps) and Parallel.
    - Add SC inside and SC outside settings.
    - Control each pickup individually—so I can have the Bridge in - Serial, and the Neck in SC if I want…for example.

    - NOT add any new holes to the front of the bass.

    Here’s the most recent idea, although I am not sure it will fit…and if it will I'll need to change out almost everything. In particular—if it has any hope of fitting in that tiny cavity, I’ll need to change most or all of the full sized pots out for mini pots.

    The mod would look like this from the front:


    The two “knobs” that replace switches would operate 4 pole 5 way rotary switches like the one on the right below...


    The pickup selector switch would be replaced by a 5-way that controls the state of the neck pickup. The S/P switch would be replaced by a 5 way that controls the state of the bridge pickup. The states would be:

    i = Inside single coil
    o = Outside single coil
    p = Parallel
    s = series
    x = off

    In the diagram below, the first of the six rows of dots, “c”, is the “common” or pole for that row. (No electrical training or background, please forgive any mistakes in nomenclature!).

    As to the placement of the caps (“C1” and “C2”), I don’t really understand them, but I tried to put them in the places that DavePlayBass had them in his document. I am pretty sure that this wiring scheme will work without the caps, but not sure if I have placed the caps right—or even if they can be placed right in this diagram.


    Would be grateful to have others take a look to see if this will work.
  2. eatcg


    May 17, 2006
    That's a neat idea! I thought about using those rotary switches too, replacing one of the pots and stacking bass and treble. Didn't occur to me to stick it in the switch hole, that is much better. :)

    I have been trying to work out a ISC/OSC/S/P mod with switchable boost caps using a 4PDT and 2 push-pull switches, but it seems likely that your suggestion offers the only possible solution. Although I think for me the individual pickup control will be more confusing than useful, thus I would keep the existing N/B switch and use a 4-pole rotary switch with 4 positions and a push-pull for boost caps (if that can work).

    I too don't understand the capacitor placement in Dave's designs, also waiting for more replies.
  3. fender3x


    Mar 12, 2006
    Thanks for the endorsement! Let's hope that one of the gurus will take a look and tell me that it could work...or not.

    Actually, I think that would be doable. You can get ISC/OSC/S/P by adding a push/pull switch to DavePlayBass's design:


    You could add a second push/pull DPDT switch to break the connection to the caps...

    It might be confusing...but for some reason I think it might be interesting to have a setting that gets close to this:


    It's a lot to ask to have someone go through your wiring charts, but I hope the gurus stop by! ;-)
  4. sunbeast

    sunbeast Supporting Member

    Jul 19, 2006
    Los Angeles, CA
    If your bass already has the capacitors, the only difference is that one of the capacitors is now tied in parallel with the hot output to the pickup selector switch (the stock wiring has both capacitors going to ground). If your bass doesn't have the capacitors, it is simply a matter of wiring everything else to look like Daves diagram, then soldering a .1uf capacitor on each side of the switch where the series jumper wire is soldered (you can just solder it to either of the 2 right-most lugs on each part of the switch).

    I responded to the original posters question via PM, but I have never personally used a rotary switch like this, so I can't confirm that it actually functions in the manner drawn here. If it is as simple as the way its drawn, then the diagram looks sound to me... If someone has a link to a tutorial or diagram of how these switches work, that would help immensely. You should also try posting this in the Pickups/Electronics Forum, as you're more likely to get someones attention that has actually used one of these switches for this sort of application...

    I will also add that its possible you won't have enough room for 2 of these switches when installed next to the existing pots- Varitone circuits I have had in basses previously had a similar (maybe larger) footprint to a standard CTS pot (you have to consider all the lugs that come off the side of the switch also, which can't be touching anything else), and the cavities in these basses are already very cramped (as you probably know). You will definitely be required to drill a larger hole for mounting these...

  5. fender3x


    Mar 12, 2006
    That was really helpful, Karl, thanks!

    Yeah, that is my attempt to do what DPB did to ballance the humbucking humbuckers in series...but I can't say that I understand it, so it may well be wrong. Will hope someone chimes in about whether it makes sense...I could also just go back to stock and ground it, but thought that DPB's idea was an improvement if I can make it work with this...

    That's the big question. Next step is to take some careful measurements and see if it's even possible...

  6. millahh

    millahh Supporting Member

    Sep 20, 2005
    You definitely can, because that's exactly what I've done on mine. I have the switch between the caps and the ground.

    I'm about to mod for all four coil options. I currently have S/IC/P using Dave's diagram. I'm going to install a cut for the inner coils using a second puss-pull pot. In parallel, this will give me just the outer coils. In IC, it will be a kill switch. I hven't traced through exactly what it will do in series...I think that depending on how I configure the wiring, I could have it be either a kill, or still be the outer coils (depending on whether I send the hot from the inner coils to ground, or just break the connection, and where in the chain i place the switch).

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