Monday, June 8, 2009

Blend Control for the Stratocaster

A guitar tech buddy of mine recently showed me a Strat he had wired so that what would normally be the tone control for the middle pickup (the tone control farthest from the volume knob) now became a Blend control for getting pickup combinations hitherto unobtainable.

Don Grosh, I believe was the first guitar manufacturer to install this system on their custom strat-style guitars. I even tried one sometime back, was duly impressed, but somehow forgot totally about it, perhaps due to my jaded disposition toward guitar gear because of new hobbies like this:

With the Blend control installed, the Strat's 3-pot configuration becomes Master Volume, Master Tone and Blend. The Master Tone is also a real plus as it tames the banshee-like treble characteristics of the rear pickup which would otherwise not have any tone control.

What the Blend control does is:

  • When the selector switch is set to position 5 (the rear pickup), the Blend at zero makes only the rear pickup audible. When the Blend is gradually raised from zero, the front pickup is gradually brought in to the tonal mix with the rear pickup. With the Blend at 10, you get equal ratios of both the front and rear pickups.
  • When the selector switch is set to the 4th position (mid and rear pickup combined), dialing in the Blend gradually brings in the 1st and 2nd pickup to mix with the sound of the 3rd pickup. With the Blend at 10, you get equal volume from all three pickups simultaneously.
According to my tech buddy, this is a very simple modification that entails adding only a single internal wire to the guitar's circuit.
Pretty cool. Count me in.

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