I have tried to create a guitar wiring diagram for 3 humbuckers that should result in the following posisitons using a 6 way, 4 pole rotary switch:

  1. Neck
  2. Middle/Neck parallel
  3. Middle
  4. Middle/Bridge parallel
  5. Bridge
  6. Bridge/Neck parallel

Each pickup has a separate volume control, that can split it before going into the switch, where the necessary pickups are selected and connected together for the desired positions. I am also using the Master Tone to switch between two capacitors.

Can anyone confirm that this does what I envisioned?


1 Answer 1


Looking over the diagram, it does work how you imagine, switching wise. I have a guitar set up similarly.

One thing to note here is that when you have the pickups parallel with each other, and separate volume knobs for each pickup, there is a path to ground through each of the volume knobs for the connected pickups (neck/middle pair, etc). Because of this, if, for example, you were on the Neck/Middle setting, and rolled back the middle volume to 0, there will be no sound output. The only way to avoid that would be to have each pickup going to an active preamp, and then mix the output signals actively.

In my guitar, I just live with the passively switched, connected volume knobs.

  • Actually there is another way to avoid the pot-coupling problem: wire them “in reverse”, i.e. PU on the middle tap and output on the end tap. I think that's actually the way Fender Jazz are (or used to be?) set up. The downside of this is that the pots do more to affect the resonance of the assigned PU, rather than the volume, and the volume curve comes out quite different from linear/logarithmic. But it can be worth a try. IMO, an active buffer for each PU is a much better solution, though. (Note that a single OP amp can do this.) Sep 27, 2019 at 15:57
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    The single op-amp active buffer is definitely the way to go if you want an active preamp. electronics-tutorials.ws/opamp/opamp_4.html shows how to make a simple summing preamp using the inverting input of an opamp. The drawback here is that the output signal is out of phase with the original signal. If that is a problem for your use case, you can use a dual op-amp, and connect the second op-amp as another inverting amplifier for output that is in-phase with the input. Sep 27, 2019 at 17:30
  • As you have each pickup tapped why not have a three position switch for each pickup instead - single, off, double. Then you have eight options and far easier to change on the fly. Ok, I admit this is over the top, three, mini, five-position strat switches for each pickup. Single, Single-reverse, off, Bucker, Bucker-reverse. Sep 28, 2019 at 1:31
  • On my own guitar, I have a triple-shot-esque setup with two DPST switches on the pickup ring of each humbucker. Wiring things correctly there allows for split north, split south, parallel humbucking, or series hunbucking. Thereafter, there are two leads which go to the volume/tone knobs (each pup has it's own stacked volume/tone), where a push/pull switch on each stacked pot controls the phase of the pickup. Those three signals are then connected through a 6 way switch for any combination of pup combinations. Pretty robust/variable, as a passive switching system goes. Sep 28, 2019 at 2:09
  • I have created an updated version since posting this, adding a bit more functionality, specifically adding the phase switches and a freeway switch for the combinations. Moreover there is now a bypass switch to allow for all 3 pickups at once. It would probably look like this. Sep 28, 2019 at 15:24

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