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Discussion Starter #1
I've been curious about the Jerry Donahue model Telecaster ever since I read a review of it in Guitar Player some 15 or more years back. The guitar has a Strat pickup in the neck position, and a 5-way switch, but everything else is essentially stock.

One of the switch positions puts the two pickups out of phase but aims for "half cancellation" (something I think Bill Lawrence came up with). The end result is purportedly a very Strat-like "cluck".

Now, normally, when two pickups are put out of phase with each other, everything they share in common is cancelled. The result is usually a very thin nasal sound, that is significantly lower in output level than either pickup alone. There was a time when players went crazy for such mods, for the sake of having more sounds available, but the nuisance of the level-drop soon disabused them of that urge.

HOWEVER, if the bass content of one of the pickups is reduced, then that frequency content is not cancelled out nearly as much, because one pickup dominates the other, leaving all cancellation primarily to the mids and top end.

I decided to try it out on a beater 2-pickup guitar I had sitting around. It's an old "Jaggard" Strat body routed for two slanted single-coils a la Mustang. I have a Jaguar pickup I rewound in the bridge position and a Strat type I wound with #43 wire in the neck position. I had installed a phase reverse switch, but the out-of-phase position was pretty unsatisfying and too gimmicky in tone.

I inserted a .015uf capacitor in series with the neck pickup in the out-of-phase position, and a miracle happened. Sonuvabitch if it didn't sound like a 2nd-position Strat cluck!

Not only did I get the tone I wanted, without requiring a 3rd pickup, but I got two bonuses. First, there was NO audible level drop in the out-of-phase setting. Second, with the phase switch flipped I could get two different tones from the neck pickup: one with full bass and one with some bass rolled off.

Worth trying.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Jerry Donahue demos a more recently-issued Fret King version of his Tele-style. You can hear the "half-cancellation" setting.
 
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.. Jaguar pickup .. in the bridge position and a Strat type .. in the neck position. I had installed a phase reverse switch, but the out-of-phase position was pretty unsatisfying and too gimmicky in tone.

I inserted a .015uf capacitor in series with the neck pickup in the out-of-phase position, and a miracle happened. Sonuvabitch if it didn't sound like a 2nd-position Strat cluck!
I'd love to see a gut shot, or schematic, of how this is wired up.
 

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I'd love to see a gut shot, or schematic, of how this is wired up.
So this is a straight up phase switch:



You only do this to 1 pickup, otherwise you flip the phase on both and it's still in phase. Which one you flip does not matter, but with the mod described by mhammer my gut tells me, on a Tele at least, flip the Neck not the bridge.

Here it is with the cap as suggested by @mhammer :

upload_2017-12-13_15-39-8.png


The only difference from a basic phase flip is that you replace the jumper that crosses ground in to hot out with the cap. This way the cap is not in circuit when the pups are in phase, only when the switch is flipped to out of phase (in the diagram that would be middle terminals connected to upper terminals - normal in phase would be middles direct to bottom; the jumpers go to nowhere).

Same thing if you're using a 5 way switch, take the stock wiring and change the phase reverse jumper for the cap.
 
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Thank you GG.
That's a lot easier than what my brain was trying to picture. lol.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks, Granny. Much appreciated.

Pretty damn simple, eh?

No requirement that it be .015uf. I just guessed at a suitable value and liked what I heard. Values of .01uf or .022uf might do just finbe, too, depending on your pickups and taste.
 

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Any idea what the result of this mod on a regular tele would be? With a standard tele pickup?

Just curious. I like fooling around under the hood of my guitars for nothing more than a few laughs here and there.
 

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Any idea what the result of this mod on a regular tele would be? With a standard tele pickup?

Just curious. I like fooling around under the hood of my guitars for nothing more than a few laughs here and there.
No reason why it shouldn't work, but I imagine one would want some trial and error testing of cap values. Start with .01uf. Also fair to say that the resulting tone doesn't absolutely nail everyone's idea of archetypal Strat cluck, but it comes awfully close. How much of that is the use of a Strat pickup in the neck position, the use of a hardtail Tele bridge, the location of the pickup (on some versions, the neck pickup is a wee bit farther back from the fingerboard than a standard Tele neck pickup).

And, whether it nails Strat cluck or not, it IS a discernibly different tone from the usual N+B tone, and is not disruptively lower in volume level, as full phase-reversal would be. So, in that regard, it's a nice addition for the price and labour of a toggle switch, rather than routing and installation of a 3rd pickup.
 

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I think I’ll give this mod a try, once I finish my tele off. I don’t see any reason not to have this mod, since it offers extra tonality and doesn’t change anything aesthetically, plus it’s easily reversible.
 

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No reason why it shouldn't work, but I imagine one would want some trial and error testing of cap values. Start with .01uf. Also fair to say that the resulting tone doesn't absolutely nail everyone's idea of archetypal Strat cluck, but it comes awfully close. How much of that is the use of a Strat pickup in the neck position, the use of a hardtail Tele bridge, the location of the pickup (on some versions, the neck pickup is a wee bit farther back from the fingerboard than a standard Tele neck pickup).

And, whether it nails Strat cluck or not, it IS a discernibly different tone from the usual N+B tone, and is not disruptively lower in volume level, as full phase-reversal would be. So, in that regard, it's a nice addition for the price and labour of a toggle switch, rather than routing and installation of a 3rd pickup.
It' a fairly common mod on regular Teles. I found it on the TDPRI years ago.
 
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