Unauthorized Quackery on a Fender Stratocaster

With hundreds of guitars that come across my bench every year, I sometimes discover that I'm not the only one resorting to quackery when attempting to fix guitars

1/15/20230 min read

If you're going to do some quackery on guitars, you better get the official approval from the New York City Department of Guitar Maintenance & Repairs. In fact, that's one reason why the Department has been established, in the first place. The guitar repair business could use some regulations. And here is a good example why.

I recently worked on a customer's Fender Strat. I was hoping that I would be the one to give that guitar what it needed, i.e. some quackery to fix some electrical issues that the customer was reporting. But when I opened it up I discovered that someone was already there. Not only did someone else work already work on the guitar, but whoever it was had the audacity to engage in some quackery of their own... without proper authorization.

Have a look at this picture. Do you see it?

Fender Stratocaster wiring quackery
Fender Stratocaster wiring quackery

And in case you missed it, here's a close up. Do you see it, now?

Stratocaster wiring quackery - close up
Stratocaster wiring quackery - close up

And there it is... it appears there's a fourth pickup, under the pick guard, right between the pots and the selector switch. Let's just say that this is not standard Strat wring.

I know what you're thinking... What? Where? Who? When? Why?

Let's start with the Who. I believe it was a tone chaser trying something new.

New... but What? I believe this is a choke - not a pickup. Yes, a pickup bobbin was used, but there are no magnets anywhere near that bobbin. Just two steel pole pieces on the outer extremities.

I don't know about the Where or the When. But what about the Why? Well, why not?

This brings me to an old Chines proverb. "Any attempt at creativity is admirable."