Last month, we began a special project: We
wanted to squeeze as many useable sounds
as possible from a single-pickup Esquire
[“The Ultra-flexible Esquire Wiring, Pt. 1,”
February 2013]. And as regular readers will
recall, this was part of a larger investigation
into equipping an Esquire with a humbucker
[“Humbucker Pickups in an Esquire, Pt. 1 &
2,” December 2012 and January 2013].
In the first installment of this series, we
freed our Esquire 3-way pickup selector
switch from its former function of switching
the two coils of our humbucking pickup,
and we also installed and connected a
new on/on/on mini toggle switch to handle
the coil-switching function.
Now, I’ll show you how to proceed further
and how to use this technique with any
Esquire circuit of your choice to cook up
your own ultra-flexible wiring.
As you’ll recall from the last column, we
wired the on/on/on switch in front of the
pickup selector switch, and the pickup is
directly connected to the on/on/on switch.
Of course, this means the signal arrives here
before hitting the pickup selector switch.
Keep this in mind because it’s the key to
creating your own personal Esquire wiring:
You simply combine the on/on/on switch with
its three functions as a kind of preset switch
with any Esquire wiring after it. And here’s the
good news: It’s as easy as painting by numbers!
Fig. 1. Though the “Mnajdra” only sports a single pickup, it delivers nine switchable sounds.
Photo and illustrations courtesy of singlecoil.com
So here we go ... I’ll guide you through
this procedure using a specific example—
the wiring from one of our custom Esquire-style
models called the “Mnajdra.” Fig. 1
shows a version with sandy-white finish and
a real celluloid pickguard. I bet you’ve seen
this pickup before? Yup, that’s the DiMarzio
Chopper I’ve been telling you about.
Step 1: Decide on an Esquire wiring
you want to use for your personal setup
and either download the circuit drawing or
make your own. In this case, I decided to
use the “modded Eldred” wiring scheme we
previously discussed in detail [“The Modded
Eldred Esquire Wiring,” September 2012].
Step 2: Simply erase the pickup from the
modded Eldred wiring, but leave the two
pickup wires untouched, as in Fig. 2.
TOP: Fig. 2. Remove the pickup from the
modded Eldred wiring, but leave the two pickup
wires untouched. BOTTOM: Fig. 3. This Esquire
wiring yields nine different sounds.
Step 3: Now, insert the on/on/on switch
wiring from last month, and connect the
extension of the red wire from the on/on/on
switch labeled “to 3-way switch” with the grey
(hot) wire of the modded Eldred Esquire wiring
and the extension of the green wire from
the on/on/on switch labeled “to ground” with
the black (ground) pickup wire. Don’t forget to
connect the bare ground wire from the pickup
to ground. It should now look like Fig. 3.
Congratulations, you’re done! You now have
an Esquire wiring with a total of nine different
sounds: the three basic tones from the on/
on/on switch (the normal humbucker, the
hum-free, fat-sounding single-coil, and the true
single-coil), plus the three options from the
modded Esquire wiring (true-bypass, volume
with tone control engaged, and small capacitor
plus engaged volume control for that “cocked
wah tone”). Using the tone control will extend
the sonic palette even more. And, of course,
you can experiment with the values of the pots
and caps, as well as the type of caps.
A guitar wired this way is very flexible and
many players wouldn’t need another guitar to
play all night long in a Top 40 band. Give it a
try—I’m sure you’ll love it. It should be easy for
you now to create your own custom wiring by
simply following the three steps above to combine
these two elements in any possible way.
Stay tuned for next month’s column, where
we will continue to explore the Esquire wiring
by taking a deeper look into Leo Fender’s original
“two-pickup Esquire” circuit, which was
also the original wiring for his early Broadcaster
model. This wiring was almost forgotten for a
long while, so it’s time to bring it back again.
It’s a very special wiring concept—I think
you’ll like it. Until then, keep on modding!
Germany and is fascinated
by anything related to old
Fender guitars and amps.
He plays country, rockabilly,
and surf music in two
bands, works regularly as a
session musician for a local studio, and writes
for several guitar mags. He’s also a hardcore
guitar and amp DIY-er who runs an extensive
—on the subject.