Cool Prewired Guitar Electronics

Prewired replacement electronics provide access to many popular wiring mods, minus the soldering.

Larry Santellan of Santellan Sounds, maker of the Elec-Trix tone modules, sent me some samples to check out. These pre-wired circuits offer quick access to some of the “greatest hits” of alternate wiring, with an emphasis on Strats and Teles. He has pop-in modules for 5-way Teles, Vari-Tones, passive overdrives, vintage/modern switching, and more.

I haven’t had the time to try everything Larry sent, but for a few months I’ve had his 4-Way Fat Tone Monster Deluxe Wiring Kit in my Tele-like G&L ASAT. It lets me dial in the three standard sounds, plus that humongous series-pickups BLAT! A push/pull pot bypasses the tone control. (I never hear meaningful differences between bypassed tone controls and wide-open ones, but this setup lets me toggle between a bright, wide-open tone a muted one.)

Installation was relatively easy, and the parts and workmanship are top-notch. If you’re interested in alternate pickup wiring options, but don’t have the skill, patience, or time to solder it yourself, well, check out the Elec-Trix catalog.

Solder-free configuration via clever ribbon connectors.

14 comments to Cool Prewired Guitar Electronics

  • Sebastian Enriquez

    Wish those were sold in Mexico, here all guitar parts are too much expensive, but that doesn’t stop me to be like you :)

  • jeremy

    I’ve often thought I’d like to modularise the wiring in my guitars, but – even though its something I feel I should already know – I don’t know what those inline multi-way connectors are called to be able to buy them to use. Actually now I think about it, they’re similar to the connectors used inside PCs for connecting fans – but is there a proper name for them? Thanks.

  • Oinkus

    Didn’t see a varitone in there anywhere am I blind ?

  • mwseniff

    The prices are certainly in the right range. I have seen a lot of guitarists attempt rewiring jobs on their guitars and failing. It’s not really their fault it is a difficult place to work as everything is jammed together due to the lack of space in a guitar cavity. This has ended up turning off the player from ever doing mods again. These kits look very well designed and look to make the job very easy. When you add this to Seymour Duncan’s. solderless system and pickup ring switching system it opens up the possibilities to even the clumsiest DIYers. It empowers the player to find his own unique tone. I am all in favor of this sort of technology as it beats the heck out of undoing gooey masses of melted components and then having to charge for the labor to add insult to injury.

  • Joe,

    Thanks for having a look at my work. The design philosophy for my products is to hide complex wiring within a simple and user friendly solution. Hopefully this will appeal to musicians who may be a little uncomfortable with electronics but want to explore tonal variations.

    The fact that I use printed circuit boards with connectors maybe a concern for some people who are not familiar with this technology. My challege is to prove that it’s advantage is a consistently high quality product with a richer feature set compared to traditional wiring kits. Only time will tell if I am successful.

    But until then I enjoy the design challege and look forward to any suggestions or questions you supporters my have. :borg:

    • joe

      Speaking for myself, I wouldn’t balk for a minute at the use PCBs. There is no difference in sound, and if the components are well made and well assembled, they’ll be perfectly durable.

  • Sebastian Enriquez

    Can’t wait to see the next post and hear how it sounds :)

  • Oinkus

    I just need a varitone that will fit into my epi dot without cutting a hole in it more or less. Easiest path and all that not afraid to mutilate a guitar trust me on that one. It is currently off being rewired now and he says he can’t put a varitone in it?

    • joe

      Well, the “classic” Vari-Tone requires two pots: One to set the filter cutoff, and one for the depth of cut. You could certainly do it in a four-knob/two-pickup guitar (two volumes plus Vari-Tone).

  • Very affordable mod ‘Super slick Telecaster 6-way’ for telecaster by Dan Armstrong was in Guitar Player Sept. 1996.
    3-way switch is repleced with a 5-way strat one.
    I have done it with both my teles. Takes some tinkering, but tonal versatility is superb.
    Original pure telecaster sounds however are kinda corrupted and both volume and blend pots might be controlled more smoothly if replaced with linear ones, maybe.
    I’ve got used to these drawbacks anyway and just love exploring the limitless colours achieved with blend knob tweaking.
    Every possible combination with two single coil pickups are available and blended in and out of phase parallel and series.
    Add Seymour Duncan Tripleshot coiltapping possibility with humbucking pickups and you’ll be in serious tweakers hell…

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