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Jackon Special 5-Way wiring tutorial

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  • Jackon Special 5-Way wiring tutorial

    Been meaning to do this for a while now, so here it is.

    The Jackson Special 5-Way switch was available on a lot of USA and Import models from the 80s up until the early 90s. I don't know exactly when they stopped using it in favor of traditional/cheaper standard 5-way switches. Do these still come on the current USA models?

    First, a little background info on blade switches:

    The standard Fender-style 5-way blade switch that comes on the modern H-S-S imports is really only a 3-way switch with bridges that connect positions 1 and 2, and 2 and 3.

    So you end up with these connections:

    This is how you get those "bridge+middle" and "neck+middle" tones in addition to your "Bridge only", "Middle only", and "Neck only" tones, or "Bridge+Neck" on 2H models with a blade.

    The Jackson Special 5-way switch offers 5 totally separate wiring options. If you want Neck+Middle, you have to manually wire it that way.

    This means you can put those "and" connections anywhere you want in the sequence.

    If you want:

    Bridge full
    Middle full (splittable singles or single-spaced/stacked hums like the JBJr)
    Neck split

    You can do it with this switch.

    The first thing you'll notice about this switch is the size. It's f'n huge. It's the same width between the screw holes as a standard Fender-style switch, for easy replacement, but it's got 2 wafers instead of one, and both wafers have 12 prongs each for a total of 24: 20 pickup/knob connections and 4 Outputs to the jack.

    There are 10 prongs and 2 outputs on each wafer. The 10 prongs are split up into 2 groups of 5, and the selection disc inside the switch connects one prong from each wafer to the associated Output for that group at all times.

    However, to get all 4 groups of 5 working, all 4 Outputs have to be connected. The switch pictured here only has 3 groups active (only 3 Outputs connected).

    Normally, these come wired from the factory for standard 5-way operation:
    1 (Bridge)
    2 (Bridge+Middle)
    3 (Middle)
    4 (Middle+Neck)
    5 (Neck)

    To prepare the switch for 5 independent selections, you have to desolder the 2 jumper wires that connect the wafers, and the wire that joins prongs 1-5 on Wafer 2. You can leave the wire that connects the Output prongs, as well as the short jumper on one side that also connects the Outputs.

    Remember, to get all 4 groups working (all 20 prongs), you have to connect all 4 Output prongs to each other.

    This is how the first 5 prongs on Wafer 1 (outer) are set up:

    And here we can see both wafers and which prongs are joined by the selection disc:

    With all 4 outputs connected, and all 4 groups active, the prongs are joined by the selection disc on each wafer like this:


    So, if you had 2 4-conductor humbuckers (like on a Mustaine KV1/KV Pro) and wanted:

    1=Bridge full
    2=Bridge split
    3=Both full
    4=Neck split
    5=Neck full

    You'd wire the prongs on Wafer 1 like this:

    1 Bridge full
    2 Bridge splitter
    3 empty
    4 Neck splitter
    5 Neck full
    6 to Prong 8
    7 empty
    8 from Prong 6
    9 empty
    10 empty

    That's a fairly simple wiring setup for this switch, and can be done on 1 wafer. Just remember to have both Outputs on that wafer connected to each other so that prongs 6-10 are active.

    You're leaving prong 3 (both pickups full) empty because prong 3 is duplicated as prong 8, and since prong 6 is the duplicate of prong 1, connecting 6 to 8 is the same as connecting both 1 and 5 to 3.

    Obviously there's some things this switch can't do, because you're still limited to 5 switching options.

    For example, let's say you had an SL-1 - H-S-S - and wanted both H-S-S operation with full switching as well as S-S-S operation with full switching.
    It's can't be done unless you add a push/pull control (Volume or Tone) and use that to split the humbucker.

    However, you can use this switch for phase switching.

    Unfortunately, I've never tried it even with a DPDT toggle switch, so I have no clue as to how to wire this switch up for that.

    If your guitar has more than one Volume knob, or you wish to bypass your Tone knob with certain connections, you can wire that function into the switch as well.

    However, for every non-pickup-selecting function you wire in, you have to give up a pickup-selection function.

    Say you want:
    1 Bridge w/Volume no Tone
    2 Bridge split+Middle w/Volume AND Tone
    3 Middle w/Volume AND Tone
    4 Middle+Neck w/Volume AND Tone
    5 Neck w/Volume AND Tone

    You're going to have a major wiring job on your hands.
    You'll have to set aside two groups on the switch and wire it to go Bridge pickup>Switch group1>Volume pot>Switch group2>Jack.

    You'll have to wire the Output of 1 prong group to the Volume knob, then run the knob back into the switch to a second group, then that Output to the other 2 switch Outputs.

    The remaining groups will receive the normal +Tone connections. This may actually be more hassle than it's worth, and may even be impossible. I haven't tried it

    This should get you started on figuring out different wiring combinations. I know this switch can be intimidating and at times frustrating to work with if you are going into it for the first time.

    For all the years I've used these switches, I didn't realize until I was writing this tutorial that the switch was split into 4 groups of 5, and that the reason 6-10 never worked for me was because I never had the associated Output connected

    Here's a few things for you to try if you have one of these switches:

    * In an H-S-S guitar, wire it up so the Tone control is bypassed for only the humbucker, but active for the singles.

    * In an H-S-S guitar with 3 knobs, wire a 500K Volume for the humbucker and a 250K Volume for the singles, with a Master Tone (for a 2-knob guitar, you might be able to find a 500/250 concentric pot to do this with - the older Soloists had the 3rd knob for the JE1000/1200).

    * In an H-S-S guitar with 3 knobs (see above), wire a 500K Volume for the humbucker and a 250K Volume for the singles AND for the split humbucker, with a Master Tone.

    * In a 2-hum guitar, wire each pickup for phase switching on positions 2, 3, and 4, with 1 and 5 being Bridge and Neck full respectively.

    * Remove the capacitor from the Tone pot and wire different-valued capacitors to different single-coil switching positions instead. Of course you also have to find a way to get the capacitor past the Volume pot, which may be impossible

    * 1 word: Varitone.
    I want to depart this world the same way I arrived; screaming and covered in someone else's blood

    The most human thing we can do is comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.

    My Blog:

  • #2
    damn, man....that's intense. hahahahaha!!!!

    some guitars...WITH STRINGS!!!! most of them have those sticks like on guitar hero....AWESOME!!!!

    some amps...they have some glowing bottle like things in them...i think my amps do that modelling thing....COOL, huh?!?!?!

    and finally....

    i have those little plastic "chips" used to hit the strings...WHOA!!!!


    • #3
      Thanks Matt!!! This was just what I need to fix my 3A. I don't know who wired it but there seem to be jumpers all over the damn thing and the bridge is full in position 4. :think:
      Don't forget the corn. It's nutritious, delicious, and ribbed for her pleasure.


      • #4
        4? I know Fender's position designation puts 5 as bridge, but that makes no sense to me. Bridge for me is 1, neck is 5.

        So, assuming you're going by Fender's designation, you're getting bridge full when you should be getting bridge+middle?

        Do you get split bridge when the switch is all the way back (Fender's 5)?

        If so, it was probably wired for Strat tones, but not getting the "bridge+middle" tone at that position.

        Then again, maybe that selection is somewhere else, and they left out neck+middle?

        I want to depart this world the same way I arrived; screaming and covered in someone else's blood

        The most human thing we can do is comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.

        My Blog:


        • #5
          The stock setup on the 3A (the 3A is the 2 hum model, not HSS), Model 5 and 750 XL was to have split coil combinations in the 2 & 4 positions. Both outer coils in one, and both inner coils in the other. I forget which is which, but I can check my 750 tomorrow.


          • #6
            Ah, I see. Some of the Model models I'm not all that familiar with, like the 3 and 4 and the x75 stuff.

            I'm going to play around with one of these switches and see what all I can do. Theoretically, I should be able to do all kinds of crazy stuff, like splitting the switch into 4 different 5-option groups by using external push/pull switchery.

            I'm sure you can wire one as 2 5-ways with different options, separsted according to the wafers, and selecting between the wafers with a push/pull or other toggle. I wanna see about complicated stuff like removing the Tone from the circuit for the bridge, but having it for the others options, using only the 5-way.

            I'll post my findings, of course.
            I want to depart this world the same way I arrived; screaming and covered in someone else's blood

            The most human thing we can do is comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.

            My Blog:


            • #7
              Sorry to bump an old thread but, can anyone help? I'm trying to rewire a 750XL back to stock.

              The diagram I found through forum search seems a bit weird as it has a wire going nowhere, it seems.

              There's a wire on bottom wafer, terminal 5 that just seems to go nowhere? Maybe I am not reading it right.)

              I tried it out and only get output on positions 1 3 and 5 of switch.

              I was trying to use this post as a reference but can't quite tell from the pics how to begin, by connecting all 4 ouputs correctly. Is there a wire going from terminals 5 to 3 on wafer one in the first pic?

              I thin that's all I'd need basically, how to wire those outputs onto a totally bare JE-0005 switch.

              Thanks if anyone can help...
              Last edited by wanthairspray; 11-03-2009, 09:18 PM.


              • #8
                I can't tell for sure from the diagram, Nick. It is hard to tell where that wire off terminal 5 goes - it looks like it may connect to terminal 4 on the other wafer. I can check the wiring on my Fusion Plus tonight if you like.

                btw, if this is Newc's Jackon tutorial, when do we get to see his Jackoff lesson?
                Hail yesterday


                • #9
                  I thought that too, Vitamin G but it didn't quite work. Maybe I did something wrong. I had to zoom in on the pic to try and see what's going on, but it's not much cleaer. Just looks ike it hits another wire. I thought maybe it goes to output on bottom wafer too, along with another wire.

                  If you could check your Fusion and see if you can notice anything I'd be very grateful.

                  As a further point, originally the Charvel was not wired to that schematic. Instead of the loops on the top wafer, connecting every other terminal mine had a straight jumper over three, maybe 4 terminals.