SSS HSH Conversion Wiring Modifications:
SSS HSH pickup conversions on a Strat can be quite a big deal, requiring body routing re-wiring and of course the selection and purchase of a set of Humbuckers. So what if you want the versatility and tonal qualities of one or 2 humbuckers but you don't want to lose the look and tone of your favourite Strat by changing pickups? Well there is a simple wiring modification that could get you to a very interesting SSS HSH solution.
Single coil versus humbucker pickups; There has been plenty written about the differences in tone between humbuckers and single coil pickups. That includes the 'fatness' of tone and noise cancelling abilities of a humbucker. Yet at its heart, a humbucker is just 2 single coil pickups, connected in series and with Reverse Winding directions and Reverse Magnet Polarities between the 2 coils (RWRP). The noise cancelling comes from the RWRP configuration of the 2 single coils that make up the humbucker, and the fact they are mounted close together (side-by side). And of course similar hum cancelling is also present on a Strat in positions 2 and 4, where 2 RWRP single coils are connected together (in parallel). So that demonstrates the principle of the SSS HSH wiring modification that follows. For more details of pickup construction, see; Ironstone's Electric Guitar Pickups Explained
The 'Pickup in Series' modification: The basis of this SSS HSH wiring conversion is a wiring modification that when active, places a chosen pickup in series with whatever has been selected via the normal 5 way switch. This modification is used on Ironstone's own Gilmour plate and Telecaster feature Bridge in series options. The following sound clips from the Ironstone Telecaster set demonstrate the single coil / series tone change.
But for the SSS HSH modification, what is needed is to perform the modification as a 'middle pickup in series' configuration. This requires nothing more than a small change to the wiring and a basic SPST switch (e.g. a mini toggle or pot mounted push-pull). The wiring diagrams for this are available in several places on the internet, so rather than go through them again, use these excellent links.
thefret.net/showthread.php/17947-Pickup-Wiring-Mod-for-my-Squier-CV-60s-Strat premierguitar.com/articles/Adding_Series_Switching_To_Your_Strat phostenixwiringdiagrams/strats#StratSeriesBlend
Available switching options; So you have done the mod, what switching options do you now get?
Toggle switch off, normal Strat 5 way
Position 1 = Bridge pickup only
Position 2 = Bridge + Middle in parallel
Position 3 = Middle pickup only
Position 4 = Middle + Neck in parallel
Position 5 = Neck pickup only
Toggle switch on, Strat 5 way + 'Humbucker'
Position 1 = Bridge + Middle in series 'simulated Bridge humbucker'
Position 2 = Middle pickup only
Position 3 = Middle pickup only
Position 4 = Middle pickup only
Position 5 = Neck + Middle in series 'simulated Neck humbucker'
If you want to get a little more adventurous still, you can consider adding some other switching to the number 2 and 4 positions, such as switching in different tone capacitors etc. To do that you need to free up the second half of the 5 way switch and get inventive. See; 5 Way switching tricks & tips.
In fact there is wealth of information out there on the web already, so I am not going to duplicate the brilliant efforts of others. Highlighted below are 4 of the best sites. Each has its own compendious listings of diagrams for every guitar and combination you can imagine! So dive in and see what is out there. If you are serious about custom modding, its worth investing in a cheap and cheerful guitar just to experiment on, before your pride and joy gets some treatment. Enjoy!
So maybe that HSH combination has been hiding inside your Strat the whole time just waiting for the SSS HSH wiring modifications.