How do I best make use of the 5-way guitar switch on a Stratocaster?

my fender squire has five positions on the switch next to the pickups. can someone explain in lay man’s terms what sound or area of the guitar each of those positions will affect? Thank You Tim

Squier Strat? It selects which pickups are active. Furthest toward the neck? Neck pickup alone. Think Robert Cray sound. Next is neck and middle pickups combined. Third position is middle pickup alone. Fourth is middle and bridge pickup combined. You’ll notice the sound getting “brighter,” some might say harsher. Finally, bridge pickup alone, the brightest, “jangliest” position. You’ll see what I mean in the difference of the tone as you switch through the positions.


thank you mark

all these “guitar teachers” I had over the years and no one explained this to me

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Here’s the diagram from Fender. When playing clean or lower gain, I think of the neck pick up for rhythm and the bridge pickup for lead. I’m also a big fan of using the volume and tone knobs to shape the sound.

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Also note that the combined settings - 2 and 4 - act as a sort of single humbucking pickup, because they are wired out of phase.

This can be useful if you getting 50/60 cycle hum, or other unwanted noise.