How to Turn Your Guitar From Mono to Stereo





Introduction: How to Turn Your Guitar From Mono to Stereo

Ok this instructable is all about tuning a mono guitar to a stereo guitar and im not talking about a mono to stereo cable splitter or an A\B switcher no im talking about the neck and bridge pick up each having there own amp either at the same time or separated this opens a whole new world of ideas and possibility's

Step 1: Who Are Your Helpers


Screwdrivers flat head and philps
a soldering iron and solder
wire strippers
electrical tape
a towel and something like it to put the guitar on
an extra hand if you can get one
wire cutters
needle nose pliers (not needed but helps as an extra hand)
a wrench to get the knob nuts off
paper and pen (to write it all down so you dont forget what you did and how to write an instructables)
and an hour and a half of time

Step 2: Selecting the Right Parts

Ok this step is fairly simple and everything could be bought at

1.a stereo 1/4 jack
2.a stereo 1/4 cable
3.a 500k potentiometer (it could be a 250k but the 500k is better for volume)
4. wire

Step 3: Picking the Guitar and Gettting to Work

ok step one is to disassemble the innards of the guitar and remove the tone, volume, pick up switch and the jack

then first thing your gonna do is just cut off the tone knob and 1/4 jack compleatly theres no use for them anymore but save it cause you can use it later in other guitar mods

Step 4: Messing With Switchs

what your gonna wanna do is then get the switch your gonna be using (i ended up using the same switch with my guitar cause it can be modded to split both pick ups most guitar switches can be) or if you need a switch it would be best to get one online or at a music shop its called a three way switch but make sure that you can split the middle in half or it wont work

then your gonna wanna get the switch and cut in middle between the two posts giving the switch two separate outputs instead of one single one you can see what i did in a few pictures below

ok after you seperate the posts your gonna fire up your soldering iron and solder on a wire to the newly opened post

Step 5: Adding Your New Knob

ok now its time to whip out that shiny new vol knob

from left to right
pin one - input
pin two-output
pin three - ground

ok so fire up that soldering iron again cause now we get to solder more wires

first thing your gonna do is get the wire that you just soldered to the switch and that wire is then gonna be soldered to pin one

on pin two your gonna solder another wire about a foot in length that is gonna go to your 1/4 jack

on pin three your gonna do the same thing as pin two except make it a different color so you can tell them apart

Step 6: Say Hi to Jack

R - Ring
T - Tip
S - Sleeve

on your package that you got your 1/4 jack it should tell you where R T S is if not look at some pictures below

first thing your gonna do is grab the two wires you soldered on to the vol knob and also a wire that came off of the tone knob that you cut off in the beginning it should have two wires in one

after you got all the wires your gonna use take on wire such as the one you soldered from the output of the new vol knob and then solder that wire to either the Ring or Tip i have mine attached to the Ring it doesnt matter though

next take the second wire the one with two wires in one wire and your gonna use the wire that has insulation on it the outer wire is called a shield wire or a ground wire, but take the inner wire and solder that to the other Tip or Ring which ever one is free

and then lastly take both ground wires and solder them to the sleeve

Step 7: Finding That Mystery Ground

ok now it looks done but its not because the vol knob needs to be grounded now

the vol knob must be atttached to the guitar chassis and there are two ways to do this

one way is to scratch the top of the knob so you can have a soldering surface to attach a wire so it can then be grounded to the guitar chassis and then after you get a wire soldered to the top of the knob your gonna want to bend pin three so it touches the metal of the knob and your gonna then solder pin three to the metal and dont forget to scratch that part to or else it wont stick

the second way of doing this is a bit easier (but i picked the other way for looking good) i think and that is to solder a wire straight to pin three and then attach it to chassis ground

chassis ground should be found some where in the guitar with a few black wires that are screwed in to the wall of the guitar if you cant find it then just strip the wire that comes from pin three of the other vol knob (not the one you added) or just solder it to pin three it all works

ok after you done that then search your entire guitar for random wires if you see one its probley a ground wire for a pickup i did the same thing and missed one just go a head and strip back a ground wire and solder and tape it up

Step 8: Puting It in the Right Spots

so now that its done you can test it out how ever you feel like i took my DVM (Digital Volt Meter) and just checked for open or closed circuits everywhere if i didnt hear a sound either my switch wasnt in the right spot or it was broken some where along the lines

the best spots to probe are the switch and the jack because thats where it all ends up so if you can get sound between the switch and jack then its all good and you can start puting it together

another way to test is super fast and easy and that is pluging in the stereo jack and pluging it in to some amps and if it works then you can then go ahead and start putting it together

Step 9: The Hard Parts Over But There Are Problem!

ok so now you have tested it all and it works so now what?

time to put it together

so if you had some problems puting it together cause i had a few too

one problem was my vol knob was the wrong size but not a big problem so i fixed it by takeing off the spacers and shoving it in and was able to get a few threads on

another problem was the guitar in general! cause if your guitar has major feed back problems this is not gonna fix it sorry

and a big problem for me was the jack when i put it in it was a bit tight so it ended up shorting out and not working right but i fixed it with a drill and some sort of carver looking thing i found in my garage

so then thats it i hope it works for everybody its a whole new way of playing if you have any questions leave a comment!

a few things that i did also you necessarily don't need to do i did it because i wanted to try new things such as tin foil, my guitar has crazy feedback and i don't wanna replace my pick up's i heard that if you put tin foil on the plastic lid for the guitar that it helps well it didn't !

another thing i did was to my switch i cut the bridge between the outer wire inputs and what that did was instead of being able to play both pick ups at the same time it now only plays one at a time through each amp so what i can now do is have one amp play full on distortion and the other will be clean while the middle of the switch is a complete kill switch now so i don't need to use a stomp box to switch between clean and distortion or i can use an fx pedal on one amp so many different things to try



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    Hi Megatronix, I invented "natural stereo" pickup to get the best stereo. 12 mini-coil pickup to read the string movement. When you pulse a string the moviment is up, down, left and right. Actual pickups just read the up and down moviment. Visit my site and listen the demos. Look also the osciloscope to see the stereo amount. enjoy "natural stereo"

    1 reply

     I don't get the diagram. where is the tone control and why are the wires from the PU selector going to the output on the volume controls?

     assuming that the diagram for this is at [URL]

    Could you draw on this and show us what it would look like in a diagram?

    1 reply

     Or maybe you could put a video of this on YouTube? No-one has put anything on YouTube about changing a guitar from mono to stereo

    i have no clue i looked up the switch and i couldnt find anything im gonna try and find a friend with that switch and tear it apart and see what happens ill get back to you

    2 replies

     I found a diagram at resources/ and found an appropriate diagram. Do you mean to solder another wire onto the pin that is linked to the volume?

     or do you mean that the two middle pins were joined and you want to separate them?

    i havent seen a ibanez switch so i really wouldnt know where to being on what to tell you what you should do

    but if you have a multimeter just test the switch and write down what position is for what pick up and then write which is on and off for what positionand work from there

    write back to me and ill help as much as i can

    1 reply

     Its an 8 pin switch just like the one in your diagram. Is it possible to take a picture or even a video of this particular step?
    I emailed the guys at because they create circuit diagram lists, and asked for them to produce a diagram with the specs i sent them so i had an idea what all those wires in a big mess go to where in the circuit.
    Do you know what each pin on the pickup selector does? That would be really handy

    I don't entirely understand step 4. Could you please elaborate a bit more, but otherwise this is a great instructable.

    Also, I have a H - S - H pickup layout and there's heaps of wires everywhere (because the nincompoops at Ibanez who made the RG series made a mess of the wiring), I was wondering if the same principles apply or if not, how would you go about doing this step?

    I cut the wires going to the jack, and soldered another jack to it, and then drilled a hole on the side

    is the cat optional? cause i dont got one

    That's similar to what i am trying to figure out. A friend and I are trying to get the pickups on different channels of a stereo jack, so we can switch between them really fast (with a foot switch) and not have to worry about taking our hands off the strings. (mostly fast metal stuff... I like to use the neck pickup for anything above the 10th fret....)

    Words from a Luthier... That stereo wiring is, as said above, technically wrong. The correct way is to make the "whole" sound of the guitar be panned Right, mid or Left. Correcting what Metal-Matt said, active circuits use lower ohm potentiometers (generally 25k). Guitars pickups expect a high impedance, and even your cable can mess with your sound. Generally the active circuits are only a buffer with high input impedance and low output impedance. That makes your sound "invincible" And.. your soldering skills needs improvement. The GND solder you made in the pot is real bad. Try using a higher watt soldering gun and less solder. Greetings from Brazil! And sorry about the not-that-good-English.

    2 replies

    yeah my iron was on low the whole time that would be the problem. i didnt think of that when i was soldering i ted to forget about turning it up and i was more worryed about burning the insides of the pot and yeah i need to do a bit more work on the guitar cause it works perfect but it needs more of what i dont know yet

    its very hard to damage a potentiometer when soldering its carcass, UNLESS its a Push-Pull DPDT Pot. if you need some help, don't be shy to ask me. I can even make a instructable of some sort...

    Really interesting idea! Awesome.

    lol "the cat that only guarded the wire"

    sometimes(or always - not sure) picups are wired to cancel out mains frequency and other unwanted freq.... so maybe best to keep them together... just make a balance knob like on stereos with the centre wiper the soucre (maybe a resistor to gnd on each output to keep the other chnl silent) - but this might make your output weaker.