Samples and Descriptions
of the
FAT-O and Chromacaster Tones


Here at last! This is a collection of SHORT samples of the tones that may be achieved using my FAT-O or Chromie rotary switches. These were done by Dunk Carter, a happy FAT-O customer. They were performed on a Fender MIM Standard Stratocaster with a Chromacaster installed, played through a Pod into Pro Tools and saved as an MP3. I broke his original file up into one-pup-combo-per-file MP3 file segments, so they would download and play faster, and allow for more direct comparisons. I have them broken down here into the six notches of the Chromacaster, but if you look through the page, you will see that the many of the combos are available on some of the other switches. You could download and print out the tone charts for the switch you were interested in, and have it in hand while listening...

PLEASE NOTE: If you are on dial-up access, these samples may not play correctly. Your solution to listening to these files is to RIGHT click on the link, and, in the options box that opens, select "Save Target As" and save them to your desktop, a temp folder, or wherever, and play them from there... grab a handful and give 'em a listen.

I have come up with a sort of short-hand for describing the wiring in the combos. B=bridge, M=middle, N=neck pickups; "+" is for a parallel connection, "*" is for a series connection, and the minus sign "-" is for out of phase. So, the stock Strat five combos are: N, N+M, M, M+B, and B. Parenthesis ( ) are used as in algebra to indicate which relationships should be considered first... And yes, often you can pick and choose tones here to create your very own "Memphis Mods" FAT-O. But remember, not everything is workable, the posibilities are goverened by the limitations of the switches... YMMV!


The Normal Notch

All my rotaries keep one notch of completely normal and stock Strat pup combos. This file is here so that you have a baseline to compare the new combos to.

FWIW, if I was asked to describe this guitar's tone, I would say that I think that the bridge pup has nice bite; the "2" and "4" throws have excellent quack; the mid pup is stout; but the neck pup lacks a bit of depth and character, as it sounds too much like the mid pup. And, that's pretty typical of how a stock MIM Strat sounds to me. So, now you know how MY ears work...

The stock Strat tones: the NORMAL NOTCH...
... these combos are available on all switches.


Bridge and Neck Together

All of my rotaries have a notch that fills in the missing tones that Fender forgot - many of us call them the "Magnificent Seven," for the seven possible parallel pickup combinations you could get out of a three-pickup guitar - Leo thought we only needed three, Fender now gives us five...

NOTE: I won't be repeating the stock tones through the rest of this page, although EVERY notch has a few of the stock tones available.

The two parallel combos that even today's Fender forgot:
First, one that sounds rather Tele-ish...

Bridge and neck pups, parallel... Written as B+N...

... And a tone which I like to call "Super Quack"
All three pups, parallel... Written as B+M+N...
... these combos are available on all switches.


Bridge and Neck in Series

Most of the switches have these two combos. I think it's a solid sounding tone, rather un-Strat-like, and, in fact, I think that the bridge and neck in series combo is a pretty good imitation of a regular "humbucker" tone. FYI, it makes no difference in the tone whether the bridge is in series with the neck, or the neck is in series with the bridge...

Bridge and neck pups in series... Written as B*N...
... this combo is available on all the switches.

Adding the mid pup, parallel, gives back some Strat quack to the tone...
Bridge and neck in series, played with the mid pup parallel... Written as (B*N)+M...
... this combo is available on the Chromacaster and V.3


Bridge and Mid in Series

Some of my customers have said that the bridge and mid in series is a very close approximation of the tone produced by the humbucker bridge pup on the MIK Epis... YMMV, of course.

Bridge and mid pups in series... Written as B*M...

Again, adding the third pickup (neck) parallel to this combo gives back a bit of Strat quack.
Bridge and mid pups in series, played parallel to the neck pup... Written as (B*M)+N...
... these combos are available on the Chromacaster and the B*M is on few of the Memphis Mods


Bridge and Neck in Series, out of phase

Here's one of my favorite new tones. Personally, I find this reminicent of the stinging, singing tone of Albert King's Flying V, as heard on some of his recordings. You can play this tone clean, but if you add a little distortion, the harmonics and overtones will come flying out.

Bridge and neck pups in series, out of phase... Written as -B*N...

Once more, by adding the third pickup (middle) it tames the tone a bit, gives it back a bit of Strat-ness.
Bridge and neck pups in series, out of phase, played with the middle pup, parallel... Written as (-B*N)+M...
... these combos are available on the Chromacaster and V.3


Bridge out of phase, parallel

Ah yes, the THIN tones. These may not sound too useful at first, but a LOT of players have found these just the ticket for the unique tones needed in some studio situations. Although I admit this notch is simply not for everybody, you have to admit that it certainly broadens the tonal palette of your Strat.

Bridge out of phase, parallel with neck... Written as -B+N...

Say it with me now: by adding the third pickup (middle) it tames the tone a bit, gives it back a bit of Strat-ness.
Bridge out of phase, played parallel with the neck and middle pups... Written as -B+M+N...

And finally, here's the tone Dunk calls, "The Thin of Thins," the bridge and middle.
Bridge out of phase, played parallel with the middle pup... Written as -B+M...

These combos are only available on the Chromacaster

*****

Here are a few more samples Dunk did, but this time using his
FAT-O "FATCat" Memphis Mod-equipped Fender Reissue '62 Strat
Now, that axe sounds SWEET!

The stock '62 Reissue tones...

The bridge and neck, parallel... (B+N)

The bridge and neck, series... (B*N)

The bridge and mid parallel, in series with the neck... ((B+M)*N)

The mid and neck, series... (M*N)

All three pups parallel... (B+M+N)

All three pups in series... (B*M*N)

*****

I think you can see why I think a FAT-O makes an "OK" guitar sound good,
and a good guitar sound GREAT!

*****


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