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Thread: 5-way Rotary Knob

  1. #1
    Senior Member solacematt's Avatar
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    5-way Rotary Knob

    Since it seems PRS has done away with the 5-way rotary knob on their US models, any chance that they'll be bringing them to the SE line? I always thought it was such an innovative feature, and realy turns the instrument into a tone monster
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    Senior Member andy474x's Avatar
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    I kind of doubt it... It would be cool, but I feel like that would be an expensive part with a lot more labor time to put on an SE guitar. The SE CU24's are going to the blade switch with a 3 way and a coil tap on the tone pot, which is a nice upgrade. If you're interested, the mod I've done to both of my SE's is to put push/pulls in for the tone and volume, so the volume splits the neck and the tone splits the bridge. Kind of like the Sig. Ltd. switching, but with no extra switches. I like it better than the 5-way because it gives you any possible option. Not that the 5-way is bad, but I think it's kind of a bummer that the current setup on the USA models don't have any way to get single pickup split coil tones. I like having the Tele/Strat like sound of the individual single coils. If you're decent with a soldering iron, it's a worthwhile job to do.
    -I'm no expert, but it seems to work and I haven't electrocuted myself yet. Which is pretty much the standard I live by.

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  3. #3
    Senior Member solacematt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by andy474x View Post
    I kind of doubt it... It would be cool, but I feel like that would be an expensive part with a lot more labor time to put on an SE guitar. The SE CU24's are going to the blade switch with a 3 way and a coil tap on the tone pot, which is a nice upgrade. If you're interested, the mod I've done to both of my SE's is to put push/pulls in for the tone and volume, so the volume splits the neck and the tone splits the bridge. Kind of like the Sig. Ltd. switching, but with no extra switches. I like it better than the 5-way because it gives you any possible option. Not that the 5-way is bad, but I think it's kind of a bummer that the current setup on the USA models don't have any way to get single pickup split coil tones. I like having the Tele/Strat like sound of the individual single coils. If you're decent with a soldering iron, it's a worthwhile job to do.
    Yea I can't stand the blade switch. In fact by putting that thing on the guitar has pretty much alienated at least this customer from ever buying a brand new PRS with the blade switch. To me those things are reserved for cheap guitars like strats, not classy instruments like a PRS. Plus I find the 5-way rotary more comfortable compared to a blade switch.
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    Sounds like a great idea. Do you have a schematic for that mod?

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    Just one more... HighGain510's Avatar
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    While I can totally see some folks not liking the blade switch (I prefer it, actually lol), there is still the option of installing a rotary switch yourself. Stewart-MacDonald sells a 5-position/4 pole rotary switch that is meant to be a replacement/alternative for PRS rotary switches if you're looking for the same pickup selection options. It requires a little more wiring than the PRS rotary switch so it's not as convenient as the stock one that comes on the USA models but my buddy installed one of these onto his CE-24 that is loaded with DGTs and it works just like the PRS one does! I actually just bought two of these myself as I scored a killer Wood Library CU24 that came stock with McCarty wiring (one case where I wished they had used the 5-way blade! ) and I miss having those extra split combinations the rotary offers so I'm going to swap out the stock 3-way toggle

    This is the switch in case you're interested, the stock PRS rotary is usually like $40-50 through most dealers but the Stew-Mac switch is only $10.50 and the only thing you lose is the ease of install that the stock part normally offers, this one just requires a bit more soldering:

    http://www.stewmac.com/shop/Electron..._Switches.html


    (it's the one on the right, below)




    It will be interesting wiring it up since mine came with McCarty wiring stock, I'll be able to wire the rotary switch AND the push-pull coil split on the tone pot so I'll have everything I'd have with the normal PRS rotary (5 positions) and both pickups split individually as well! I can post pics and my findings with that switch once I get around to wiring it, but I think that's a very viable and inexpensive way to achieve what you're asking!
    -Matt

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    Re pickups
    Quote Originally Posted by HighGain510 View Post
    While I can totally see some folks not liking the blade switch (I prefer it, actually lol), there is still the option of installing a rotary switch yourself. Stewart-MacDonald sells a 5-position/4 pole rotary switch that is meant to be a replacement/alternative for PRS rotary switches if you're looking for the same pickup selection options. It requires a little more wiring than the PRS rotary switch so it's not as convenient as the stock one that comes on the USA models but my buddy installed one of these onto his CE-24 that is loaded with DGTs and it works just like the PRS one does! I actually just bought two of these myself as I scored a killer Wood Library CU24 that came stock with McCarty wiring (one case where I wished they had used the 5-way blade! ) and I miss having those extra split combinations the rotary offers so I'm going to swap out the stock 3-way toggle

    This is the switch in case you're interested, the stock PRS rotary is usually like $40-50 through most dealers but the Stew-Mac switch is only $10.50 and the only thing you lose is the ease of install that the stock part normally offers, this one just requires a bit more soldering:

    http://www.stewmac.com/shop/Electron..._Switches.html



    (it's the one on the right, below)




    It will be interesting wiring it up since mine came with McCarty wiring stock, I'll be able to wire the rotary switch AND the push-pull coil split on the tone pot so I'll have everything I'd have with the normal PRS rotary (5 positions) and both pickups split individually as well! I can post pics and my findings with that switch once I get around to wiring it, but I think that's a very viable and inexpensive way to achieve what you're asking!
    I have one of those in my homemade guitar. They are a pain in the a*s to solder. Would love a prs rotary to replace it as i dont think you actually get the tones from the stewmac one.

    Is the rotary compatible with 4 wire pickups?
    Last edited by carpincowboy; 09-12-2013 at 09:49 AM.
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  7. #7
    Just one more... HighGain510's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carpincowboy View Post
    Re pickups

    I have one of those in my homemade guitar. They are a pain in the a*s to solder. Would love a prs rotary to replace it as i dont think you actually get the tones from the stewmac one.

    Is the rotary compatible with 4 wire pickups?


    That's the diagram my buddy sent me that he used to wire up his guitar. Like I said, yes it's more work to solder but if an hour of time is not worth the $40 you're saving there, you can contact a dealer and buy the PRS rotary for $50 or whatever deal they can offer you.
    -Matt

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    That looks like the one i used. I am watching a 5 way rotary on ebay hoping it stays cheap. I am wondering if they can be used with 4 wire pickups though.
    I am not a luthier but i am in my own workshop.
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    Quote Originally Posted by solacematt View Post
    Yea I can't stand the blade switch. In fact by putting that thing on the guitar has pretty much alienated at least this customer from ever buying a brand new PRS with the blade switch. To me those things are reserved for cheap guitars like strats, not classy instruments like a PRS. Plus I find the 5-way rotary more comfortable compared to a blade switch.
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    New option for 5 Way Replacement: FreewaySwitch

    I have a CE-24 with the 5 way rotary. I've been researching different options to replacing it, as I find in very non-intuitive. I first considered the 3 way toggle as it is the easiest path to take, since it's a straight-forward upgrade and only costs about $50.00 for the PRS kit to change it over. However, in searching around I've found, what I think is the most functional and truly elegant fix. There's a company called NSF controls that makes a "6 Way Toggle", that's a direct sub-out for the PRS 5 Way Rotary. The only thing that needs to be done, is some simple wiring to the switch, and make the hole a little bigger (you have to increase the diameter of the hole for the PRS 3 Way Toggle also). The switch is called the 'FreeWaySwitch'. You may or may not have heard of it before, as they've had some earlier versions available before, but the earlier versions weren't useable for replacing the PRS 5 Way Rotary Switch. There's actually 3 Versions, and one of them, the 3X3 04 was co-developed with a company called JJ Customworks in the UK, and this is the switch that is a direct replacement for the PRS 5 Way Rotary. It's a very high quality switch, has 6 positions (all useable), and this configuration gives you all the choices available on the original PRS 5 Way Rotary, and adds on more choice; "2 humbuckers". As in the PRS 5 Way Rotary, all positions are noise cancelling. I just completed this mod on my 2006 CE-24 and it works great, and is very intuitive to use. Here's a link to a video on JJ Customworks, where you can purchase it: http://www.jjcustomworks.com/video.html . They’re in the process of upgrading a PRS Custom 24 and they’ll send you a schematic for the PRS if you ask them.

  11. #11
    Junior Member Chitarrista scarso's Avatar
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    I find the 5-way rotary more comfortable compared to a blade switch.[/QUOTE]
    I agree. Actually i'm looking for a diagram to rewire a new 5 positions rotary switch, the Free-Way is a very good device but i would like this configuration:
    neck humbucker/neck single/both humbuckers/both singles/bridge humbucker.
    What do you think about it? Sorry for my english language guys
    Last edited by Chitarrista scarso; 10-11-2013 at 05:03 PM.

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    Cool CE24 5-way Rotary replaced with 3x3-03 Free-way toggle switch

    I'm having my 2006 CE24 5-way rotary knob replaced with a Free-Way 6-way toggle switch. As mentioned Stew-Mac sells the 3x3-03 version. I'm having mine wired up to be:
    1. Neck HB
    2. Neck + Bridge HB
    3. Bridge HB
    4. Neck SC
    5. Neck + Bridge SC (parallel)
    6. Bridge SC

    Did have to write the company to get HH Coil Split 1V/1T diagram as it was not provided through Stew-Mac. Now I get something that gives me something between a LP and a Strat in one guitar.

  13. #13
    Defender of the Universe HANGAR18's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by solacematt View Post
    Yea I can't stand the blade switch. In fact by putting that thing on the guitar has pretty much alienated at least this customer from ever buying a brand new PRS with the blade switch. To me those things are reserved for cheap guitars like strats, not classy instruments like a PRS. Plus I find the 5-way rotary more comfortable compared to a blade switch.
    I won't buy a PRS with a rotary switch. Ever.
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    PRS Convert FennRx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by solacematt View Post
    Yea I can't stand the blade switch. In fact by putting that thing on the guitar has pretty much alienated at least this customer from ever buying a brand new PRS with the blade switch. To me those things are reserved for cheap guitars like strats, not classy instruments like a PRS. Plus I find the 5-way rotary more comfortable compared to a blade switch.

  15. #15
    Member prsrocker1988's Avatar
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    I couldn't stand the rotary - much prefer a blade or a 3 way switch. I need fast on-the-fly pickup changes live and I come from playing Gibsons for many years so a 3 way and push pull on my CU24 is exactly what the doctor ordered. It also improved the tone - much more high end came through after changing out the electronics with the PRS 3 way assembly.

  16. #16
    Not a fan of the rotary switch, you have no idea what you are in when you first plug in the guitar, with the blade switch you can just tell by looking at it.

  17. #17
    Senior Member wardog's Avatar
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    There is a 5 way rotary for sell in the prs store. Not sure if that was mentioned
    I like surprises!!!

  18. #18
    You can be sure that PRS changed from the rotary to the blade switch because lots of players expressed a strong dislike of the rotary. I played rotary switch PRSes from 1991-2000, and it was the only thing about the guitars I didn't care for.

    While the knob 5-way looked nice, it was less ergonomic (for me, anyway). As for expensive vs cheap, I don't see what's more expensive-looking about a plastic knob than a switch, but I suppose PRS could make a machined metal switch that is very expensive, and charge more for the guitars. People might line up for that.

    As for me, however, I just want the thing to work ergonomically in the heat of a recording session, and so prefer the blade as-is.

    Everyone is entitled to his or her opinion, so I won't go so far as to say mine's somehow "right." But I love that PRS is making a player-friendly switch, and I've bought four guitars with the blade switch, so I guess I voted.
    If something is too hard to do, then it's not worth doing. You just stick that guitar in the closet next to your short-wave radio, your karate outfit and your unicycle and we'll go inside and watch TV.
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  19. #19
    Defender of the Universe HANGAR18's Avatar
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    Blade is easier to see and get positive visual confirmation as to what pickup selection you in when you are on stage (with flashing lights) performing and you look down to check in the middle of a song. Too difficult to tell what pickup position you are in when you look down at a round 5 position switch labeled with 1-10 teeny-tiny numbers. (And nevermind the noise between the numbers.)
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  20. #20
    Senior Member gush's Avatar
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    I used to dispise rotary switched prs guitars because I couldn't understand how switching a rotary on the fly could be fluid AND not having middle position with both HBs was unspeakable. I did end up buying a CE22 with rotary because it went pretty cheap and it had drag 1s plus I really wanted to try a CE. After having it for 3 months it has become my favorite. The drag 1s sound fabulous at all volume levels and the rotary offers some very cool combinations that I never thought I would like. Yes, switching the rotary still sucks but with all the positive things going for it I won't change it to a blade or toggle AND I will consider a prs with rotary switch from now on.

    The six way switch sounds cool as hell.

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