When Alfie Smith asked me to build him a guitar, his first concept involved having the signal go straight from the pickups through a four-way switch directly to the jack. He was interested to hear how the TV Jones Super'Tron pickups sounded unencumbered by any load from potentiometers and excess wiring. They sound great.
Alfie and I both knew he was going to want a volume pot. It just makes sense for the kind of club and bar gigging he does. He was reluctant to sacrifice the direct output tone though, and suggested a three-way toggle switch to allow him to turn off the volume and go straight to the amp. He was also interested in adding a fixed tone setting, something like the "cocked wah" tone popular in some telecaster circles.
"Sure thing! I can throw a switch in." No problem. I should point out that I'm not a natural electronics whiz. Hand me a schematic and I can wire it up - I routinely switch pickups, replace pots and jacks, change out capacitors and go through miles of shielding tape as part of the repair side of my business. Designing guitar circuits is something else though. It's not intuitive.
There are wiring diagrams galore online but you won't find one with a toggle switch that gives a direct out option. Sometimes what seems like a simple request isn't so simple! Three-way toggles don't allow for three discrete settings. The middle position always produces a combination of the outside circuits. It took a minute or two of headscratching to realize that there was no way to wire one to allow a direct signal. It would always end up mixed with either the volume or the tone. Multi-pole Microswitches! (I hear someone holler) But no. The same problem arises.
I came up with an idea. What if I was to combine parts from two toggles? I could add some pole pieces and broaden the palette of possibilites.
That's a lot of spaghetti! There's so much going on in a tight space. Heat-shrink tubing keeps the contacts from shorting.