LP Wiring Diagrams

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  • 8/9/2019 LP Wiring Diagrams



  • 8/9/2019 LP Wiring Diagrams



    Terms of Use

    This Guitar Electronics book is Copyright 2008. All rights reserved. Nopart of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, ortransmitted by any means; electronic, mechanical, photo copying,recording or otherwise, without written permission from the copyright

    holders. You do not have any right to distribute any part of this book inany way at all. T. Swike and Indy Ebooks are the sole distributors.Violators will be prosecuted.

    Adjusting, changing, adding, or removing the electronics in any device can bedangerous and can cause injuries. This author assumes no responsibility forpersonal injury or property damage caused by the use of this guide, or products

    we sell, whether by accident, negligence, or otherwise. Please note that this bookis for educational purposes only. Only qualified personnel should carry out anyelectrical work. USE AT YOUR OWN RISK.

    Please send questions or comments to:[email protected]

    Several trademarks are used in this book for narrative purposes. Les Pauland Gibson are trademarks of Gibson USA. Fender, Stratocaster, Strat,Telecaster, Tele, are the trademarks of Fender Musical Instruments.Guitarfetish, GFS, MODboards, and Xaviere Guitars are all trademarks of GFSales LLC. Other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

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    Why are musicians all over the world tinkering with their Les Paul guitars? Its becausethey own one of the most versatile instruments ever created. And with a little finetunning, you can use your Les Paul style guitar to play blues, jazz, heavy metal,

    alternative, fusion, and even punk music. But for most of you reading this book, theLes Paul is the rock and roll king. Even though this guitar was actually designed forjazz musicians and really hasnt changed much since the 50s, the Les Paul is officiallyTHE guitar for playing rock music. Nothing will get your blood boiling more than one ofthese guitars combined with a vintage Marshall amp, cranked up to 10, or maybe even11. Either way you look at it, its a very loud and proud guitar.

    Every component in this guitar helps create the perfect tone. The powerful humbuckingpickups eliminate unwanted noise, and give the guitar a fat and crisp sound. Themahogany body combined with a maple top also help shape the sound of this amazingguitar by offering an almost unlimited amount of sustain and clarity. But lets get to themain reason why you are here: to learn about the lifeblood of this guitar: the


    Here are some basics. The electronics on the Les Paul are setup similar to a twopickup guitar, with the addition of a 3-way toggle switch and a separate potentiometerfor each pickup. So the bridge and neck pickups get their own volume and tonecontrols. The Les Pauls 3-way switching allows you to play through one or twopickups at the same time. And potentiometers, or pots, are increased to 500K to bringout more of the highs in the signal. In other words, they prevent part of the signal fromleaking out of the electronics. 250K pots, which are used in Stratocasters, leak outmore of the signal, and end up giving you a little muddier sound. The Les Paul isalready setup to have a somewhat muddier sound with two humbucking pickups and amahogany body, so the 500K pots are great for balancing out the tone, Now lets

    examine the tools that you will need to work on your Les Paul style guitar.


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    You will need 60/40rosin core solderfor your guitar wiring projects. Every hardwarestore or Radio Shack should have it in stock. Below is the.032 diameter solder sold ina plastic tube.

    Below is the thicker .062 rosin core solder. This is the solder I use on all of myprojects. The manufacturer is Bernzomatic out of Medina, NY. This stuff works great.

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    If you dont have a set of socket wrenches, then I would recommend these guitarnutdrivers fromstewmac.com. These come in real handy when installingpotentiometers, output jacks, and switches. They cost around $7.50 per wrench.

    You might also want to pick up some heat shrink tubing from your local hardwarestore, or online. If you have to solder two wires together to lengthen a pickup wire,then the heat shrink tubing will cover up the bare connection. Just heat it up with alighter for a few seconds, and it will shrink to form a tight fit around the solder joint.

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    On the next page, you can see the path that a Les Paul style pickup takes. This is abasic explanation of how the guitars signal travels, or appears to travel. The signalmoves from the pickup to the audio taper volume potentiometer, and then goes out tothe linear taper tone pot and 3-way toggle switch. The signal leaves the 3-way switchand exits through the output jack. Note: all of the (black) ground wires should beconnected to one another. Also, dont forget to connect the bridge ground wire, whichcomes from one of the tailpiece post holes. The bridge ground touches a metal post,

    and can reduce the risk of shock and unwanted noise. Both of which are prettyimportant.

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    The middle lug on a potentiometer is often thought of as thepotentiometer output.

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    Notice how the 3-way toggle switch works on the next page. One side turns the treblepickup on, and the other side turns the rhythm pickup on. The middle selection turnsboth pickups on. Note: if you have a 4 lug switch, then the inner two lugs will need tobe soldered together. Some Gibson style toggle switches will have only three lugs,one for the treble pickup, one for the output, and one the rhythm pickup. The far leftand far right lugs will connect to the 2 volume potentiometers. Also, a ground wire willbe attached to a lug on the back side of the toggle switch.

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    There are four lugs on the front of a typical 3-way toggle switch.

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    The ground lug is often on the backside of the toggle switch. It is thicker thanthe other lugs.

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    Here is a 3-way Switchcraft toggle switch from a 1956 Les Paul.

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    Here is an import style toggle switch. The ground lug is on the back side.

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    The rest of the wiring is pretty simple. Add the .020 uf capacitors to the tone pots andmake sure that every pot has a ground wire soldered to its case. Also, solder theground wire from the bridge post to one of the potentiometer cases, where the otherground wires are connected. All ground wires will need to be connected to each other.

    Now take a look at the output jack below. A hot wire from the toggle switch, and aground wire will get soldered to the two lugs. The ground lug will always be on top.The hot lug is lower, but will touch the tip of your guitar cable.

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    Here is a close-up of an output jack.

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    Here is the finished wiring. This diagram and the one on the next page are oftenreferred to as modern Les Paul wirings, or wirings from 1970 to the present. Thesemodern wirings allow the capacitors to be connected to the volume pot ground, or tonepot ground. Also notice that the ground wire gets soldered to the lug on the back of the3-way switch. Keep in mind that when the guitar is actually in a playing position, thevolume and tone pots for the neck pickup (#1) will be the closer to your head. Thebridge pots will be closer to your feet. So you are looking at the inside of the guitarcavity in the diagram below.

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    Here is another way to wire a Les Paul. In the example below, the tone capacitor iswired to the volume potentiometer, just like in typical Fender Stratocaster wiring.

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    Want an easy way to to blend the pickups together in the middle position?Thisis my favorite Les paul wiring. Just switch around the hot wires on the volume pots,and you will have an independent volume control for each pickup in the middleposition. So you can have 10% of the neck pickup on and 40% of the bridge pickup onif you wanted to. (With stock wiring, each volume pot acts like a master volume controlin the middle position.) Each tone potentiometer (T1 and T2) will still act like a mastertone control when both pickups are switched on.

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    Here is a 1950s vintage style wiring from the 1959 Les Paul. In the vintage Les Paulwiring, the middle lug on each tone pot gets soldered to its own case, and eachcapacitor get soldered to middle volume pot lug. This wiring will also use 500K audiotaper CTS pots, .02 microfarad Bumblebee caps, and a Switchcraft toggle switch. Alsonotice that the ground wire that gets soldered to the thick lug on the back of the 3-wayswitch.

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    Why go with a vintage setup? Because the early Les Paul wiring bleeds out less trebleto ground, and actually adds some brightness to the guitar. Plus, when you cut thevolume, the tone control will leave more of the highs in place, mainly cutting themidrange and bass. This produces some unique sounds that many believe you cantrecreate with the modern Les Paul wiring.

    Note: Gibson has always experimented with different wiring schemesover the years. So there are some early Les Pauls out there that do nothave the caps soldered to the volume pot middle lugs. They also used300K pots for volume and 100K pots for tone during the 1970s and1980s. Even 700K pots were discovered in a few guitars.

    The caps are connected to the middle volume pot lug in this 1956 Les Paul.

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    Instead of having a separate hot and ground wire coming out of your pickups,your Les Paul might have a hot wire hidden inside of a metallic braided groundwire. If this is the case, then the ground wire will get soldered to the volumepotentiometer case, and the hot wire will go to its appropriate lug. Creating acharge around a hot wire will help send any unwanted noise to ground.

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    On many of the older Les Pauls, one wire is used to ground all of the volumeand tone pots. This saves time when doing wiring jobs. To recreate this, justtake the cloth off of the vintage style wire, and solder it to the fourpotentiometer cases.

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    Here are some straight and right angle Switchcraft toggle switches from the1960s. You can buy them here: http://stores.ebay.com/P-S-I-Love-You

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    Here is the Black Widow. A beautiful 1971 Les Paul Custom owned by myfriend, James Distler.

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    Here is a closeup of the neck volume and tone pots.

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    Here is the 1971 Black Widow wiring. Each cap is connected to the left lug onthe volume pot in this example. This guitar really sings when both pickups areon and the tone is at full tilt.

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    This three pickup Les Paul has one volume control for each pickup and onemaster tone control. This setup is a little different, turns on pickup 1 and 3 inposition one, all three pickups on in position two, and pickups 2 and 3 on inposition three. Notice the tone control sends the hot signal to V2, which keepsthat pickup on in all three positions. Also notice that the volume control forpickup 1 (V1) will be closer to your feet when you are actually playing thisguitar.

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    If you are interested in the vintage Les Paul sound, then the wiring is only part of theequation. The pickups also play a large part in the Les Pauls tone. The PAF pickupsdesigned by Seth Lover in 1955 were originally labeled with a sticker that said patent

    applied for in the 1957 models. By 1962 the labeling changed to PATENT NO

    2,737,842. However, this number is thought to be a mistake, or a clever way to prevent thecompetition from discovering the real PAF data, because the patent number actually refers tothe Gibson tailpiece, and not the PAF pickup.

    These Alnico (aluminum, nickel, cobalt) PAF pickups were wound by machine with 42AWG wire, and had around 5000-6000 turns, but the number was not exact, they werewound until they were done, and each coil had a different number of windings. Somecoils were off by more than 100 turns, adding some punch to the pickups sound.(Equal windings in each coil would smooth out the sound a bit.) Since each guitarvaried a little, so did the tone. So in order to find the right tone for you, you had to findthe right Les Paul. These pickups varied from 7K Ohms to 9K Ohms, and the magnetswere described as being long. Later on, the 2.5 vintage magnets were shortened in

    length to 2.3, which decreased their strength a bit. However, Gibson began using thestronger alnico V magnets in their pickups to increase their strength . Note: someearly PAF pickups were actually scatter wound, causing a change in the windingcapacitance and resonant peak, basically giving the pickups more top end.

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    Here are some PAF pickups from 1959. Expect to pay a few thousand dollars for a setlike this. You can find pickups and vintage guitar parts like this at:


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    Since the original PAFs are rare and quite expensive, you might have to look for asimilar vintage tone with some aftermarket pickups by Seymour Duncan, Gibson, orDimarzio.The SH-55 Seth Loverpickups by Seymour Duncan yield a well balancedsound and are not too muddy, especially when turning down the volume. The output ismoderate to low, but they are not overly quiet. The neck pickup has a resistance of 7KOhms, and the bridge measures at 8K Ohms. Plus, these pickups are not wax potted,and the magnets are not polished, just like the original PAFs.Note: A pickup that isnot wax potted can pickup signals caused by the vibrations of the copper wire, causingsome serious high pitched feedback to occur.

    Another popular choice for the vintage Les Paul sound is theGibson Burst Bucker 1.This is a scatter wound Alnico II magnet pickup that is also not potted. The magnetsare unpolished, too. This pickup has a medium output and a sweet, warm sound withplenty of sustain.

    The P-90 Pickup

    Before the PAF became popular, Gibson used a scatter wound single coil pickup intheir guitars, called the P-90. It was wound with 10,000 turns of copper wire. Althoughthis pickup was not noise canceling, it did have a pretty unique sound and look. Thissoap bar pickup was often described as bright sounding, but with more midrangeand thickness than the early Fender single coil pickups. The DC resistance wasmeasured at around 8K Ohms on the P-90s. The early Fender single coils measuredin around 6K Ohms.

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    A very nice 1952 Les Paul from Elderly.com.

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    If you have a Les Paul Jr., the wiring is pretty simple. No switches are needed. A onepickup wiring diagram is all you need. The black wires go to ground, and the coloredwires carry the hot signal.

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    The wires can be quite colourful on some of the Les Paul style guitars fromoverseas. Notice how the solder joints tend to be a little rough looking.

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    Here is another example of an import guitars electronics.

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    If you cant afford a real les Paul or Epiphone, then you might have to settle for aguitar that looks like a Gibson, but sounds quite different. You can, however, modifythe pickups, potentiometers, capacitors, and 3-way switch, leaving you with a decent

    sounding guitar. And thats exactly what we are going to do here. We are basicallygoing to change out the electronics on this guitar.

    1. The first step involves removing the strings. Also remove the tailpiece fromits posts.

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    If you pull out the post closest to the control knobs, you will see the hole that isused for the bridge ground. This allows the bridge ground wire to touch themetal post, which touches the tailpiece and the strings. If you look closely, youcan see the smashed wire inside the post hole.

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    2. Next we are going to remove the plastic covers that protect the electronicsand the 3-way toggle switch. You will need a small screwdriver for this.

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    Here are the paths the 3-way switch, pickups, and ground wires will take. Noticethe holes in the body all lead to the main electronics compartment on the right.

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    3. Next, you are going to unscrew the pickups, 3-way switch, and output jack.

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    4. Cut the wires from the pots. Here is what you have left. You have 2 wiresfrom the pickups (each with a hot and ground), a wire from the 3-way switch(with 2 wires, and a switch ground), a wire from the output jack that goes to the3-way switch (with a hot and ground), and also a bridge ground wire. If you wantto keep the existing wires and pickups in your guitar, then leave these in place.If you want to change them, then just pull them out of the body cavity.

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    Here is how the output jack wire and switch wire connects to the 3-way switch.Notice that wire A has a hot and ground, and wire B has 2 hot wires and aground. In this example, the output jacks ground wire connects to the 3-wayswitch ground lug in wire A. There is also a ground wire located in the otherwire (B) which connects the switch ground to a volume potentiometer case,allowing all the ground wires to connect together. Often, the output jacks

    ground wire just connects to the closest volume potentiometer case. Either wayworks. The main thing to remember is that all the ground wires need to beconnected to one another.

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    The cover is ready to be put back on.

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    If you have a 4-wire humbucking pickup (four wires plus a ground wire), then you willneed to connect the two finish, or series wires together, unless you plan on hotrodding your guitar. Once the finish wires are connected, they will form a series link,

    which will boost the output. This will leave you with a hot wire that goes to the volumepot, and 2 ground wires that go to the volume pot case. The diagram on the next pageshows a humbucker that uses the same wire color codes as a Seymour Duncanpickup. Black is hot (+), green is ground (-), red and white for the series link, and theremaining bare wire always goes to ground.

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    Here is a pickup that uses the same color codes as Seymour Duncan pickups.On the top coil, black is the start wire, and white is the finish wire. On thebottom coil, green is the start wire, and red is the finish wire. The red and whitewires form the series link. Often, these are described as A, B, C, and D.

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    Here is a wiring diagram with a 4-wire Gibson pickup. The red wire is the start,black is the finish, and the white and green wires are soldered together to formthe series link. The bare grey wire goes to ground.

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    Here are some of the common color codes for 4-wire conductor pickups.

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    Here is a beautiful custom paint job from John Gleneicki. If you plan on painting

    your Les Paul, be sure to check out www.paintyourownguitar.comto learnhow to do it right.

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    Almost every guitar has some type of switch on it. They are essential for turningelectronics on and off. So if you are going to be doing any type of wiring on yourguitar, then you are going to have to know your way around switching. Most switches

    on Les Paul guitars will be either straight up or right angle toggle switches. Below areexamples of both. Each switch has 5 lugs, with one of them being a ground. Eachswitch also has six pieces of plastic that separate the lugs. Note: The right angleswitch has its inner two lugs on the top part of the switch.

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    Notice the ground lugs and how they can be located on different sides of theswitch. The ground lug is the thickest metal lug on the toggle switch.

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    As you can see, both types of switches are setup with the same four lugs andan additional ground lug.

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    In the diagram below, A and B are the two pickups (B is usually the neckpickup), G is the ground wire, and O is the hot output wire. The middle two lugshave been soldered together, so that both pickups remain on when the selectorswitch is in the middle position.

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    Lets look at how these switches work.Gibson style 3-way toggle switches, forexample, have 3 or 4 lugs and can turn on 2 separate devices at the same time(pickup 1 on, both on, pickup 2 on). Check out the Gibson style toggle switch on thenext page. Wiring them is fairly simple. You have two inputs and two outputs. Theground wire gets soldered to the thickest lug on the front or back of the switch. Youwill need to solder the middle two output lugs together if you want to turn on bothpickups when the switch is in the middle position.

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    In the middle position, all lugs are touching one another, sending the hot signalthroughout the switch. Both pickups are on.

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    In this next example, the right two lugs are touching, completing the circuit. Thepickup on the right is on, and the other is off.

    This example shows what happens when the opposite side is turned on. The leftpickup is now on.

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    If your switch has 5 lugs and a ground, you can wire a 3 pickup Les Paul likethis. N goes to the neck pickup volume pot, M goes to the middle pickup volumepot, B goes to the bridge pickup volume pot, and G goes to ground. The O goesto the output jack hot lug. Also solder the inner two lugs together, just like in anormal 3-way Gibson style toggle switch.

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    Some Gibson style toggle switches only have three lugs, but still work inthe same manner as a four prong toggle switch. On the next page youcan see that he ground lug is on the opposite side of the switch.

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  • 8/9/2019 LP Wiring Diagrams


  • 8/9/2019 LP Wiring Diagrams



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  • 8/9/2019 LP Wiring Diagrams



    There are a few other types of 3-way mini toggle switches that can be useful in yourguitar wiring. Below is anon/off/on DPDT center-off switch.It is the same as the on-on mini toggle switch with an additional stop in between the left and right settings. Themiddle position cuts the power. So it is an on-off-on switch. Here is what it looks like.

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    The next 3-way mini toggle switch is an on/on/on DPDT center-on switch. It is usedfor series/parallel switching, coil cutting, and phase reversal. It turns on the top left lugsand bottom right lugs while in the middle position.

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    UNDERSTANDING VARITONE/ROTARY SWITCHESThe next switch we are going to discuss is the Varitone, or rotary switch withthe chicken head knob. This switch allows you to dial in specific tones for eachsetting, and eliminates any guesswork associated with the subtlety of tonepotentiometers. This type of switch has 6 settings for 6 different tones. The first

    tone is usually clean, so that leaves 5 other tones to chose from. These 5 toneswill be determined by the size of the capacitor that gets soldered to each lug onthe rotary switch. These switches are very easy to wire. Just solder capacitorsto certain lugs on the Varitone switch, and then connect the open ends of thecapacitors together. Send the signal out to the output jack and also connect aground wire to the common lug in the middle of the switch.

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    Below are some capacitor values that have be used on the Gibson 345 Lucilleguitar. These values are measured in microfarads. The bigger capacitors willgive you a muddier sound. You can experiment to find the tones you want byusing different capacitor values.

    LUG 6 - 0.22 FLUG 5 - 0.03 FLUG 4 - 0.01 FLUG 3 - 0.003 FLUG 2 - 0.001 FLUG 1 - no capacitor (clean sound)

    Here is how you install a Varitone. First, drill a hole in the guitar body. Theninstall the Varitone switch. Mark on the switch which lugs you will be using.When you look at the side of the switch, you can see which lug is in use. Thisparticular switch has 12 lugs (6 per pole). We will only be soldering capacitors

    to 5 of these lugs, so turn the switch through all 6 positions, and notice whichlug is completing the circuit in each setting. Then you will know which 5 lugsneed to have capacitors soldered to them. One out of those 6 settings is leftopen, so it yields a clean, unaltered sound.

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    Here are the lugs that we will be using.

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    Here are the ceramic capacitors that I chose for this project. I wanted a muddiersound, so I used a 0.1 uF capacitor as the largest cap.

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    Now solder one end of each capacitor to one of the lugs on the Varitone switch.Solder them in ascending order.

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    Now solder all of the open ends of the capacitors together. These will besoldered to a wire that connects to the hot lug on the output jack.

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    Solder the ground wire. It attaches to the common lug in the middle of theVaritone switch, closest to the lugs you just soldered. From there, it getssoldered to the bottom of one of the volume or tone pots. In other words, it getsconnected to ground.

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    Here is the output jack with two wires connected to the hot lug.

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    Here is what the finished wiring looks like on a Les Paul. Connect therotary switch to the hot output jack lug and also send it to ground.

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    Here is a 2 level rotary switch with 4 poles (2 poles per level). You can wirethe most complicated schematics with this type of switch.

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    Question: How do you wire a PRS style Les Paul? The PRS wiring with two 4-wirehumbuckers and one 2-wire pickup will yield some useful series/parallel/coil cutsounds. The 6-way rotary switch has a top half (A) and a bottom half (B) that areshown in the diagram. There will also be a master volume and master tone control.Here is what you can expect with this setup:

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    PUSH PULL POTENTIOMETERSA push pull potentiometer is basically a combination of a DPDT on-on mini toggleswitch and a potentiometer. This type of pot is designed to conserve space inside yourguitar. Otherwise, you would need to drill a hole in your body to add a mini toggleswitch. Think of it like a separate potentiometer, and a separate DPDT ON/ON toggleswitch stuck together. When the knob is in the up position, it turns on the top 4 lugs.Note: there are two poles, or channels in each push pull pot (left 3 lugs and right 3lugs). So in the diagram below, the black lugs are on (top 4 lugs), but the left and rightsides are not connected to each other. For more info on DPDT ON/ON switches,check out the section on switches.

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    When the knob is in the down position, it turns on the bottom 4 lugs.

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    What are capacitors and what do they do? A basic capacitors, or condenser,are made up of two isolated conductors (separated by a non-conductive substance, ordielectric) that stores and release energy, similar to a battery in some ways. When

    there is a difference in the value of each conductor, then the capacitor charges up.When the value is equal on both conductors, it discharges and quickly releaseselectrons back into the circuit. So what does all of this mean to a musician? It means acapacitor can actually resonate the signal, or smooth out the fluctuations in the signal,making it appear like the signal came from a smooth and constant source. Thatsimportant in all types of electronic devices, including amplifiers. But what about guitarcaps?

    In guitar wiring, capacitors are unique in that they release only the highest frequenciesout to ground, and keep the lower tones in the circuit. Basically, capacitors make thetone of the guitar muddier, because the lower tones are not able to pass through thecapacitor. Guitar caps nowadays are smaller, cheaper, and pretty accurate for their

    size. They are measured in units called farads. The guitar capacitors cutofffrequency is measured in microfarads represented by the symbol uF or MFD. Thebigger the number, the more bass your guitar will have when the cap is connected to atone control.

    In the diagram below, the electrons fill up on the negative conductor. Once thatconductor is full, the electrons discharge and flow to the positive conductor. Theelectrons then enter back into the circuit. The dielectric is the non-conductive materialbetween the 2 conductor plates. In guitar electronics, the non-polarized capacitorsused will have wires that can be either the positive or negative lead.

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    Lets get back to the guitars tone. Probably one of the easiest mods used to changeyour guitars sound is to change the capacitor. I am not just talking about adding moreor less bass to the sound, but actually changing your guitars character. For this task,you are not going to need just any capacitor, but a vintage style one. The vintagecapacitors are considered to be less harsh sounding than the new caps on the markettoday, and are getting a lot of attention as of late. Luckily, there are companies that

    make replica capacitors, and they are pretty close to the ones from the 50s and 60s.

    First a little history. The .047uF Bumble Bee capacitors, painted like a bee, are theholy grail of caps. They sound smooth and creamy, partly do to their oil content.These were used in guitars, TVs, and even stereos. You can also look for the BlackBeauty Spragues, which work well in most guitars.

    Fender used Cornell-Dubilier brand .05uF/150v and .10uF/150v wax coated caps in allof the premier instruments from 1950 to 1961 (Tele, Strat, Jazz, Precision andJazzmaster {.02uF and .03uF}). The student models used the cheaper Astron TypeAM capacitors in a 200v size from the amplifier assembly line. In 1961 they switchedall lines to lower voltage ceramic caps from a variety of manufacturers.

    Gibson used Cornell-Dubilier brand .02uF/400v Grey Tiger caps from the late 40s until1956, when they switched over to the Sprague made .022/400v Bumblebee Telecaps.These were replaced in 1960 with the Sprague .02uF/50v ceramic discs. Although theSprague .022/400v Black Beauty Telecaps do turn up in some high end models, theywere used exclusively in the re-launched Les Paul guitars in 68 and 69.

    Many people, especially Ebay sellers, will try to sell other kinds of capacitors asgenuine, but often they are taking advantage of the gullible, or un-educated. Theoriginal equipment manufacturers of the day ordered parts in large quantities to savemoney, so the types of capacitors used are fairly easy to keep track of over the courseof the years. Genuine vintage caps are very hard to find. But a few lucky sellers do get

    their hands on them every now and then.

    Back to the Bumblebee caps. The Bumblebee sound comes from the minutely slowerresponse caused by the combination of large plates and the oil-soaked dielectricpaper. They are a dry cap, unlike the Vitamin Q type caps, which have a very warmand creamy sound due in part to the foil and dielectric floating in a bath of oil inside themetal canister.

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    The holy grail of all capacitors, the Sprague Bumblebee .022 MFD 400V. Thesecapacitors have axial leads, or metal wires that come out of each end of thecap. You can buy them online here:


    Here are some Sprague Black Beauties, also available from the seller above.

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    Here are some rare .02 MFD 400V waxed capacitors used by Gibson in the1940s and 1950s.

    This is a nice 02 MFD 600V Pyramid capacitor for the 1950s.

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    Sprague oil in paper Vitamin Q caps from the 1950s. These are .033 MFD and300V.

    Sprague Tan Beauties from the 1960s. These are .022 MFD 100V caps.

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    If you are looking for some good replica capacitors that are pretty much thesame as the ones used on the guitars from the 1950s and 1960s, then you needto checkout Luxe Radio & Musical Instrument Co. They have the best selectionof reproduction capacitors and resistors.


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    What types of capacitors are used in most guitars today?Most guitars will either have ceramic disc caps, polyester caps, or polypropylenecaps measured in .020uF to .050uF (Microfarads, MFD). The bright orange dropcapacitors with the hockey stick leads are good examples of polypropylene caps thathave a nice, warm, rich tone. These caps also have a higher tolerance than thepolyester caps, which are very inexpensive. You can see the polyester capacitors in alot of import guitars. The ceramic disc caps work pretty well, and can be used forhigher frequencies. They are known to be pretty dependable.

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    What does a treble bleed kit do? Capacitors only let the higher frequencies passthrough them. So the treble bleed kit is going to take the high tones out of the circuit atthe volume pot, and then throw them back in the circuit as the signal leaves thevolume pot. This prevents the treble from naturally bleeding out of the potentiometeras you turn down the volume. This is often seen in Fender Telecaster wiring. Some ofthe vintage treble bleeds also add a small resistor to the capacitor, as shown in theexample on the next page. A common example of a treble bleed is a .001uF capacitor

    combines with a 100K carbon resistor.

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    Does the capacitor voltage matter? A guitar circuit only uses a few volts or less,so a small capacitor is all that is required. Tthe voltage can make a tone differencethough. The higher the voltage, the higher the ceiling of the tone cap. Gibsonengineers preferred the 400 volt caps, never using the 200 volt versions, while Fenderalways used the lowest voltage available from their suppliers. A larger cap of 600 volts,or more, can also give the impression of increased capacitance, swallowing up more

    signal than you might want it to.

    Do some capacitors have polarity?Paper-in-oil, wax, mica, ceramic, film,polyester and polypropylene capacitors have zero polarity. Only electrolytic caps havea specific polarity, and they should never be used in a guitar anyway. They have apositive side and a negative side. Electrolytic capacitors are marked with an outsidefoil band or (-) symbol which is meant to be wired to ground, and that is for noisereduction in most radios and amplifiers. Electrolytic caps are filled with a liquid, andthey can actually explode if they are wired the wrong way. So if you ever use them,the negative side will be marked with a line, or a (-) sign, and will have a shorter leadthan the positive side.

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    What do the colors on a Bumblebee capacitor mean? Here is an old Spraguechart. This chart is in micro-microfarads, so you have to move the decimal point 6places to the left to get the regular mfd number. A classic Gibson style bumblebee islabelled: Red-Red-Orange-Gray-Yellow so it translates out to 22 times 1000 (22000micro-microfarads {mmF or pF}) which is .022uF, and the grey band is actually black,standing for 20% tolerance, and the yellow marks a 400 volt rating. Check out the

    Sprague chart below.

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    Do capacitors degrade over time? Yes they do. Paper and ceramic capacitorsoften age poorly and can be damaged by high heat, but other types like plastic filmcapacitors are pretty stable and age well.

    What does the inside of a capacitor look like? Below are some capacitors thathave been cut in half. It is easy to see the dielectric in the ceramic disk cap. Below theceramic disk capacitor is a polypropylene cap.

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    The pros rarely play stock guitars like you or me. They usually incorporate some type ofmodification to their guitars to get out more useable sounds. I am going to show yousome of the hot rod techniques that are both inexpensive and easy to do.


    A momentary, or non-latching switch, is a special type of on/off button that connects toyour volume pot. When you push it in, the power is off. When you release, the powergoes back to the on position. Although this switch is not very practical as an on/offswitch, it is useful for achieving a special type of effect made popular by the guitarist,Buckethead. This effect is achieved by pressing the button rather quickly while playingaround on the neck with your other hand. If you search around on youtube.com, you willfind a bunch of Buckethead solos, demonstrating this interesting technique.

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    Just send the middle lug to the hot output jack lug. The lug next to itgoes to ground on one of the potentiometer cases.

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    PHASE REVERSAL SWITCHESAnother way to utilize mini toggle switches involves phase switching. When youchange the phase of a pickup, you are changing the direction of the electrical currentflowing through the copper wires. Most pickups are wired to be in-phase with eachother, causing their signals to move in the same direction. If a pickup is out of phasewith itself, or another pickup, the signal will be moving in different directions in eachcoil, or each pickup. So at least two coils or pickups are needed to get a thinner, out ofphase sound. The out of phase sound also has a lower output. Keep in mind that outof phase single coil pickups can sometimes produce an unwanted noise, or hum,called 60 cycle hum.Note: if you have two pickups that are out of phase with eachother, and one of them has a reverse polarity, then you basically have a humbuckingpickup configuration with no hum.

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    Here are two coils wired to be in phase. This is typical for most single coilguitars.

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    Here are two single coils wound to be in phase and humbucking. The coils are actuallyout of phase with each other, but by having a reverse polarity on one of the coils, thesignal gets put back in phase. This type of wiring is similar to a humbucking pickupwired in parallel.

    Type this address in your web browser to hear two pickups in phase andhumbucking due to the reverse wound/reverse polarity of one of thepickups.


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    Here are two single coils wound to be out of phase.

    Type this address in your web browser to hear two coils out of phase witheach other due to one of the coils being reverse wound, yet both havingthe same polarity. The sound is thin, lacking bass and midrange, andsounds similar to certain types of acoustic guitars.


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    Here are some pictures of the polarity being tested on a strat with reversewound/reverse polarity pickups. The polarity tester can be purchased fromstewmac.com for a few bucks. The white side up on the neck pickup means northpolarity.

    The black side up on the middle pickup means south polarity.

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    You can wire your Les Paul this way to send the bridge pickup in and out of phase withthe neck pickup. To make this wiring work, the push pull pot receives the signal frompickup 2 before sending it out to the 3-way switch. Keep in mind, a push pot is just apotentiometer with a mini toggle switch stuck to it.

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    Here is the in phase/out of phase wiring on a 4-wire, or 4 conductor humbuckingpickup (4 colored wires plus a bare ground wire). Another pickup will need to be on atthe same time in order to get an out of phase sound between two pickups. A simpleon/on mini toggle switch or push pull pot is all you need.This diagram uses the samecolor codes as a Seymour Duncan pickup. Black is hot, green is ground, and red andwhite form the series link.

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    If you have a 4-wire humbucker, and want each coil to go in and out of phase withitself, then the on/on switch wiring would look like this. The unshielded grey wire andthe green (-) wire both go to ground. The hot wire leaving the mini toggle goes to thepickup selector switch, just like a normal 2-wire pickup. This diagram uses the samecolor codes as a Seymour Duncan pickup. Black is hot, green is ground, and red andwhite form the series link.

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    SERIES/PARALLEL WIRINGIf you are looking to get more volume and midrange out of your pickups, you mightwant to try adding a series/parallel switch to your setup. Parallel wiring between twopickups is probably what you are used to by now. It's used in most guitars to addclarity to the sound. Series wiring is a little different. It produces a longer path withmore resistance. This additional resistance prevents the higher tones from gettingthrough the circuit, and allows more low/midrange tones to get through. In serieswiring, the output of one pickup goes into the input of another pickup. In parallel wiring,each pickup takes its own path to the output.

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    Here is a Les Paul style guitar with the series/parallel wiring. When both pickups areon, just pull out the treble tone push pull pot, and it will switch both pickups to be inseries with one another. Push it back down for parallel wiring. All potentiometer caseswill have ground wires soldered to them, including the push pull pot.

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    If you have a 4-wire humbucker on your guitar, then you can add a series/parallelon/on mini toggle switch like this. Another pickup needs to be on in order to get theseries wiring between the two pickups. The hot wire leaving the mini toggle goes to thepickup selector switch, just like a normal 2-wire pickup. This diagram uses the samecolor codes as a Seymour Duncan pickup. Black is hot, green is ground, and red andwhite form the series link.

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    If you want each coil in each humbucker to switch from series to parallel wiring,then the connections would look like this. The unshielded grey wire goes toground. This example also uses an on/on DPDT mini toggle switch. Thisdiagram uses the same color codes as a Seymour Duncan pickup. Black is hot,green is ground, and red and white form the series link.

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    COIL TAP/COIL CUTTING WITH A MINI TOGGLEBy far one of the most useful guitar hot rod techniques is coil cutting. It gives youthe benefits of both worlds. With a 4-wire pickup you can create a strat sound and ales paul sound at the flick of a switch. Note: coil cutting is often referred to as coiltapping.Coil tapping, however, involves single coil pickups that have 2 leads and aground wire. Basically, the coil tapped pickup is wound halfway, and then a lead isadded. Then it is wound the rest of the way and another lead is added. Below is adiagram of a coil tapped pickup hooked up to an on/on mini toggle switch. Thesepickups are hard to find, especially since most sellers use the term "coil tappedpickups" to actually describe "coil cut pickups."

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    COIL CUTTINGis fairly easy to do with an on/on/on mini toggle switchor push pullpot and a 4-wire humbucker. This setup will yield three different tones: north coil on,both coils on, and south coil on. Only two wires exit the on/on/on switch, a hot lead,and a ground lead. So it can be wired just like any 2 wire pickup once the signal leavesthe switch. The bare ground wire also goes to ground.This diagram uses the samecolor codes as a Seymour Duncan pickup. Black is hot, green is ground, and red and

    white form the series link.

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    Here is a two humbucker guitar wired with two on/on/on mini toggle switches. This setuphas a ton of useful tone options. A hot wire and a ground wire exit out of each mini toggleswitch.This diagram uses the same color codes as a Seymour Duncan pickup. Black ishot (+), green is ground (-), and red and white form the series link. A black ground wiresalso exits out of the mini toggle switch and goes to the volume pot case.

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  • 8/9/2019 LP Wiring Diagrams



    If you want to throw a few mods together on a 4-wire humbucker, then try this. Its anon/on/ontoggle that switches between series wiring, coil cutting, and parallel wiring. Thebare grey wire and the black wire go to ground. The hot wire leaving the toggle goes to thepickup selector switch, just like a normal 2-wire pickup. The color codes are the same as aSeymour Duncan humbucker pickup. The black wire from the pickup is hot, green isground, and the red and white wires form the series link.

    Type this address in your web browser to hear this coil cut humbucker pickup. The firsttone is the humbucker in series, the second tone is the pickup with one coil on, and thethird tone is the humbucker in parallel.


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    Add a phase a reversal switch to the mix, and the wiring looks like this. The top minitoggle switch isan on/on/onseries/coil cut/parallel switch. The bottom toggle switch isanon/onphase reversal switch. You need two pickups on in order for the bottomswitch to change the phase. The bare grey wire goes to ground. The hot wire leavingthe on/on switch goes to the pickup selector switch, just like any normal 2-wire pickup.This pickup uses the same color codes as a Seymour Duncan pickup.

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    If you want to cut the coils on your humbucking pickup, but dont want to alter theappearance of your guitar, you can use a push/pull pot instead of a mini toggle switchto change from a humbucking pickup to a single coil pickup. The push pull pot isbasically an on/on switch (NOT an on/on/on switch) connected to a potentiometer, soyou get only two selections with this setup (humbucking or single coil). The diagrambelow uses the same color codes as a Seymour Duncan pickup. Black is the hot wire,green is the ground wire, the red and white wires form the series link, and the baregrey wire goes to ground. You are left with one wire exiting the push pull potentiometerthat also goes to ground. The top part of the push pull pot, or the actual potentiometer,can be connected just like any normal volume or tone potentiometer.Note: if you dontknow which coil is the north coil, then you can buy a polarity tester from stewmac.comto find out which coil is north, and which coil is south.

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    The wiring is a little different if you want to go from both coils on, to the south coil on.The hot wire from the pickup (black in this case) goes to the middle lug on the switchsection of the push pull pot. Another wire connects to that same location and goes outto the pickup selector switch, where that pickup would normally be connected to. Thediagram below uses the same color codes as a Seymour Duncan pickup. Black is thehot wire, green is the ground wire, the red and white wires form the series link, and the

    bare grey wire also goes to ground.

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    Next we are going to connect two 4-wire humbuckers to one push pull potentiometer.The on/on dpdt switch section of this potentiometer has two poles, one on the left, andone on the right, so it is easy to solder one pickups connections to one pole, and theother pickups connections to the other pole. In the example below, when the coil cutswitch is turned on, the north coil will be on in the pickup on the left, and the south coilwill be on in the pickup on the right. If you wanted the north coil to be on in both

    pickups in the coil cut position, then each pole would have the same connections, ormirror each other, but each side would be connected to a different pickup. By knowingwhich poles are north and south, you can arrange the coil cut switch to turn on anycombination of coils (outside coils on, inside coils on, north coils on, or south coils on).You can easily mix pickups from different brands with this setup. Notice that thepickup on the left has a hot wire that exits out to the pickup selector switch, and the hotwire from the pickup on the right exits out of the middle lug on the toggle switch, andthen connects to the pickup selector switch. The 4 ground wires will go to the volumepot case. The diagram below uses the same color codes as a Seymour Duncanpickup. Black is the hot wire, green is the ground wire, the red and white wires form theseries link, and the bare grey wire goes to ground.

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    Type this address in your web browser to hear this coil cut humbucking pickup. Thefirst tone is the north coil on, the second tone is both coils on, and the third tone is thesouth coil on. The north coil is closest to the neck in this pickup.


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    KILL SWITCHHere is a simple kill switch. It will allow you to turn off your guitar quickly withoutmessing with the volume control. It uses an on/on mini toggle switch that connects thevolume pot to the output jack.

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    CUSTOM 2 POT GUITAR WITH MINI TOGGLESOn the next page is a custom wiring diagram for a 2 pickup guitar. Each pickup is coilcut with an on/on/on mini toggle switch, giving you three selections for each pickup(north coil on, both coils on, and south coil on). The tone control is also a phasereversal push-pull potentiometer, so when both pickups are on, you can also get anout of phase sound. This guitar has Seymour Duncan pickups, so the black wire is hot,green is negative, and red and white wires form the series link. The bare ground wiresfrom the pickups will be sent to ground. The .001 uF treble bleed capacitor on thevolume pot is optional. It functions as a high pass filter and prevents the highs frombleeding out. Check out this webpage for a large color picture of the diagram on thenext page:


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    Separate each of the pickup wires and connect them to the on/on/on mini toggleswitches. The red and white wires on this pickup form the series link.

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    JIMMY PAGE WIRINGBelow is the famous Jimmy Page wiring. Keep in mind, this is just one example, if youcheck online, you will probably find 20 different ways to wire a Jimmy Page guitar.Basically, you have two push pull pots that allow you to coil cut each humbucker. Plus,when the switch is in the middle position, both pickups will be out of phase with eachanother. The color codes below are the same as a Seymour Duncan pickup.

    The black wires (+) from the pickups are hot, green (-) is ground, and the red and whitewires form the series link. The grey bare wires also go to ground. Notice that the green

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    ground wire (-) from pickup 2 gets soldered to the tone 2 (T2) push pull pot. Normallythe hot black wire (+) would get soldered there. Switching them around on pickup 2 willgive you an out of phase sound when both pickups are switched on. Also notice that allof the pots are connected to ground, even the push pull pot case.

    Type this address in your web browser to see a larger diagram in color.


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    Question: Which lug on the output jack is hot, and which lug is a ground?There are two lugs on a mono output jack. One of them is attached to the prong.That one is hot. Sometimes the hot lug also has a different shape, and can benotched.

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    If you are using active pickups, or a preamp inside your guitar, then you willprobably need to use a stereo output jack. It has one additional lug that connects tothe 9 volt battery. When the guitar is unplugged, the battery is turned off.

    Question: What do the colors on the wires mean?You have probably noticed by now that most hot wires on a guitar are colored, likewhite, red, or yellow, and most ground wires are black. Although most pickupcompanies do not use the same color codes, most ground wires on a 2 wire pickupwill be black. You should check with the manufacturer to see what color codes yourpickups use, especially when using 4-wire conductor pickups.

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    Question: Which pickups have more unwanted noise, single coil, or doublecoil?This problem, called 60 cycle hum, is common among single coil pickups. It occurswhen the pickup basically picks up interference from an alternating current that isnearby, like from a computer or TV. Proper grounding and proper wire shieldingcan reduce this unwanted noise. Humbucking pickups have less noise, due to thein phase, in series wiring, but also have less treble. Many guitarists prefer singlecoils for their vintage guitar sound, and humbuckers for their powerful rock sound.

    Question: Do you have any soldering tips?There are 2 common ways to solder. One way involves adding solder to all of the lugsand wires before doing the actual soldering. The other way works great if you have thestiffer vintage style wire covered in cloth. Just pull back on the cloth to expose thewire, then put the wire in the potentiometer lug hole or switch lug hole, and touch thesoldering iron, wire, and solder to each other. Most switch and potentiometer lugshave holes in them that 22 gauge wires can fit into easily.

    Question: What is one way to prevent electrical shock?Getting shocked while playing guitar is the result of faulty wiring, not necessarily inyour guitar, but in the outlets that your equipment is plugged into. Faulty wiring hasbeen a problem at some clubs. It all depends on who does the wiring, and if theyknow what they are doing. One way to protect yourself is to get an AEMC OutletTester. It can detect faulty wiring in three-wire receptacles, open grounds & neutrals,and reversed hot/ground connections. You can get one at Amazon.com. You canalso get a wireless system for your guitar to increase your protection.

    Or you can add a .022 capacitor and a 220K Ohms resistor in between the bridgeground and volume pot case to reduce DC current. Check out the diagram on thenext page.

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    Question: What is the cheapest way to change the sound of my guitar?Change the pickup height. The closer the pickups are to the strings, the stronger thesignal. The farther away they are, the weaker the signal. If your pickups are too close tothe strings, they can sound too thick and distorted. Or you can just change the stringson your guitar. The thicker the strings will give you a warmer sound. Or change thepotentiometers. Higher value pots like a 500K or 1 Meg will give you a brighter sound.

    Most Les Pauls currently use 500K pots. Last but not least, change the capacitor onyour tone control. A stronger capacitor will give you a muddier sound with more bass.

    Question: What effect do magnets have on a pickup?Basically, the stronger the magnet, the stronger the pull is on the strings. The strongermagnetic field will slow down the string vibrations and give your pickups a warmer sound.Weaker magnets will pull less, and give you a brighter sound. To test this out, raise yourneck pickup so it almost touches the strings. Notice how the sound is muddier thanusual?

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    Question: What is impedance?Impedance is the resistance in a circuit, and can affect the tone qualities of a guitarpickup. Adding more resistance in a circuit will cause a boost in volume, midrange, andbass levels. This is one reason why humbuckers, which are wired in series, have a fat,powerful sound.

    Question: What is an active pickup?It is a pickup that has its own preamp to boost the gain and volume, while reducingunwanted noise associated with passive pickups. EMG 81 or 85 pickups, which areplayed by many rock bands, are good examples of some popular active pickups.Active pickups also need their own power source, like a 9 volt battery.

    Question: What type of wire is used in guitar electronics?Most pickups are wound using a very thin wire, 42 or 43 gauge copper wire. Its aboutas thick as hair. The actual wiring harnesses use 22 gauge wire with a braided, orteflon shield. The picture below is a rather large spool of 42 gauge pickup wire.

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    Question: How do you wire guitar that has only one 2-wire pickup?Below is a basic wiring diagram using one humbucker, or one single coil pickup. Youcan use this with either the bridge or neck pickup. The pickup will have a volume andtone control. You can actually get plenty of good sounds out of this setup. If you wantto play around with the tone, you can use a stronger or weaker capacitor. Adding a

    stronger capacitor sends more treble to the ground, and gives you more bass tones.

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    Question: How do you use a multimeter?Multimeters can be used to check the resistance of pickups, potentiometers, leads,and speakers. If you need to know how "hot" a pickup is, then just connect eachmultimeter lead to the hot and ground pickup wire, and take a reading. Make sure themultimeter is set to the 20K Ohms setting (2K - 20K range). The pickup shown on the

    next page came in at around 5.76K Ohms. If you don't get a reading, then the pickupneeds repair. Hot pickups are usually 10-15K Ohms. The hotter a pickup is, the morevolume, bass, and midrange it will have. Lower impedance pickups (5K 6K Ohms)will have a broader range, and more sparkle, but a lower volume.

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    Is your tone or volume pot working? Check it out by placing a multimeter lead on thetwo end lugs. If you have a 250K pot, then you can expect a reading around 230K -260K.

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    Type these addresses in your web browser to hear these pickup wiring options.

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    Question: Where can I get good guitar parts and information? Here are somegreat places to find guitar bodies, necks, switches, pots, wires, pickups, and more.

    http://www.smallbearelec.com/home.html Tons of parts, and cheap prices, too.

    http://www.stewmac.com/ They have pretty much everything for the beginner toadvanced luthier.

    http://www.wdmusic.com/ Tons of stuff, even economy parts.

    http://store.guitarfetish.com/ A great source for 4-wire humbuckers, minihumbuckers for strats and teles, preamps you can add inside your guitar, and prettymuch everything else you can think of, even electric guitars.

    http://www.guitarpartsusa.com/ The name says it all. They have everything, evenscrews and pickup winding parts.

    http://www.allparts.com/ Plenty of Fender factory parts and even concentric pots.

    http://www.internationalluthiers.com/electricparts.phpThey have some goodprices on switches and pickups.

    http://www.warmoth.com/ High quality bodies and necks.

    http://stores.ebay.com/Luxe-Guitars Incredible vintage style capacitors. Theysound amazing.

    http://stores.ebay.com/Classic-Clones-Amplification They have the vintage stylecloth wiring. I love this stuff.

    http://stores.ebay.com/musicpartsplus111 Plenty of parts, potentiometers,switches, knobs, etc.

    http://stores.ebay.com/MMTG-Enterprises MMTG has tons of parts.

    http://stores.ebay.com/MetalShopMusic-Guitars-Parts-Amps Amazing necksand bodies, and they also have plenty of parts.

    http://pickguardian.com/ Great source for custom pickguards to fit your favoritepickups. They also have plastic control plates for telecaster guitars.

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    http://stores.ebay.com/Jamerson-Guitars A good source for necks and bodies.

    http://www.noahjames.com/books.html Great book on building guitars and bassesfrom scratch.

    www.stanhinesleypickups.comGreat sounding hand wound pickups for your tele.

    http://www.langcaster.com Great sounding low impedance pickups by Joh Lang.

    http://wamplerpedals.com/ Some great boutique pedals by gear geek, BrianWampler.



    Question: Where can I get hand scatter wound pickups? There is nothing quitelike the tone of a hand scatter wound pickup. You just cant reproduce that type ofsound with a machine made pickup, no matter how much it cost to make. StanHinesley has been doing just this for years. All hand wound in the USA by Stanhimself.Z;*0F /

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    Question: What type of neck causes more string buzz? Basically a shorter neckscale, like a Gibson 24.75, will have less tension and will buzz more than a longerneck, like a 25.5 Fender neck. The longer neck will also have more sustain andclarity. On the other hand, the decreased tension on a Gibson neck makes it a littleeasier to play, which is great if you want to use a heavier gauge of strings.

    Want a low impedance humbucker? Langcaster has come up with the answer, ahumbucking pickup called the Ultimate Lo (pictured above). The Ultimate Lo uses amuch heavier gauge of wire with only a tenth of the number of turns. This makes theinductance 100th that of a conventional pickup. Self-resonance is as high as 56 KHz -way beyond the range of human hearing. The resistance is a mere 120 ohms becauseof fewer turns and thicker wire. Guitarists immediately react with favor upon hearingtheir first chord played on the Ultimate Lo.

    The preamp is designed with discrete transistors, so that an extremely low current isdrawn from the battery. Long battery life is assured, so that the battery lasts almost aslong as its shelf life. No compromise has been made in the output capability, either.

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    The buffer stage has a capability of driving the volume pot to 2.5 Volts RMS, which ishardly ever likely to be required in normal playing. All Langcaster pickups are waxsealed and use a copper/chrome plated pickup cover. There is no loss of powercaused by this cover, which happens often with high impedance pickups.

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    Q FACTOR: High impedance pickups range in self-resonance between 2 KHz to 5KHz with a loaded Q of 0.8 to 4.0 or more. Q is a quality factor which engineers use toexpress bandwidth and is calculated with the formula: Q = f0 BW where BW is thebandwidth of resonance. It is the difference in frequency between the -3dB points ofthe resonant curve. The f0represents the resonant frequency. The Q factor is

    decreased by the resistance loading the coil (the volume and tone pots), and by theseries resistance of the coil itself. A high Q factor gives a peak in the response, whichmay be quite prominent. The peak may even be as high as +12dB. High peaks can beannoying, as they emphasise only a narrow range of the frequency spectrum, but canadd character to a pickup.

    SUMMARY: All this means that the standard high impedance pickup frequencyresponse will be limited by the self-resonant frequency, which can be as low as 1500Hz or possibly as high as 5000 Hz, and is affected by the guitar lead capacitance.After peaking at resonance, the output drops rapidly at 12dB / Octave. This is a limitwell within the audible range, and well within the range where the quality of sound canbe degraded. It is also in the range where the human ear is most sensitive. The self-

    resonance characterises what a pickup will sound like. Of course, the position of thepickup on the body also determines which harmonics are most prevalent. Higherorder harmonics come from the bridge pickup because of the way a string vibrates.Conventional pickup coils are a compromise between output level and tone. There is aneed for a pickup that eliminates these compromises, and builds on quality and tone.One that will eliminate the effect of capacitance of guitar leads. It would be good, too,if the pickup sounds clear and precise. It should not sound too muddy or weak. Itshould make music.

    Question: What is a ground loop? This occurs when you create more than one path

    to ground for a particular electronic device. Ground loops can cause unwanted AChum.

    Question: How hot are vintage sounding pickups?If you want the vintage single coil sound, then you will probably want a pickup that ismeasured at 5K Ohms to 6K Ohms on your Multimeter. This is not really ameasurement of impedance, but a measurement of DC resistance. But bothmeasurements are related. A low DC resistance will yield a lower impedance pickup.And a pickup with low impedance will give you plenty of treble and sparkle in yourtone. The lower resistance is due to less windings of copper wire around the magnets.

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    Now, if you are looking for a hotter pickup with more punch, then you might be lookingfor a pickup rated at 8K Ohms to 9K Ohms. And if you want a very hot, loud pickup, gowith one rated at 10K Ohms to15K Ohms.

    Question: Where can you get vintage style 22 AWG wire? Bookmark this sitehttp://stores.ebay.com/Classic-Clones-Amplification

    This wire is from the same manufacturer that supplied wire to Fender. It has a double-cloth jacket, waxed cotton outer braid, and a celanese inner braid. I love this stuff. It isstiff and bendable; making it a dream to use. It comes in several different colors likered, vintage white, and black, so you can keep your grounds all black and your hots allwhite or red. No need to strip your wires anymore, just pull back on the cloth to exposethe wire. And when you are done soldering, just push the cloth back over the wire.

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    Question: Where can you get a custom made pickguard? Pickguardian.comwillmake you a custom acrylic, plexiglass, or tortoise pickguard or control plate for cheap.They offer a bunch of unusual colors, and can even make clear plastic pickguards andcovers. Check out the example below. Now you can show off your hard work.

    Question: What is desolder braid? A desolder braid, or wick, when heated absorbsold solder left on your switches and potentiometers. So if you reuse electronics partsoften like I do, this stuff will keep your work neat and clean. Once a portion of the braidhas been used to absorb solder, then that part of the braid is used up, and should becut off and thrown away when its cool. Desolder braid can be found everywhereonline.

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    Question: What is heat shrink tubing? Heat shrink tubing is a protective sleeve thatis used to cover wire connections. So lets say you need to extend the length of yourbridge ground, or pickup wire. Put a piece of the tubing over one of the wires. Twistthe two wires together and solder them. Then fold back the bare wires.

    Next, take that same piece of heat shrink tubing, and move it over the openconnection.

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    Now heat up the heat shrink tubing with a lighter. You will see that the tubing startsshrinking rather quickly. Be careful. Dont hold the lighter over the tubing too long, oryou can start a fire.

    Question: Why do some people use shielding in their guitar bodies? Becausethey have a problem with unwanted noise. Conductive shielding paint applied inside of

    the control cavity will help reduce the 60 cycle hum and unwanted noise. If you have aplastic control cover, you can use the conductive tape to shield it. For the body, youcan use the conductive paint. Then solder a ground wire to the dried conductive paintinside the body cavity. If that doesnt work, you can always twist the ground wirearound a wood screw, and then screw it into the body cavity. Make sure you paint alittle bit above the body cavity hole, so that the control cover tape touches theconductive paint inside the body cavity. Stewmac.com sells the paint for $28 a can.

    Question: What are scatter wound pickups? True scatter wound pickups havecopper wire that is hand wound around the pickup bobbin in a random fashion, similar

    to the Fender and Gibson guitars from the 1950s. This type of winding lowers thepickups capacitance, and produces a unique vintage sound that is bright and clear.

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    Scatter winding will also change the pickups inductance, or energy stored in thepickups electromagnetic field. The more inductance, the more low end a pickup willhave, even if it has a low DC resistance like 6K Ohms.

    Question: How do you solder a ground wire to a potentiometer case? If you wantto add a ground wire to a pot, start by heating up the case with your soldering iron for a fewseconds. Then touch the solder to the iron and case at the same time. The solder should flowout onto the case and form a liquid ball. Now remove the iron and solder. In order to solder awire to the case, just touch the soldering iron to the solder you just added, and heat it up until itbecomes a liquid. When it does, touch the ground wire to it, and remove the iron. It should dryin a few seconds.

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    Question: Where can you get real vintage Les Pauls? Some of my favorite shopsfor vintage guitars areKillervintage.comand Elderly.com. Below is a picture of theKiller Vintage shop out of St. Louis, Missouri. One of the guys running the show, DaveHinson, was actually taught by Mel Bay, and has contributed to theE%/'.3" U1%'.#:#%)" U1%=",28 `-1"`**0 *; U1%'.#&> R/ 3/< 0,2 +*5- ,55

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    Question: What is current? Current, which is measured in amps, or amperes, is theamount of ele