LP Wiring Diagrams

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    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:indyebooks@aol.com

    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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    TABLE OF CONTENTS

    WIRING A LES PAUL 5

    UNDERSTANDING SWITCHES 83

    UNDERSTANDING POTENTIOMETERS 117

    UNDERSTANDING CAPACITORS 131

    HOT ROD TECHNIQUES 146

    QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS 181

    HOW TO MODIFY A BOSS DS-1 PEDAL 216

    ADDING ACTIVE PICKUPS TO YOUR GUITAR 224

    DESIGNING YOUR OWN GUITAR WIRING 238

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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

    electronics.

    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.

    TOOLS FOR THE JOB

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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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