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50's Wiring for Gibson Firebird?

Messages
860
I's like to know more about vintage wiring in Gibsons. I have a 2013 Firebird that I'd like to re-wire and am considering doing it 50's style. How does this affect the overall tone and how does it change the interaction with the volume/tone pots and the pickups?

Also does anyone know if Gibson used 300k volume pots in 2013 F-birds? I can't see any values on them when I pop the lid.

BTW, I just got some Duncan SM-1 Vintage Firebird mini-HBs for it and they are some great-sounding pups. In case anyone with a new F-bird was looking for good options to replace the atrocious high output stocks.

Thanks!
 

SPROING!

Member
Messages
8,795
+1 on the Duncan firebirds. Killer pickups.

Here's my take:
With modern wiring, you lose a little high end when you turn the volume down.
With 50s wiring, you lose a little volume when you turn the tone down.

You pick which is least annoying to you.
 

Daka3

Member
Messages
2,133
Don't ask me why, but somewhat contrary to this, my FB brightened up with modern wiring. Also, 500k pots and Jensen PIO caps helped a lot. All of this with Lollar FB pickups. Bear in mind that the wiring and cap changes for me came into play mostly when using the volume controls to control my sound. Lot more treble stays in my signal, especially on the neck PU with modern wiring. YMMW and all that. Good luck.
 

Lewguitar

Senior Member
Messages
5,663
I haven't noticed any loss of volume with the 50's mod. Mostly it just makes things a little clearer and less muddy when I lower the volume control.

Did you know that pretty much all Hamer Guitars were wired with the 50's mod? Those with two volumes and one tone have the tone control attached to the output jack which is electrically identical to this, the 50's mod:
 

pitbull45

Member
Messages
741
Yes the current issue Gibson Firebird has the 300k linear volume pots.

I have Duncan Antiquities in my Bird with the 300k volumes with modern wiring and a lightweight tail piece replacing the stock zinc one - plenty bright for me.

To me 50s wiring works best if you are a guitar, chord, amp kind of player, where you want the amp to really clean up. I find the modern wiring works better for me using pedals for dirt into a cleanish amp. The fifties wiring has a huge volume drop from 9 to 7 on the volume dial - to me it behaves like a Strat/Tele volume. I guess I am just so used to modern wiring
 

Lewguitar

Senior Member
Messages
5,663
And here's a look inside a 50's Les Paul, showing the 50's mod that was stock wiring on many 50's Les Pauls:

 
Messages
860
Yes the current issue Gibson Firebird has the 300k linear volume pots.

I have Duncan Antiquities in my Bird with the 300k volumes with modern wiring and a lightweight tail piece replacing the stock zinc one - plenty bright for me.

To me 50s wiring works best if you are a guitar, chord, amp kind of player, where you want the amp to really clean up. I find the modern wiring works better for me using pedals for dirt into a cleanish amp. The fifties wiring has a huge volume drop from 9 to 7 on the volume dial - to me it behaves like a Strat/Tele volume. I guess I am just so used to modern wiring
That's me. I want the most dynamics possible with just using my volume knob to go from dirty to clean. I don't like to switch channels and I never rely solely on dirt pedals for my gain. I like to use overdrives on already dirty amps for extra oomph. And then roll the volume to get clean(ish) tones. I don't need a pristine clean sound most of the time.

How does everyone feel about treble bleed circuits? I've read that they can make your overall tone brighter. Is it something that can't be compensated for with the tone knobs?
 

Gallery

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
8,290
I just switched to 50's wiring on my Les Paul. What I wasn't aware of before doing this is that the two volume knobs become more interactive. If you are in the middle position (both pickups) volume is no longer independent. The volume on both pickups decreases when you lower one volume knob. I like to be able to customize the blend of both pickups in the middle position so I will be switching back to modern. I can confirm that there is no loss of tone when lowering volume and this is the main pro to 50's style.
 
Messages
860
^^Wow really? I have never read that. The volume knobs not being independent of each other might be a deal breaker for me. I too like to tweak the volume knobs a lot in the middle position for custom tones.
When you say there's no loss of tone when lowering the volume do you mean brightness?
 

Gallery

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
8,290
Yeah most people say they notice a loss in treble when lowering the volume with Modern wiring. Can't say I notice a difference. I plan to go back to Modern wiring. I'm not really digging the 50s style.
 

Gallery

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
8,290
I should also mention that they are not completely dependent but the volume control is not as sensitive and when you turn one volume completely down it cuts out both. You do still have some ability to blend the two pickups but it's not nearly as effective as modern wiring.
 

Chrissy

Member
Messages
974
I have a 90s firebird and put in Duncans (had to get them
potted as they were really microphonic), 500k pots, PIO caps and 50s wiring. Loved each mod - did 'em seperately to hear the difference.
 

thegoochie

Member
Messages
171
Have a firebird with Moore pickups, wired 50's style with 500k pots all around and 22 PIO caps, and I (personally) love it. Its my 99.9% of the time guitar.
 






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