1. The Rules have been updated regarding posting as a business on TGP. Thread with details here: Thread Here
    Dismiss Notice

Les Paul 50s wiring question

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by dewman, Jul 28, 2006.

  1. dewman

    dewman Gold Supporting Member

    Messages:
    5,749
    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2005
    Location:
    NC
    Anyone have a diagram on how to rewire a 90s LP Special to 50s wiring specs? What are the pot and cap values for 50s wiring?
     
  2. fabiomayo

    fabiomayo Member

    Messages:
    172
    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2005
    Location:
    Niteroi - RJ, Brazil
    Got this from a really nice fella over the Les Paul Forum:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I rewired my Epi Sheraton according to the latter.
    It was a considerable improvement IMO. Retaining
    more highs when backing off the volume without
    being overly bright. For me the second layout was
    better cause I like to be able to cut off using only
    one pot in any pickup combination...

    Hope this helps...
     
  3. Junior

    Junior Member

    Messages:
    151
    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2003
    Location:
    Salem
    The independent scheme isn't the fifties Les Paul wiring most people want. In fact, it will produce a greater rolloff in the highs as the volume is turned down. Perhaps it should be called, "Independent Volume Controls with 50's Style Tone Controls".
     
  4. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Member

    Messages:
    1,624
    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2003
    Location:
    Raleigh, NC
    It's nice to be able to blend the front and back pickups with that scheme, but the tradeoff is noise.
     
  5. dewman

    dewman Gold Supporting Member

    Messages:
    5,749
    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2005
    Location:
    NC
    anyone experiment with alternate caps rather than the stock ceramic. I heard hoveland caps are nice, but $$. Any other suggestions: metalized foil vs. tantalum vs. ceramic, vs. poly, etc.???

    dropping some Lollar P90s in the guitar , ordered them over the weekend. Any caps match best with P90s?
     
  6. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Member

    Messages:
    1,624
    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2003
    Location:
    Raleigh, NC
    Hovlands give back the most musical response and smoothness I've heard since the old wax 'n' paper ones! I'm using them in my Classic and Apollo models with CTS 500K/250K pots. I wouldn't have ever thought there could be a noticeable difference, but my ears hear it, and I'm trying NOT to spend more for parts!!!:AOK
     
  7. hipfan

    hipfan Member

    Messages:
    2,302
    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2002
    Location:
    Evanston, IL
    Jack - Just out of curiosity, are you saying that you use 500K volume pots and 250K tone pots on both guitars? Or, are you saying that you use 500K's all around on the Classic and 250K's all around on the Apollo? Sorry to bother, but I'm always interested in other guitarist's electronics selection and the reasons for the choices. Thanks!

    Tony
     
  8. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Member

    Messages:
    1,624
    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2003
    Location:
    Raleigh, NC
    500K for volume and 250 K for tone. I use this combo on all my guitars. Smoothest taper and response from the pots is what I'm looking for and get with this combo.
     
  9. hipfan

    hipfan Member

    Messages:
    2,302
    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2002
    Location:
    Evanston, IL
    Cool, thanks for the info! I'll have to give that a try. I've done it the other way around on some guitars, with mixed results. It makes sense that the smaller range of the 250K pot (0-250K) spread out over the same turning space of a 500K pot with a larger range (0-500K) would lead to enhanced responsiveness and precision. As long as there's enough maximum treble/presence with everything on "10", that is! :AOK
     
  10. Scumback Speakers

    Scumback Speakers Gold Supporting Member

    Messages:
    9,821
    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2003
    Location:
    Los Angeles, Ca
    I can't hear a tonal difference when using a 250K pot for tone vs. a 500k pot. But when you use a 500k pot instead of a 250k or 300k pot for volume, there's a BIG difference in the clarity and output of the guitar.

    I got an ES-333 recently. Gibson puts in 300K pots in the volume section, and 500k pots in the tone section. I'm pretty sure it's a good selling point for the Historic line to show off their better tone over a standard production guitar. And if you spent a mere $5 each on pots to replace the 300K volume pots in the production models (like I just did), you'll get an immediate tone, clarity and output bump.

    The 50's wiring is much nicer than the later 60's wiring they use in the stock production models, too. :AOK
     
  11. George Jetson

    George Jetson Member

    Messages:
    94
    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2006
    Let me know what you find out about the caps for P-90s, I am replacing the OEMs in my Dillion '57 GT Replica w/ Vintage Vibe P-90s. I was thinking of the Hovland musicaps too, they are a whole $1 off ($14.95 for the 0.015µf) right now at RSGw. For my V project, I ordered the 0.02µf monolithic ceramic capacitors (claimed tolerance of +/-2%) from Guitarelectronics. We'll see how well they work when all the other parts are in. :messedup
     
  12. hipfan

    hipfan Member

    Messages:
    2,302
    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2002
    Location:
    Evanston, IL
    Interesting. That surely makes a case for using the 250K on the tone pot, for the greater precision it typically offers over the 500K. Now I'm definitely going to try it!

    Jim - What kind and how hot of pickups are you using when noticing that the tone pot value does not make a tonal difference? Thanks!
     
  13. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Member

    Messages:
    1,624
    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2003
    Location:
    Raleigh, NC

    The other thing is that I use a .022 uf cap. This gives me a tone control with usable range from 10 down to 1, unlike some popular configurations.
     
  14. hipfan

    hipfan Member

    Messages:
    2,302
    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2002
    Location:
    Evanston, IL
    I end up coming back to .022 uf caps also, for most pickups. Jack, which wiring scheme do you prefer with the 500K/250K/.022uf configuration (unless it's a trade secret, that is)?
     
  15. dewman

    dewman Gold Supporting Member

    Messages:
    5,749
    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2005
    Location:
    NC
    Jack thanks for the additional advice...I actually bought the LP Special at Harry's in town in Raleighwood. The guitar used to belong to Pee Wee Watson, Harry's staff member and famous local musician (Nantucket, PKM, 1st generation of Cry of Love w/ Audley Freed, etc.). Good guy and a really nice Special. Got the Lollars coming in a day or so. I'll try the 500/500/0.22 setup first w/ 50s wiring since it will be easy to bang it out, but I have a few 250k pots lying around to try as you indicated. I have found a few new Mallory caps (0.22uF/400V rated) left over from previous amp repairs I have done that I can drop in until I get around to the musicaps, or maybe even those new ones George Alessandro is now making, which are supposed to be like old 50s caps. Little more expensive to go with either cap type, but it's fun swapping them out and seeing what works. Anyone use mallory 150 or Sozo type caps in this application? Or do you guys stick with orangedrop or similar types? I know in amps the mallory's are typically smoother sounding, but that is with 450V cruising through them. May not make a noticeable difference, might. Don't know but will at least play with the caps in hand and the pots and report back once the Lollars come in...
     
  16. hipfan

    hipfan Member

    Messages:
    2,302
    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2002
    Location:
    Evanston, IL
    dewman - Make sure those are.022, not .22.

    .22 would be something less than subtle, for sure. :)
     
  17. dewman

    dewman Gold Supporting Member

    Messages:
    5,749
    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2005
    Location:
    NC
    my bad- just a typo...
     
  18. dewman

    dewman Gold Supporting Member

    Messages:
    5,749
    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2005
    Location:
    NC
    sounds nice..installed the Lollar P90s and swapped the wiring for 50s wiring. Used two mallory 150 0.022ufd caps I had lying around...nice cleans, still playing around to find optimal dirt settings and pedals. these pups sound completely different than the stock P100s that came with my Les Paul Special...thanks guys for the help...
     
  19. skylabfilmpop

    skylabfilmpop Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    539
    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2006
    tone and volume pots are wired in parallel, and follow this formula:
    1 / R = 1 / R1 + 1 / R2. .
    R is the total resistance and R1 and R2 are the two pots. If both pots are 500k the total resistance is

    1 / R = 1 / 500 + 1 /500
    =2/500
    =1/250
    =250k ohms total resistance.

    If you lower the tone pot to 250k the outcome of the equation is

    1 / R = 1 / 500 + 1 /250
    =1/500 +2/500=
    3/500
    =166.66k ohms.

    Like we all know lower value pots reduce high end as does the lower value of the total resistance. Be especially aware of this with 80's era gibsons which have 300k pots and some have 100k tone pots. Leaving the original tone pots in place while changing the volume pots will only do part of the job of opening up the guitars sound, doing both will complete it. Of course some pickups like 70's t-tops and ceramic humbuckers benefit from a little muffling so take that into consideration as well.
     

Share This Page