3 Pickup Les Paul Rewiring
Old 25th July 2009
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3 Pickup Les Paul Rewiring


I've got an Epiphone Black Beauty that I've had for over a decade, gigged loads and generally used and abused.

I'm about to undertake a renovation mission- wax-pot the pickups (you wouldn't believe how hard it is to find paraffin wax in hardware/DIY shopes around here- and don't ask about bits for a double boiler!!)

Another thing I'd like to do if possible is alter the wiring, as I'm replacing the pots/standard wires and caps.

I'd like to do either of the following-

Push pull pot to bring the middle pickup in and out and have all 3 pickups at once on middle toggle selection

I've found this wiring diagram-

With my limited electrical wiring knowlege (read as next to none!), it looks like the middle pickup in this schematic bypasses the volume/tone and simply goes straight to the tip connector- am I correct?

Or use the push pull pot to alter the phase of the middle pickup, so the middle toggle selection is always 3 pickups. This may not be possible without some risky work though, as I suspect the pickups are only 2 conductor.

The worrying thing is, I can't see any earth wiring going to the sleeve of the jack socket. Does this mean I've been earthing the guitar all these years?


Old 27th July 2009
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Right- think I've got this figured.

There's a 5 tab connector on the toggle switch, which really threw me for a bit, until I found a wiring diagram for it.

I think I need to run a bridging wire from the neck connector to where the middle pickup connects to the switch, then put the push/pull switch into the circuit between the middle pickup and the toggle switch so that way, I can still run the 3 pickups through the bridge volume and tone circuit.

Wish me luck, most of the bits have arrive except the paraffin wax- got to order that this week. Got the stuff to build a double boiler.

I'll post something if I don't burn the flat down when wax-potting the pickups... (oh if I could just afford a set of bare knuckle pickups...)
Old 12th August 2009
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Man- this has been a serious challenge- on my understanding of guitar wiring, my patience with soldering woes and just working out how to solve it.

I think I'm almost there- I've gone back to the standard 3 pickup wiring for a Black Beauty and am going to switch the neck pickup in and out with the output from the Bridge volume pot (wired it to the toggle switch this way)- so I can add the neck in to either the middle selection (bridge and middle pickups) or the bridge- for the classic Les Paul 2 pickup sound (providing it is the middle pickup that is out of phase, and not the bridge- otherwise I'll get the Peter Green sound?!).

Little did I realise that the wiring would be more aggro than re-potting the pickups. That was a doddle in comparison. Seems to have worked a treat, though on my limited testing of wiring the neck straight into the jack socket (was checking I hadn't fried the pickup! Was geting nowt from it when wired to the electronics).

I've been away for a few days (really needed a break as it ate last weekend up!) and I just need to wire the pickups back into the controls and wire the ground to the back of the pots - then I'll know if I will be a satisfied modder or will be giving it my local repair shop...
Old 13th August 2009
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Done it- the guitar is working! Got it right the last time- wire the neck pickup via a switch into the same toggle terminal as the output from the bridge- normal controls on the toggle switch, but I can pull the switch and add the neck pickup either to the bridge/middle or the bridge.

The re-potting seems to have done it's job to- no nasty shrill feedback when I damp the strings on high gain. The guitar sounds a little sweeter than before and the tone is way fatter and smoother with the tone rolled off (thanks to the orange drops, probably).

A very relieved and happy D!
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