The Infamous “50’s Wiring” (D.I.Y Tutorial)

50s-wiring

04 Mar The Infamous “50’s Wiring” (D.I.Y Tutorial)

So, I’ve noticed alot of you have been asking Fil the same question that I had been for a while. ” What is the 50’s wiring you’ve been talking about?” Well here I’ll not only show you what it is, I’ll show you how to do it!!! In my research I found that there are more than one 50’s wiring styles. This one, however, is the most common and simple. This will be sort of a two part thing. I’ll show, in the simplest fashion, how to switch your existing wiring to the 50’s style. For me, this wasn’t enough. (I think we’ve learned I can’t leave things “stock” by now :-) ) Next I’ll show how to do a complete “vintage” style rewire.

To explain a little, newer Gibsons like mine (2006) come with thin wiring and VERY SMALL “pill” capacitors. Even after I switched my SG to the 50’s style it didn’t clean up as well as I’d heard and seen in Fil’s video’s. So, off to the guitar geek forums I went. (no offence, I’m one too 😉 ) It was then I found the problem. On top of the sub-quality wiring (as compared to true vintage) Gibson has been using different pot values in the more current Guitars. Mine tested out to be 4OOkΩ for tone pots and 3OOkΩ for volume. So I decided to do a complete rewire with 5OOkΩ pots, thicker cloth covered wire and a more vintage style Oil Filled capacitor. For those of you with even newer models (I believe ’08 and newer) it’s a different ball game. Gibson has been using printed circuit boards. I don’t know if it’s in all new models or just some but if you want the 50’s wiring I believe the complete rewire is the best option.

Part Supply Link: http://www.mojotone.com

Cost: Less than $50 USD

Since I forgot to take a “before” picture of mine, here is my brother-in-law’s 2004 SG. Completely un-molested, stock Gibson new style wiring.

Note that the capacitors connect to the same lug as the hot pickup wire on the volume pot.

Here is my SG after I initially switched to 50’s wiring. Note the new position of the capacitor lead on the vol. pot. Moved to the center lug.

(See how much bigger the control cavity is on the ’04 as compared to my ’06?)

So there’s the simple explanation. Easy as moving a single capicitor lead. Be very careful though. Those cap. leads bend and break very easily. Also be sure not to overheat the components.

The rest of this article will be covering a complete re-wire for the more adventurous of us here.

Here’s the basic tool set for this project. My soldering iron is an adjustable temp. iron. I recommend one like this. You can use the lower setting (20watt) for the smaller things that can easily overheat and the higher (50watt) for bigger things like pickup covers and pot grounds. You need the high heat for pots so you don’t have to heat the back so long that you boil the inside parts. IN-&-OUT fast is what you want.

No matter what gauge solder you use it always should be 60/40 Rosin Core. I use the .032″ dia.

A couple of quick terms for those new to soldering.

TINING: Tining is the main prep for the soldering iron and the wire. For the iron: let it get to full temp and coat the tip with solder. For the wire: use the iron to heat the wire until the solder flows in easily. Tin ALL wires prior to soldering them into place.

De-Solder:The blue tool above is a solder sucker. You NEVER want to reuse solder. This tool will quickly remove the old once heated.

Heat Sink: An object, such as an alligator clip, installed between the solder point and the fragile component to absorb damaging heat during soldering.

For those of you not wanting to hurt your finish this is a simple splat guard made from a cereal box. It only takes about 5 min. to make and install.

So here’s one of the main goals to this rewire. Getting rid of these tiny ceramic pill caps. These are the main reason the “vol clean-up” wasn’t as expected.

The first step is to de-solder all of the pickup leads and the ground wire and push them up out of the way. If you have pickups with identical leads, be sure to mark which was the bridge or neck for re-install later. The one seen here with the multi leads is my Angus sig. pickup. (installed sloppy) 😉

If your knobs don’t easily pull off try this. Any strong shoe string works. Also I recommend making a cover to protect the finish when removing the switch washer.

After removal of the harness. If you are going to re-use any parts (switch, jack, ect…) de-solder them now and set them aside.

Rather than do all of this heavy soldering in the small control cavity. I chose to make this simple template. I used my cavity cover for the outline and simply traced the hole locations. This can be made out of almost anything. I chose 1/4′ plywood for it’s similarity to the guitar material.

Next is to mount your main pieces. Try to get them as close as you can to how they will sit in the cavity. Just use a LITTLEextra wiring to allow some adjustment when you install the harness. The first to do here is to solder the ground lugs to the pot back. Take some sandpaper to lightly sand the pot surface before soldering. This will give the solder more to grab on to.

Here is the example of a heat sink. Placing the clip between the soldering point and the component will reduce the heat reaching the component.

Here is the finished harness on the template. When I do these I try to start with the lowest wires working my way up through the harness. It seems to make it so there’s less in the way. (If wire routs are to hard to see here there are alternate views at my Flickr page. See the link at the end of the post for my account page.)

After the harness has been transferred to the control cavity tighten all of the components down into their final position. Last to do is solder in the pickups and ground wire. Congrats!!!! You’re done and ready to ROCK!!!!

Here’s the before & after for my SG. These caps are oil filled and are specifically made to replicate the “bumblebee” caps used on vintage models.

I took the opportunity to clean up my crappy wiring on the A.Y. Sig. tucking the unused coil-tap wires into the black sleeve.

Here’s the before & after on the bro-in-law’s SG. These caps are a metal film. They are made as a direct replacement for the famous “mustard” caps.

(Note, on both guitars, that Gibson only solders the ground wire to the Neck Tone pot only. Whether it be necessary, or not, I solder it to both neck pots to have a more complete ground loop. I also run the main ground loop separate from the hot input jack wire coming off of the switch, as opposed to the braided shield Gibson used to “combo” the two.)

 

This is the diagram Fil led me to. You can find it at the following link along with some alternate ’50’s versions and others.

http://www.mylespaul.com/forums/tonefreaks/558-wiring-library.html

This is another helpful link for wiring. Seymour Duncan. Many different combos.

http://www.seymourduncan.com/support/wiring-diagrams/

As usual if you have any questions feel free to ask. And again for alternate views and full pic. size, see them here:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/55720588@N03/

 

Until the next post…… 😮

 

avatar
Jon Saxe
ss327@comcast.net

Just here to learn and try to give something back. :) 2006 SG Standard (Heavily Modified) 1978 Marshall 2203 100w Head. (un-molested) Self Built 2x12 cab w/ G12-65's

81 Comments
  • avatar
    cjar
    Posted at 03:20h, 09 June

    Hi Guys,
    Has anyone done this to their LP? And if so what difference did you notice? Do you still have independent use of all your controls?
    Cheers
    Rob

    • avatar
      Ryley
      Posted at 20:34h, 19 December

      Rob, i’ve done this to my les paul. YES i have all the independent use of my controls, the only way you wouldn’t is if something was not wired properly. I notice a bit different in the overall taper and response of the volume and tone pots. Things clean up beautifully and i find you don’t have to turn your volume down to 3 to clean it up. It is more like you turn down to 7 or so to clean it up. Definitely a great modification to look into. Why Gibson stopped wiring their guitars this way, I’ll never know!
      Ryley

  • avatar
    Killakane
    Posted at 22:52h, 26 January

    Hi,

    Has anyone among the SoloDallas bretheren out there removed a PCB from a Gibson LP or SG?

    I want to install a 50s style wiring harness in a 2012 SG Standard and swap out the PCB and stock PUs, I’m curious as to how the PCB is fixed into the control cavity and how simple it is to remove it. All the Gibson’s I’ve owned in the past have been 70s/80s gtr builds, I’ve not encountered one of these PCB jobs and I’m not particularly enamoured with them tbh.

    • avatar
      banane
      Posted at 23:12h, 26 January

      Well, Fil told me he does NOT use 50s wiring in SGs, only in LPs. So I would just get a standard SG wiring kit like hat one fromRS Guitarworks.

      • avatar
        Killakane
        Posted at 13:58h, 27 January

        I’ve already got the parts sorted thanks; a 50’s wiring is schematic is my personal preference for this new SG; I’ve installed a couple of similar harness’s in the past in a Destroyer and SG using BKP CTS 550k pots (with audio tapers on the vol) and Lex Bumblebee and Jenson PIO caps respectively.

        It’s just the PCB I’m concerned about – I’m hoping it’s going to be straightforward enough to remove (bar the obvious pot, jack and toggle switch nuts) without having to contend with some type of Gibson retaining fixture or worse, adhesive.

        • avatar
          06AngusSG
          Posted at 05:17h, 28 January

          If I’m correct your cavity would look similar to this one:

          http://lh5.ggpht.com/_WxLfCCnkMtg/TMPO3HJpD4I/AAAAAAAAEjM/R3XZKB8MSB4/s640/DSCF4557.JPG

          There should be no retainer clips other than the pot retainer nuts under the controls on the front of the guitar.

          Just be carefull whent cutting the plugs off of the end of your pickup leads. Wouldn’t want them to be to short. 😉

          • avatar
            Killakane
            Posted at 18:16h, 28 January

            Thanks for that, greatly appreciated :-)

            I’m taking out the PUs and PCB assembly, so no need to clip the molex connectors – I’m going keep the stock parts intact just in case I ever sell it on etc. Got a BKP Riff Raff bridge and Mule to go in there, this puppy’s going to wail!

      • avatar
        srodax
        Posted at 22:31h, 27 January

        Wow, something new here. I’ve always thought he was praising the 50’s wiring all the time. What changed?

        • avatar
          JaiminhoPagina
          Posted at 18:29h, 29 January

          “50’s wiring” is what came stock on older Les Pauls. Gibson changed to “Modern Wiring” sometime during the 60s. Hence, most SGs originally had modern wiring instead.

          It’s a matter of historical accuracy, so to speak. 😛

          Thing is, LPs have a characteristic high end due to the maple top, so “50s wiring” would retain that even with the volume rolled back. With modern wiring, the added bassiness of its bigger body makes the sound “muddy” to most ears.
          On SGs, instead, it wouldn’t make such a difference because the small Mahogany body makes the sound a lot more midrange focused. Rolling back the volume with 50s wiring on a SG can make the sound a tad too thin if you are not careful (that’s what I think, at least – never tried it on mine, but I guess this is what would happen).

          50’s wiring is not “the best”, just better suited on a few applications. :)

          • avatar
            Angusrocks
            Posted at 18:49h, 29 January

            i have some experience in both. I tried the 50s wiring in my SG and i must say there is a very very, almost unhearable, difference. In my opinion it is really not worth to try !! However, i changed the wiring to the standard modern wiring, much better !

          • avatar
            JaiminhoPagina
            Posted at 18:52h, 29 January

            Oh, and by the way, back then Gibson used 500k audio-taper (log) on both volume and tone.

            Current production models usually come with 300k linear on Vol. and 500k audio taper on Tone.
            I just got two CTS 500k log pots to replace the volume ones on my SG. Will report back when I make the swap.

            It’s all a matter of personal preference, though. Some people like the warmer sound with 300k. Heck, some people like linear volumes better too xD

            But as far as vintage tone goes, audio-taper.

            • avatar
              Angusrocks
              Posted at 19:22h, 29 January

              yes, that`s a thing what i have already done some time ago. The guitar got louder then, but if you turn the volume down the sound becomes mud, the highs are lost. I soldered a little capacitor on the volume log and the treble bleed was done :-) Very easy !

              • avatar
                lautmaschine
                Posted at 07:22h, 09 March

                Yes, indeed this is true. You lose significantly more treble when rolling down 500k volume pots vs 300k volume pots. I actually don’t like 500k pots on my SG (I’m using a 490R pickup in my bridge with an Alnico 5 magnet). With volume on 10 the sound is way too harsh and compressed in the high frequencies for AC/DC. And when I roll down to 7, I’ve lost way too much in the treble.

                For me 300K pots and modern wiring works perfectly well.

                It does make me wonder, what Angus used in the 70s. If he used stock wiring and pots, they were likely 500k on his older guitars (I think Gibson introduced 300k in 1973).

                • avatar
                  Angusrocks
                  Posted at 08:35h, 09 March

                  Hi,
                  as i wrote, you must not lose treble if you solder a littel capacitor on the volume log. I have done this and i don`t lose treble anymore if i roll back.

                  • avatar
                    Angusrocks
                    Posted at 08:37h, 09 March
                    • avatar
                      lautmaschine
                      Posted at 17:23h, 09 March

                      What values have you settled on? Are you using 500K pot? And what size of cap?

                    • avatar
                      Angusrocks
                      Posted at 20:44h, 11 March

                      Hi, i have 4 500k CTS pots audiotaper, two orange drop caps 100V each and one volume cap with 220pf soldered between the hot and the middlelog, just what Gibson SGs had in the late sixties early seventies 😉

                    • avatar
                      Angusrocks
                      Posted at 20:46h, 11 March
  • avatar
    OldSchoolRocker666
    Posted at 01:57h, 01 March

    I’am not sure, who makes the absolutely best kit if one wants to completely rewire an SG?

    I got an Gibson SG Custom Shop tremolo SG (faded cherry and vibrato/maestro) and i’ve thought about rewiring it completely, using the best possible, i’am not sure who but i’d like to get as good as possible parts for this, 500k pots, bumblebee caps, 50s wiring, 4 conductor (2 tone/2 volume), i’am also gonna change pickups in future to a Texas bucker and a BBQ pickup in bridge, the hardware seems okey as it is but might change that as well in future, right now i need a complete wiring kit, and the best possible. Who makes the best? RS? Mojotone?

    I mean ”best” in terms of most accurate and highest quality parts using right materials as close as possible to the classic Les Paul kinda wiring or whatever it is called. You know what i mean :)

    Really want the pickups to have optimized signal and everything flowing and able to use the pickups knobs as great as possible without becoming muddy and stuff like that and being able to clean up to either drive more or less depending on the situation.

    Any advices on the perfect kit for this in mind?

    • avatar
      06AngusSG
      Posted at 04:03h, 01 March

      I’m not sure your “perfect kit” actually exists. I’m not sure who “RS” is????

      What I can say is my suggestion would be to build your own. I like the idea of Mojo’s “premium” 500k pots because they’re guaranteed to be within a 1% tolerance.
      I used the Gibson “reissue” pots on my bro-in-laws SG Special(brown SG above) and they tested out to a 10%tolerance.

      If you are after Bumblebee caps I don’t think you’ll find a kit (pre-built or not) at all…… The only 2 places I can even find these to buy new are Guitar Center and Gibson’s site stores. AND YOU’LL PAY FOR THEM!!!! To the tune of about $125 a pair if I remember right. I think if you’re going to go reissue the Mojo Vitamin-T’s would be way more cost affective ($4.50 ea. I think) and they were made to replicate the bumblebee in the first place.

      These are what I put in my SG (Red Standard above) and I have no problems with mud or going from dirty to clean in a single swoop of the volume.

      I know I seem to pimp the Mojo stuff but I really haven’t used anything else but the T’s the Dijon(for bro in law) and orange drops (for a friends Les Paul) Out of these 3 setups I liked mine the best. Mine is Mojo’s “classic” cloth covered wireing as well. I bought it in longer lengths and cut to fot on my own.

      For what it’s worth, that’s my input… 😉

      Any more ?’s feel free to ask away!!! :)

      • avatar
        OldSchoolRocker666
        Posted at 06:12h, 01 March

        http://store.rsguitarworks.net/index.php This is RS :)

        Well i simply would want a kit that is making it the same harness and wiring as the stuff Fil is often using, for example 500k pots, bumblebee caps, 50s wiring and stuff like that, and preferly a kit if that’s available so i don’t have to buy every single part induvidually to make it easier and faster :)

        I doupt i would hear SO much of a difference, but better try in anyway to make the guitar optimized, maybe one can hear differences when getting used to it? 😉

        Well i’am not sure Gibsons own harness, wiring and all that is that good. And they say it isn’t as great as on vintage Gibson guitars. Hence i would like to change it, not that i can first hand hear a large difference without listening closely or anything, i just want every detail on the guitar to match up quality and sonic wise as well as perhaps improving the tone :)

        A kit would be preferable as mentioned :)

        Dunno what else i should say really, been up all this night so i’am not thinking that good either.

        Hardware on the guitar is fine as it is, maybe will PLEK-treat it at some point but not now :)

  • avatar
    Burnie
    Posted at 00:43h, 15 May

    I know 500k pots are required for the 50’s wiring. But there are two different types of pots. The resistance changes either linear or logarithmic by turning. Very often linear pots are predestinated for volume control and the logaritmic ones for tone control.

    But how is it in the 50’s wiring?

    • avatar
      Fenson
      Posted at 09:33h, 16 May

      Hi !

      I don’t know how it was in the ’50, but I tried Log on volume with the ’50 wiring and I didn’t found that well. The sound passes too fast of overdrive in clean (10 to 6). I ‘m going to put back Lin on volume.

      • avatar
        Burnie
        Posted at 13:05h, 19 May

        It’s an important question for me which types of pots (logarithmic or linear) are used in an original 50’s wiring, because I want to make my 61′ reissue as original as possible.
        Fil, do you know which type of pots are in our guitars.

        • avatar
          06AngusSG
          Posted at 02:39h, 20 May

          Sorry. I’ve been away for a while. Busy…….. :)

          Anyway, on both the SG’s above I used linear pots and have no regrets. From what I can find either type was used depending on year & model. So, it really is up to you to figure out which ones will suit your tastes better. 😛

  • avatar
    Fenson
    Posted at 00:34h, 03 May

    Hello !

    Still this pots story :-) Does someone know if the Historic Reissue Audio pots by Gibson (CTS) are good pots ? (compare to Custom Made CTS Pots)

    http://www.thomann.de/fr/gibson_ppat_059_500k_poti.htm

  • avatar
    jubaluba
    Posted at 19:07h, 30 April

    Great article, and very helpful links! Going to rewire one of my SG’s now.
    By the way, is the Chevy Nova in your flickr gallery yours?

    • avatar
      06AngusSG
      Posted at 19:25h, 30 April

      Yes… The Nova IS mine. 😛

      I’ve had it for 9 years next month. It’s my baby. Unfortunately, due to economy/financial reasons I’m kinda trying to sell it. :(

      Back on subject. Glad you liked the article. Good luck with the rewire!!!!

      Thanx

      Jon

  • avatar
    Fenson
    Posted at 01:02h, 29 April

    Hi !

    Very interesting post !

    I would like to change my SG’s wiring too !
    But, I read that it is also better to change the pots by CTS 500K pots. Is it true ?
    What kind of pots should I use, Audio, Linear and in wich position (Audio on Volume and Linear on Tone …etc ?) ?

    Thanks !

    • avatar
      06AngusSG
      Posted at 21:17h, 29 April

      Hello & Thank You!!!!! :)

      When I did the full rewire on the two SG’s above I did use CTS 500k pots (in all positions). I decided to use Linear taper only because that is what comes on Gibsons from the factory. I honestly have no idea if Audio would be better or worse, as I have no experience with them. 😉

      I think no matter what you do boils down to personal preference. I went through 3 sets of capacitors before I found the ones I like. One of the sets I didn’t like I put in my Brother-in-Law’s SG because he did like them.

      My suggestion is to experiment a little with different components to see what sounds best to you. 😛

      Jon

      • avatar
        Fenson
        Posted at 21:53h, 29 April

        Thank you very much of your answer !

        If I wonder what kind of pots to use it’s because when Fil say “this song is played with the volume on 7″ (for exemple), it is different if the pots are Audio or Linear.
        I was also wondering what kind of pots were used on vintage SG (?)

        Concerning capacitor, I use Russian PIO (K40Y-9 from old military stock). It would seem that these capacitor are the same that the “famous” Bumblebee, just a different design. And it is less expensive than the Bumblebee Reissue.

        To experiment is a good advice, but for my SG, I make the modifications do by a technician. So it has a cost and I prefer to find the good configuration on the first time :-)
        I don’t feel at ease with SG’s wiring and their narrow cavities (I prefer work on Strat).

        • avatar
          06AngusSG
          Posted at 09:00h, 30 April

          Point taken… :)
          SG’s can be a pain in the Ass with the small cavities. (that’s why I made the template shown above.)

          I’ve never found in any of my research that Gibson ever used Audio pots. At least on Standard LP’s or SG’s. I’ve seen many vintage harnesses and they are all Linear. So I would tend to believe that Fil’s guitars are linear as well.

          As far as pot value: Gibson has used at least a few different values over the years. My stock pots were 400 tone & 300vol. Brother in laws were 250 tone 300 vol. Personally, I like the 500 on both. Much fatter tone with a smooth clean roll off. (much like you hear in Fil’s vids)

          Sorry if I can’t be of any more help than that. 😉 I would be glad to answer any more ?’s you might have. There are also many other guys here that know there stuff and, I’m sure, would be glad to help as well. 😛

          Good Luck!!!

          Jon

          • avatar
            Fenson
            Posted at 17:42h, 30 April

            Actually, Gibson SG Standard stock pots seems to be 300K Linear on volume and 500K Audio on Tone (that’s the replacement parts proposed by Gibson and even the Angus Young Signature SG is too). In my research I could read on a website that Gibson have used Audio taper pots, CTS pots made by Centralab and they are very different from those made actually .

            This is an article pulled by the website http://www.singlecoil.com :

            >http://www.singlecoil.com/docs/pot.pdf

            It explains the difference between old and new pots production and why to use Linear or Audio pots.

            I don’t know for the SG, but the vintage Les Paul were wired with four 500K Audio pots (the actual Historic Reissue too).
            I didn’t find precision about vintage SG’s wiring (and it’s difficult because of my level in English, the good informations are rarely on french website …).

            I think it’s possible that Gibson didn’t change the pots value trough the years, maybe it’s due to the big tolerance on the value of the nex production’s pots, ?

            I propably will re-wired my SG with 500K CTS pots, Lin on volume and Audio on Tone, in the end the value is the more important detail.

            It would be more easy if Fil could say to us what kind of pots are wired in his SG :-) Possible ?

            • avatar
              06AngusSG
              Posted at 20:05h, 30 April

              It appears we both are right to a certain degree. Further reasearch might be required.

              This is one of Fil’s SG wiring cavities:
              http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3525/3803229775_bb6b1562fb_o.jpg

              I don’t know what year it is but all 4 pots are 500k “A” pots. By the site you posted: “A” = audio “B”=Linear in the early days but the label system has reversed over the years. So, do these fall into the new or old labeling? The CTS pots I put in my SG are also labeled “A” yet I know they are linear. Hmmmmmm ❓

              Gibson specs DO range as well. :) They spec what you say as well as many other found here:
              http://www.vintageguitars.org.uk/gibsonPots.php

              There is also a schematic page in Gibson Tech Support showing many Gibson’s with many different pot values.

              I know that the spec for my ’06 is 250 vol. 300 tone.
              The values I gave for the two I rewired were the actual readings I got with a multimeter. I imagine they differ form spec because of the variation in tolerance. (That is why I paid a little extra for a matched 1% tolerance set.)

              It’s always nice to have someone make me rack my brain and do more research. I never want to give the impression that I’m always right. (because I know I’m not 😉 )
              Anyway, thank you again, good luck on the rewire. Hope you end up with music to your ears 😛

              Jon

              • avatar
                SGACE
                Posted at 20:48h, 30 April

                I have two SG’s (1981 and 1990) with 300K volume pots and 100K on tone pots, go and figure…LOL

              • avatar
                Fenson
                Posted at 21:42h, 30 April

                “That is why I paid a little extra for a matched 1% tolerance set”

                That’s exactly what I am looking for. But it’s difficult to find it in France. Some shop in other country sell that kind of pots, and custom made pots (RS Guitarworks, Bareknuckle, Single Coil etc) but the postage is expensive compare to the price of the pots.

                It belongs to me to thank you for helping me on that subject.

  • avatar
    AccaDacca
    Posted at 01:02h, 12 March

    Yes, is definitely a great article, nice and clear. It addresses a subject I have been interested in for a while. I’m trying to turn my 1996 Gibson SG into a copy of the 1970 model. More specifically Angus Young’s 1970 SG. Would this be the kind of wiring his would have had, or would his have used whatever the stock wiring was in 1970? Or was this the kind of wiring Gibson SGs had in 1970? Anyway much thanks to 06AngusSG for writing this excellent article.

    • avatar
      06AngusSG
      Posted at 01:51h, 12 March

      Thanks :)

      I kind of did an “Angus” conversion on my ’06 SG you see in the post here.

      Here is a link to some pics:
      http://www.flickr.com/photos/55720588@N03/

      As far as the wiring in Angus’ SG’s go, from some of the articles Fil (and others) have posted here, it seems that he has went through several changes. From stock to hardwiring hie wireless transmitter to surley many others over the years.

      I’m not sure when Gibson switched away from the 50’s wiring style but I believe by the late 60’s it was already gone.

      Here is one of Fil’s late 60’s – early 70’s SG’s cavitys.
      http://www.flickr.com/photos/solodallas/3803229775/in/set-72157619902809694/

      I’m not sure the exact year because it’s his picture but it seems those era guitars were wired similar to the present. (this one has been switched to ’50’s style.)
      I only became turned on to the 50’s wiring after watching Fil’s youtube videos and his comments about it. Regardless of what Angus actually uses, if you were to do the switch I don’t think you would regret it. :)

      • avatar
        AccaDacca
        Posted at 18:43h, 12 March

        Cool I think I may attempt this some day. Are those CTS brand pots you switched to when you went to the 50’s wiring? And I noticed in your photos you have the Grover tuners, they look really good. I just changed to Grovers, but the screw holes on the tuners only line up about half way with the old screw holes. I think I might fill them and redrill them. Is this something you had to do?

        • avatar
          06AngusSG
          Posted at 18:57h, 12 March

          Yep. Pots are CTS. Bought them through Mojo music supply.

          My Grovers lined up perfectly with the existing. No drilling required. Sorry about your luck though.

          I would suggest trying to install a is first. If it doesn’t work then go the f fill & drill. :)

          • avatar
            AccaDacca
            Posted at 03:47h, 17 March

            Sorry for all the questions but are your Grovers the full size, mid-size, or mini kind? I wonder if that would make a difference in how the holes line up. And are those Gibson brand knob pointers or are they replicas?

            Thanks

            • avatar
              06AngusSG
              Posted at 05:59h, 17 March

              No problem on the questions.

              My Grovers are the Full Size 18:1 gear ratio.
              Medium and small Grovers screw hole comes down diagonally off of the casing. Entirely different than full size.
              Did you try installing them yet?

              This page will show you all 3 types

              http://www.stewmac.com/shop/Tuners/Guitar,_solid_peghead_tuners/Grover_Tuners.html

              The pointers I bought at a small local repair shop. I honestly have no Idea if they’re Gibson or not. I did have to flatten and re-bend them to fit the whitch-hat knobs though. I think they were designed for the bell knobs which are a little smaller. They can also be found at the site linked above.

              Feel free to ask anymore questions. Really not a problem. :)

              • avatar
                AccaDacca
                Posted at 07:49h, 17 March

                Thank you for your replies. 😀

                I have the same tuners as you do, the Full Size 1:18 gear ratio. I test fitted them and the bushings fit just fine, but the screw holes on the Grovers come down just a bit too far. Only about half of the original hole shows. I don’t really mind filling in the holes and redrilling them. My SG is a 1996 so maybe the Klusons they used then were different. I’m thinking I will use the same concept as described in this article:

                http://terrydownsmusic.com/technotes/pickguard/pickguard_hole_drilling.htm

                Also, are your CTS pots “audio taper” or “linear”? And long shaft or short shaft? I think these are the last of my questions haha.

                Thanks

                • avatar
                  06AngusSG
                  Posted at 08:10h, 17 March

                  It is a mystery as to why your holes would line different. Hmmm…….?
                  That method in the link seems pretty good. The only thing I would add is some fine sawdust or bone dust to the mix for some structural integrity.

                  My pots are short shaft audio taper.

                  No Worries

                  Later :)

                  • avatar
                    AccaDacca
                    Posted at 00:42h, 11 April

                    Me again haha. I was wondering how well the holes on your Grovers lined up. Were they perfect or just close? I’ve heard that Grover makes tuners with different specs. Some for import models and some for standard models. Maybe I got the wrong kind because I have a 2005 model SG in addition to the 1996 and my Grovers won’t fit it either. And since my 2005 was made around the same time as your 2006 I would guess the holes on our guitars have the same specs. So maybe its my Grovers that are different. I would rather not modify the actual body of the guitar so if I can’t find any Grovers to fit I may just keep the Klusons on. I was mostly going for Grovers because of the looks, but I was kinda excited about the 18:1 tuning ratio too 😀

                    • avatar
                      06AngusSG
                      Posted at 04:18h, 11 April

                      Haha No worries. :)

                      Mine lined up exactly with the stock holes. I honestly don’t know which version I have other than they are full size 18:1. The shop I bought them in had them as an un-packaged return (because of not fitting right 😉 ) so I got a big discount.
                      The next time I do a string change I could take one off to do some measurements/ pics if you want???
                      Just let me know :)

                    • avatar
                      AccaDacca
                      Posted at 04:25h, 11 April

                      That would be very helpful. Thank you very much.

      • avatar
        Chris Garbutt
        Posted at 21:57h, 12 April

        Hi!
        I noticed in some of your pics that you have an angled pickup ring on the bridge pickup. Did you add that yourself? I was wondering if I should do that too because my Standard doesn’t have one and because of that there is this huge angle where the strings are really close to the pup at the front of it but kinda far at the rear. Did you have to enlarge the pick guard a bit to allow the pup to sit at an angle? If the standard isn’t supposed to come with an angled ring to set the pup evenly under the strings then why in the hell did they do that? It doesn’t make sense to me…

        • avatar
          06AngusSG
          Posted at 00:48h, 13 April

          Hey!! :)
          Yeah, I did do the pickup ring myself. In truth the only couple of “factory” things left on my SG are the pick guard, frets and the wood. 8) Originally, the reason for the ring was I noticed that Angus has one on his “Lightning” SG. So, I did some checking and yes, it does help immensely with correcting the pickup angle. So… I installed it. (for looks and function 😉 )
          Rather than modify the guard I modified the ring. It was originally 3/8″ (rear) and 5/16″ (front). I took the thickness of the pick guard (about 1/8″) off of the bottom of the ring. (since they are designed to sit directly on wood.)
          It doesn’t make sense to my why they wouldn’t find a way to accommodate the angle on large guard SG’s either.
          Anyway, sorry for the length…..I would recommend it for sure!!! 😛

          • avatar
            Chris Garbutt
            Posted at 02:04h, 13 April

            Thanks for getting back to me! I think I’ll do the same with mine. It bugs the hell out of when I look at it and see the space! lol I think it’ll actually sound better too since the pickup will “pick up” evenly. I’ve also ordered parts to do the 50’s wiring and am installing a treble bleed kit as well. I realized last night that I am possibly the worst solderer there ever was and leave these ugly globs everywhere (as well as cold solders I suspect), so I think I’ll bring it to my amp guy who is an f’n surgeon when it comes to electronics and the likes. He’ll fix her up for me neat and tidy!

            • avatar
              06AngusSG
              Posted at 06:54h, 13 April

              No problem dude!!! :)
              Don’t wory about the soldering. It takes practice like anything else. I learned in an electronics class in H.S.
              Good luck with the wiring.

              Never tried the “bleed” kit. Let me know how it works out. 8)

          • avatar
            banane
            Posted at 08:22h, 13 April

            Thanks for the hint Jon, the loose bridge pickup on my SG standard is really annoying me. Ordered a pickup ring, together with a AY sig humbucker :)

    • avatar
      ar2619Rob
      Posted at 15:47h, 12 March

      Here is the link to the wiring diagrams.

      http://www.mylespaul.com/forums/historics-reissues/4693-wiring-why-did-they-change-vintage-modern.html

      My own 1970 SG was wired (as standard) as in the pic of

      http://www.flickr.com/photos/solodallas/3803229775/in/set-72157619902809694/
      as shown by 06AngusSG

      This is the third picture down ‘Modern Wiring’. I have recently moved the cap connections from the red to the yellow on the volume pots as in the top drawing ’50’s wiring’. This reduces muddiness in tone when rolling off the volume, the wiring must have changed during the mid 60’s, hope this helps.

      • avatar
        AccaDacca
        Posted at 18:55h, 12 March

        Interesting, and thanks this is all very helpful.

  • avatar
    guitarlord26
    Posted at 07:27h, 07 March

    what are the benefits or 50s wiring?

    • avatar
      06AngusSG
      Posted at 08:08h, 07 March

      The main benefit is the clean-up you get with vol. roll off.
      If you’re unfamiliar, when your amp is over-driven you can roll down the vol and get to a clean sound. The 50’s wiring makes this more clear. (It doesn’t really work well with solid state amps)

      Also it makes the tone knob actually useable. You can roll the tone down w/o getting the crappy muffled sound.

  • avatar
    ar2619Rob
    Posted at 12:21h, 05 March

    Excellent 10/10 ! My ’70 SG has what is termed the modern wiring as standard, I have moved the cap connection from the pick-up hot wire to the centre lug on the bridge and it has made a noticable difference for the better. One side effect of this though is that the pick-up now only works with the selector switch in the treble position and not centre. This doesn’t bother me but I was wondering if I should make any other wiring changes? I also have a pile of srague orange drops of varying values, was wondering about trying these across the volume pot.

    • avatar
      ar2619Rob
      Posted at 12:42h, 05 March

      I can see the mustard caps are .22mF, what value are the bumble bees, the same? Also I thought the neck pick-up cap was around .15mF are you using both at .22mF?
      Any preference for either make of cap? thanks

      • avatar
        06AngusSG
        Posted at 18:17h, 05 March

        :) Yes Rob, the Vitamin T’s are also .22nf (or as they rate them .022uf). My stock little pill caps were both labled the same with 223 on the face…hmmm? 😉 Don’t know what their actual value is but I’m assuming equal to each other.
        The two things I used as a basis for what I chose were recommendations from both the supplier (mojo)
        and some of the conversations I read in the Les Paul forum pages when doing my research.

        Quotes From supplier:
        “Ceramic Disc(tiny Pill) – Very harsh, edgy ”

        “Foil Film (Mojo Dijon) – Very transparent and smooth.”

        “Oil Filled (Mojo Vitamin T) – A little darker and smoother. Great for taming bright or harsh stuff.”

        “Metalized Film (Orange Drop) – Very flat sounding. Kind of works for everything if you don’t know what to choose.”

        Quote about value difference:
        “In regards to .022uf, .047uf values, this really depends on how much and how quickly you want the treble to roll off. Our guitar tech personally uses .022uf for all of his guitars no matter what the pickup configuration. The .022uf rolls off a manageable amount of highs without choking the pickups.”

        Basically the higher the value the faster the treble will Roll off.

        For the wiring. I would have to see a pic of yours to give a def. answer. At the link to the LP forum on of the 50’s wirings is for independant vol. Allowing to completely turn down either pickup in the center switch position. Is this what yours is diong. Or does the neck pickup not work at all in the center?

        Sorry for the lengthy reply.

        Jon

        • avatar
          ar2619Rob
          Posted at 13:05h, 06 March

          Thanks for the reply Jon, great info, just looking at availability of Mojo caps.
          I am an electrician so cct changes are no problem. Re: my SG , all I did was move the bridge cct cap leg from the outer to the centre lug on the volume pot. The tone is less muddy when rolling off but the bridge pick up no longer works in the centre position. Obviously I’ve checked that I didn’t accidently affect any other wiring. The neck pick up cct is untouched and still works both centre and rhythm. the bridge p.u was definitely working centre and treble. I’m wondering if moving the cap connection has this side effect? I never play with the centre selected so I’m not bothered. I plan on changing both caps from those ceramic discs anyway so will find out if this also happens when I move the neck cap connection.

          • avatar
            06AngusSG
            Posted at 17:08h, 06 March

            O.k. That all makes sense now. If you only moved the one lead for the bridge side then the circuit would not be completed right in the center position. I have no corrrect terms or theory behind this but I pretty sure if you were to move the neck lead over it would work as before.
            But if it doesn’t bother you it don’t realy matter. It was very puzzling to me. (I don’t play the center either)

            Good luck with whatever new caps you end up with!!!! :)

  • avatar
    Kirk2000
    Posted at 02:53h, 05 March

    Awesome write up… One note on the disassembly of the switch ring and pot knobs.. Stewmac sells the tools at a reasonable price. I’ve seen to many people get frustrated and gouge the finish on a vintage guitar because they couldn’t get the knobs off.. Here are the tools to help with the stress.. KIRK

    1. http://www.stewmac.com/shop/Tools/Special_tools_for_Electronics,_pickups/Adjustable_Toggle_Switch_Wrench.html?tab=Details#details
    2. http://www.stewmac.com/shop/Tools/Special_tools_for_Electronics,_pickups/Knob_and_Bushing_Puller.html?tab=Details#details
    3. http://www.stewmac.com/shop/Tools/Wrenches/Tune-o-Medic_Bridge_and_Tailpiece_Tools.html?actn=100101&xst=3&xsr=497

    • avatar
      06AngusSG
      Posted at 09:03h, 05 March

      Thanx. :) I use Stew Mac for some of my parts.
      I do know about those tools, just don’t really want to buy them. Not unless I get into frequent repair work.
      Even if I did have them I probably would’ve done this tutorial w/o them. I wanted this to be more for the “anyman”. Patience and a little cardboard engineering are just my way to keep the finish safe. 😉
      Thanks again though. :)

  • avatar
    Lemmiwinks
    Posted at 00:01h, 05 March

    Nice work! This site gets more and more helpfull by the day!

  • avatar
    negroj9
    Posted at 23:29h, 04 March

    Wow, great work.
    Thanks

  • avatar
    SoloDallas
    Posted at 22:08h, 04 March

    Terrific work, simply terrific. I am speechless. Superb quality, very clear. Proud to have you here :)

    • avatar
      jakesg61
      Posted at 22:47h, 04 March

      I agree, very good detail, like how the those card cutouts were also added to protect the guitar. I think anyone with some simple soldering skills can do this, an soldering is not that hard to learn really, even for someone who has never tried it.
      Fil, the 61 reissue will that already have 50’s style wiring or will Gibson have put in the modern style?

      • avatar
        SoloDallas
        Posted at 22:53h, 04 March

        Modern style I am afraid.

        • avatar
          jakesg61
          Posted at 23:01h, 04 March

          I may have to put this tutorial to good use then 😉
          Its really interesting how much variables there are into getting one particular sound, like with angus’s tone its unbelievable how many components and different factors/equipment you have to take into account to finish up with his tone, this site and your research has really opened my eyes 😀

      • avatar
        06AngusSG
        Posted at 23:13h, 04 March

        That’s what I was going for. Simplicity. I had my wife read it before posting and asked her “do you think you could do this?”. Her reply was “sure, if I knew what the hell a pot or cap was” 😮

      • avatar
        06AngusSG
        Posted at 23:25h, 04 March

        Also I’ve done a little digging about different Gibson stock wiring.

        ’08 and newer is the printed circuit. Exception being the VOS and all custom shop stuff.

        For those Gibson has launched their new “Historic” line parts. (regular ’61 reissues are the print circuit I believe)You can even buy new made BumbleBee caps or historic replica pots here:
        http://www.guitarcenter.com/Gibson-Historic-Bumblebee-Capacitors-2-pack-H65441-i1562409.gc

        Though I can’t say I could justify the cost. 😉 I don’t know how the price compares to buying a set of originals either.

        • avatar
          Burnie
          Posted at 12:42h, 05 March

          Quote: “regular ’61 reissues are the print circuit I believe”

          My Gibson SG ’61 reissue (not the custom shop model) was made in 2009 and “she” has still the regular hardwiring like yours, but with the modern and not with the 50s syle wiring.

          • avatar
            06AngusSG
            Posted at 18:48h, 05 March

            Thank you for clearing that one. I wasn’t sure for the ’61’s.
            So I’m also guessing it’s not their new “historic” stuff?

  • avatar
    banane
    Posted at 22:06h, 04 March

    Very cool tutorial. I like the template a lot. Such things tell the true handcrafters apart from the tinkerers.
    Unfortunately I have a SG with a printed curcuit board, so that will be a bit more work, I’ll keep this up for later.
    Thanks for this great posting!

    • avatar
      06AngusSG
      Posted at 22:10h, 04 March

      Thanx, both of you! :)

      • avatar
        Dave4433
        Posted at 22:42h, 04 March

        No, Thank You for posting, this is gold, to have this all information here, in one place. =)

        • avatar
          SoloDallas
          Posted at 22:47h, 04 March

          I agree with Dave, this is terrific and excellently done.

          • avatar
            06AngusSG
            Posted at 23:15h, 04 March

            Again can’t thank enough for the kind words. *blushing*

            I don’t want to be here for any kind of recognition. Just want to make what contribution I can to this great learning site.
            :-)

            • avatar
              Dimitri92
              Posted at 23:22h, 16 March

              U sir did a great job,
              I’ve 50s wiring too, but when I was researching it was all very vague with lots of schematics…. this is just spot on. The right schematic and only the right one. And some soldering tips are always great for starters

              • avatar
                06AngusSG
                Posted at 23:35h, 16 March

                Thanx man!!

                I wandered through forum after forum trying to find the actual “50’s” wiring before Fil sent me to the LesPaul forum linked in the post.
                As with you, most of what I found on my own was pretty vague. 😉

                Thought I’d make a “short cut” for the rest of the guys who want it here. :)

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