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2014 Les Paul Classic 50s wiring mod/hack


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Guest Farnsbarns

Hi

 

Just got my first Lester and I wanted to change the pups and the horrible pcb wiring thing in the back without shelling out for some spurious kit for 75 quid. There are some discussions here and there about modding this model, so here's what I did - mostly by accident, so please go easy on the ridicule.

 

The original pups are connected by those quick change clips which plug right into the pcb. Well, I unplugged them. Then I installed a set of 4-wire BKP Mules and wired them direct to the push-pull volume pots, retaining the coil-tap feature. Hot to 1st lug as usual, earth to pot cover, the other two to one of the upper lugs to complete the coil-tap circuit.

 

Next, I unplugged the battery connection to the boost, unscrewed the boost switch nut. The switch itself I stowed in the control cavity rather than unsolder it from the board, trying to be non-destructive. I drilled out the hole in the body very destructively and installed a dummy tone pot, unconnected, and stuck a knob on the top. Cosmetically back to the traditional 4-knob look, now.

 

Last, I unsoldered the tone cap from the board, but only the leg nearest the volume pots. The second leg remains connected as original to the middle lug of the tone pot through the pcb. I resoldered the loose leg to the 3rd lug on the neck pup pot, the lug where the original white coil-tap wire from the pup is connected, not the 'hot' wire lug.

 

Ok, plugged it in, downtown didn't go dim and my hair is still curly. The changes work, in that when you turn down the volume on either pup there is not so much loss of treble as before, which is the effect/advantage of 50s wiring, I believe. I have no idea why this works for both pups rather than just the one I messed with, but hey. The guitar now looks like a normal LP, still has the coil-tap if I need it and has less cack in the circuit now that the boost is gone, even if I am still using most of the original stuff, and now I can fiddle impressively with the knobs while I play and pretend I know what I'm doing.

 

Hmm. Good job. Couple of pointers... 50's wiring should mean the volume has a bigger impact on trebble, modern wiring limits it. Without more detail you might just be confused in what you have created, my guess would be that you have the tone cap connected so it's not through the volume pot. Anyway, good is good, however you achieve it.

 

Secondly, it sounds like your second tone pot is now redundant? Perhapd I missunderstood? If that's right are you considering creating independant tone controls? Just a cap required, i would suggest 0.015uf, it'll be.slightly.brighter than a.0.022uf

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Hmm. Good job. Couple of pointers... 50's wiring should mean the volume has a bigger impact on trebble, modern wiring limits it. Without more detail you might just be confused in what you have created, my guess would be that you have the tone cap connected so it's not through the volume pot. Anyway, good is good, however you achieve it.

 

Secondly, it sounds like your second tone pot is now redundant? Perhapd I missunderstood? If that's right are you considering creating independant tone controls? Just a cap required, i would suggest 0.015uf, it'll be.slightly.brighter than a.0.022uf

Remember those LP's for a short period that had a "boost" switch where the tone control is? I think that's the deal here.

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Guest Farnsbarns

Remember those LP's for a short period that had a "boost" switch where the tone control is? I think that's the deal here.

 

That's what I got but it sounds like the new pot is decorative only. I was just saying it would be easy to make it work, meaning independant tone controls. Perhaps I'm wring, easy to missunderstand things like this. Either way it seems the OP got what was wanted out of it.

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As mentioned above by Stein, the 2014 Classic comes with a boost with a toggle switch in the neck tone pot cavity and the bridge tone pot is thus a master tone. The three pots are mounted on a pcb, the boost is separate.

 

I could do the independent tone control idea, yes, hadn't thought of that, wire up the dummy pot. The master tone, though, works as described on both pups in the manner of a 50s wiring setup.

 

I also had a minor triumph doing the Peter Green mod by swapping the hot and ground wires on one of the pups - hot to pot, ground to lug. Maybe 10 per cent volume loss at most on the middle position now, and a pretty good version of that SMAround sound. I may have to retire I am feeling so smug.

 

I must say the guitar now feels much more versatile and I feel more confident about keeping the tone at different volumes. Also relief at not ruining a £1k instrument by fiddling about inside it. Shame I can't play it very well is all.

I think the wiring is wrong. The way you've described it, the volume controls are wired 50's style but the tone control is still wired modern style. There might be other stuff wrong too. I can't tell. But the way you've rewired things, with stuff half on the board and sticking new stuff in here-and-there, you might never know if something's wrong. You might have played this guitar this way forever and never know it's wired wrong. I would suggest that you either leave the whole board the way it is, with modern wiring, and replace the pickups. The other alternative is to replace the board and the controls and hard wire it the way you want. Put the board aside and keep it with the guitar. Or sell it on ebay for like 10 to 20 bucks.

 

You don't want to screw up an expensive instrument by messing around with it.

 

[thumbup]

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Forgive me, but a lot of that is nonsense. The result/sound is right, and thus the efficacy of the method is unquestionable. I appreciate your good intentions unless I miss my guess, but some of your points are just inaccurate or hard to understand - for example, did you not see that I already replaced the pick-ups? Also, please explain how can you have modern and 50s wiring at the same time if the essence of the idea is the relationship between the volume and the tone pots?

Indeed don't want to screw up the instrument, you're dead right - thus all my fumbling is non-destructive apart from the dummy-pot hole, which is hardly murder.

Finally, why the video? Is that a gratuitous insult? If so, it impugnes your integrity, sir.

I thought it was funny. But I don't see the insult.

 

There ARE variations on the "50's" vs "60's" wiring besides just that one aspect. In fact, even the use of terms could be misleading.

 

If one wanted to get technical and be "correct", humbuckers would always be wired as "60's" and P-90's would be wired "50's".

 

Also to say, besides the master tone instead of individual tone controls, there are at least 4 ways to wire the whole thing, some involving the tone/volume interaction, and some the interdependence of the volume controls. I can't remember what and how they all work differently.

 

One point of that, is one change doesn't equate to "50's", or visa-versa.

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