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Les Paul wiring problem


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I am having problems with my new wiring..my neck pick up sounds weak when I tap it and the sound is weak through my amp but when I tap the bridge pick up the sound is weaker ...I have checked the wiring and it looks ok ...is there any obvious things I am missing or things I need to check? I have Multi-Metered all pickups and they check out fine ..checked grounding ..fine ..its a les paul with 57 Hums


Also when I say tapping ...I mean what Dan does on his video, he uses anything metal and bangs on the pickup to see if it works ..simple!


I have since found out that when I touch the caps wire with my fingers the volume goes louder on both pick ups and sounds great..anybody know why that is? I have followed Dan Erlewines Video on rewiring a Les Paul step by step ..checked and re checked.


2 x 57 Hums just ground sheild and 1 Hot wire in middle . I will try to attach images which i made so you could see how I done it..but I suppose it will not show errors ...if there are any? I have checked caps ..good! checked Hums...good! checked grounds ...good ..I am baffled?????


I have checked grounds every where...I have tried everything I can think of..its getting very annoying..the neck pickup is very strong but the bridge is weak but i can not see where the problem is...its there but i cannnot see it! All components have been tested and they all read perfect..its my wiring , it has to be!


There is a few ways to wire a les paul so I am going to try this for a few more attemps and wait to see if any gurus on here or one of the other forums can help..then redo the lot with new components. well aleast it gives me dirty hands and dirty hands leads to experience which is not a bad thing.



Why does it go louder when I touch the caps wire? am I grounding something or allowing more current through? I have followed step by step diagram of how to wire a les paul even if it is for my ES 135. I have attched some images for you to view..








any advice is welcome...thanks



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Don't forget to look at your switch.

Get a foot-long piece of wire and tap between your pots where the signal begins and where it ends.

Make sure that you don't have diry contacts on the switch.

Contact cleaner is your next step.


Rule of thumb;

no sound - no pos.

weak sound - weak connection

low buzz - weak ground connection.

Big buzz - no ground.


One of your caps is connected to the wrong contact.

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The RED wire - looks suspect - its the most important connection from switch to your output jack- and you have 3 splices in yours - It also looks like you have a solder bridge electrical short there - also need a higher quality Output jack - your chinese one will fail in 3 months.


It appears you are using coax cable (with black jacket) for your ground connections between the cans of the potentiometers.


Normal wire is typical there.


Read these links for more help





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As Redclm7 pointed out, your neck pickup tone cap runs from the middle lug of the volume pot, which is okay if that was intentional (it's part of the "Memphis tone" mod, but it's not stock). Your bridge pickup tone cap comes off the outer lug of the volume pot like it usually does.


Theoretically it makes a difference if you run the tone cap off the middle lug where the tone is supposed to stay bright as you roll off the volume, but it's not the modern wiring situation.


As for your original concern about a weak signal, make sure the solder joints are all shiny - if they're dull it's a "cold joint" which doesn't make a very good sounding connection.


By the way I wouldn't worry about whether the "tap" test sounds weak. If you're really concerned and you haven't strung up the guitar, use a tuning fork held near the pickup and it will be audible through the amp. Then you can test the volume and tone controls as well. But there's no substitute for playing the guitar.


By the way how is it that you've wired up the entire harness and it seems to be all out of the guitar? You could make a cardboard template with the holes spaced the way they are on the guitar top, and put the pots on it so the wires in between are the right distance, but it all has to go into the control cavity at some point.


Also it doesn't look right that you have a separate, unshielded red wire running to the output jack - you should use the center conductor of the coax cable.


Last thing, I don't notice any string-ground wire there. Usually there's a wire running from some ground point (like the coax shield from the bridge pickup, or the back of a volume pot) going to the tailpiece studs so that the strings become part of the ground - it helps to cut down on some static/hum that tends to come through even with humbuckers.


Anything we can do to make it more complicated, don't hesitate to ask.

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Thanks bobv, that was a very helpful post! I have made a temp of the guitar and placed pots and wires to spec of LP

I will recheck ground to bridge and all the other points you mentioned..I will resolder weak joints and retest again.

I will let you when I have finished..it may take a good few days to a week..


Thanks to all that posted



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