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crea95ms

Help me decode my Les Paul

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Hey Everyone:

 

My first electric after 40 years of playing. It came and the first day I jacked one of the pots trying to fix the crooked knobs. A cheap soldering kit from amazon and my first soldering job ever has me up and running, and breaking my arm patting myself on the back. Do it yourself when you've never done it on valuable stuff you just bought is not my bag, but one does what one must.

 

It's the Les Paul Plus Top Pro Vintage Cherry Sunburst. The serial indicates it was made in November of 2015.

 

I seek input on a series of "how's it supposed to be?" questions, beginning with those freakin' knobs.

 

When all is as it should be, should the flat bottom of each knob turn parallel to the body of the guitar? Should the plane of each of the four knobs match each other? When you turn a knob, should that bottom edge turn on the same plane as it rotates, or do they warble like a UFO that got too close to the sun?

 

How should the pick guard relate to the body of the guitar at it's upper edge? Should that edge be flush to the body of the guitar across the length of the guard's underneath side, or should the top side be flush to the pickup mounts? Should you see daylight through part of that space while it's flush to the body everywhere else? Can the pickguard be adjusted after the holes are already drilled?

 

Finally, after I got my new pot soldered in (note: I made sure to exactly match the way the broken pot was connected. Unless I'm missing something, the fact that I replaced a pot shouldn't be a factor in this question. Why did I mention that at all? I don't know.) and plugged in for the first time, heard sound coming from the amp, wept tears of joy and heaved a sigh of relief, I started messing around to see what this bad boy can do. I started with the pickup switch in the middle position which I understood gave me the control, using the volume knobs to set one pickup at zero and the other at a higher number and hear sound coming from only the one pickup. However, with the switch in the middle, if either knob is at zero, the guitar singeth no more. I could be confused, but isn't this an indication that my guitar has been rewired? That is not regular behavior for Epiphone Les Paul's, is it? If I'm right about that, any commentary as to the opposing rationales and what that means to me functionally would be most welcome. Also, should I wonder what else might have been altered on this guitar?

 

I will waive my right to trial on charges of being a bit overly anal about all this and plead nolo contendre. My golf clubs, my car, and my guitars...I want to know everything about them.

 

Thanks to anyone who can advise on any or all of this.

 

Oh, here's a pic of the wiring. Check out my soldering job - not to shabby!!

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Hello, welcome. Don't know why you haven't had any replies yet. First the wiring, yes that is normal. You can re-wire it to have 'independent' controls but you might want to read around a bit first. Some people say you lose some top end. My Sheraton is re-wired for independent control and there's no loss of tone I'm aware of (but it has P90's). And I'm a bit of a cork-sniffer when it comes to tone.

 

The planes of the knobs aren't going to be the same because of the carve of the top. But yes, they shouldn't wobble. They might need a little tlc or they might have been destroyed by being forced on. Or they might be replacement fine-spline knobs forced onto the EPi's coarse-spline shafts. Your pic didn't appear, not sure iirc if you need a few posts before you can post pics- I haven't been here much for a while so I could be wrong. Get some posts in, and see if you can post your pic then.

 

The pickguard, difficult to comment without a pic.

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Hello, welcome. Don't know why you haven't had any replies yet. First the wiring, yes that is normal. You can re-wire it to have 'independent' controls but you might want to read around a bit first. Some people say you lose some top end. My Sheraton is re-wired for independent control and there's no loss of tone I'm aware of (but it has P90's). And I'm a bit of a cork-sniffer when it comes to tone.

 

The planes of the knobs aren't going to be the same because of the carve of the top. But yes, they shouldn't wobble. They might need a little tlc or they might have been destroyed by being forced on. Or they might be replacement fine-spline knobs forced onto the EPi's coarse-spline shafts. Your pic didn't appear, not sure iirc if you need a few posts before you can post pics- I haven't been here much for a while so I could be wrong. Get some posts in, and see if you can post your pic then.

 

The pickguard, difficult to comment without a pic.

 

Hey Vomer, thank you thank you for replying. It sounds like I interpreted the bit I had read previously about the wiring backwards perhaps. I remember clearly the point of it was that, insofar as how the guitar works when the pickup switch is in the middle position, Epiphones handle that one way and Gibsons do it the other way. If you would expand on your answer - define for me what you mean by independent controls please. If my suppositions and understanding are reflective of reality, one of the two should be able to produce the exact same tone with the switch in middle position as with it in either of the other positions. To absolutely beat the deceased equine to the nth + 1 degree:

 

middle position

neck volume and tone at 0

bridge volume at 5 and tone at 5

 

would, given the same amp settings, sound the same as

 

bridge position

neck volume at x and tone at x (x being any possible setting for that knob)

bridge volume at 5 and tone at 5

 

Would that be an example of "independent controls"?

 

Oh, I can't say, given my neophyte status in the electric world, that I share your tone cork-sniffing habit, I'm just trying to learn the notes on the fretboard and the pentatonic scales; the tone can has been kicked down the road for now. That said I do understand the tendency toward the obsessive personality type (I'm sure you had no idea, right?). Therefore I can tell you that admitting there's an issue is the first step in your recovery from toneaholism, and I wish you the best of luck!!

 

All kidding aside, (I loved cork sniffer, you will be plagiarized without a footnote I assure you) I got my visual and mind's eye around the knob plane thing and your answer confirmed it - the pot posts aren't oriented the same, ergo the mounted knobs won't plane the same. On the wobble, I confirmed the spline thing previously and I'm pretty sure they're the original "tophat" knobs that I've seen some negative posts about. Examining them again just now in light of your input makes me suspect that the wobblers have been squeezed such that the bottom edge is out of round. I also noticed something else I missed before that I'm betting means something: all four knobs have the numerals "raised", however, on two of the knobs they are also painted white, whereas on the other two the numbers are more or less the same copper color (colour, since you're from the U.K.) as the knob itself.

 

Now that begs the question, are both whites volume, or are both whites tone knobs? Or is it that the white ones belong together on the volume and tone for either pickup? If so, which way is it.

 

So I'm guessing that all doubt about my obsesssive issues has been eliminated by now, eh? Thank you again for taking time to reply, anything further you can add is certainly appreciated!

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Yes, your vol & tone settings example would be 'independent wiring'. I don't have any diagrams handy to post, but if you google '50's wiring' and 'independent wiring' you will see plenty of pics, and link to people talking about the pros and cons. I'm not aware of Gibson and Epiphone being wired differently. I was under the impression they both came with 50's (or interactive) wiring. Someone more knowledgable than I may be along to say otherwise, though.

 

Sorry I can't help with the painted knobs, imho they should be the same.

 

Oh and congratulations on your first soldering job. That's actually quite a big step, poking around in the innards of your guitar with a hot stick and replacing bits. A lot of folks just don't ever take that step. And it can be addictive. I spend far more time these days repairing and building than I do playing. Which I have to get the balance back into somehow, but I do enjoy it. And it has enabled me to chase good tone.

 

First step in recovery from toneaholism? Mmm nope, the first step is that I have to want to recover. No sign of that yet msp_biggrin.gif.

 

 

 

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