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Rich W

ES-339 Wiring Harness

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Pulled out my 339 wiring harness this weekend. Thought I'd post some pics for those who are curious about what's inside. 339s come with ceramic tone caps.

 

es339wiringharness.jpg

 

ceramictonecapes339.jpg

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When I got my new ES335 in January, I bought it because it sounded like nothing else I'd ever played. Since I've always got sucked into modding my LPs, SGs, & Firebirds, only to achieve marginal (if any) results, I knew this one was gonna be left alone.

 

Curiousity did get the best of me BUT ... instead of disassembling this phenomenal instrument, I got a small piece of mirror and stuck it through the F holes to view the interior. I was shocked [scared] to see the ceramic caps and usual Gibson pots. I truly regret modifying original equipment parts searching for that 'Holy Grail' tone and performance!

 

My ES-335 DOES sound EQUALLY as good through all my amps ... 50W Marshall, 100W Marshall and Fender DeVille - stock!!!

 

Just my 15 cents worth anymore ..

 

 

 

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When I got my new ES335 in January, I bought it because it sounded like nothing else I'd ever played. Since I've always got sucked into modding my LPs, SGs, & Firebirds, only to achieve marginal (if any) results, I knew this one was gonna be left alone.

 

I'm happy with the tone of my 339 with the 57s. And I've listened to enough to "tone cap comparisons" on YouTube and other sites to know that the effect on tone that various cap types have is pretty subtle.

 

The reason I did my 339 re-wire with an RS Guitarworks pre-wired harness is that I didn't like the limited range of the 339 volume controls with the stock Gibson pots.

 

The pots in the RS kit have a more useable taper, and now the volume doesn't suddenly drop off when turning down past 7. I prefer volume controls that are still functional, even when turned down from 10 to 2 or 3.

 

 

Out of curiosity, I compared the tapers of the stock ES-339 Gibson pots and RS Guitarworks Superpots by measuring the resistance change at each of the knob settings from 0 - 10.

 

Turning down from 10 (by increments of 1), the resistance of Gibson pots increased more rapidly than the RS pots. And the Gibson pots were at close to full resistance (92%) when turned down to just 6. At the 0 - 5 knob settings, the Gibson pot resistances were equivalent to the volume being turned off.

 

The RS pots, on the other hand, had a more gradual increase in resistance when the volume was turned down from 10.

 

 

I also posted these numbers on the MyLesPaul forum (ToneFreaks subforum). The numbers in k ohms are:

 

Gibson

10: (0.4 / 462) 0%

9: (72 / 462) 15%

8: (217 / 462) 47%

7: (358 / 462) 77%

6: (426 / 462) 92%

5: (445 / 462) 96%

4: (455 / 462) 98%

3: (456 / 462) 98%

2: (462 / 465) 99%

1: (465 / 465) 100%

0: (465 / 465) 100%

(values are the average of all 4 pots)

 

RS Superpots

10: (.03 / 545) 0%

9: (44 / 545) 8%

8: (155 / 545) 28%

7: (260 / 545) 48%

6: (357 / 545) 66%

5: (399 / 545) 73%

4: (433 / 545) 79%

3: (475 / 545) 87%

2: (521 / 545) 92%

1: (545 / 545) 100%

0: (545 / 545) 100%

(values are the average of the 2 volume pots)

 

 

This is consistent with what some people are saying about their ES-339 volume controls. But the volume sudden drop off when turning below 8 is not caused by the “Memphis Tone Circuit” (aka 50’s wiring). The sharp volume drop off is because of the extreme audio taper of the pots Gibson uses in the 339.

 

I’m happier with taper of the RS SuperPots, and my volume controls are now more useable. Unlike before the change, the guitar is still audible at 2 and 3.

 

 

Also, for what it’s worth, not all CTS pots are the same. The CTS tone pots I got from RS have a wider and more useable range than the stock Gibson pots.

 

RS CTS Tone Pots

0: (.04 / 558) 0%

1: (1 / 558) 0%

2: (26 / 558) 5%

3: (51 / 558) 9%

4: (77 / 558) 14%

5: (103 / 558) 18%

6: (244 / 558) 44%

7: (283 / 558) 51%

8: (404 / 558) 72%

9: (529 / 558) 95%

10: (558 / 558) 100%

(values are the average of the 2 tone pots)

 

I was hesitating making this change because of the challenge of replacing pots in a semi-hollow. But the job was easier than I thought (thanks to the instructions in the sticky thread in the MyLesPaul ToneFreaks forum).

 

Although I did the upgrade primarily to make the volume controls more useable, to my ears, it sounds better too. I’m not a fan of ceramic tone caps.

 

After this upgrade, I have a better, more usable guitar now. For those folks who are not satisfied with their 339 volume controls, I recommend it.

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Pulled out my 339 wiring harness this weekend. Thought I'd post some pics for those who are curious about what's inside. 339s come with ceramic tone caps.

 

es339wiringharness.jpg

 

ceramictonecapes339.jpg

 

 

Hi Rich,

I know you posted this a long time ago but I made the mistake of taking my 339 wiring out, measuring it, but not taking a picture. I've rewired it with split coils. Not a pretty job but effective. Not really liking the sound so I wand to try series/parallel. This time I'd like to do things a bit more neatly. I am not able to see your pics. Do you still have them? If so, could you send them via email... bednarczyk49@gmail.com

 

 

Thanks,

 

Canuak49 (George)

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I had 2 of the original run of 339's and loved them so much, I sold them and custom ordered a 339 one-off. This is what the wiring looks like before it goes in. Mine has paper in oil caps and the stock caps or normally used.

 

ES339-wiring.jpg

 

top.jpg

 

back.jpg

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