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Les Paul Wiring - Starting from scratch

Discussion in 'Accessories / Connections' started by Guitarfreak, Jun 10, 2010.

  1. Guitarfreak

    Guitarfreak Well-Known Member

    I am modding a buddy's Les Paul and considering the shape of the original wiring, decided to completely wipe and start anew implementing a new wiring scheme with his permission (new simply meaning not the stock wiring). It's a cheap chinese LP knockoff not an original, so it's not like it will lose value or anything. I am wiring it soldering all grounds to the bridge volume pot instead of using two conductor wires throughout the entire signal path as it was wired stock.

    Here is my question. For Les Paul wiring is it necessary to run a jumper from the back of the tone pot directly to the corresponding volume pot? Right now I have each pot jumpering directly to the back of the bridge pot alone. Should I jumper anything else (only regarding the pot wiring)? It is hard to describe what I am asking using words, so I drew up a quick picture describing what I am asking.


    Picture one shows every pot having a return path to the bridge pot, which in turn is grounded somewhere else. The second picture shows the same return network as before, but now every pot is connected to every other pot through jumper wires. Is it necessary or better to use the second method?
  2. Link555

    Link555 Well-Known Member

    so did I understand that right, your removing the shielded wire and soldering to a star point ground on a pot back?
  3. Link555

    Link555 Well-Known Member

    Don't do picture 2 BAD BAD BAD. Ground Loops anyone....
  4. Guitarfreak

    Guitarfreak Well-Known Member

    Yes and no. I am philosophizing the difference between the setups. The original wiring was messy and unorganized at best and is not reflected in either diagram. I ended up going in the direction of the second diagram.

    Hmm, ground loops? Can you explain please?
  5. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    You have drawn it as just grounding the body of the pots and not the low ends of the volume terminals. Is that what you meant?

    There would be no performance difference between wiring (1) and (2). Use (1) and save yourself the bother of putting the extra wires on. Oh, you've already done (2).

    Link's point about using shielded (screened) wire is more pertinent.
  6. Guitarfreak

    Guitarfreak Well-Known Member

    I thought that was implied, I was just too lazy to draw the extra lines lol.

    So the neck tone pot doesn't need a direct line from it to the corresponding volume pot? That is the whole idea that sent me into the idea for the second diagram in the first place. Also, about the wires themselves. Did you mean using the wire with the foil around the braids?
  7. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    If you mean a ground wire, no it doesn't. The bodies of all the pots should be grounded, but the route the ground wires take within the confines of the instrument is unimportant.

    I had to re-do the wiring on a Strat copy that someone had bodged using what looked like bell-wire. Although the volume and tone knobs all worked, there was hum every time the player's hand came near the controls. I re-wired it using miniature screened cable, and it solved the problem. The screen of the cable served as the ground interconnection between the controls, and I took it to the pot bodies with a loop to the low end of the volume pots. The tone capacitors went from the tone pot wipers to the corresponding body (ground).

    The wiring library at mylespaul.com has a myriad different wiring setups, but all the diagrams show the use of screened cable for the signal wires.
  8. Link555

    Link555 Well-Known Member

    Shield the wire, but I would also not do drawing two, make sure all the pot tops come back to one point, not through each other (star point). i know in small circuit like this it really make little difference. Its just good practice.

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