How to Use the Controls on a Les Paul

Discussion in 'Tonefreaks' started by Splattle101, Jun 12, 2009.

  1. matonanjin

    matonanjin Member

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    I must agree.:applause:
     
  2. P A U L

    P A U L Member

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    Just ran across this and what a pleasure to read info that someone has it right.
    The whole magic thing about the LP is the tone and volume control and mix.
    Billy Gibbons once said, "you are never going to know what real tone is until you start messing with the volume and tone controls on the guitar".
    One of Hendrix's clean sound tricks was to roll off the guitar volume with his fuzz face on and it enhanced his clean tones, crank up the volume when away from the pedal and presto fuzz. I can't believe for years I had Strat knobs on 10, I guess that is a newbie's thing as it took me a long time to start using them.
    The LP is truly a touch of heaven for the experienced player. Thank you Gibson and Les!
     
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  3. flannelflag

    flannelflag Senior Member

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    I have a question/problem with my volume control on a 2016 T. I'm not sure I can even explain it but here goes. When I'm set middle position, the only volume control I get is with my bridge volume knob. BUT, and here's the part I don't get, If I have my bridge turned down and my neck turned up, my volume does increase when I switch from bridge to middle setting. With my bridge turned all the way down though, I can crank my neck pickup to full volume and still get nothing on my middle setting. When I switch to just the neck pickup though, the neck volume control functions as it should. This is my first LP so I'm not sure if I'm simply misunderstanding my controls or if I have an issue with my wiring/electronics. I hope this explanation makes sense to somebody because I'm baffled.
     
  4. Splattle101

    Splattle101 V.I.P. Member

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    I'm not entirely certain what you're describing but it doesn't sound quite right to me. There are two common, conventional ways for a Les Paul to be wired: vintage and modern. They behave differently on the middle position.

    With vintage, if you put the pickup selector in the middle position, and you turn either volume to zero, the guitar volume should drop to zero. Turn either volume all the way off, and you've turned the guitar off.

    With 'modern', if you try the above, your sound should change and lose treble, but the guitar will remain on. You'll still have sound (a very distinctive and odd sound, but sound nevertheless).
     
  5. flannelflag

    flannelflag Senior Member

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    The "vintage" wiring is exactly what it's doing. I just explained it poorly. Sometimes I don't translate well to the written word which would be funny, if English weren't my first language. :) I've learned over the past couple days that with a little tinkering with knobs n switches, I can get an awful nice transition from loud to soft with just a quick flip from bridge to middle. Thanks for the explanation, Splattle.
     
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  6. QReuCk

    QReuCk Senior Member

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    I would not call that vintage vs modern. What your describe is just the effect of having volume pots wired as a voltage dividers (what you call vintage) vs reversed (what you call modern). To my understanding, all Gibson Les Pauls have volume pots wired as voltage dividers from stock. The reversed volume pots are sometimes refered to as "indonesian wiring". I had it stock in a Greg Bennett AV6. Unfortunately, what it does to your tone when rolling off volume is not only decreasing the output, but also lowering the load impedance of your pickups, removing from them any sort of resonant peak there might be, which IMO translates pretty well into removing all the life from the sound.
    By the way, although this is kind of related to the topic of maximizing the usage of the controls of the guitar, this topic is better adressed in a thread about the relative merits of wiring schemes than in this one I think.
     
  7. valvestate

    valvestate Member

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    It's 2016 and this post is still very very helpful! As a new user of LP guitars, this opened up a lot of spectrum of sounds!

    Thanks a lot @Splattle101!! :thumb::fingersx:


     
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  8. Splattle101

    Splattle101 V.I.P. Member

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    You're most welcome, sir! Glad it's been of use to you. :thumb:
     
  9. kmasters68

    kmasters68 Senior Member

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    OK, like my input even matters at this point with this mega thread. I tried this last night. The tube amp I was using is a monster tone machine and it helped a lot, but I'm sure it will work similarly in a big rig.

    LP middle position>boost>tube amp.

    1) Bring the amp to break up not past.
    2) Engage a good boost pedal (you should have screaming guitar tone at this point)
    3) Roll neck to 7.5 or so
    4) Roll bridge to 5 or so
    5) Ride the treble tone knob to taste.

    I tried this with a LPC 68 and a 2008 STD. What I got was vintage tone like I couldn't believe. Plenty of headroom and note clarity. I enjoyed flipping to the neck for boosted soloing or leaving it in middle position and turning up the bridge volume. I didn't use the bridge alone at all. When going from an authentic vintage tone to the high gain attack of the neck or rolled on bridge in middle has authority! Then back into the vintage mode.

    I've always thought that rolling the volume "takes away".

    NOT ANYMORE!
     
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  10. texas special

    texas special Junior Member

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    Many thanks, very useful post.:applause:
     
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  11. barchiola

    barchiola Senior Member

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    Great post, thanks!
     
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  12. SoCal Flood

    SoCal Flood Silver Supporter

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    Amazingly helpful thread, thanks!
     
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