50's wiring question

Gibstrat

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Before making final decision to wiring 57 classics into my LP, I want to fully understand the differences between the advantages between 50's wiring with or without independent volume controls. Seems more versatile with independent. Looks like switching pup to center lug with switch lead to outer, cap to switch lead on volume pot. How will this impact tone and or volume overall?
 

NYC LP player

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Before making final decision to wiring 57 classics into my LP, I want to fully understand the differences between the advantages between 50's wiring with or without independent volume controls. Seems more versatile with independent. Looks like switching pup to center lug with switch lead to outer, cap to switch lead on volume pot. How will this impact tone and or volume overall?

Search this section of the forum and you will find your answers or youtube it as this is one of the most commonly asked questions.

Its also so simple to do and reversible that it will take your longer to read threads than to do it and decide for yourself.

Good luck with the modding.
 

Gibstrat

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Yeah us amateurs are a pain in the ass. Love dem gibsons though.
 

NYC LP player

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Yeah us amateurs are a pain in the ass. Love dem gibsons though.

269294d1363810348-50s-wiring-gibson-wiring-modern-vs.-50s.jpg


This should help...essentially you wont lose treble as you reduce the volume
 

MATTM

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Here's the diagram for 50's wiring with independent volume controls:

wiring50sInd.jpg
 

Gibstrat

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Thanks for all diagrams. The Independent 50's show caps on outer on some and center on others. Does that matter?
 

FFXIhealer

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Nope. it makes absolutely no difference. That's why I draw all of mine the way I do. I draw them so that all tone pots are wired the same way, regardless of what you're trying to do. I ground all of my control pots via the left lug. The capacitor's connection to the volume pot is what gets changed around to make the '50s wiring thing happen. Look back at my big diagram picture and look at what changes. You'll see.
 

David Collins

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50's wiring of course didn't use independent volumes, so if you're looking at independent wiring it can help clarify the discussion to refer to the tone connection as what it is - coil loading (aka, modern) vs output loading (50's).

The idea is this - with the modern coil-loading arrangement and standard dual master volume, your load on the coil does not change as you turn the volume down. If you have a 500k volume and a 500k tone (let's keep it at 10 for now), then you have a 250k net load across each pickup, or 125k across the pair in the middle position. As you turn the volume down, this load stays unchanged and the signal generated by the pickups remains unchanged as well. What does change is the resistance between the coils and the amp, and the loading on the amp input. These factors together add up to the tone getting a bit darker or muddy as you roll back a volume.

With 50's style output loading of the tone pot however (still standard master volumes here), the load across the coils will indeed change as you roll the volume back, as the tone pot stays directly connected to the output and grows further separated from the pickup. Roll the volume down around half way on a 20% audio taper pot, and now the pickup sees the equivalent of a 500k volume and 900k tone, for a total load of around 320k instead of 250k for a single pickup position. This slight change in load across the coil does a little bit to bring a bit of treble back as you roll down the volume, and will keep it from getting quite as muddy.

And yes, I know I'm omitting amp input impedance from these formulas, but just trying to keep it simple for demonstration of principles.

When you roll both the volume and tone back together however, things change drastically. Say you're tone is rolled back to 100k, and then you roll the volume back the same amount. Now as the coil sees it, you have turned the tone back up to 10 (500k) by rolling the volume back. The tone pot/cap load stays the same on the amp input, but the amp circuit is not effected nearly as much by this load as your pickup coils are, so the tone actually gets brighter when you roll the volume back. Some like this, others don't (I'm in the latter camp, and instead prefer modern coil loading with treble bleed circuits).

That's all dual master volume stuff though, now let's look at independent volumes. The problem (in my opinion) with independents is that as you turn them down you are drastically changing the load across the coil, which has much more darkening effect on tone than changing it across the amp input. Turn an independent volume down half way, and even with the tone full up you will end up with around 80k load across a pickup (compared to 250k with master volumes). This darkens up the signal significantly, and does do in a way that no treble bleed or 50's output loading is going to be able to help much. If you roll back the volume with the tone rolled back it will not get quite as dark when you turn down, but will generally still be darker than the standard modern wiring.

So what beneficial features of independent volume controls bring you? Not much in my opinion. If you just don't want to use your switch and gradual fades from one pickup to both are of critical importance in your use, then perhaps it's right for you, but it comes at a pretty sizable cost if you want to roll back volume in the neck or bridge position. Dual master still let's you run one pickup almost entirely out of the signal before killing overall volume in the middle position, so I see little practical benefit in balancing pickups there. And of course you loose the ability to kill or swell with one knob in the middle position as well.

To be quite honest, I personally hate independent volumes, and see them as a terrible arrangement which brings far more inconvenience and shortfalls than it does benefits. Then again, I know of others who rely on the way it works for their personal use, so it's just a matter of personal preference in the end.

So if you really want to be able to fade one pickup out from middle position with a volume knob rather than switching with the toggle, then independent wiring can work, and 50's output loading can help the darkening in single pickup positions a little bit. If you use your volumes much in neck or bridge position however, independent volumes come at a cost of darkening the tone as you roll back in a way that neither 50's style output loading or treble bleeds can really correct for.
 

Gibstrat

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Thanks Dave, have to read your post a few more times to grasp it all. Seems my decision to go independent has reversed. Seems it cuts more tone than it would add. I have to learn to blend with the traditional 50's wiring. I will have to concur with mcdan on the post. This is my first mod, and was apprehensive about taking a new guitar and completely replacing the electronics. being electronically challenged don't help. Dave explained in a way i could understand the trade off the independent volume option i was considering. also helped me with a better understanding of adjusting tone on my 97 strat plus deluxe. have had that for 17 years and still don"t know what the TBX circuit really does technically. Has detente at 5 and is active for mid and bridge pups. drives the mid and highs dramatically at 7-10. might be blasphemous to ask the forum for tech help on a strat but what the hell.
 

Sct13

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Thank you so much for explaining that!!!

Great Referencing.....

now ad the caps.....

then the light saber instructions and we'll be all set.....JK...:D
 

LP Freak

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I like 50's wiring on my LP. Can you achieve the same results on a guitar with only a single volume/ tone?
 

chasenblues

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I like 50's wiring on my LP. Can you achieve the same results on a guitar with only a single volume/ tone?

50sWiringJunior.jpg


This wiring diagram shows wiring done using 2 wire with metal shield(the ground) being soldered to the back of the pots.
It still can be done with 4 wire you just have to know the wire color codes for which company made your pickups.
 

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