50's wiring - why the change?

etzeppy

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I've been reading these threads on 50's vs. modern wiring. I'm gathering that 50's wiring tends result in brighter tone. That might be more useful on the neck pickup than on the bridge. Has anyone here used a mix of wiring schemes, putting 50's on the neck pickup and modern on the bridge? I see some potential with that setup. There is probably a downside that I'm not aware of.
 

ScottMarlowe

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Modern wiring == treble rolls off faster than the rest as you roll down volume.
50s wiring == treble rolls off slower than the rest as you roll down volume.
treble bleed (res and cap in parallel) == treble rolls off about as fast as everything else as you roll off volume.

Modern and 50s wiring sound the same at max volume. Treble bleed will be slightly quieter due to the resistor.

The real question is which fits your playing style.

Do you want the guitar to get darker as you lower the volume, brighter, or stay about the same tone wise? Modern gets darker, 50s gets brighter, treble bleed stays about the same.
 

yeti

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There is nothing wrong with each way to wire a guitar. Think of it as the equivalent of changing the order of pedals on your pedal board or the processing order in your recording setup (compressor before or after EQ, etc.).
50's wiring sounds fine through modern amps, modern wiring sound fine through old amps, it all depend on how you use it. 50's wiring isn't any more noisy unless you make a mistake wiring it. It's passive PU's and they don't make noise, they just pick up noise and that is independent of the wiring style.
The reason to change from 50's to modern is simple (not saying that that's why they did it). It makes the tone control act like a tone control 100% of the time. In 50's wiring its function can range from tone control to treble boost and everything in between. Funny thing is that the controls actually become more useable in 50's wiring. Modern wiring is prefered by players who use pedals (buffers) to manipulate their tone. 50's wiring is prefered by those who want to use the controls on their guitars.
learning about 50's wiring has been a real revelation to me. Before I knew I used treble bleeds to make the volume pot more useable, now I use 50's wiring on Gibsons while still using treble bleed ( the good one with a resistor in parallel) on my Tele. They are all great options and what works best for you depends on how you use the controls within your rig.
 

p90fool

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Why would there be a difference in "consistency"?

As for the way the controls "interact". That's precisely it, just not with each other.

Btw, have you even ever played a vintage/'50s-wired Gibson guitar into a modern amp? It's almost unbareable.

By consistency I mean that with modern wiring all four pots do the same job wherever the others are set, whereas with 50s wiring the way the pots interact means that they can behave differently depending on where others are set.

For example, with the tone pot at around halfway, the volume can sweep from bright, almost scooped to a big fat lead sound. It's a characteristic I love and find useful whatever the amp, and all my stage guitars are wired this way.

In answer to your last question, yes, it's what I do for a living, and this lot seem to find my tone "bearable".

 

Stinky Kitty

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I prefer 50s wiring also for the reason that it's easier to swap pick ups with the cap and switch on the same lug, and the pick up alone on the other.
 

rockstar232007

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By consistency I mean that with modern wiring all four pots do the same job wherever the others are set, whereas with 50s wiring the way the pots interact means that they can behave differently depending on where others are set.

For example, with the tone pot at around halfway, the volume can sweep from bright, almost scooped to a big fat lead sound. It's a characteristic I love and find useful whatever the amp, and all my stage guitars are wired this way.

In answer to your last question, yes, it's what I do for a living, and this lot seem to find my tone "bearable".

Fair enough.

Btw, I'm not saying that it's not possible to get a decent tone from vintage guitars through modern amps, or vice versa. Just that in most cases, it takes a LOT of tweaking to get the sound just right.

Example: I've played my LP Classic (modern-wiring) through many a modern amp, both tube and SS, and it sounded good on just about every EQ setting. But, when playing it through a few vintage amps, I had to get it dialed in just right, to get any sort of decent sound.

The same thing happened when my uncle bought his '61 SG. When I plugged it in to my Marshall DSL 401 SL combo, I was expecting it to sound great right out of the gate. Nope! Again, I had to play with the EQ. Now, plugged into his mid-'50s 40w Goldstar combo? TOTALLY different story. Some of the greatest tones I had ever heard in my life.
 

jcsk8

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50's keeps treble into tone while rolling volume down. Most moderns reduces treble and muddies the sound while rolling volume down. 50's for me any time.
 

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