58 Les Paul Special pots

fernieite

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They might be original Centralabs. The stamped date codes should be on the sides of the pots. Try getting a dental mirror in there to see them. (Its way easier than removing the knobs, pointer washers and nuts, and then gently pulling up on the wiring harness)

The originals would have a code like 1345823 (134 is Centralab, 58 is the year, and 23 is the week of that year)

1950s/1960s Gibson Electricals (rickn-guitars.com)
 
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True Vintage Guitar

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I went looking through my stash of pictures of control cavities and potentiometer codes and couldn't find a readable code on a potentiometer with the black plastic plate like the one in the pictures unfortunately. If you do decide to drop the pot to look at the manufacturer date code, can you fill us in?

A great looking control cavity by the way! Is this on a guitar with an "8_5xxx" serial number?
 

mainiacs

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I went looking through my stash of pictures of control cavities and potentiometer codes and couldn't find a readable code on a potentiometer with the black plastic plate like the one in the pictures unfortunately. If you do decide to drop the pot to look at the manufacturer date code, can you fill us in?

A great looking control cavity by the way! Is this on a guitar with an "8_5xxx" serial number?
Thanks for your input. I bought the guitar but don’t have it yet. I’ll try and take a look without removing the pots first. But I’ll definitely fill you in on what I find. They kind of look like IRC pots, which would be weird for a 58. It is an 8 4xxx serial number.
 

none2low

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Hmmm, that's a curious control cavity.

I concur, those don't look like centralab pots to my eye either. And the yellow spaghetti tubing on the bumblebees is wrong for '58, but the solder joints don't appear to be messed with. :hmm:

Please be sure to update us once you've been able to do an in hand inspection. Oddities like this always intrigue me.
 

mainiacs

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Hmmm, that's a curious control cavity.

I concur, those don't look like centralab pots to my eye either. And the yellow spaghetti tubing on the bumblebees is wrong for '58, but the solder joints don't appear to be messed with. :hmm:

Please be sure to update us once you've been able to do an in hand inspection. Oddities like this always intrigue me.
Will do.
What year is the yellow tubing common? Do you think I should be worried?
 

SloMoTX

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Question, where is the grounding wire & channel for the bridge?
 

none2low

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What year is the yellow tubing common? Do you think I should be worried?
I believe the change happened sometime in 1960, but I'm not sure if it was gradual thing, or for that matter if it had ever appeared anytime prior to that.

Hopefully someone with more knowledge can take a look and chime in.
 

mainiacs

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I believe the change happened sometime in 1960, but I'm not sure if it was gradual thing, or for that matter if it had ever appeared anytime prior to that.

Hopefully someone with more knowledge can take a look and chime in.
Interesting. I have seen some 58 dc juniors with the yellow tubing as well. I wonder if there was some overlap that far back.
 

mainiacs

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Question, where is the grounding wire & channel for the bridge?
I’m not sure I understand. Are you looking for a ground wire coming into the pot cavity from the bridge? I don’t think I’ve seen that before.
 

none2low

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Interesting. I have seen some 58 dc juniors with the yellow tubing as well. I wonder if there was some overlap that far back.
I don't want to speculate on whether Gibson could have used the plastic spaghetti tubing prior to '60 since I don't know the answer myself.

IMO there's a few things that warrant closer inspection. You're right that the pots do look like they could be IRC and not Centralab. Which would also be unusual for '58 as well.

I'm not trying to worry you, but since a Les Paul Special used the same 500k pots as a burst, it does carry a premium.
 

jimi55lp

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Your original pots would have been Centralab and the body on each pot would/should have "striations" on the metal surfaces. This looks a bit like wood grain? The codes in my 1958 les Paul Special are (134844) which translates to 1958 44th week and is followed by (BA811-1053 500K ) on all four pots with Sprague "BUMBLE BEE" capacitors like yours. My thoughts are that your pots have all been changed out compared to all of my LP Specials, IMHO.
 

SloMoTX

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I’m not sure I understand. Are you looking for a ground wire coming into the pot cavity from the bridge? I don’t think I’ve seen that before.
Correct. On two of my Gibsons, they each have a ground wire from the bridge to ground on a vol pot.
 

none2low

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Not wrong actually. Check this control cavity out from a 1958 Gibson Les Paul Standard!

I can't tell from that picture, is that the same plastic spaghetti tubing as typically seen after 1960, or is that the more yellow cloth type tubing that can occasionally be seen prior to '60?

As I stated previously, I can't confirm whether Gibson was using the plastic tubing prior to 1960, but regardless the control cavity shown does show some anomalies that are atypically for a '58.
 

mainiacs

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Check out post #12 on this thread! But here is the picture again:

I’m sorry! For some reason that photo wasn’t loading on my phone but I can see it now. Thank you for uploading it.

I have seen several examples of 58 juniors with the yellow insulators, and not cloth. I think it is actually more common than some think.
 

mainiacs

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In the end, I decided not to purchase the guitar. There were too many questions a about it, the pots included. Thanks everyone for your input and suggestions. I learn so much from this community.
 


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