a question about wiring (strange behabviour of volume pots)

nioclás

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Hi all

I think the volume pots of my brand new Standard 60s are acting in a strange way. I was wondering whether this is normal (I'm new to Les Pauls, sorry if I'm bothering you with a stupid question).

When the toggle switch is in the middle position, both pickups are active, In this case, I assume the signal from each pickup is affected by its own dedicated volume and tone pots, thus allowing me to blend the amount of signal from each pickup separately. That means, If I set the volume of the bridge p/u to 0, I'd expect to hear only the neck p/u, even though the toggle switch is in the middle.

However, this is not the case. In the middle position, both volume pots act as a master volume, i.e., if I turn any volume pot towards 0, the whole signal is being attenuated, and not just the signal of the corresponding pickup.

Does this indicate a problem with the wiring? Or is this the normal behavior for this particular model?
 

strayedstrater

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TL;DR: that's normal behavior for that model.
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Most Les Pauls (and other Gibsons with 4 knobs) are wired that way. In the middle position, if you turn either volume knob to zero both pickups go silent. Zero shorts hot to ground, and with normal wiring both pickups see that short.

They aren't actually acting as identical master volumes in the middle position. If you turn the bridge pickup down partway you'll hear the tone get bassier as the neck pickup starts to predominate. Turn the bridge back up and then turn the neck pickup down and you'll hear the tone get brighter as the bridge pickup predominates.

So you can get different blends of the two pickups. You just can't turn either pickup all the way off.
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If you have the pickup heights adjusted so that one pickup has more output than the other, that can cause misleading results. For example, with both knobs on 10 if the neck pickup is louder, turning down the bridge pickup won't make the sound dramatically darker because the neck pickup is already predominant (but if you turn down the neck pickup the tone will get brighter).

And the overall volume will generally drop a bit when you turn down one of the two pickups. But it does change the blend, and the volume would drop a bit when you turn down one pickup even if you rewired it to have fully independent volume controls.

Yes, by moving a couple wires around you can have the volumes totally independent so you can turn either pickup all the way down. But that has some tonal consequences (more treble loss when you roll down the volume and odd interactions with the tone controls), and doesn't add any real functionality since the selector switch lets you have either pickup by itself. (Independent volumes are useful on 3 pickup Les Pauls where you want to be able to turn off the middle pickup or blend it in with either or both of the other pickups.) But for most players interdependent volumes aren't a problem -- if you want one pickup by itself just flip the selector switch.
 
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nioclás

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Thanks for the clarification, that was really helpful!

In fact, I noticed that volume pots in the middle position don't have a linear function: turning down from 10 to somewhere between 1 and 2 hardly changed the overall volume; further down the volume quite abruptly went down to zero. Apparently this is where hot is shorted to ground.

Indeed, I wouldn't need to completely eliminate one p/u in the middle position.
 

Davey Rock

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Hi all

I think the volume pots of my brand new Standard 60s are acting in a strange way. I was wondering whether this is normal (I'm new to Les Pauls, sorry if I'm bothering you with a stupid question).

When the toggle switch is in the middle position, both pickups are active, In this case, I assume the signal from each pickup is affected by its own dedicated volume and tone pots, thus allowing me to blend the amount of signal from each pickup separately. That means, If I set the volume of the bridge p/u to 0, I'd expect to hear only the neck p/u, even though the toggle switch is in the middle.

However, this is not the case. In the middle position, both volume pots act as a master volume, i.e., if I turn any volume pot towards 0, the whole signal is being attenuated, and not just the signal of the corresponding pickup.

Does this indicate a problem with the wiring? Or is this the normal behavior for this particular model?
Yep. Normal for traditional les Paul wiring of the sort. Kinda bummed me out too. But hey, if it turn one volume all the way down, then switch to that position it acts as a kill switch.
 

grumphh

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Just leave the gorram controls on 10 and only use the volume knob to turn the guitar down during breaks (if you are a weakling who needs breaks, that is).

All this crap about "using the controls" originated in the dark ages, when all players had access to were amps with basically one sound, at least as soon as they were turned up too gig volume - which back then meant as close to max as you could get without the amp mushing out. Blartiblartfartfart ... Thank goodness the quality of thepsychedelics was good back then so no one actually remembers how horrible guitars sounded back then :yesway:

Yes, true, back then you had to turn down the guitars volume control to get sort of cleanish sounds - but today with multichannel amps no one ever needs to touch a guitars controls again.

Set your tone at the amp and use the footswitch (pedals optional) to get your tone.
 

nioclás

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Exactly. I've always played with the volume pots on 10. I only use the volume on the Fender for the swells (and to kill the single-coil noise in the pause between two songs ;-) ). It's just that I'm still exploring my new Les Paul, see what sounds I can get, so I'm playing with the knobs.
 

MikeyTheCat

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It's a feature of Les Pauls. I picked it up from Phil Keaggy back in the 70s.

 

nioclás

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Great video, thanks! Indeed, I've heard this swell in Keaggy's recordings ("Can You Hear Me Brother" in the first Glass Harp album comes to mind). I thought he uses some kind of volume pedal for this.

I never thought this possible with a Less Paul though, as the volume knob is quite far from the strings and is quite slippery, so difficult to rotate with just one finger. Will be quite a learning curve for me I think.
 

mvenuti1980

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Just leave the gorram controls on 10 and only use the volume knob to turn the guitar down during breaks (if you are a weakling who needs breaks, that is).

All this crap about "using the controls" originated in the dark ages, when all players had access to were amps with basically one sound, at least as soon as they were turned up too gig volume - which back then meant as close to max as you could get without the amp mushing out. Blartiblartfartfart ... Thank goodness the quality of thepsychedelics was good back then so no one actually remembers how horrible guitars sounded back then :yesway:

Yes, true, back then you had to turn down the guitars volume control to get sort of cleanish sounds - but today with multichannel amps no one ever needs to touch a guitars controls again.

Set your tone at the amp and use the footswitch (pedals optional) to get your tone.
I thought this at first too coming into Les Pauls, but I have been delighted at the sounds I can get, specifically in the middle position, using the independent volumes and tones. I’d have to have 5 EQ pedals to get these sounds so easily otherwise!
 

grumphh

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I thought this at first too coming into Les Pauls, but I have been delighted at the sounds I can get, specifically in the middle position, using the independent volumes and tones. I’d have to have 5 EQ pedals to get these sounds so easily otherwise!
Ever played with a drummer who loves his cymbals? You can throw all your oh so refined tonal changes out the window, and just hope that your amp has enough power to be heard over the steroidgulping grunts exercises behind the drumset... :rofl:
 

mvenuti1980

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Ever played with a drummer who loves his cymbals? You can throw all your oh so refined tonal changes out the window, and just hope that your amp has enough power to be heard over the steroidgulping grunts exercises behind the drumset... :rofl:
:rofl:
 

ErictheRed

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Just leave the gorram controls on 10 and only use the volume knob to turn the guitar down during breaks (if you are a weakling who needs breaks, that is).

All this crap about "using the controls" originated in the dark ages, when all players had access to were amps with basically one sound, at least as soon as they were turned up too gig volume - which back then meant as close to max as you could get without the amp mushing out. Blartiblartfartfart ... Thank goodness the quality of thepsychedelics was good back then so no one actually remembers how horrible guitars sounded back then :yesway:

Yes, true, back then you had to turn down the guitars volume control to get sort of cleanish sounds - but today with multichannel amps no one ever needs to touch a guitars controls again.

Set your tone at the amp and use the footswitch (pedals optional) to get your tone.
Yeah, what's the point of even having knobs? Or strings or frets for that matter? That's so dark ages. Just play air guitar to a backing track and you can't mess up!
 

DarrellV

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Yeah, what's the point of even having knobs? Or strings or frets for that matter? That's so dark ages. Just play air guitar to a backing track and you can't mess up!
Thanks! :laugh2:

I wasn't going to post how I hated that setup and redid mine to allow for blending the 2 pickups.

Kind of modeled after the Strat function, I can get a nice chime in the middle with both pickups balanced by height.

Moving the treble knob a bit gets me a darker chime with less edge, and rolling off the neck pot makes it a bit clearer.

Of course, I play a lot of clean (not all) so YMMV, and with full on crunch over a drummer, it's probably not going to matter as stated above! :laugh2:
 

grumphh

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Yeah, what's the point of even having knobs? Or strings or frets for that matter? That's so dark ages. Just play air guitar to a backing track and you can't mess up!
Thanks! :laugh2:

I wasn't going to post how I hated that setup and redid mine to allow for blending the 2 pickups.

Kind of modeled after the Strat function, I can get a nice chime in the middle with both pickups balanced by height.

Moving the treble knob a bit gets me a darker chime with less edge, and rolling off the neck pot makes it a bit clearer.

Of course, I play a lot of clean (not all) so YMMV, and with full on crunch over a drummer, it's probably not going to matter as stated above! :laugh2:
I am a "bridge-PU + distortion" or die type of player, and have never found much use for the neck pickup or the inbetween on a dual humbucker guitar. To dark and muddy.

Now, i realize that this is partly because i dial in a tone that makes my bridge pu sound full (and partly because i do not play watered down blues rock covers:cool2:), but the internet propagated idea that one should set ones amp to a biting shrieky trebly tone and then turn down the "tone" knobs on the guitar to make it somewhat listenable is as futile as it gets - and only made sense back in the dark ages when that was practically the only way to get different tones out of your guitar/amp combo.
After the advent of pedals and/or multi channel amps that messy knob turning was completely useless and only the retro fetishists on the internet keep on regurgitating the guitar tone "wisdom" of the lost ages when all a guitar hero needed was 5 notes...

Ever since i have started out on guitar (way before the internet) i have always hated the "tone" control, because as soon as it took effect it decapitated my highs.
And even if i used it like in the olden times (i.e. dialing in way to many highs in order to cut them back) i would still hate to have to rely on a pretty exact knob position that can easily be disturbed in the heat of the moment.
Everything on ten, and then i know that i have the sound i dialed in to begin with.

Today there simply is no need to complicate your life with finding the perfect spot on the "tone"/volume controls in order to get "your tone"... :)
 

DarrellV

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I am a "bridge-PU + distortion" or die type of player, and have never found much use for the neck pickup or the inbetween on a dual humbucker guitar. To dark and muddy.

Now, i realize that this is partly because i dial in a tone that makes my bridge pu sound full (and partly because i do not play watered down blues rock covers:cool2:), but the internet propagated idea that one should set ones amp to a biting shrieky trebly tone and then turn down the "tone" knobs on the guitar to make it somewhat listenable is as futile as it gets - and only made sense back in the dark ages when that was practically the only way to get different tones out of your guitar/amp combo.
After the advent of pedals and/or multi channel amps that messy knob turning was completely useless and only the retro fetishists on the internet keep on regurgitating the guitar tone "wisdom" of the lost ages when all a guitar hero needed was 5 notes...

Ever since i have started out on guitar (way before the internet) i have always hated the "tone" control, because as soon as it took effect it decapitated my highs.
And even if i used it like in the olden times (i.e. dialing in way to many highs in order to cut them back) i would still hate to have to rely on a pretty exact knob position that can easily be disturbed in the heat of the moment.
Everything on ten, and then i know that i have the sound i dialed in to begin with.

Today there simply is no need to complicate your life with finding the perfect spot on the "tone"/volume controls in order to get "your tone"... :)
So true!

Most times out of the box I have found little use for the tone control. It just darkened and muddied things.

Enter the 82 with Shaws and swapped out to 500K pots that's so bright it can make your fillings hurt.

Neck pickup (sunk) is just the sweetest most bell like thing I have ever heard. I use it the most.

Cranked its just melting butter liquid goodness!

Bridge pickup is a custom wound trem spaced bucker that honks like a T-top. But I can usually roll back the tone on that to tame it a bit.

Face ripper when cranked.

Chime in the middle like vintage CCR and many others in the day. Almost Ric like, but more mellow.

My Studio Deluxe came with Burstbuckers that are ear bleeding bright. I put covers on them to help a teeny tiny bit. :laugh2:

On that I almost always have to use the tone knobs, but again, the neck is fully usable and slightly thinner sounding than the Shaw on the 82.

Bridge cranked is my favorite for live use. Really cuts through.

Mind you, my amp settings are also reduced to below half on the treble side. I just don't need any more bright! :laugh2:
 

Cozmik Cowboy

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Of course, I play a lot of clean (not all) so YMMV, and with full on crunch over a drummer, it's probably not going to matter as stated above! :laugh2:
With full-on crunch, nothing matters; the moment you stomp on the dirt box or crank the gain knob, you're hearing the fuzz/gain & not the guitar, anyway. Sure, there minor differences between pedals and such, but it matters not where your knobs are - nor, for that matter, if you're playing Beano or a Teisco.

OP - there are diagrams online showing how to wire it so the volumes are independent of each other, and of the tone knobs, and rolling back the volume doesn't affect the the tone; if you know how to solder, it's a 15-20 minute job.
 

MikeyTheCat

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Great video, thanks! Indeed, I've heard this swell in Keaggy's recordings ("Can You Hear Me Brother" in the first Glass Harp album comes to mind). I thought he uses some kind of volume pedal for this.

I never thought this possible with a Less Paul though, as the volume knob is quite far from the strings and is quite slippery, so difficult to rotate with just one finger. Will be quite a learning curve for me I think.
Not really too far a reach for the neck pickup volume, though the bridge is a bit of a reach. If Phil can reach it, he's on the short side, most anyone else can. Now Phil's talent is a bit harder to reach than that volume control.
 

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