#1
I was experimenting with my Epiphone Les Paul - using the pickup selector as a kill switch.
I thought i would be flipping between middle and the "off" pickup. Instead I found myself having to switch between the "on" pickup and the mid position.
It seems that my pickups must be connected in series. I am not sure if that's normal. I thought the humbuckers would almost certainly be paralleled. Doing a little bit of research seems to confirm.

So is it safe to assume that my guitar was modded before I bought it? Why would you want series wiring in a Les Paul? What's the relative differences?

I'm wondering if I have original pickups in this guitar now too. It wouldn't be out of the question that the previous owner might have put Gibson pickups in this thing, right? How do you figure that out? Is there a serial number code or something?
#4
It certainly doesn't mean that it has to be Gibson pickups. You can make a killswitch out of the middle position by simply not soldering the wires to the middle position of the 3 way. Do you normally get volume out of the middle position?
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#6
Just to clarify, you're saying that when you roll down the volume on one pickup, that pickup AND the middle position are both silent?
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#8
I have one guitar that now has a Master Volume, a Master Tone, a Blend switch and a Buckethead-style kill switch instead of the usual 2V2T quad. Why screw up a perfectly good pickup selector using it as a kill switch?
#9
Quote by dspellman
I have one guitar that now has a Master Volume, a Master Tone, a Blend switch and a Buckethead-style kill switch instead of the usual 2V2T quad. Why screw up a perfectly good pickup selector using it as a kill switch?


That's exactly the thought process that i was going through this morning.
My electrical hobby predates my guitar hobby. I was just thinking about how much i dont need two volumes and two tones. of course i've also been interested in trying to learn some "know your enemy" so the interests have overlapped.

But if the wiring was changed then i'd like to know why, and to also try to figure out what else might have been changed.
#10
There are the people who order a new guitar and have wiring harnesses and pickups waiting. They're the ones who always have to have "'50's wiring and a JB and a '59" because...well...because.

I try very hard NOT to buy "modded" guitars.

It's like that Forrest Gump box of chawclits.

Idiots Abound.

I bought one guitar that was touted as "all original," but what it meant was that the seller tried to put the original pickups back into the guitar just before he sold it. So the pickups had 3" leads (where he'd clipped them off originally), the middle pickup (on an HSH guitar) was shorting out and one of the pickups was actually making contact with one "hair" of the lead actually soldered to something.

I took one look, rolled my eyes, shook everything out of the body of the guitar and headed out to buy new stuff.
Last edited by dspellman at Oct 19, 2014,
#11
And that's sorta the "bad" version of my morning. wondering if there's something screwy awaiting me. The good version for me - "maybe i got something nicer than the stock epi pickups?" and the bad version "maybe the wiring resembles a rats nest?"
#12
My Epi does the same thing (Standard pro). Based on that I think it's normal. Of course, it could be any of the other things mentioned, but I would imagine that it's not unusual.
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#13
Quote by paul.housley.7
And that's sorta the "bad" version of my morning. wondering if there's something screwy awaiting me. The good version for me - "maybe i got something nicer than the stock epi pickups?" and the bad version "maybe the wiring resembles a rats nest?"


If there are no obvious markings on the front of the pickups then the only thing left to do is take them out and look at their backs. The plates/housing should have info stamped or stickered on them.

If they are aftermarkets or even Gibsons, you'll be able to use google for wiring schematics.

But to answer your original question: Yes, if you turn the volume off the neck pickup then that position and the middle position on the 3-way selector should be off.
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Last edited by Bertallica at Oct 19, 2014,
#14
If one of the volumes is on zero, the middle position is quiet - zero. That is the way it has been on all three Les Pauls I have owned (2007 Epiphone Standard, 2008 Gibson Standard Faded and 2012 Gibson Deluxe).

Hope that clears it up.
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#15
Quote by HomerSGR
If one of the volumes is on zero, the middle position is quiet - zero. That is the way it has been on all three Les Pauls I have owned (2007 Epiphone Standard, 2008 Gibson Standard Faded and 2012 Gibson Deluxe).

Hope that clears it up.


Yes !
#16
Quote by HomerSGR
If one of the volumes is on zero, the middle position is quiet - zero. That is the way it has been on all three Les Pauls I have owned (2007 Epiphone Standard, 2008 Gibson Standard Faded and 2012 Gibson Deluxe).

Hope that clears it up.

Likewise my Epiphone G-400 (bought new). In other words, it's standard.
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#17
Thanks for the help. I just spent the last hour and change verifying the wiring and it all seems legit (and factory original too)

I compared this to a few wiring diagrams and it appears to be fine, but it seems like it would make more sense (to me) if the darn thing had been wired a little differently.
It IS wired in parallel but it still cuts off in the mid position. I haven't traced the circuit out to confirm it but it seems likely to me that turning the volume pot down to zero is simply creating a parallel path for current that is lower resistance than the impedance of either pickup. in which case there'd be ground potential on the hot wire at all times. No sound.

Well at least now i know. and there is once again no reason to think these pickups are anything but epiphone.

So - question resolved....thanks for help.
#18
Quote by paul.housley.7

I haven't traced the circuit out to confirm it but it seems likely to me that turning the volume pot down to zero is simply creating a parallel path for current that is lower resistance than the impedance of either pickup. in which case there'd be ground potential on the hot wire at all times.



That's correct. There's actually a wiring scheme that doesn't cut the mid position if the volume of one pickup is set to zero (google "les paul wiring with independent volume controls" if you want to know more about it). The problem with that wiring scheme is that it does roll off more trebles than the standard one so afaik it's never used.

that guitar is like falling in love with a stripper
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#19
Your PUs should be in parallel. So whenever one PU is turned off and you select the middle position (or the turned off position) the sound will be dead till you go to the position that has the PU turned up. Basic electronics.
Moving on.....
#20
I have four Epiphone Les Paul's of different modals (Standard, 1960 Tribute, Custom and UltraII) except for the Ultra II which has it's own wiring system because of the extra Nanaomag pickup, the other other Les Paul's all work the same. If you have one of the pick up volumes on "0" in the middle poition, there is no sound. How else are you gonna get that Ace Frehley sound where he cuts the treble pickup on and off rapidly with the three way switch?