So, I've got this Les Paul that has a dysfunctional volume knob. I've decided to just re-wire the whole thing while I'm in there.
Something like this.

The only difference I would have, would be some pot values and the push-pull function.

Please let me know if this should or could work.

Neck pickup (4 wire) to a 500k push-pull, using the pot as a volume for only the bottom coil, and the push-pull for phasing of the entire pickup. That then to a 500k tone pot. Then to the 3-way switch and finally to a 1meg master volume pot (with a treble bleed) and out to the jack.

Bridge pickup is going straight to the second 500k tone pot, then to the 3-way switch, which of course goes to the volume and then jack.

Could this work?
send a print screen of the diagram it's extremely distorted when you click it for protection purpose. Usually I use print screen if that ever happens.

once I see the diagram it paints a better picture and I can help you out as I do custom wirings all the time.

to adjust just the bottom coils volume of the pickup you can do this a few ways the easiest way would be to add a "spin a split" mod which turns a tone knob into it, it turns an entire coil off. So 10 is 100% of the pickup , 0 = 50% of the pickup. One of my friends on here we had a volume for each of the pickups coils. It was an LTD mirage or horizon guitar with only two knobs it was routed for so we used two concentric knobs which were kind of expensive but he was very happy.

phase reversal is super simple, seymour duncan has you covered there.

if you are using a basic pot for the master volume go with a linear pot (B1000k for example) . I prefer them over doing a treble bleed mod myself as to my ears it does the same thing. Linear pots decrease the resistance in equal increments which gives the illusion of keeping the highs. But if not the 'kinman treble bleed" is your go to mod ... or .. .just wire up the tone to the circuit the 1950s way, it isn't just for les pauls.

copper shielding tape goes a long way as well, the good news is though you can add a bit more to this circuit if you'd want to as well pushing the guitar a bit further.
Last edited by Tallwood13 at May 26, 2015,
I'm sorry to say that, that diagram link is the best I've found. In quality and in trying to describe what I'm trying to accomplish.

My question is more about the "order of operations" being correct more than anything.

Maybe this might help. http://www.seymourduncan.com/images/support/schematics/phase_switch_coil_split_hb.jpg
I've done that same split before. This time around instead of just turning the coil on or off completely with a switch, I want to do a taper the signal with the pot part of the push-pull.

Secondly, I've never done or heard of having a volume pot (for the coil-split function) coming before a master volume. I'm wondering if having two volume controls for the same pickup will mess up the circuit as a whole.
Sometimes as I post diagrams I post the photos on photobucket but I visualized your idea and it will work.

yeah the coil split can come before the volume. Take for example when you wire a guitar pickup in parallel (hum cancelling variant of a coil split) , you've got all 5 wires from a pickup going to a mini toggle switch before it hits the selector and volume pot. you'd be surprised what works, small stuff like the tone knob being where the volume is to anything way more extreme.
Thank you so much for your quick and full responses. I just have one final question on the matter.

I want to keep the treble bleed on the master volume but I've read that because of how basic resistance works, that where the master volume has the cap to allow higher frequencies, other paths may have those same frequencies cut while following that path to ground. I actually saw a short video explaining the matter. Would this be affected by that? I don't actually know much of the math, but I came here to learn.


This explains the problem I'm concerned about.
Thanks again for all your help!
this guy gave me an amazing idea years ago when he wired up one of his epiphones. I'm going to probably patent it one of these days. He's a very bright guy he worked for some non-guitar related electronics company.

..but yeah with his treble bleed he's just using a capacitor. The way I do things is a little different. When I came across the treble bleed mod I googled what was the best and the Kinman one is apparently what everyone agreed on was the best.

two ways around this I tell guys, either wire the guitar the 1950s way for the tone capacitor retains the highs or like I said before linear pots are usually what I go with. I pretend audio taper don't exist haha. As always it's your guitar so do what you think is best.

tayada2009 on ebay has the 0.001uf capacitors and 130k 1/4 watt resistors. Both are about 1$ american on ebay or most electronic stores have them. Resistors are not polarized either so they can be soldered in either way. A bit of heat shrink tubing to fuse the capacitor/resistor together where they are not solderd to anything will prevent any shorting in case anything touches them. I probably buy my height in it every 2-3 months.
Last edited by Tallwood13 at May 27, 2015,
Yeah, I was going to experiment with the Kinman, Duncan and Simple wiring setups. I grabbed a ton of 1000pF and 3300pF caps (100 of each) and 25 100k resistors. Also, thanks to the lovely man in the video, I picked up a set of alligator clips like his, all for around $20.

I'll try your suggestion first. The only thing left on my mind now is just feedback from all the wiring going behind the pickups. That's a lot of wire passing back and forth behind the pups.

Do you have any experience with that sort of thing?

Again, thank you. I really appreciate all your help here.
Eric Johnson a lot of guys on here can mention stories on here about how meticulous he was in the Fender Custom Shop as he's a famous guitar player who fender sells a his signature guitar for. He claimed that being minimalistic with ground wires helps. I do it because it makes the wiring look neater and custom tailored like in the 1930s with chicago gangsters and their suits haha.

for hum reduction this pretty much leaves every stone unturned and I can't believe I wrote this much about the subject.

one suggestion is copper shielding tape. USA Custom shops do this because it reduces EMI (electro magnetic interference). So it really reduces the hum. I had a guy bring a 7 string over and I thought the hum he was complaining about was a grounding issue but the pickups were just way higher output than his other guitar. Long story short I copper shielded the entire guitar and he was very happy. I showed him one of my personal BC Rich guitars I'll never sell and we compared them. No copper shielding (his 7 string) vs my low end warlock I warm up on and I turned the gain up twice as much to prove my point.

a powerbar that reduces RFI and EMI helps too. Bestbuy or guitar shops may supply them. My friend who levels all my frets used to work for the biggest music shop in my city brought this up when a customer I helped build a charvel or washburn. New pretty much everything hardware wise and even with copper tape he still heard a bit of hum. Long story short my building is pretty old and it was the rooms fault not his guitars for his guitar still humming. So that is taking it to a whole new extreme. The power bar is about 40$ US dollars I've been told.

one last thing in regards to hum though. This is complete overkill without buying noise gate pedals or higher end cables (like planet waves, mogami and monster)... but ... Gibson and Seymour Duncan (for example) have certain pickups with metal wires (nickle braiding) , this creates a faraday cage too like copper shielding does to reduce hum so it may be a pull factor for certain pickups to buy. I'm a fan of 4 wire myself because of the options. You can buy nickle braided wire and make harnesses out of it too but if you use color codes and all it would get a little confusing to trouble shoot a harness. I've seen alternatives to nickle braided wire though. I was going to put some pickups together with this stuff.

at the end of the day in regards to hum try things out small and don't be afraid to record your findings. Except for a Boss NS-2 or a Mogami cable all of this stuff is very affordable and this is part of the fun building/modding guitars that keeps it interesting for me.

yeah any questions send me a message on here.
Last edited by Tallwood13 at May 28, 2015,
Thank you. I'll definitely give that a try as well. I found a pretty good deal on some shielding tape online.

That makes a lot of sense with the ground wires as well. Will definitely keep that in mind.

It's funny you mention the powerbar option with the buzzing issue. My old residence wasn't grounded, so I got special outlet covers and grounded them that way. When I moved, I kept them. I know very well the problem you mentioned there; even my series-wired humbuckers would buzz like crazy.

I'm going to stick with these pickups; I'm trying to make this thing scream with the stock pups. Funnily enough, this is the only guitar I own (out of my 15) that I don't know the brand or output of the pickups. I just know that I like them, and want to get the most out of them with some cheap mods. If I were to change them, however, I'd most likely get a P-rails for the neck with the same setup I asked about here, and a screaming hot set of GFS power rails in the bridge. That's just a bit out of my price range at the moment.
I am actually having a bit of trouble trying to grasp the wiring for the neck pickup. I've decided I want to use the blend on the top coil, and then just reverse the polarity of the bridge to cut out some wiring/interference. I never really use the mid position in-phase anyway.

My problem comes in here. How would I blend away the signal of the top coil of the neck, while still keeping the separate tone controls for each pickup and the master volume. I cant visualize how that would look. I get that it's basically just treating the neck humbucker as two separate single coils. I just cant grasp putting the signals back together before the tone pot. It seems like I'd be wiring two pickups to the same tone knob.

Sorry for not realizing that I dont know how to do step 1 sooner.

Is it as simple as taking the wires that connect the two coils (the red and white on the Duncans) and attaching that to a volume pot that shunts to ground, and then taking the hot and wiring it to the tone and so on?
yeah I'm the same way I don't use the middle position at all either. Usually I throw the pickups out of phase. However there is this "power boost" or "megabucker" mod that enticed me.

The easy way to reverse the polarity of a pickup is to flip the entire pickup. It looks funny but this is how Gary Moore had it done, it wasn't on purpose but he loved it if memory serves me right. With phase reversal both pickups have to be 4 wire. I have been tempted to put a humbucker backwards on a guitar with two conductors though. I bought about 100$ worth of pots and guitar parts off of ebay the other night so I can't wait to try it out and the half out of phase mod. However you can keep the middle position out of phase at all time, if you never plan to use the middle position it could work in your favor without it.

with one volume this may be tricky to keep each individual tone. You could use a concentric potentiometer to blend the coil as I'm pretty sure 1m / 500k pots do exist and plus it's cheaper on wire for you too but that is really bean counting considering part of my ebay order I spent around 20$ for about 100 feet of wire.

some out of the box ideas to help you out switch wise,
#1 - concentric pots come to mind they are stacked but provide individual control unlike a classic blend knob as that would be sort of impractical or difficult to grasp the most out of it where we would look at a sheet of paper in awe how to make it happen.

#2- the fender S1 switch. seymour duncan or fender forums can help you out with them as I'm still getting used to them pushing them to their limits.

as far as individual tones this could be tricky with 3 pots. I'd have fun with it and put say the fender greasebucket (bass cut to clear up high gain settings) or another tone knob alternative to really push the guitar further. the greasebuckets very cheap and easy to do. I use it for metal mostly.

for the last question, I would honestly extend wires with some extra wire. Like 24 AWG "guitar wire" on ebay which is about 1$ , heat shrink tubing makes it look professional and prevents signals from cutting out if the wires touched the shielding inside a quality guitar (i've seen chinese gibson copies without any shielding paint or copper in them and laughed) . I try my best to not cut any of the wire on pickups unless I have to.

Two tips - 60/40 rosin core solder with lead works the best, it doesn't cool down super quick like the alternative to 60/40 i can't remember the numbers

tin the stripped wires and all contacts and you'll do great.

this diagram I did on my friends jackson and it was a breeze extending wires and everything tinned.

oh and twist the wires together like this and tin them together, it makes the control cavity look cleaner for guitar techs making money off this and at the same time life easier.

Last edited by Tallwood13 at May 29, 2015,
Yeah, I've got all the other parts I need. Solder.. strings... 200 capacitors and pots galore. Extra 22, 24 and 26 gauge wire in multiple colors and so on.

I'm no wiring virgin, but so far most of what I've wired has been just basic Strat stuff. This is my first time getting inside a Paul or doing anything involving blending or small value capacitors.

I actually have an old partscaster you might appreciate. It's the body of an old Squier I had from my childhood, back when the Affinity series was Alder. I don't think they are anymore. The neck is a GFS maple back and front, sanded to perfection on the back. The bridge, from an old strat my roomate had, with some added Wilkinson saddles and a solid steel sustain block from other guiars. Finally, two old ESP pickups from my second guitar that had half of the wax melt out when I left it in the car -_-. I had a 1meg tone and a 500k push-pull lying around, I think I shoved a .47uf cap on the tone. I took out the screws on the neck pup and wired the bridge backwards to the phase switch. Good times... damned thing is almost 12 years old now. Still screams. Good times..

It's just odd for me to see the inside of a guitar look so foreign after all of that.

So, was I correct in thinking that to bleed off the north coil you just take the coil-tap wire and instead, wire it to a volume knob?
I remember years ago I took apart a Jackson Kelly KE3 which i got for next to nothing and the rest is history. Understanding things is everything right? seymour duncans page is amazing for diagrams however guitarelectronics.com and this site below are fantastic too. This one harness I put together for ebay is one volume and 3 band EQ, in the end 11 components. 1 audio transformer (mid scoop) and about 10 different valued capacitors and resistors. Thailand must love me.

This sites great too in regards to the S1 switch

yeah you were right, you can even coilsplit the other coil if you wanted to. your starts would solder together and your finishes would go to the appropriate places if memory serves me right.

but yeah send me a message if you got any questions , private messages I see in my emails much quicker.
Last edited by Tallwood13 at May 29, 2015,
Understanding really is everything.

Thanks for the link and for the reassurance.

Gonna try and do all of this tomorrow.