#1
So I have an Aspen Les Paul copy with standard LP setup...2 Seymour Duncan humbuckers, 2 volumes and 2 tones. Been playing it for years...plays good and sounds good IMO.

This week the tone pot on the bridge PU broke (stuck on "10" all the time). Instead of just replacing it, I'm considering upgrading things. I believe I would like to do the wiring like this...Wiring

I like the idea of being able to split coils, reverse phasing, change series/parallel to get different sounds. But, I have a few questions I need help with / opinions on:

1. Is this overall a good idea? I mean, I have the PUs already, why not have options at my fingertips, right?

2. Since I have no push/pull pots now, just standard 2 volumes and 2 tones...if I wire per that diagram, am I correct in thinking that pushing IN all 4 knobs will put my wiring back to how it is now? I ask this b/c let's say I do all this work and don't like the new sounds I can get (doubtful I know), if pushing in all 4 knobs puts things back, I have nothing to lose, right?

3. I suffer the infamous "treble loss" when I turn down the volume slightly. This makes me leave them wide open all the time. I think I would like to do the "50's wiring" (or whatever the technical term is). But, can it be done with this wiring diagram (4 push/pulls). If so, how?

4. Is there any downside to the 50's wiring in your opinion?

5. What pots do you recommend? A friend told me he would go with Emerson Customs, but I don't see that they make push/pulls. What else is good quality? I heard CTS was good, but have no experience with them.
#2
1) Yes, I would install a coil selector on the push-pull pots. You can either use series-parallel or series-single. I have mine on a 4pdt on-on-on switch, so I can get series-single-parallel. Single selects the screw pole coils, and I have the pickups installed so that the screw poles face inwards towards each other. On my SD jazz, parallel and single sound very similar, but parallel is quieter and a little less ouput.

2) I personally wouldn't bother with phase and pickups-in-series, but it gives more options

3) You can install a small treble bleed cap between hot and wiper on the volume pots to prevent treble loss as the volume is turned down. I do this as standard.

4) Dunno, but I have one wired where the pickups go the the wipers on the volume pots, and the output goes from the hot terminal. This si called "P-bass wiring", and it allows the pickups to be blended in any proportion in the middle switch position. In standard wiring, if you turn one pickup right down, you lose all volume in the middle switch position. The downside is that the tone controls can behave oddly.

5) Dunno, I would go CTS, Bourne or Alpha, which as cheaper.
#3
1. I find that these "kitchen sink" mods are often more trouble than they're worth. You end up with a mile of extra wire, and most of the extra sounds are not very useful. If done correctly, there's nothing wrong with having the extra sounds, but I would suggest trying some carefully chosen mods one at a time instead of trying to pack a whole bunch of crap into your guitar all at once.

We get a ton of questions around here about the "Jimmy Page" wiring, and not once do I remember someone coming back and saying, "gee, I'm really glad I did that, I use all of these mods really frequently and successfully." I have heard it about mods that were thought out, researched, and done with some purpose. But for some reason this monstrosity is the go-to for people who don't really know what they want.

2. Pushing the knobs in will get you the original sounds. Some of the downsides (in case you didn't take the hint already) might be that the new sounds suck, the push/pull pots are expensive and sometimes shoddy, hard to find in long-shaft, unpleasant to wire, and take up room and switching options that might have been used for more practical mods.

3. You can do it with this wiring, it's exactly the same as with the standard wiring. Take a look at the conversion for the regular circuit and it should be obvious. You could also use treble bleed caps if you like, they work well.

4. There's always the chance that you don't like it Sometimes you can get ground loops if your wiring is messy, which it usually is with the 4-push/pull setup.

5. CTS push/pull are fine. You don't have that many options, especially if you need long-shaft.


In case you couldn't tell, I'm not a big fan of this mod. I think it's way too much to throw at a guitar just to 'see if you like it.' I'd start with a series/parallel coils switch for each pickup (NOT the one in this mod which puts the pickups themselves in series/parallel) and go from there. Splitting humbuckers can sound kind of ass (depends a lot on the pickup), whereas parallel coil mode is noise canceling, often keeps the volume closer, and still sounds vaguely single-coil ish. Phase reversal is occasionally something people like, but is not popular outside of Peter Green impersonations. I don't find series/parallel pickup switches on humbucker guitars useful. So in my mind, you could start with four half-assed and dubiously useful mods, or you could try out two simpler and probably better sounding ones. In any case, they're all reversible, so if you really do want to go whole hog later on you can. If you've never modded a guitar before the 4-p/p is a bit of an extreme way to start.

In short, I would start small and build up, with stops to assess along the way. Starting out by throwing a whole bunch of crap to see what sticks is a waste of time and parts IMO. I've done the mod, I've done it for other people, I've helped other people do it, and every instance I can remember ended up being reversed for something simpler. If this was really a valuable mod with tons of useful tones, we'd see it on tons of mid- and high-end guitars as a stock feature. As it stands, I think it exists mostly as a stumbling block for aspiring modders.