If you want to know how your guitar works or if you are brave enough to get into the electronics and attempt some type of customization or change out a pickup, having a schematic is a must.
Gibson 2 Pickup Schematic
This is the standard circuit used by Gibson since the 1950s – it is used in the Les Paul, SG, Firebird, Flying V, Explorer as well as most thinline and full depth semi-acoustics.In the 1980s Gibson started to use 300k audio taper pots. These tend to make the neck pickup in particular, sound flabby and lifeless. If your guitar is one of these models give it a new lease of life by fitting 500k pots, which are available in standard and long shaft models to fit certain Les Paul models with encased electronics.
’59 Les Paul
The holy grail of guitar electronics. Pictured here is an original wiring harness from a 1959 Les Paul Standard – CTS pots (500k audio taper), Switchcraft selector switch and jack socket, Bumblebee 0.02mf capacitors, and shielded cloth wire. They do not make them like this anymore. When combined with an old PAF humbucker, the subtleties in response and tone are noticeable to the select few, the elite.
Gibson Les Paul Custom – Standard 3 Pickup Schematic
This is the standard circuit for the 3 Pickup Les Paul and SG Custom used by Gibson since the 1950s. The toggle switch selects the bridge pickup in the down position, the neck pickup in the up position and the middle position selects the bridge and middle pickups together. The middle pickup is out of phase with the bridge pickup which gives a thin hollow sound.
Gibson Les Paul Custom – Modified 3 Pickup Schematic
This is a modified circuit for the 3 Pickup Gibson or Epiphone Les Paul and SG Custom. Here the toggle switch selects either the bridge pickup, the neck pickup or both, like a 2 pickup guitar. Then a separate volume control for the middle pickup is added to allow the middle pickup to be used in any combination with the other two pickups or on its own. The trade off is the loss of one tone pot but very few guitarists use the tone pots independently. The remaining tone pot acts as a master tone pot for all three pickups.