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50s wiring tone knob problems

KDunn99

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Sep 17, 2018
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In my 2017 LP trad, i have a bb2 in the bridge, and a bb1 in the neck. For reference i use my controls the way this thread describes http://www.mylespaul.com/threads/how-to-use-the-controls-on-a-les-paul.48038/

When my bridge vol is on 10, the tone knob works as it should. But, when the vol is around 8 where it is most of the time, the tone knob acts similar to a volume knob and lowers my gain and doesnt reduce treble at all. I also had new CTS pots and caps installed in 50s wiring

The guitar also hums when not touching any metal (like the strings). I rewired the guitar the same way it came stock but with the 50s wiring capacitor location so maybe there’s an underlying grounding issue from the factory

But, my main concern is being able to tame the bridge when my amp is set brighter to get clarity out of the neck. Any help is greatly appreciated!
 

Black58

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Oct 28, 2005
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But, my main concern is being able to tame the bridge when my amp is set brighter to get clarity out of the neck. Any help is greatly appreciated!

How about actually adjusting the neck pickup for clarity, instead of the amp? :ganz
 

KDunn99

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Sep 17, 2018
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I constantly adjust them but the neck pickup is usually as low as possible with raised pole pieces and the bridge is very high with lowered pole pieces. I get good clarity in the neck without having to push the treble past 6 on most of my amps, but the bridge tone wont tame the highs unless the bridge volume is on 10. Both pups are alnico 2 btw
 

Mr Chevy

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Aug 20, 2016
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If I understand you correctly, you have the neck pickup set low into the body, and the bridge pickup set high (closer to the strings). If this is the case, you might try lowering the bridge pu lower into the body and away from the strings. Closer to the strings will make it sound louder and "hotter". Similar to if you talk into a mic from a foot away vs putting it in your mouth to speak. Lowering it will "mellow it out a little", and likely make it sound less brash. I've never messed with the pole pieces on the pickups myself. I always understood that to be for balancing out the individual string volumes but never had the need for that, but have often adjusted the pickup height itself to balance out the perceived volume and tone of the neck and bridge pickup. This would also work with the neck pickup. >>>closer to the strings = louder and brighter.....further from the strings = quieter and mellower, possibly more clarity<<<. Generally, I would think the pole screws should all be pretty much flush with the top of the pickup. At least with humbuckers. Single coils tend to be weaker so the poles are generally somewhat adjusted to match the fretboard radius.

Also it wouldn't hurt to double check the wiring to a 50's schematic.
 

Black58

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Oct 28, 2005
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Ya know, I tried this, playing last night on my '09 R8 with stock '50s wiring, pots and caps .. and actually had similar results! :wow .. I've never played the guitar with the knobs adjusted like that, and found it quite startling! I do know that '50s wiring does make the controls quite interactive, but that was pretty fuckin' kooky. ... I'm gonna play my '97 R8, with stock electronics and normal wiring, tonight; See what happens there. :hmm
 

KDunn99

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Sep 17, 2018
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Let me know how your experiment goes Black58! This may be one of the reasons that gibson started doing modern wiring around ‘62. With 50’s wiring, if the volume for a pickup is below 10, the tone knob for that pickup basically becomes a second volume knob. So whenever i can find my soldering iron (it has suddenly disappeared lol), im going to put my bridge capacitor back to modern and see how the knobs interact. But i am going to leave the neck in 50’s as i love maintaining clarity as i clean up with the knob. And the only time i lower the tone knob is when the volume is on 10 and tone on 0 for the woman tone and its variations.
 

GeraintGuitar

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Aug 28, 2017
Messages
115
In my 2017 LP trad, i have a bb2 in the bridge, and a bb1 in the neck. For reference i use my controls the way this thread describes http://www.mylespaul.com/threads/how-to-use-the-controls-on-a-les-paul.48038/

When my bridge vol is on 10, the tone knob works as it should. But, when the vol is around 8 where it is most of the time, the tone knob acts similar to a volume knob and lowers my gain and doesnt reduce treble at all. I also had new CTS pots and caps installed in 50s wiring

The guitar also hums when not touching any metal (like the strings). I rewired the guitar the same way it came stock but with the 50s wiring capacitor location so maybe there’s an underlying grounding issue from the factory

But, my main concern is being able to tame the bridge when my amp is set brighter to get clarity out of the neck. Any help is greatly appreciated!

bro firstly 50s wiring IS just the lacation of the cap so if you left the caps where they where when it was 50s wired it still is 50s wiring ! :)
just wire it modern wiring put one end of the cap on same lug as the pick up hot wire on the vol pot and then put the other end of the cap on the first or second lug of the tone pot and solder the other lug to ground (back of pot ) the 3rd lug isnt used ,( so if you solder the cap to the first lug on the tone pot solder the middle lug to ground but if you solder the cap to the second lug then solder the first lug to ground it makes no difference which )

secondly that hum your describing is pretty normal if your control cavity isnt shielded , your ground connections sound like thier fine if the hum goes away when you touch the strings
if it bothers you that much shield your control cavity with copper tape or conductive paint
 

EpiLP1985

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Aug 11, 2017
Messages
113
Electrically speaking, the reason you get major interplay between volume and tone knobs with 50s wiring is the tone knobs placement in the voltage divider of the volume pot.

By connecting the tone knob AFTER the pickup input to the volume pot, you allow its resistance value to contribute to the volume pots voltage divider when you turn the volume down, which can affect volume.
 

Black58

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Oct 28, 2005
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10,139
Let me know how your experiment goes Black58! This may be one of the reasons that gibson started doing modern wiring around ‘62. With 50’s wiring, if the volume for a pickup is below 10, the tone knob for that pickup basically becomes a second volume knob. So whenever i can find my soldering iron (it has suddenly disappeared lol), im going to put my bridge capacitor back to modern and see how the knobs interact. But i am going to leave the neck in 50’s as i love maintaining clarity as i clean up with the knob. And the only time i lower the tone knob is when the volume is on 10 and tone on 0 for the woman tone and its variations.

My '97 R8 does NOT do that! The tone knob actually works the way it should, with the volume knob in any position. Gotta be the 50's wiring.
 

GeraintGuitar

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Joined
Aug 28, 2017
Messages
115
My '97 R8 does NOT do that! The tone knob actually works the way it should, with the volume knob in any position. Gotta be the 50's wiring.
pros and cons of 50s wiring and modern wiring :hmm
maybe a treble bleed kit is the way to go ......never tried it though.

while we're on the subject of tone control, does anyone have a guitar where all tone is bunched up on the last qaurter of the turn of the pot ?
 

EpiLP1985

Member
Joined
Aug 11, 2017
Messages
113
In my 2017 LP trad, i have a bb2 in the bridge, and a bb1 in the neck. For reference i use my controls the way this thread describes http://www.mylespaul.com/threads/how-to-use-the-controls-on-a-les-paul.48038/

When my bridge vol is on 10, the tone knob works as it should. But, when the vol is around 8 where it is most of the time, the tone knob acts similar to a volume knob and lowers my gain and doesnt reduce treble at all. I also had new CTS pots and caps installed in 50s wiring

The guitar also hums when not touching any metal (like the strings). I rewired the guitar the same way it came stock but with the 50s wiring capacitor location so maybe there’s an underlying grounding issue from the factory

But, my main concern is being able to tame the bridge when my amp is set brighter to get clarity out of the neck. Any help is greatly appreciated!

Do you have pictures from inside the control cavity that you could post?
 

KDunn99

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Sep 17, 2018
Messages
27
Also my volume pots crackle as i turn them. Not too loudly, but its there. It goes away when i blow into the pot while turning it to try and dislodge dust but comes back very quickly. Maybe one of you will spot a wiring mistake i made if there is one.
 

Big Al

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Joined
Apr 24, 2002
Messages
14,319
My '97 R8 does NOT do that! The tone knob actually works the way it should, with the volume knob in any position. Gotta be the 50's wiring.

No, that is how modern wiring works and why I always post that as my preference and get roasted by the "50's wiring is magical and mystical and just miraculously made my Les Paul sound soooo heavenly", contingency. I still prefer it for my tastes and style.
 

KDunn99

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Sep 17, 2018
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27
Just got done putting the bridge back to modern wiring and keeping the neck in 50s, and for my style this is great! I can have my neck retain the brighteness as i roll down the volume and the bridge volume doesnt lose that much treble as i roll it down. And my bridge tone now functions as it should. It did change my middle sound a little so im finding new presets for “the quack”. But with my guitar, the 50s wiring in the neck and modern wiring in the bridge sound very much like Page’s #1 post ‘73 to my ears
 

Black58

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Oct 28, 2005
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10,139
Just got done putting the bridge back to modern wiring and keeping the neck in 50s, and for my style this is great! I can have my neck retain the brighteness as i roll down the volume and the bridge volume doesnt lose that much treble as i roll it down. And my bridge tone now functions as it should. It did change my middle sound a little so im finding new presets for “the quack”. But with my guitar, the 50s wiring in the neck and modern wiring in the bridge sound very much like Page’s #1 post ‘73 to my ears

Awesome! :salude
 

Black58

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Oct 28, 2005
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No, that is how modern wiring works and why I always post that as my preference and get roasted by the "50's wiring is magical and mystical and just miraculously made my Les Paul sound soooo heavenly", contingency. I still prefer it for my tastes and style.

Sorry, Al; I didn't space out my test results, and my potential answer to the original problem, properly. .. I'll go stand in the corner. :spabout
 

Big Al

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Apr 24, 2002
Messages
14,319
Sorry, Al; I didn't space out my test results, and my potential answer to the original problem, properly. .. I'll go stand in the corner. :spabout

I'll meet you there, it is where I dwell. Bring cold beers.
 
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