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Les Paul Custom 3 pickup middle position

Gretev1

New member
Joined
Feb 25, 2020
Messages
23
Why do people dislike the middle toggle switch position on a 3 pickup Les Paul Custom. Anyone out there love the middle position tone or am I the only one? I have seen many reviews of vintage Les Paul Customs and the reviewers often skip over this pickup option and ignore it. Oddly the out of phase tones of Bursts like Peter Green/Kirk Hammett "Greeny" are adored by all. To my ears the tones are very similar.
Can anyone clear up my confusion? Any other lovers out there of the middle position on an LP Custom 3 pickup?
 

zacknorton

Active member
Joined
Aug 26, 2011
Messages
611
if you swap out the toggle for a freeway 6 way toggle.... then that middle pickup by itself is pure gold!
 

Varitone

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Joined
Sep 16, 2022
Messages
17
I have no experience with them, but this Les Paul Artisan sounds really nice and Strat-like in the middle switch position.

EDIT - I just realized we're in the Vintage forum, so I'm not sure if that Artisan I linked to has the same wiring set up as a <= 1960 Custom.
 

bursty

Active member
Joined
Dec 25, 2012
Messages
151
I have owned a few 3 pup customs but all were MIJ. My favorite was a 1982 Greco. The middle pup position in that guitar was just magical sounding; very Jimmy Page sounding is all I can describe it as. The guitar also had a really nice FAT neck to boot. Hard to beat a 3 pup custom IMO. There is nothing else out there that sounds like them.



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CptZar

Member
Joined
Jul 30, 2016
Messages
63
Because 50s customs have the bridge and center pup selected out of phase in the middle position, which sounds really strange. It helps to flip the magnet of the center pup. But you will have to open solder joints for that. Later 3 pup customs are wired different. The Frampton custom is a converted dual P90 50s, with its own wiring. So are the reissues.
 

Gretev1

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Joined
Feb 25, 2020
Messages
23
Because 50s customs have the bridge and center pup selected out of phase in the middle position, which sounds really strange. It helps to flip the magnet of the center pup. But you will have to open solder joints for that. Later 3 pup customs are wired different. The Frampton custom is a converted dual P90 50s, with its own wiring. So are the reissues.

Very interesting information. I own a 2010 1957 Les Paul Custom and I like the tone of the middle position. I have since had this LP Custom modified with a push pull knob. Are you saying that the middle position tone on this 2010 reissue would be less ice picky than an original 1957?
 

CptZar

Member
Joined
Jul 30, 2016
Messages
63
Very interesting information. I own a 2010 1957 Les Paul Custom and I like the tone of the middle position. I have since had this LP Custom modified with a push pull knob. Are you saying that the middle position tone on this 2010 reissue would be less ice picky than an original 1957?
Yes. The wiring was modified for reissues in the 70s, as the 50s wiring sounds really awkward. It was a Jazz guitar then. Nobody expected Jimmy Page to play one.

Still 50s customs, all mahogany with 3 HBs, are some of the best guitars Gibson every build.
 

Gretev1

New member
Joined
Feb 25, 2020
Messages
23
Yes. The wiring was modified for reissues in the 70s, as the 50s wiring sounds really awkward. It was a Jazz guitar then. Nobody expected Jimmy Page to play one.

Still 50s customs, all mahogany with 3 HBs, are some of the best guitars Gibson every build.

I have only ever held one but never played one.
Yes. The wiring was modified for reissues in the 70s, as the 50s wiring sounds really awkward. It was a Jazz guitar then. Nobody expected Jimmy Page to play one.

Still 50s customs, all mahogany with 3 HBs, are some of the best guitars Gibson every build.
Absolutely agree. Stunning instruments.

 

Hackubus

Les Paul Forum Member
Joined
Dec 20, 2001
Messages
1,586
I've wired my 3HB LPC & Firebird VII with Frampton style wiring, which puts the N & B on one pair of controls, and then the middle gets the other set of controls.
Using this, not only do I get the 'normal' B+M, I also can get N+M, B+N, and the middle all by itself.

To the best of my knowledge, "Normal" 3 Pup wiring schemes are wired 'modern' style. I found this to be very muddy when you turned the guitar down using gain.
(I'm using Marshalls, so I'm never playing these clean. It's always dirty to slightly not as dirty. )
Full up volume didn't sound all that great (to me) in the middle position wired normally.

The Frampton wiring cleans up much more nicely, allows the almost Fendery funk sound of the N+M & B+M to shine.
 

Gretev1

New member
Joined
Feb 25, 2020
Messages
23
I've wired my 3HB LPC & Firebird VII with Frampton style wiring, which puts the N & B on one pair of controls, and then the middle gets the other set of controls.
Using this, not only do I get the 'normal' B+M, I also can get N+M, B+N, and the middle all by itself.

To the best of my knowledge, "Normal" 3 Pup wiring schemes are wired 'modern' style. I found this to be very muddy when you turned the guitar down using gain.
(I'm using Marshalls, so I'm never playing these clean. It's always dirty to slightly not as dirty. )
Full up volume didn't sound all that great (to me) in the middle position wired normally.

The Frampton wiring cleans up much more nicely, allows the almost Fendery funk sound of the N+M & B+M to shine.
I own a 57 Reissue Les Paul Custom from 2010 and also had the wiring modified with a push pull knob on the volume control of the neck pickup. When pushed in the guitar essentially functions like a standard Les Paul: neck /neck+bridge/bridge. When pulled out I can get neck+middle/ middle by itself/middle+bridge.
 
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