I like to support my customers as much as I can so here is my drawing of Gibson Modern Wiring – Les Paul.
The modern wiring is used in most Les Pauls and it’s great for players wanting to roll off some treble when the guitar volume is turned down.
The difference between the modern and 50’s wiring is in how the tone capacitor is connected to the volume pot. It’s a very simple modification if you have 50’s wiring and are curious.
Modern Wiring – Les Paul
I’ve linked below to my 50’s wiring diagram so you can see the difference.
Another thing to remember is that you can actually use both wiring methods on the same guitar. It is possible, for instance, to use 50’s wiring for the neck pickup and modern for the bridge. That way the neck pickup would retain some clarity as you lower the volume. The bridge pickup (with the modern wiring) would loose a bit of high end with the volume down a bit and therefor smoothing off the treble. It just depends on what you’re trying to get out of your Les Paul. Then there’s capacitor choice, pot value, coiltap or series/parallel, or even out of phase – the list goes on. I will be writing more blogs to cover all that at some point.
It’s always important to remember that here is no right or wrong, despite what you may read on social media. It’s all just a matter of personal taste. These wiring differences are all subtle too, the place to start is with great pickups.
There really is nothing wrong with modern wiring, having your tone darken as you turn down the volume can be very useful in some settings. So try both and see which suits you best.
It seems that all the cool kids and ‘experts’ on the internet are telling us it has to be 50’s or nothing but for anyone with a soldering iron it’s an easy mod and completely reversible so experiment for yourself. You may find you like 50’s for the neck pickup and modern for the bridge.
Inspired by the early Gibson PAF pickups the Integrity-vintage humbucker give the classic full, balanced tone we all love. Asymmetric coils give an open sounding mid range and the Alnico II magnet gives clarity and balance. A rich bottom end, characterful mids and sweet treble make this a pickup set for every situation – Jazz, Blues, Rock, it does it all.
Every pickup manufacturer makes a “Vintage” humbucker based on the Gibson PAF, of course they do – old Gibsons sound so good.
So how come they all sound so different? Well, the simple answer is that PAF’s were all different. I’ve been a full time luthier since 1995, whenever I come across an old humbucker I test the ohms and the gause and have a good listen. They’re all different. My conclusion is that pickup manufacturers have taken the PAF they like and based their own version on that. Old PAF’s vary so much so modern ones do as well.
I like my own version to be clear sounding, have obvious string separation and definition and to keep clarity no matter how much gain. The mids must be strong and woody, this is not a “scooped” pickup. The clean sound needs to be chimey and clear with no mush; through a valve amp I want clarity. When I tickle it I want clean and vocal sounding when it clips. The bridge pickup needs to be well behaved with high gain and clear with enough cut through so the drummer knows you’re there. The neck smooth, clear and articulate. Warm but with none of the boom you get with a more powerful pickup.
I don’t want much do I.
My “Integrity”-vintage humbucker has an Alnico II magnet and I’ve used plain enamel insulated magnet wire with asymmetric coils to open up the mids. The very first pickup I ever made back in 1995 was a PAF style and I’ve been tweaking the recipe ever since. Like all my pickups I’ve used a number of test pilot players in its development as well as gigging it myself. It wasn’t until around 2015 that I settled on this particular design. I did a gig with a set in a PRS SE series only last weekend – sounded great to me.
The full and honest sound of the Integrity-vintage humbucker along with it’s timeless tone inspired the name “Integrity”. https://mrglynspickups.com/