Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Les Paul Florentine: Vintage 50s Wiring Harness

Today I finally got the wiring harness done for the Les Paul Florentine. It's all but complete, although I haven't actually tested it with the pickups and switch. I *did* test each wire as it was soldered into the harness to make sure there were no shorts, so fingers crossed it should be OK!  I used all custom parts, including 500K CTS pots, orange drop caps and a Switchcraft output jack for the harness to give those GFS Dream 180 pickups no excuse to sound anything but awesome!

As far as the circuit was concerned I used the so-called 50's vintage wiring scheme, with the addition of the independent volume mod. The circuit (without the mod) is shown below. The independent volume mod simply swaps the volume pot tabs so that the input from the pickup is on the middle (swing arm) tab and the output+tone is on the outer tab.

50s Vintage Wiring Schematic for Gibson Les Pauls, 335s and so on.
It came together pretty easily, and it's a neat job if I do say so myself. This is the first time I've used 'Shielded Push-Back Wire' from Stewmac to build a wiring harness and I've gotta say that once I got used to using it, I quickly fell in love with it. So much easier to ground the shielding than the plastic coated 'Shielded Circuit Wire' from Stewmac that I have used on my last 2 hollow-body builds. You just solder the shielding straight to the back of your pots. Brilliant!

With the harness complete, did I stop to test everything before shoving it into the body? Nah! Instead I charged ahead and attempted to man-handle the harness into the body of the guitar. I really should have stopped to test everything first, but what the hell. I'll probably pay for it tomorrow. Anyway, after 5 attempts I was about to give up. The CTS pots are much higher than the stock pots that came with the kit and they would only move inside the body cavity if they were laying down just so. My 5mm aquarium pipe wasn't helping much either.

But, on the 6th attempt, i finally got it in there! I'm not sure what damage I may have done to the wiring (some jimmying of the pots was required at certain stages) but fingers crossed everything is OK. I *really* don't want to have to pull these buggers out again!!

With the harness in I was finally able to set my gold knobs and screw in my oval jack plate from GFS. More than a touch of awesome I reckon!

Now all there is to do is to connect the pickups and switch to the harness and heat shrink the lot. Sounds like tomorrow might see this baby completed! Fingers very very crossed!