Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Ash Les Paul: All Wired Up!

Well it's been a hectic couple of days, but the Ash Les Paul is almost ready to rock. Once the neck glue was dry (I gave it 24 hours), I set about shielding the cavities and wiring the electronics on a cardboard template. The shielding was grounded (pickup cavities and control cavity) and in no time at all the pickups were installed.

The electronics were wired using the "Vintage" Les Paul wiring model. You can see a diagram of this below. The difference between Vintage and so-called Modern wiring is that the Vintage circuit connects the tone capacitor to the output of the volume pot (ie. the middle lug) rather than the input (the outside lug).
Vintage Wiring - Diagram Copyright guitar-mod.com

In simple terms this means that the low pass filter is only applied the signal that the volume pot lets through rather than being applied to the entire (raw) signal. The benefits of this approach are hotly debated in forums across the inter-web, but anecdotally it is said to give a brighter response when dialing down the volume. Whatever. I just like anything with "Vintage" in the title :) .

With the wiring done, I cut some circles of milk bottle plastic to sit under the pots (it stops the pot lugs from inadvertently shorting out) and then installed them. The shielded control covers followed shortly, and a tap test confirmed that everything was working as expected. In addition to the wiring shown in the diagram I also used push pull pots for volume, allowing me to coil tap both the neck and bridge humbuckers. When the volume knobs are pulled out, single coils it is!

With everything in and working, I strung her up for a first test of the Entwistle HDN pickups. I reckon she looks magnificent!

A guitar at last. The burst and zebra pickups look killer!
I'm really digging my burst headstock now.
With the burst and the zebra pickups, this is one mean rock beast. At least in my opinion. Something Slash might find himself holding ;). A first test of the HDNs showed that these are indeeed hot, hot pickups. Even on the clean channel they all but melted my face. For the first time ever I found myself diving for the guitar's volume control! Really a wonderful (powerful!) sound. I have only to file a new bone nut for this beasty and I'll be able to take her for a proper sound test. Stay tuned for some very badly strummed tunes on a very loud, very rock-worthy axe! Guffaw...