Adding a 3rd pickup to a les paul - Jemsite
Tech: Setup, Repairs and Mods Guitar workbench discussion such as setup, repairs, mods, installing new parts and more.

 
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-18-2004, 09:24 AM Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Richmond, Kentucky
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Adding a 3rd pickup to a les paul

I just bought a les paul and Im one of those guys who really doesnt give a damn about originality. Im looking to customize this thing heavily. It came stock with a kahler trem but has dot inlays and two pickups only. I was thinking more along the lines of added block inlays, and a third pickup. I know the inlays are expensive but most of the jemsite sponsors have no prices posted for les paul style guitars. This one does have binding which extends over the edges of the frets which id like to keep but i know is expensive. Basically what im looking to do is strip the back of the neck for that zakk wylde les paul feel, add a third humbucker in the middle and do the inlays. Right now the guitar is candy apple red but i would be willing to do a complete refinish. This will have been the most expensive mod Ive done so far and I really want to get it right. Id like to do the neck stripping myself and add the third pickup as well, and let one of our sponsors do the workl. Ive already been at the les paul forum, but honestly those guys arent into customizing their guitars, just some routine maintenance *dan erlewine is a regular forum member if that tells you anything*. What type of problems might i run into with the pickup routing? What type of bits will I need and what template? Im just lost here truthfully.
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-20-2004, 10:59 AM Thread Starter
 
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bump
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-20-2004, 11:55 AM
 
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you really want to do that yourself? oh gawd...
well, you could use this template to route your single-coil cavity with this bit.
but be aware, cause the template is flat and the LP top is carved.
i'd never attempt that myself. i'd have a pro doing these kind of job.
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-20-2004, 12:05 PM
 
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This is not the most detail-packed picture, but look closely...

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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-20-2004, 12:57 PM Thread Starter
 
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Well nuno thats why I use the forum . Mods ive never attempted before I like to read EVER SINGLE THING I CAN FIND. Especially when dealing with my babys. It really helps to know every possible thing that could go wrong ahead of time so you dont end up messing things up. Perhaps its all better left unsaid. I think Ill be giving Little green man some business soon. Im thinking ill have a complete refin inlay, and pickup route put in. I can do the wiring myself at least.
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-21-2004, 10:06 AM
 
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I have a router jig for all diffrent pickup shapes and sizes. These are plexiglass templates that you can follow with a router for accurate cavities. I will assume you will be using a humbucker with a pickup surround. This will give you a little room for error.......very little.....but it's something to work with. If you are going to refinish it you will have to watch for wood splinters........these can be glued back in........if your not going to refinish..........watch for chipping in the clear coat. Use masking tape to mark the edge of the cut and scribe the clear coat with a sharp knife. Go lightly and be accurate. This will save the clear from chipping back on to the top of your nice guitar. When cutting the cavity.....have the pickup mounted to the surround so you know how deep the cavity choud be. Clip the screws down a bit if you have to once the pickup is at the approximate height in the surround. You can drill two holes where the screws may bottom out,,,,both ways are fine. You only have to wire it to the switch........so no biggie...........Remove the front pickup and drill a hole into it's cavity. All the pickup wires should fit through the hole if your new pickup wire isn't too huge. If this was my project.......dreamer.......I would wire a coil tap to this center pickup.........just use a push pull tone pot with the tap built in. No drilling.....no new holes........a better tone in that postion......you could wire it as a phase switch. Try some stuff and see what you like. It's not that hard to try and not that hard to put it back!
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-21-2004, 10:49 AM Thread Starter
 
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Thanks guys this is exactly the kind of help im looking for. yes im going to be mouting a humbucker in a mounting ring. I think im going to do some work on a beater first to see if I can add that pickup in by itself. That way Ill have an idea of what im doing. Im probably gonna work my routing skills up on a few peices of scrap wood anyways. Ive never done ANY routing at all so this is gonna be difficult. I just dont want to keep losing money when i have access to every tool imaginable as it is
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-21-2004, 11:18 AM
 
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oh, i thought you were going to add a single-coil pickup, donno why...

btw, could you give me the link to the Gibson forum? i'd like to know what my guru Dan Erlewine says there.
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-21-2004, 12:58 PM Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nuno
oh, i thought you were going to add a single-coil pickup, donno why...

btw, could you give me the link to the Gibson forum? i'd like to know what my guru Dan Erlewine says there.
its www.lespaulforum.com Although the forum admin took three days to accept my request to be added to the site. Same with the jackson charvel forum. And unfortunately very close minded people at both forums. Ive overall received far much more tech info here at this website, but dan is a guru at repair. He has his own section on the website. Still ive gotta give props to this website and project guitar. The best ive found to date for info on guitars
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-21-2004, 01:17 PM
 
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I've often wondered how three-pickup Les Pauls and Firebirds are wired, having only a three-way toggle. Is it bridge-middle-neck and no combinations, or is there some other switch-trickery they use on the factory models?
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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-21-2004, 01:25 PM
 
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[thank you, Sniper]
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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-21-2004, 02:08 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darren wilson
I've often wondered how three-pickup Les Pauls and Firebirds are wired, having only a three-way toggle. Is it bridge-middle-neck and no combinations, or is there some other switch-trickery they use on the factory models?
The usual way is to convert one of the tone pots into a volume and the other tone into a master tone. The 3 way switch works as normal and the extra pick up is turned on and off via the volume control. Not a very elegant solution, but it does mean that you can have all possible pick up combinations and there is no need for extra switches.
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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-21-2004, 03:52 PM Thread Starter
 
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I think thats referred to as the Peter frampton mod as thats how he did his three pickup customs, but the original es 5 switchmaster was wired with one pickup at a time, and the first three pickup les paul custom was the same as well
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-21-2004, 08:25 PM
 
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Three pickup Les Pauls, Firebirds, and SGs require a special switch (or the Frampton mod) to have all three pickups active. One of my Pauls was wired to match a 1960 Custom, and the switch is as follows (from top tp bottom):

Treble: Bridge
Middle: Neck and Middle
Rhythm: Neck

I've always dug 3 pickup Les Pauls, as they have always looked "complete", with no space between the pickups. Unfortunately, I don't have the room to do the same mod on one of my RG520s.

Cheers,
Butch
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Tags
block inlays , candy apple red , clear coat , coil pickup , coil tap , dan erlewine , darren wilson , dot inlay , dot inlays , kahler trem , les paul , les paul custom , les paul style guitar , les pauls , master tone , pull tone , pull tone pot , zakk wylde , zakk wylde les paul

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