Les Paul Jimmy Page Re-Wire

The first time I tried to wire the Les Paul with Jimmy Page style wiring, I burned out the internal wipers in the volume pots (the volume was either full-on or only partially down – it wouldn’t cut completely off). Plus, I had some ground buzz problems. I was content to live with these issues for a little while – I mean, for most rock guitarists with a Ernie Ball VP Jr. (passive volume pedal), who needs to turn off the volume anyways?! A few months of this and I couldn’t take it anymore. My OCD tendencies took over and I had to shield and re-wire everything. Here are a few things that I’ve recently acquired that made the job infinitely easier:

Xytronic 168-3C Soldering Station – the best solding tool available for guitarists (be sure to get some quality resin-core solder and 26 gauge wire)

Copper Shielding Tape – makes shielding the control cavity almost too easy

A Good Wiring Diagram – I’ve found several fantastic graphical wiring diagrams from Seymour Duncan – check out their complete free database

A Cardboard Jig – use this to aid in wiring everything but the grounds and pickups before installing (cut a piece out of the shipping box for the soldering station – recycling, ftw)

The first big thing to do was to remove the knobs, unbolt the pots, unsolder the pickup wires and pull everything out. We’ll get back to the wiring in a bit. It’s time to put the copper shielding tape to good use. Take care installing this stuff – it may be pliable, but it’s still got sharp edges. Start by taping the bottom of the cavity and then add the sides. The tape I used was 2″ across and it was a perfect fit. Here’s a shot of the control cavity once the shielding is installed:

Now that the control cavity is finished, it’s time to start soldering the pots together on the cardboard jig. I was re-using the pots from the last re-wire. So, I had to remove all the wiring and clean the contacts with de-soldering braid. It also helps to label the backs of the pots with a sharpie because it’s easy to get crossed up when working on projects like this. Here are a few shots of the pots in the jig and how I labeled them – i.e. BT = Bridge Tone:

After being careful to check every joint twice, here’s what the half-wired pots look like:

Now it’s time to punch out the holes in the copper shielding and install the pots in the control cavity. I went ahead and finished up soldering the pickup wires and the output jack.

Now that everything’s finished, it’s time to install the new Wilkinson Locking Roller Bridge (brass rollers and locking studs) and new stop tailpiece – the old worn and tarnished pieces needed to go and I was looking for a quality bridge that would help keep the beast in tune with all those bends and wailing solos. Here are a few shots of the finished guitar:

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