Guitar Wiring Course

Have you never opened a guitar before? Or perhaps you’ve just opened one for the first time, seen all those wires, and run screaming in confusion to the internet for help? Never fear. We have a set of posts you can read to get yourself up to speed in no time, starting completely from scratch.

Guitar Wiring 101
Start here if you have absolutely no idea how the wiring inside a guitar works. This article will get you up to speed with the principles behind guitar wiring, and then use those principles to show you how to wire up the most simple guitar circuit possible: a pickup, a jack, and no other switches or controls at all.

Guitar Wiring 102
Now we’ve got the basics down, let’s have a look at some simple modifiers to the circuit. This article first shows you how to add a “killswitch” to the guitar, then uses the lessons learned from that process to change that killswitch to a volume control instead. Finally, we’ll find out how capacitors are used in guitar circuits and install our first tone control.

Guitar Wiring 103

The vast majority of guitars use more than one pickup, and provide a switch that controls which pickup, or combination of pickups, is active at any one time. This article adds one more pickup to our circuit and shows how we can wire up a selector switch. We look at both toggle and blade style switches. This brings us to the point where we now know how to wire up a Telecaster in the standard way.

Guitar Wiring 104
Now that we know how to wire a Telecaster, it’s not a big step to get to the point where we can wire a Stratocaster or a Les Paul. This article shows how to do that, introducing the 5-way switch along the way.

Guitar Wiring Explored – Switches Part 1

Now that we’re comfortable with the basic wiring of a guitar, we can look at some of the more popular mods. This article introduces mini toggle switches and push/pull pots, and shows how we can use these to modify a Strat in such a way as to allow use to add the neck pickup to any selection. This expands the number of available pickup combinations to 7.

Guitar Wiring Explored – Humbucker Internals
In this article, we take a break from wiring pickups, switches and pots, and get to grips with the internal structure of a humbucker. This allows us to demystify four-conductor cable and understand how we can split coils or wire a humbucker in parallel instead of series.

Guitar Wiring Explored – Switches Part 2
In this article we look at a new kind of toggle switch – the “on/off/on” switch. Having understood that, we look at how we can use this switch to split a humbucker to either coil, or use it as a regular humbucker, all on the same switch.

Guitar Wiring Explored – Switches Part 3

Here, we look at the third and final kind of mini-toggle switch, the “on/on/on” switch. After showing how the connections are made within the switch, and seeing the two types that can be found, we look at two uses for the switch: firstly to create a series/split/parallel switch for a humbucker, and secondly to use the switch as a three-way pickup selector.

How Hum-Cancelling Works, Part 1
How Hum-Cancelling Works, Part 2
These two articles show us how me can manipulate coil winding direction, electrical phase, and magnetic polarity to achieve hum-cancellation between two coils. Having this knowledge allows us to create hum-cancelling combinations of coils over and above than just using humbuckers. A good example is using a RWRP pickup in the middle position of a Strat.

Guitar Wiring Explored – Introducing the Super Switch, Part 1
In the first part of this two-part article, we look at the original five-way switch and find it lacking for some uses. The 2-pole super-switch steps in to help, and we look at how we would go about wiring a Strat in the standard way using that switch. Once we’ve understood that, we go on to create an interesting alternate wiring scheme for a Strat that wouldn’t be possible with the standard 5-way.

Guitar Wiring Explored – Introducing the Super Switch, Part 2
Following on from the previous article, we look at the grand-daddy of all pickup selectors: the 4-pole super-switch. The possibilities with this switch are endless, and we scratch the surface by coming up with a wiring scheme for an HSH guitar that auto-splits the humbuckers in the 2 and 4 positions, and combines both humbuckers in the middle position.

 

 

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