Rewiring A Hollowbody

DougWheeler74

Synchromatic
Silver Member
Jul 10, 2019
948
NE Wisconsin, US
I apologize for the use of the word of slider instead of wiper. I have no idea where that came from. 🤣

Having the circuit drawn out (or a picture of the wiring diagram) and following it is important. Sometimes the top or bottom of a pot will not have a wire attached. (Note the Tone pot wiring in the diagram I previously posted.) When running into a problem tracing the signal path from input to output usually reveals the problem. Sometimes it is as simple as a misplaced wire or a stray wire touching ground or another part of the signal path. We called those 'cats whiskers' and they usually showed up at terminal strips.

Personally I stay away from extra ground wires unless there is an issue. It is possible to introduce a ground loop which will give you a hum. Keep at it - I am looking forward to your post where it you having it working like you want.
 

guitarkelly

Newbie
May 26, 2021
1
Houston, Tx
I am doing a separate discussion than adding to my L5 Copy thread because I think people can learn from this and it is a topic within itself.
I wanted to just switch the pickups by unsoldering and soldering the pickups from the existing wiring harness but the wiring job is so bad and I find some oddness.

I will mention the oddness in another post but I have a question. I will need to solder wire connecting the two volumes and to the two tones but would you use flexible wire (for lack of better term) or a stiff wire? I seen both but what works better in a hollowbody since you can't access from a control cavity like a Duo Jet or Les Paul.


Thank You
I just finished a restoration on a 1948 Epiphone, arch top, F hole. It originally had a pickup at some point. I installed a single coil pickup and bought wiring for a bass from Amazon, all shielded. I ran a single wire from ground to the trapeze which stopped the static. It sounds great. It has 250K pots and is quite mellow.
 

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Mike C

Electromatic
Feb 18, 2023
47
Australia
I must admit I found it difficult to make sure every whisker of shielding was clear of the positive connection. I had cataract surgery on one eye on Monday and its like someone turned the light on, maybe why I got it right this time.
 

VintageRules

Electromatic
Mar 6, 2019
15
Ontario, Canada
Stiff vs floppy wire - I don't look at that as 'vintage' vs new. It is gauge that is important I would definitely use shielded, with the shield used as the case ground.
It is better to have a bit of stiffness in guitar wiring, as a general rule and especially on f hole guitars as you want to bend it to not have it showing, just for cosmetic reasons.
For re-installing pots in a hollow body make yourself one or two sheep's crooks from a wire coat hanger that fit the pot shafts and a similar tool for the output jack. Opera Snapshot_2023-06-01_100316_www.google.com.png
 

GretschPlayer101

Synchromatic
Oct 7, 2011
870
Los Angeles
I have been using plastic tubing that I bought at Home Depot for $5. Works well but I'll check out the clothes hanger method also, Thanks for suggesting that VintageRules. I hear of people using fishing line also.
 

GretschPlayer101

Synchromatic
Oct 7, 2011
870
Los Angeles
I must admit I found it difficult to make sure every whisker of shielding was clear of the positive connection. I had cataract surgery on one eye on Monday and its like someone turned the light on, maybe why I got it right this time.
Did you put the harness and pickups back in the guitar? Getting sound?
 

GretschPlayer101

Synchromatic
Oct 7, 2011
870
Los Angeles
Update -

I officially give up and will bring it to my tech.

Every time I wire it I get no output from the pickups. I have rewired it from scratch three times. I used new pots, tried different pickups, new wires and switch. Not a different output jack though.

I checked all the parts and connections with three different meters and all checks out BUT when I install the pickups no out put and the pots have no reading. Before I solder the pickups in the pots have reading. Volume Pots I am talking about. The Tone Pots always have a reading.

I followed this guy's video on testing the circuit and all reads as it should. I have no "hot wires" touching ground wires. I am following the wiring diagram to a "T" so to speak.

So this is so frustrating. It's like I am defying the laws of physics by it not working although I am soldering everything right. Okay maybe not. There has to be a reason for this but I can't see why.

This is just odd because five years ago when I wired a Les Paul copy with P90s it worked but now that my soldering skills are much better I can't get it to work.

I'm busy of late so I probably won't bring it to the tech for a few weeks.
 

GretschPlayer101

Synchromatic
Oct 7, 2011
870
Los Angeles
One more Update -

Genesis 1:3-25

Then God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.
Then God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.

There also was sound -

Now I got it to work! I get sound!!!

I didn't ground the bridge because I was of the understanding that grounding the bridge is grounding the strings to prevent unwanted hum or buzzing and prevent possible electric shock to the guitarist. I planned to ground the strings after I made sure everything worked since I thought I would get output without grounding the bridge which grounds strings. Since I was at wit's end I thought I'll solder a wire to the pot and tape with copper tape the wire to the bridge. Well that was the miracle, now I get sound.

I can now move forward and continue making my P90 shim spacer, put back in the harness, pickups, screw in the pickups and ground the strings but probably to the tailpiece instead. Then I should be in business.

After all of this will I like the sound? I love the Scotty Moore tone but I don't play like him and I don't have his amp. Even if I don't sound like him I at least have a poor man's Scotty Moore Tribute L5.
 

Mike C

Electromatic
Feb 18, 2023
47
Australia
Glad to hear you eventually got it working, I know your feeling, I stripped and re wired mine three timed before I got it to work.
The only problem now is the tone switch does not work. I can't afford $40 plus shipping for a genuine Gretsch switch so I am using a double pole double throw center off switch from a local electronics store. I have used them before with success but I probably got the wrong capacitor values this time.
 
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