50s vs Modern Wiring
In Gibson Les Paul

Do You Hear It?

To out-rule that there’s any confirmation bias at work we need to come up with some sort of fair A/B test. In this idiotic test video you will hear 14 playing examples recorded with both Modern Wiring and 50s Wiring in a Gibson Les Paul. We’ll listen to the tests with nothing else then our honest ears, and reveal which was which….

I really wanted to see to what extend with the volume and tone controls set fully open if we would sense a difference. And of course then also see how the tone controls behave in the different circuits!

The A/B test of doom

So, in the video i’ve tried to test this as fair as possible without conformation bias, and tried to match playing intensity and all the technical aspects of the signal. Still, there’s never 100% accuracy without running a pre-recorded signal trough the guitar’s electronics, but then again you wouldn’t be playing strings and you would therefor not include the pickups in the test.

The differences where smaller then I’ve expected, and as you’ll see I’ve even managed to fool myself on a few examples. But in some clips the differences where there and musically significant enough I think! 

The wiring circuits & modification

It’s easy and if you have an iron, free. All it takes in a modern wiring circuit is to move the tone cap to the middle on the volume pot and to the right lug on the tone pot. And ground the middle lug of the tone pot instead of the right lug. 

These are 2 beautifully clear diagrams by Fralin pickups. https://www.fralinpickups.com/

(My) Conclusion

I’ll leave in realm of humble opinions which circuit is better as there’s too much that comes to taste when the sonic differences are so small. As you saw in the video, even too small for me, the recording test subject to even guess correctly 100% of the time. There’s obviously benefits and cons to both circuits. HOWEVER…I do ‘feel’, I do ‘hear’ a slight increase in openness in the 50’s wiring variation, and the technical explanation would be that modern wiring allows for a minimal of signal and treble bleed, even with the controls open, because of the nature of how potentiometers’ operate…

So the 50’s wiring has the volume control only in the active circuit when the tone control isn’t engaged or filtering anything. Which in return gives us that tiny little bit more ‘mojo’, but now we’re are in the dangerous realm of how a sound ‘feels’. And that’s not what testing was about…but I think the difference is there! 

Sorry, I feel confused and hurt but I’m going to need to let go of this now. 

I’m going to sit down and stare at the water for a very long time now… 

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