Epiphone is the kid brother of Gibson guitars and manufacturers just about every model Gibson does. The Epiphone brand is relatively young and still lives in its big brother's shadow, likely continuing to do so until it branches out into new guitar designs. Epiphone does look quite a bit different "under the hood" than Gibson, however, especially in regard to its approach to wiring. Cheaper wiring harnesses and less costly caps are common in Epiphone models, and some of their nicer designs and signature models suffer because of this. Wiring an Epiphone guitar isn't unlike wiring any other electric guitar, but consider using higher quality replacement components. Genuine Gibson replacement parts fit most Epiphone designs and make a great place to start when collecting the necessary components for wing an Epiphone.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Toggle switch
- Polyester film capacitors
- 24-gauge wire
- Soldering iron (25W+)
- Solder (60/40 blend)
- Wire clippers
- Wiring diagram appropriate for the guitar's intended use
Remove all old components and associated wiring from the guitar, leaving the leads from the pickups and the pickups themselves in tact.
Take a piece of cardboard that is cut to cover the entire area where the volume and tone knobs are and puncture holes where the knobs would fit, using the guitar itself as a template.
Insert the new potentiometers into the holes in the cardboard and wire them according to the wiring diagram suitable for the guitar's intended use. Start with mechanical connections and then quickly go back and solder the different joints.
Connect the lead wires for the input jack, pickups and new toggle switch already mounted in the guitar and solder the respective joints. Be sure to connect the ground lead sitting alone toward the neck volume knob to the back of the volume potentiometer to finish the ground.
Tips and warnings
- Strip lead wire to about an eighth of an inch to minimise waste and to keep long leads from grounding the circuit. Be sure to check each solder joint and to make sure it is shiny. Gray solder joints or "cold joints" can result in intermittent operation or malfunction altogether.
- Double- and triple-check the wiring diagram for accurate placement of new wire and components. Avoid ground loops by designating the volume pot, or neck volume pot, if there is more than one volume, as the primary ground for all electromechanical components and the ground wire to the bridge.
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