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How to Wire a Gibson SG

Updated April 17, 2017

The Gibson SG is a classic rock guitar. Its sound is powered by two humbucker pickups. If you are renovating or modifying your SG, or if you are building your own SG, wiring the guitar provides the final touch. Electrical wiring eventually breaks down which causes the sound of your guitar to deteriorate. Rewiring the guitar can boost your sound and it also provides the opportunity to alter the sound of the guitar as well.

Purchase an SG wiring kit. The SG wiring kit contains all the necessary parts for wiring the guitar. The kit includes output jack, potentiometers and knobs, and circuit wiring. SG wiring kits are typically available at major guitar retailers such as Guitar Center. They are available online at music wholesale sites such as Stewart MacDonald or Musician's Friend.

Purchase humbucker pickups for the SG. A variety of humbucker pickups are available that work well for the SG. See the Resources section below.

Set up a work area for the guitar. Place a soft towel or blanket on a stable surface. Light the area with a couple of strong lights.

Remove the strings from the SG. Place a string winding tool on the tuning pegs. Loosen and unwind the strings. Pull the strings through the tailpiece behind the bridge of the guitar. Discard the old strings.

Unscrew the control panel on the back side of the guitar with a Phillips screwdriver. Store the screws in a cup for safe keeping.

Install the neck pickup in the pickup cavity and thread the pickup wires through the channel to the control cavity. Repeat the procedure with the bridge pickup.

Install the output jack, the three-way switch into the switch cavity, and the volume and tone potentiometers into the control cavity. Both cavities are on the back of the guitar. The switch cavity is the round cavity on the top right side of the guitar. The control cavity is the larger cavity on the bottom left side of the guitar. Insert the output jack into its hole in the control cavity. Secure it with four Phillips screws. Gently press the potentiometer panel into place in the control cavity. Insert the three-way switch into the switch cavity top end first. The switch goes through the hole in the bottom of the cavity so that it is accessible on the top side of the guitar.

Refer to the wiring diagram with the SG wiring kit. Humbucker pickups are two single-coil pickups that sit side by side. This means that you have a total of four wires. This makes different wiring combinations possible. Each pickup has a positive and a negative wire and the wires are colour coded. Strip 1/2 inch of insulation off the ends of pickup wires. Heat up a soldering iron and connect the wires to the pots and the switch.

Things You'll Need

  • SG wiring kit
  • Humbucker pickups
  • Towel or blanket
  • String winding tool
  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Soldering iron
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About the Author

Robert Russell began writing online professionally in 2010. He holds a Ph.D. in philosophy and is currently working on a book project exploring the relationship between art, entertainment and culture. He is the guitar player for the nationally touring cajun/zydeco band Creole Stomp. Russell travels with his laptop and writes many of his articles on the road between gigs.