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How to Wire Les Paul Classic 496R & 500T Pickups

The 496R and the 500T are both Gibson-made ceramic magnet humbucker pickups. They can be installed in any guitar, but are most commonly used as upgrades for factory-installed Gibson pickups. The pickups feature a multi-ceramic magnet structure, which Gibson claim increases the harmonic range. Most Les Paul model guitars have similar or identical wiring layouts to Gibson Les Paul guitars.

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  1. Remove your guitar strings. You'll need good access to your old pickups in order to remove them. While you are doing this, turn on your soldering iron so that it is heated up when needed.

  2. Remove the middle back panel of the Les Paul. Make sure you put the screws in a safe place where they won't roll away.

  3. Disconnect the existing pickup connection wires. Melt the connection using your soldering iron. Two wires for each pickup lead to the tone dial pot. Gently remove the wire once the connection has been sufficiently melted.

  4. Remove the old pickups. Unscrew them and take them out of their socket. You now have an empty cavity.

  5. Configure your guitar to your preferences. The 496R and 500T come with coil tap options. If your guitar has a coil tap switch, you can wire these pickups in a way that enables you to split the individual pickup. The pickups come with four wires, but if you want to use a traditional wiring configuration, you'll only need to connect two of them per pickup.

  6. Screw in the new pickups. Put each in your preferred position. According to Gibson, the 496R is particularly suitable for the neck position.

  7. Strip the wires. The wires include a red wire, a black wire, a white wire and a green wire. Refer to the wiring schematic before soldering. To wire a traditional, non-coil tap configuration, solder the red wire to the volume pot terminal. Then wire the ground wire to the bottom side of the volume dial. Wire the white and green wires together.

  8. Leave the solder to set and dry, and then use a shaving brush to remove any flakes of metal. Put on a new set of strings and tune the guitar so it's ready for testing.

  9. Test the pickups. Plug in the guitar and dial the volume to full. You will certainly notice a difference in tone and output with these new ceramic pickups.

  10. Put the back panel back on the guitar.

  11. Tip

    Be careful when removing the old pickups. If you can remove them cleanly, you may be able to sell them.


    Double-check that you have wired your ground wire securely.

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Things You'll Need

  • Screwdriver
  • Wire strippers
  • Soldering iron
  • Shaving brush
  • New strings

About the Author

Simon Foden

Simon Foden has been a freelance writer and editor since 1999. He began his writing career after graduating with a Bachelors of Arts degree in music from Salford University. He has contributed to and written for various magazines including "K9 Magazine" and "Pet Friendly Magazine." He has also written for Dogmagazine.net.

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