Some help required for an absolute novice.
Hi there folks, before I get to the point here there's a bit of a back story so bear with me.. ;)
Some time ago, while staying in a rather dingy 5 bedroom flat, my sister found a rather beat up and neglected electric guitar under the stairs, apparently abandoned. She gave this wreck to me for my birthday and suggested that I do it up and perhaps even learn to play. So after stripping the hardware from it and cleaning the thing up (and that was fun let me tell you..) I've decided to take the project forward and actually get it back to a working state.
Upon getting the guitar I had opened up the back of the thing to be greeted with perhaps the shoddiest wiring job I've seen.. literally, bare wires, odd bits of electrical tape holding things together, mold and damp from sitting under the stairs, and even a couple of dead spiders. Having then listened to the woeful, crackly sound that came out of it through my fathers amp I decided to gut the electronics from it, keeping only the 2 pickups (which seem to be DiMarzio humbuckers, though I am presently unsure of the exact model).
Now being a complete novice at this sort of thing I thought I'd ask you fine folks about how to re-wire this heap; as it stands there were 3 pots and 2 selector switches on it, though having chucked the lot (lacking foresight I guess..) I am unsure what to purchase. I understand that there are electric parts kits out there for this very thing, though atm I don't know if the guitar was wired in a facsimile of an existing model. I include a couple of pics of the guitar in its current state for you to get an idea of what I need:
Another issue; can anyone tell me how to test the pickups are working without actually wiring them up and picking the damn strings?
But anyway, any help you fine folks can offer with this would be greatly appreciated. ;)
you'll be wanting 500K audio/log pots for each volume and/or tone control. you'l alsoo need some capacitors, though how many and what type will depend on your chosen wiring schematic.
for wiring schematics, the choice is up to you and what you want from the guitar, but once you've decided, this place is (IME) invaluable - http://www.flatearthguitars.com/Guitar_Schematics.html if you're using the dimarzio pickups, they have wiring diagrams on their site, here - http://www.dimarzio.com/site/#/pickups/
and I find this site very useful, too - http://www.projectguitar.com/
if the guitar had 3 vol/tone pots, two switches and a humbucker setup, I'd guess the idea is one switch is a selector for which pickup(s) are 'on' at any given time, the other would be to split the coils, making the humbucker sound like a single coil guitar. but you can also split the coils by installing a pull-push or push-push tone pot.
something like the les paul 2 pickup schematic listed in the flat earth guitar site should be a good starting point, though.
btw, I just checked my dimarzio pups, and they have a sticker on them, on the back of the pup, with the model number on it. I have an Air Norton, the model code is DP193, and the hand-written sticker says DP193. the other is an Air Zone, model number DP192, but this time the sticker just says 192. I'm not sure if all dimarzio pups start with the code "DP' but a quick google of "Dimarzio+whatever the sticker on your pups says" should yield some results on pup-model.
That's a beauty!
Here's all the guitar wiring diagrams you could ever need, and here's the ones for 2 pickups specifically. There's a lot of options and you have a more or less blank canvas, just pick your favourite and go for it :)
To test a pickup, tape the wires to a guitar lead, plug the other end into an amp, turn it on (doesn't have to be loud) and tap the pole pieces on the pickup with something metal. They'll make a popping sound if they work.
Ok, I've been looking into it and if I remember rightly there was a 3 way switch which I believe was a selector for either one or both of the pickups to be in use, though I never figured out what the other one was for. if I remember rightly from the tests I did early on it didnt do a whole lot so I think it was broken. Does anyone have any idea what it could have been?
like I said, I think it splits the coils, making your humbuckers sound like single coils (i.e. more strat-like). to recreate this, you can either use a switch 9as probably happened with the guitar originally), or a push-pull tone pot, like this one - http://www.allparts.uk.com/250k-pushpull-audio-taper-potentiometer-washer-p-1556.html?p=product
using the push-pull tone pot means you can then use the second switch (now not in use) for something else, or just leave it unconnected.
and I gotta agree with misanthrope, that is one PRETTY looking guitar, great find mate!
From the picture it looks like you've got a half done shielding job on the control cavity. That looks like carbon shielding paint that is too thin and only comes half way up. It's done to keep noise out of the control circuits which then gets into the audio. If you want to finish that job as you rebuild the guitar electronics you can get the shielding paint from Stew-Mac - http://www.stewmac.com
You'd want to put another coat or two on and take it up and over the lip of the cavity so it can make contact with whatever shielding is on the back of the control cavity cover. Somewhere along the way you then ground out the shielding - possibly by grounding out the pots which are in contact with the shielding paint.
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