Tech Talk Ep.1 -The "Jimmy Page" Wiring Explained
Famous Jimmy Page Wiring
In the early 1980s, Jimmy Page decided to make his 59 Les Paul an even more versatile instrument and explore the full range of what the two Humbuckers had to offer. Without wanting to damage his beloved guitar, Jimmy employed a Master Electronics Technician. Working with the technician, Page designed a switching system for coil splitting, series/parallel, and phase-reverse options. The result comprised, a revolutionary system of a push/pull pot on each of the guitar’s four standard controls. Now known, as the signature "Jimmy Page Wiring."
Why People Love This Harnesses
If you have ever surfed around the web looking at guitar mods, chances are you have seen this one, a lot. So, why do so many people love this one? This answer is simple. It allows you to refine the sound to resemble essentially any guitar you want. You can even create your custom sound. Imagine having a blurred out picture of a guitar and the more you adjust the controls, the more in focus that picture becomes.That's what Jimmy Page wanted. And, that's what you can have with this unique and exceptional harness.
Bridge & Neck Volumes: Coil Cutting
What is Coil Cutting?
The act of Coil Cutting consists of cutting the pickups coils in half. Changing the pickups from being Humbucker to Single coil.
What That Means to Sound
There are a few key things that happen when you cut the coil. First, you are kicking the Humbucker to single coil which kills the "hum" canceling properties of a Humbucker. Second, you are losing a coil, so instead of having (for example) an 8k output, you are dropping the output to 4k. That being said, both of those properties together allow for some cool abnormalities in tone.
Bridge Tone: Phasing
What Is Phasing?
Phasing is best defined as the timing of the signal coming from the pickups.
When your pickups are "in phase" it means the signals (from your pickups) are in sync with each other. The signals are hitting the high and low frequencies at the exact same time.
Lets say you have a three piece band. we will call them, The Signals. And, in "The Signals" there's a drummer, and two guitarists. So lets imagine that "The Signals" are playing a song and that those two guitarists are playing the same riff at the same time. What you'd hear is the band playing in unison. You hear the band playing tight. But mainly you hear, the band playing the parts in sync. That's "The Signals" playing "In Phase"
When pickups are "out of phase" it simply means the signals are out of sync. Signal A is at the high frequencies spot on the graph when signal B is at the low.
Now let's imagine "The Signals" are playing that same song. But, on this version, guitarist A starts their strum with the high E string. and, guitarist B starts their strum with the low E string. this time, you can distinctly hear two separate guitars, competeing to make one sound. That's "The Signals" playing "Out of Phase"
"Well, what does Phasing do to Sound?"
When "In Phase" the pickups sound "normal" and well balanced. You hear the full spectrum of sounds: basses, mids, and highs.
When "Out of Phase" the guitar sounds edgy, almost like only the strongest frequencies survive. it's mainly mids and highs,think 'tele-twang'.
How It Works In Your Wiring
The switch works by simply flipping the signals of the pickups,in "Off" position, both of the pickup's leads are the same. The Bridge and Neck pickups are using the positive signal leads first and grounding the negative. When in "On" position, it flips the order. The Bridge uses the negative lead and grounds the positive, the Neck pickup uses the positive lead and grounds the negative.
Neck Tone: Parallel - Series
To both educate and simplify our explanation we will talk about Series/Parallel in reference to both a single humbucker pickup and a standard two humbucker pickup guitar
What is parallel? "parallel" means that the coils are wired separately from themselves, so using our single pickup explanation. the screw coil and slug coil are separate, separate outputs, separate sounds.
When a Humbucker is wired in "series" it means each coil is wired into the other one, giving you one big coil with one big output. The 4k Screw single coil “ground” gets connected to the 4k slug single coil “hot” creating a new 8k humbucker
So now how this works in the harness
So now that we have the basic understanding how it works with a single humbucker lets talk about how it works in this wiring. So let’s imagine the Screw and Slug coils are now the Neck and Bridge pickups. When they are wired in Parallel they are separate. The Neck is the Neck, the Bridge is the Bridge. So when you engage the switch “Up” you take the Neck pickups Ground and connect it to the Bridge Pickups hot creating a Mega 4 coil Humbucker.
What Series does to your sound
More is better. The more output, the more string vibration your pickups can hear. So, it picks up more basses, more mids, and more everything. who doesn't like more?
Have a Question about this Control or did we word this wrong? Click Here
There are over 21 different options you can make with this harness, including one giant Humbucker, or even a output kill option, when you use the parallel switch in bridge mode. Truly, with extensive experimentation opportunities. this is a must-have for every guitarist looking to customize and personalize your sound. It will give you a unique and amazing addition to your instrument collection. Check out our very own Jimmy Page Style harness below, it comes ready to drop into your Gibson with ease
Want to hear what this kit actually sounds like?
We asked our friend Ryan Burke to make a video using our Black Dog Shop Build guitar!
We need your help! how did you like this blog? Click Here
We take a lot of time making these blogs. So make sure to hit that like button and share this blog. The more likes these blogs get, the more we do them!
Want to Win This Harness? Sign up Below
Click the Photo to apply
Did you like this Blog? Try another in our Tech Talk Series. Or, if you are looking for something else. Try our Shop Build Series where we build custom guitars to accent our products.