Help With Esquire Style Hot PUP Wiring

redhouse_ca

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A few years ago I was lucky enough to get a great Esquire style custom. It has a Don Mare Onion 6.8k pup which sounds awesome. This is the first and only hot pup I’ve ever owned and I always wondered if the guitar might be wired so that the tone sits in front on the volume. The reason I wondered this (besides the fact that I am a bit of a knucklehead when it comes to guitar wiring) is that the tone has such a huge impact on overall output volume. I can go from clean to crunchville just by turning up the tone. I finally got around to taking the thing apart to try and figure this out and it doesn’t look like I was correct. It seems the volume sits in front of the tone but I don’t think I fully understand why it sounds the way it does. Sorry in advance about the sloppy sketch, but I’d be grateful if someone could chime in and help me understand this a bit better. Maybe this is just how a good hot pup sounds (and if so, cool) but is there something about the way this is wired that results in this tone knob magic?

Thanks! I started a project parts caster and I want to do something similar but include a neck pup as well (although probably not hot) and id like to use a similar circuit for the bridge pickup but not totally hyperdrive the neck with tone adjustments. Any suggestions for wiring for that would also be much appreciated.

Thanks again!
 

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Steve Holt

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That looks like 50s wiring. Pretty normal to see. Does your esquire have a 3 way switch or is it just volume and tone?

I wouldn't say that your tone is in front of your volume. What's happening there is the pickup is going to the input of your volume pot (the pot on the left, and completely normal). The output of volume is the middle lug on the pot on the left. And as you can see that connects directly to the switch AND to the tone pot which is also wired in a typical way. I assume that the third lug on your volume pot (left pot where capacitor connects) is soldered to the back of the volume pot as well?

Typically you connect tone and volume by running a wire from the input of volume (left pot bottom lug) to the middle or bottom lug on the tone pot. 50s wiring connects the tone to the output of volume and your tone knob interacts with the volume knob. A lot of people like it.
 

redhouse_ca

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That looks like 50s wiring. Pretty normal to see. Does your esquire have a 3 way switch or is it just volume and tone?

I wouldn't say that your tone is in front of your volume. What's happening there is the pickup is going to the input of your volume pot (the pot on the left, and completely normal). The output of volume is the middle lug on the pot on the left. And as you can see that connects directly to the switch AND to the tone pot which is also wired in a typical way. I assume that the third lug on your volume pot (left pot where capacitor connects) is soldered to the back of the volume pot as well?

Typically you connect tone and volume by running a wire from the input of volume (left pot bottom lug) to the middle or bottom lug on the tone pot. 50s wiring connects the tone to the output of volume and your tone knob interacts with the volume knob. A lot of people like it.
Thanks, very helpful and I appreciate it. There is no switch. Just the two knobs you see there. I think I got the diagram right (here’s a close up of the third lug if the volume pot) and it’s just the cap soldered there. Note cloth wire, very classy, IMHO. I feel very lucky to have this (it’s actually not an esquire from fender. It a rock Kelly esquire copy. it’s just so cool to me what I can do with two knobs.
 

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Steve Holt

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Thanks, very helpful and I appreciate it. There is no switch. Just the two knobs you see there. I think I got the diagram right (here’s a close up of the third lug if the volume pot) and it’s just the cap soldered there. Note cloth wire, very classy, IMHO. I feel very lucky to have this (it’s actually not an esquire from fender. It a rock Kelly esquire copy. it’s just so cool to me what I can do with two knobs.

Yep. That's what it should look like. So if you do another one the key is just to connect the tone pot to the output of volume and the only difference would be your pickups and capacitor value if you decided to change it.
 

redhouse_ca

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Yep. That's what it should look like. So if you do another one the key is just to connect the tone pot to the output of volume and the only difference would be your pickups and capacitor value if you decided to change it.
thank, I think I got it, but to be sure, if I wire the neck pickup aka standard tele wiring, the bridge pickup will behavior as it does now (sooo nice) and the neck pickup will act like a good little boy (is standard tele neck control) when the switch is in the middle position? Thanks again !
 

rjtwangs

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I'm assuming it's a Rick Kelly build, Rick is known to use Don's pickups. The pickup you mention is the bridge pickup from Don's " Green Onions " set. As the name implies, being a huge hit by Booker T and the MG's, the pickup is Don's take on the sound of Steve Cropper's '63 tele, and telecasters from that era, being the early 60's. I really wouldn't consider it a " hot " pickup.This is the set preferred by Bill Kirchen, and it's in his Rick Kelly tele. I have Don's pickups in two of my teles and I consider Don to be one of a very small group of the very best there is. I also have an Custom Shop Pinstriped Esquire, mine has a hand wound Abby pickup. I also have mine wired in the Eldred mod, or cocked wah..it makes the pickup much more versatile. You can get a lot more out of the pickup. You might want to check out the Eldred mod online if you haven't already. Hope this helps!


RJ
 
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Steve Holt

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thank, I think I got it, but to be sure, if I wire the neck pickup aka standard tele wiring, the bridge pickup will behavior as it does now (sooo nice) and the neck pickup will act like a good little boy (is standard tele neck control) when the switch is in the middle position? Thanks again !

Weeeeellll....no. Sorry I don't think so at least. Both pickups will be going through the tone pot the same way.
 

redhouse_ca

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Weeeeellll....no. Sorry I don't think so at least. Both pickups will be going through the tone pot the same way.
Ok, well, noted, I guess. Being the maybe slightly, possibly a hair more than zero but also maybe not quite the the ‘duh’ guy here, I’ll dig into this and get a few helpful pointers and learn some stuff that will give me a bit of joy. Can’t say I follow this exactly, but all good. I appreciate it the pointers.
 
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Tuxedo Poly

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The interaction between the volume and tone controls is part of the wiring you have.
It goes under various names, Gibson 50s, Fezz Parka/Ted Green and more recently Fender Fat 50s.
Tele_Control_Plate_Modern.jpg

Tele_Control_Plate_Gibson_50s.jpg

Not to be confused with Telecaster 50s wiring
 
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Steve Holt

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The interaction between the volume and tone controls is part of the wiring you have.
It goes under various names, Gibson 50s, Fezz Parka/Ted Green and more recently Fender Fat 50s.
View attachment 1040506
View attachment 1040508
Not to be confused with Telecaster 50s wiring

Do elaborate! What's the difference between 50s tele wiring and 50s gibson wiring. I've actually never noticed a distinction. Most threads where it comes up just refer to connecting the tone to the output of volume as 50s wiring. How were early teles wired?

And for the OP I found this Fralin explainer that's a good read. It shows a different way to wire it than what's been discussed here so far. So maybe thats 50s tele wiring.

 

redhouse_ca

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The interaction between the volume and tone controls is part of the wiring you have.
It goes under various names, Gibson 50s, Fezz Parka/Ted Green and more recently Fender Fat 50s.
View attachment 1040506
View attachment 1040508
Not to be confused with Telecaster 50s wiring
Thanks, that’s a great pic. Although you was noted in the comments that my pickup is not “hot” it sure feels hot to me vs my other teles. I will require my project guitar with this various name wiring and see if I get the same effect with the tone. Specifically, I get an u questionable boost in gain with the tone dial. It’s not something I’d want on many guitars but on this one it’s awesome.
 

redhouse_ca

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I'm assuming it's a Rick Kelly build, Rick is known to use Don's pickups. The pickup you mention is the bridge pickup from Don's " Green Onions " set. As the name implies, being a huge hit by Booker T and the MG's, the pickup is Don's take on the sound of Steve Cropper's '63 tele, and telecasters from that era, being the early 60's. I really wouldn't consider it a " hot " pickup.This is the set preferred by Bill Kirchen, and it's in his Rick Kelly tele. I have Don's pickups in two of my teles and I consider Don to be one of a very small group of the very best there is. I also have an Custom Shop Pinstriped Esquire, mine has a hand wound Abby pickup. I also have mine wired in the Eldred mod, or cocked wah..it makes the pickup much more versatile. You can get a lot more out of the pickup. You might want to check out the Eldred mod online if you haven't already. Hope this helps!
View attachment 1040505 View attachment 1040503 View attachment 1040504

RJ
Dang man, that’s a really cool looking guitar.
 

rjtwangs

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The photos disappeared??? Thanks for your kind words about my Esquire, I was really lucky to find it, I looked for 4 years!!
IMG_0804.jpg
IMG_0806.jpg
IMG_0812.jpg
IMG_0807.jpg
IMG_0814.jpg
IMG_1688.jpg
IMG_0883.jpg
IMG_0815.jpg

The neck is highly figured Birdseye and it weighs 7.3lbs. It's a great guitar! Really glad you like it, I like it too!! Here's a video of Greg Koch playing one of these Esquire's. After he rips it up for a couple of minutes he shows the Eldred mod so you you can hear the 3 options it gives you...




RJ
 
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Tuxedo Poly

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Do elaborate! What's the difference between 50s tele wiring and 50s gibson wiring. I've actually never noticed a distinction. Most threads where it comes up just refer to connecting the tone to the output of volume as 50s wiring. How were early teles wired?

And for the OP I found this Fralin explainer that's a good read. It shows a different way to wire it than what's been discussed here so far. So maybe thats 50s tele wiring.


My understanding of Telecaster 50s wiring is that provision was made for a switch position giving fixed "Dark Tone" on the neck pickup. The original Broadcaster circuit has it and Fender used different versions on the AV '52s (2000 and 2012) and the Custom '62.
 

redhouse_ca

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The photos disappeared??? Thanks for your kind words about my Esquire, I was really lucky to find it, I looked for 4 years!! View attachment 1040811 View attachment 1040812 View attachment 1040813 View attachment 1040815 View attachment 1040817 View attachment 1040818 View attachment 1040814 View attachment 1040816
The neck is highly figured Birdseye and it I weighs 7.3lbs. It's a great guitar! Really glad you like it, I like it too!! Here's a video of Greg Koch playing one of these Esquire's. After he rips it up for a couple of minutes he shows the Eldred mod so you you can hear the 3 options it gives you...




RJ

I watched the vid, really enjoyed it. Amazing guitar and playing. “Good clean fun”. How awesome.
 




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