Review: Six String Supplies Les Paul & Jimmy Page wiring harnesses
Upgrading your pots and wiring can have as dramatic an impact on tone as swapping out pickups. Will these UK-wired harnesses lend your Les Paul a new lease of life?
From its Wolverhampton headquarters, Six String Supplies offers guitar hardware, electronic components and pre-wired control harnesses designed as upgrades for all the classic guitar models. The company’s harnesses are hand-wired, tested in house and assembled using the highest-quality US and European components. Custom harnesses with trick wiring are available by request.
Six String Supplies measures every component using a multimeter “to ensure tight and consistent tolerances,” claiming that tight tolerances contribute to better-performing guitars.
The Les Paul harness on test features CTS TVT (True Vintage Taper) potentiometers, while the Jimmy Page harness has CTS pots with push/pull switching and delivers 21 possible tonal combinations. Both harnesses have paper-in-oil 0.022uF capacitors imported from the US, much like the Bumble Bee caps Gibson used in the 1950s.
Not every company gets 1950s-style tone control wiring right but Six String Supplies does. All the potentiometers read within a few ohms of each other, and two match exactly.
The Les Paul harness proves to be relatively easy to install and sees the guitar’s overall clarity and tonal depth improve immediately. The controls behave much like those on a vintage instrument, with no unwanted treble loss and wonderfully responsive tone pots.
The Jimmy Page harness is far easier to use than it is to install but it’s within the scope of any competent DIY enthusiast with soldering experience. We’re using House of Tone PAFs for testing, which may account for the coil-split tones (produced by pulling the volume controls) sounding better than usual.
Pull up the bridge tone pot and you get that out-of-phase Peter Green sound but without any of the ground-noise issues that tend to occur when the positive and negative connections are reversed with braided wire. It only operates when the pickup selector is in the centre position, so it’s a very usable feature.
The output level always drops but pulling up the neck pickup’s tone control compensates by combining the pickups in series – and it works irrespective of pickup-selector position. When the pickups are in phase, it provides a pretty significant boost in level, which thickens the tone and lifts volume levels for solos.
If your Les Paul already has 500k pots and vintage-correct tone capacitors, you probably won’t notice much difference when all the controls are turned to 10. However, you may hear subtle distinctions when you roll back the volume and tone, due to the vintage-style taper of the pots and the sonic characteristics of the capacitors.
If you are replacing potentiometers with non-standard values, the changes may be more profound. For an extended period, Gibson fitted 300k rather than 500k pots, and those guitars can sound dark and muddy as a result.
Installing these harnesses in place of 300k pots will result in a significant improvement in clarity and treble response, even more so than installing high-end boutique pickups and at a considerably lower cost.
Which of the harnesses you go for will depend on whether you’re simply chasing old-school tone and response or a more versatile array of additional sounds. If it’s the latter, check out the Jimmy Page harness, as it’ll equip your guitar to do everything a vintage Les Paul can and much more.
- PRICE £64.95 (Les Paul) £94.95 (Jimmy Page)
- DESCRIPTION Pre-wired Les Paul control kits with paper-in-oil capacitors, vintage taper CTS potentiometers or CTS push/pull pots. Hand-wired in the UK
- OPTIONS Pre-wired Switchcraft toggle switch (£30.95), pre-wired output jack (£6.95)
- CONTACT sixstringsupplies.co.uk
Like this? Try these
- Monty’s Guitars 50s Loom for Les Paul £72
- Home of Tone Signature Series Pre-Wired Les Paul ‘Short Shaft’ harness kit £54.99
- Axesrus Wiring Loom for Les Paul with Switch £83.77
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