Wiring Diagrams For Electric Guitar


I often found myself searching the web for wiring diagrams and ending up in some weird forum. Because it always bugs me, I decided to start this page and add a wiring diagram, whenever it is something out of the ordinary. However, if you’re reading this, please take a look at the wiring diagrams by Seymour Duncan first. You will find wiring diagrams for most pickup configurations.

I’ve been looking for a tool to create wiring diagrams and couldn’t find one. So everything you’ll find here was made with Inkscape.

Strat HSS – Balanced Wiring

If you’ve got a SSS Strat and want to replace the bridge pickup with a humbucker, you might into the following problem. Strats traditionally use 250k pots for volume and tone controls. Les Pauls and other humbucker based guitars use 500k pots. If you connect a humbucker to a 250k volume and tone pot of a strat, it will sound darker than it was designed to sound. On the other hand, if you connect single coil pickups to a 500k pot, they will sound too bright. So how can we solve that issue?

Balanced HSS Strat Wiring Diagram

The most common way to fix this is to use a 300k pot in order to achieve a most commonly usable value for all pickups.

There is another way. You can use a 500k volume and bridge tone pot alongside with a 250k tone pot for neck and middle. Only problem that remains are the middle and neck pickups. They will also see the 500k volume. However, this resistance can be reduced by adding a 470k resistor in parallel for both the middle and the neck pickup. If you add a resistor of the same value in parallel the following rule applies:

    \begin{align*} \frac{1}{R_{total}} = \frac{1}{R_{pot}} + \frac{1}{R_x} \end{align*}

Given that we use Rpot = Rx = R = 500k it simplifies to

    \begin{align*} \frac{1}{R_{total}} = \frac{1}{R} + \frac{1}{R} = \frac{2}{R} \\ R_{total} = \frac{R}{2} \end{align*}

Which means that the total resistance the single coil pickups will see is 250k.

If you’re soldering that up, make sure that the leads of the resistors are isolated. Trust me, I’ve been there.