Wiring for...um...slow people

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Basschair, May 6, 2005.

  1. Basschair

    Basschair .............. Staff Member Supporting Member

    Feb 5, 2004
    Stockton, Ca
    So my Aguilar OBP-3 came yesterday, and the Nordstrand NJ5st pair will hopefully be coming in the next week or so.

    Now, I'm going to admit something here, and after I do so I'm hoping that we can get beyond the chuckles fairly quickly. I am electronically challenged.
    Okay, I know I could have gone with a pre/pup setup that would probably have been easier to do, but I really do want to go top-notch, even if it is put together by an amateur. I've got the wiring diagrams from Aguilar, and they do make some sense, but let me give you the run down on the details:

    2 pickup, 4 knob with 1 switch: a vol/vol stack, a mid control, a treble/bass stack, and a master tone for passive mode, plus an active/passive switch.

    There's no exact schematic for this setup, but I'd assumed that each of the diagrams would have an example of the wiring for this setup, which they seem to. The bass/treb stack is there, the mid is there, but I don't see the vol stack. Brian at BestBassGear is going to email me a link to the diagram for master tone for passive. I'm still a little grey on the A/P switch. How grey? Well...charcoal comes to mind.

    I'm stubborn, though, and I will make this work and work well. Here's my questions: 1. Any pitfalls I should be aware of? 2. Would it be worth getting an "electronics for slow people" book and doing extra research, or should I go strictly with the details provided here and by manufacturers? I don't mind research, and I'd planned on this being a major learning experience, so I'm ready for it...being a teacher, I'll have all summer :D .

    Thanks for the help folks!

  2. You might want to contact Aguilar tech Support. They're very helpful.
  3. rwyarbrough


    May 24, 2004
    What does the image of a solder iron bring to mind (the classic what do you see in this picture psychiatry test). If it doesn't conjure up images of fear, doom, or gloom, you’re off to a good start. You might not be as “challenged” as you perceive yourself to be.

    IME I have found the manufactures instructions to be sufficient. They (we hope anyway) have done some good old R&D before they publish and manufacture the stuff they sell, so you can have some assurance they know what they are talking about.

  4. It NEVER hurts to know something. So if you're really interested in the subject (beyond which color cable goes to which pot slug info you'll get from Aguilar tech support) I recommend any beginer's book you can get from Radio Shack. Ohms law is basically all you need to know to work on guitars. Also, Martin Koch's book as a really good chapter on guitar electronics ...he goes very deep even as to desigining your own preamp.
  5. rwyarbrough


    May 24, 2004
    Good point, you can never get too much knowledge. I guess the question becomes how much time you have and how deep you want to go. Do you just want to learn what’s necessary to get the job done or do you want to understand enough so you can start evolving your own theories to enhance the design, be able to engineer a custom configuration, or even develop a circuit from scratch? A basic knowledge of electronics will come into play with several areas of bass playing and building, so I agree that in any case, a good basic electronics book (especially one focused on guitar electronics) would be a great idea.
  6. Basschair

    Basschair .............. Staff Member Supporting Member

    Feb 5, 2004
    Stockton, Ca

    Good points. I'd like to learn/know enough to not only be able to run this wiring project successfully (and end up with a solid piece of gear, not a solid piece of doo-doo), but to also know why the wires are run as they are, and what changes can be made in the future if I want to rewire.

    I've got Koch's book, and it's definitely thorough. I've also got the Hiscock book which is also good, and the Waring/Raymond, good in different ways.

    Are there sources of information on pre/pup wiring that are even more comprehensive? Or, do I need to go back to school?

    I'll be emailing Aguilar right after I finish typing this to see if they'd be willing to do a little hand-holding at some point.
  7. There's also this book, it's more centered around repairs but definetly is more detailed on guitar electronics, it's called animal magnetism for something or other ...stewmac and lmii stock it, I think.
  8. rwyarbrough


    May 24, 2004
    I went to stewmac http://www.stewmac.com/and found a book titled "Guitar Electronics For Musicians"
    by Donald Brosnac.. and I quote from the website...

    Explaining the design, servicing and customizing of the electronics found in most popular guitars. Includes over 350 photos, illustrations and schematic diagrams of pickups, switches, wiring and other hardware components of guitar circuitry. Recommended by our technical department! 128 pages, softcover.

    Sounds like a winner!!!

    Also, if you have the time, you can probably find some good stuff off the Internet on pre/pup wiring... Hmmm... Maybe in a few I might be able to shoot you a list....
  9. animal magnetism for musicians. I have it....somewhere. It's been forever since I've read it, but I remember it had alot of info regarding building pickups, not much wiring them. The couple of basses the guy had progress shots of in the book didn't have any tone controls that I can remember.

    Could be wrong though, that happens alot. ;)
  10. You may find this link interesting:


    Also, if you aren't comfortable with soldering, read up on techniques to make it easer. When I started soldering, I was crap at it, but once I worked it out it became a piece of cake.
  11. luknfur


    Jan 14, 2004

    got the book and it has tons of useful information in it but is virtually useless for active electronics and anything that evolved after 1983, when it was published - and it hasn't been changed since. So forget stacked pots, etc. cause the book is probably older than you are. Great for vintage passive stuff though.

    The good thing about guitar electronics is the output isn't sufficient to damage anything as long you keep the amp volume down when you fire up for testing. So you basically can't do anything that will cause damage to anything and that should eliminate virutally any paranoia involved. I've wired dozens of preamps, switching, etc. - WRONG and never phased anything. Didn't know squat about dc resistance, ohms law or any of the rest when I started (and still don't for the most part). All you really need to know at the basic level is a concept of how things are connected to make them work and not how a preamp works or whatever. The same will get you by for any trouble shooting.

    If you want to start throwing buffers, peizo's, etc. into the mix - it makes it a lot easier to have a rudimentary understanding of how they interate with other components in terms of resistance, etc.. Building preamps, etc., the deeper you go the more you'll need to know. But to just wire most stuff up, you just need to know how to solder.