As promised, here are a demo video and tech notes for the first phase of the Pagey Project, which recreates Jimmy Page’s original Les Paul wiring scheme. (The upcoming Phase Two will expand on the idea with even more crazy options.)
All I can say is, sheesh! Why did it take me decades to try out this awesome Les Paul mod?
I think it’s because I had a nasty dual-humbucker guitar many years ago with series and coil-split switches. Even though I knew the pickups were crap, it still prejudiced me against alternate humbucker wirings. “Just pick up a Fender!” I’d think.
Another factor: I lacked the sophistication to know that, while many of the tones unlocked by the Pagey wiring sound thin and/or weird on their own, they can be quite useful in context.
And make no mistake — except for the series switch, all the alternate Page sounds are smaller than stock Les Paul sounds. And that’s a good thing! They’re great for crystalline clean tones, ratty faux-P-90 distortion, and simply making the regular Les Paul sounds seem gigantic by contrast.
Have a listen. There video starts with a 90-second overview, then works through the system in detail:
Some pics and observations from the installation process:
At the recommendation of Scott Miller, one of Seymour Duncan’s wiring geniuses, I used a pair of ’59 Model pickups for the project. I worked from the schematic Scott used for his 2008 Guitar Player magazine article, which differs slightly from the one posted on the Seymour Duncan site. (I covered the parts necessary for the operation here.)
I decided to work from a clean slate and pull all the electronics from my Paul, much like gutting a Halloween pumpkin. This has been my “mad scientist” guitar, so it was a bloody mess in there!
I popped in the new pickups and routed their wires. I didn’t replace the metal shielding box used on these ’80s Les Pauls — the guitar is heavy enough without it! Instead, I applied adhesive shielding material from Stewart-MacDonald. I used four brand new long-shaft 500K push/pull pots. I labeled them with magic marker and used colored twist ties to denote the various pickup wires.
The hardest part of the job is threading wires through the tiny lugs in the push/pull portion of the pots — especially since you need to make dual connections at many of these spots. (I found it helpful to use 24-gauge stranded but pre-bonded wire from Small Bear.)
It was definitely easier to do all the wiring before fastening the pots to the guitar body. But if you care about your guitar, don’t follow my example — use a better protective material than a piece of paper.
From that point, it was just a painstaking process of duplicating all the wire connections from the diagram. Incredibly, it all worked after the first attempt. And that never happens around here!
Despite its considerable hassle factor, I love this mod. It’s so cool and versatile that I’m going to
keep it in my guitar forever rip it all out and start over. I’ll be using P-Rails pickups and Triple Shot mounting rings to unlock even more sounds than Pagey managed. Will they be worth the extra effort? We’ll find out soon. :)