Using Bare Knuckles with a Gibson Circuit Board
8th October 2020
What are your options?
Gibson guitars with circuit board (PCB) mounted controls and quick-connect pickups can, at first, look a little incompatible with aftermarket pickups, but, don't fear! Getting a great, clean installation is more straightforward than you may think.
Products are available which allow you to adapt traditional pickup wiring into the quick connect system, but, actually, although they work fine, you can achieve a cleaner and more secure installation by wiring your new pickups directly to the board / pots.
The pots mounted to the PCB are very much the same as the kind of pots that you would find in a traditional setup and you can work with them in broadly the same way.
When working with braided wiring, unpick a short section of the outer braid, then twist in up so that it sticks out at roughly 90 degrees from the main cable. push back a short section of the inner black cloth sheath, to expose a few mm of the inner wire. Then (with the 3 terminals of the volume pot towards you) solder the inner wire to the left hand terminal and the twisted outer braid to the right hand terminal. Follow exactly the same layout for both the bridge and neck pickups / bridge and neck volume controls.
Modern 4 Conductor
Working with 4 conductor is quite similar: Solder the red wire to the left hand terminal and the black and bare wires to the right hand terminal. Depending on your setup, you may wish to either cut the black and bare wires a little shorter, or cover the bare wire with some insulation, to avoid it contacting with any terminals that it shouldn't when everything is put back in place.
Alternatively, there are more options for where to connect your grounding wires. For example, you can solder them to the grounding / securing points on the pot casing, as shown here. The options that are described here all avoid adding any extra solder point to the sytem, meaning that the board can be returned completely back to stock form, at a later date, if desired. If that's not a concern for you, then you can ground any of your wires ditrectly onto the back casing of any of the volume or tone pots, as you would in a traditional setup.
For PCB setups which use push-pull switching, it can get a little more complex when working directly on the board, so please don't hesitate to contact us for assistance with installing your Bare Knuckles to that type of system.