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guitar wiring PCB

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  • guitar wiring PCB


    I'm still pretty new to this forum. I did some searches for what I was looking for but didn't find anything for guitar wiring using PCBs. Point me in the forum direction if I have missed something that is just what I'm looking for.

    I'd like to get some PCBs made and don't know how to go about procuring this service. I guess I need someone to do the layout, then hire a company to print them. I'd like to have the pots, switches, and caps integral to the design.

    Anyone out there have any advise for how to go about doing this?


  • #2
    Hi welcome.

    If you haven't found it yet, we have a section here on guitar tech and pickup making. I myself do not participate much there as it is not my area, but they are very active forums and lots of very knowledgeable folks there.
    Education is what you're left with after you have forgotten what you have learned.


    • #3
      Enzo, I was going to move this thread to the Guitar Tech forum but decided not to. I think that the participants here might have a better idea how to get custom PCB's built.

      Kat Creek: I guess making up your own PCBs with perfboard or Veroboard is not an option. You can usually get them with 0.1" spacing between the holes.

      Steve Ahola
      The Blue Guitar
      Some recordings:


      • #4
        Hi KatCreek and Welcome!

        I presume you mean a pcb to drop into a guitar with all components that you mentioned already mounted and ready to go.
        Like this from a Les Paul.
        Click image for larger version

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        Funny, I was reading recently complaints about the fact Gibson were using PCB's and not their original wiring.

        When it's done properly like that I cannot see how it would affect the sound in any way.

        It would however speed up production and possibly avoid any last minute assembly problems.

        If you know what components you want to use and you can find accurate physical drawings of them with pin spacing,
        you could draw them out yourself .. !

        If you do them double size on a large piece of blank paper then use a permanent markerto fill in the tracks .. then take that to a photography/printing place they should be able to produce a half size negative which you can print from.
        The "half size negative" is of the double size drawing so is actual pcb size.

        There are also ways of printing from a PC art package to a film but not sure where to look for this.

        This is for small quantities , you also need to read up on making pcbs at home... UV light pre-coated resist board
        (like blank photographic paper to print to) , developing trays (square plastic buckets?) .

        You will also need a small pcb drill like a dremel for drilling the copper "donuts" to pass the component wires through.

        From time to time I see offers to make PCB's but usually they require specific computer files generated from more expensive CAD programs.


        Futurlec - PCB Manufacturing Service and PCB Production

        Another way to experiment with your design is to try this

        Software > DIY Layout Creator : DIY Fever ? Building my own guitars, amps and pedals

        Bancika has put a huge effort into this and made many thousands of diy enthusiasts very very happy !

        AND... it's free !!!

        Thanks Bancika !

        It may not have the exact components you want to use but I gather with a bit of effort new components can be created.

        Good luck !!


        • #5
          Not only do boards speed up production, they substantially decrease wiring errors.

          Steve - you are right, and I wasn;t suggesting moving it, but I thought the OP might benefit from exploring those departments too if he has not done so yet. I myself do not know what all is there, but I have to imagine there would be valuable discussion that would result in "Oh, I never thought of that..." moments.
          Education is what you're left with after you have forgotten what you have learned.


          • #6
            OC disorder summed it all, thatīs the way to go.
            And Iīm also grateful for Bancikaīs great work.

            To the op: please be aware that what you want involves skilled design work ($$$), PCB manufacturing installations ($$$) and if you wonīt do it yourself, some hired assembly shop ($$$) , all add up.

            Many Chinese OEM manufacturers will gladly take that job, maybe asking just for a sketch on a napkin, but will probably ask for 500 to 1000 units minimum order; so the option is to do it yourself.

            Hand drawing a PCB is a time honored method, in fact still used by hobbyists and requires no extra learning, just pencil, paper and a good eraser, because after an inirial drawing you will redraw it a few times, each time more compact or better arrayed.
            The "drawing it 2X size" is a good trick to make it more comfortable (otherwise drawing is too small for your hands and eyes) and later reducing to size gives finer detail.

            I suggest not moving this to the Pickup Forun.
            It includes the best Pickup makers in the World, no kidding, but they delve on wire, winding, turns, size, magnets, etc; the actual pickup design, while your problem is PCB and wiring.

            It would help if you shared your project, mainly schematic and where does it need to fit.

            Do you need just one or two or you are a Luthier making a production run?

            Same problem, different solutions, depending on scale.
            Juan Manuel Fahey


            • #7
              EG, Enzo, JM, & Steve,

              Wow! This is fantastic help. I greatly appreciate all the input. Yes I am looking for a board with the components on the board and for my guitar electronics similar to the Les Paul.

              I have CAD capabilities and can machine a specific board. Given all the help, I'm going to try to make a few myself using Bancika's software. I have already downloaded it and will give them a donation for the freeware. Just one more thing to learn, right?

              I want to have an active system and need help with the wiring diagram for a two pickups with volume, blend, bass, middle, treble controls similar to Vigier's systems. A bass guitar of Vigier (The Excess) was recently feature in Bass Gear Magazine. Should I post for that advice in this forum or some other one? I will still look into costs with Futurlec as this might be a great option down the road and I could sell them at cost to others.


              • #8
                Originally posted by oc disorder View Post
                Funny, I was reading recently complaints about the fact Gibson were using PCB's and not their original wiring. When it's done properly like that I cannot see how it would affect the sound in any way. It would however speed up production and possibly avoid any last minute assembly problems.
                I have bought several 2013 and 2014 Gibsons costing less than $800 new which use a PCB and the big problem is with the molex connectors used for the shielded cable going to the pickups, selector switch and output jack. With the low voltages generated from the pickups even the slightest resistance can create problems.

                Another problem is that they use multi-conductor shielded cable going up to the selector switch. One advantage is that they use doubled-sided circuit boards so that most of the back side is used as a ground plane for shielding the control compartment.

                I had asked here awhile back about connectors to use when replacing the pickups and decided that it would be best to just solder the leads to the volume pot.

                Unless the OP is planning to build a lot of guitars I don't see the advantage of using PCBs, especially if special connectors will be required for the cables.

                Steve Ahola

                EDIT I see that the OP is planning to build active basses. Perhaps two circuit boards could be used, one for the pots and one for the preamp?
                The Blue Guitar
                Some recordings:


                • #9
                  Ah, he mentioned active electronics, possibly active EQ, that justifies PCBs, itīs more complex than classic passive Gibsons.
                  Juan Manuel Fahey


                  • #10
                    Thanks Steve and JM.

                    I won't use the connectors and will solder the wires for the pickups and jack. Another great piece of wisdom. The advantage to me for using a PCB is consistency and a clean look for my wiring. In addition, my instruments are very small and I have to be very concerned about the size of every item that goes on or in it, even the amount of wiring. I eventually will be making a lot of guitars so this is a skill I think will be of value down the road.

                    Yes two circuit boards will probably be the way to go for the active system.