Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Wiring Inspired by Jerry Garcia's Guitar

If you're a fan of guitar DIY and The Grateful Dead (with Jerry Garcia as a lead guitarist), this wiring diagram can be interesting for you. It's based on Jerry Garcia's guitar - The Tiger.

This is not a copy of the Tiger's wiring. It's designed to get most of Tiger's tone options, but it's also customized to be mounted in guitars that you can easily buy today.

Here is my project:

Lets analyse what we've got on the diagram:

The loop control circuit is omitted, because I think that foot controlled loop pedals and similar stuff are  the better way to go for most of guitarists. The guitar wiring is based on two humbuckers (not three, like in The Tiger) - it's just a more popular pickup set.
You can see a diagram of the original wiring here: http://dozin.com/jers/guitars/tiger/tiger_schematic.htm

Colors of pickup wires are based on DiMarzio's way of wiring.

These blue switches are used as coil splitters. They can make your humbucker working like a single coil, by switching one of two coils completely to the ground. To have this function, you can use DPDT mini toggle switches – if you have a place for them – or mount 500K push-pull potentiometers in place for tone pots.

The tone control circuit is passive. Every pickup has got it's own 500K tone potentiometer and 0,022uF capacitor.
If you don't have a place for three pots, you can use only one tone stack, based on one capacitor and one 500K pot. You should connect it similar to these on the diagram, but the purple wire must go from the output lug (4th) of the pickup selector. With this way of guitar wiring, you will get one tone control circuit for both pickups.

After the pickup selector and the tone control stage, the guitar signal will go to the active buffer (or unity gain preamp). I think that you can buy one somewhere. You can also make one of my propositions - instruction is here: on-board buffer. It will protect the guitar signal from some losses, especially in high frequencies (treble). The buffer will be „on”, when a jack plug will be in the socket.

A next thing, where the signal will go is the volume control. It's a very simple, standard circuit, based on 25K potentiometer. This is the last stage of this guitar wiring.

Remember, that Garcia's guitar is quite original also as a wood construction. Maybe it looks similar to Gibson SG – to some degree – but take a look at the wood types. The Tiger has got maple neck and core, with some exotic wood on the top and back. Maple is a quite bright sounding.

Useful links:
www.dozin.com/jers/guitars/tiger/info.html - about The Tiger guitar
www.dozin.com/jers/guitar/history.htm - about many Jerry's guitars
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiger_(guitar) - Wikipedia about The Tiger
www.wald-electronics.com/tiger.html - another article about The Tiger
www.dozin.com/dougirwin/interview.html - an interview with Doug Irwin - guitar builder