How to Customize the 2016 HP Les Paul Studio and Standard
The 2014 and 2015 Les Paul Standard guitars provide 13 unique pickup sounds—way beyond the usual bridge, neck, or both options—thanks to combining push/pull knobs with the standard pickup selector switch. (For more information, see the article “How to Get 13 Different Pickup Sounds with the 2014 Les Paul Standard.”) And now, the high-performance versions of the 2016 Les Paul Studio and Standard guitars provide even more versatility, thanks to a small, user-adjustable set of switches located in the control cavity. These let you “rewire” your guitar to give it different sonic personalities, without voiding your warranty—or heating up a soldering iron.
There’s a small, blue, rectangular set of switches located in the control cavity called a 5-position DIP switch. There’s nothing special about the word DIP; it’s an acronym for the type of switch packaging. You turn the switches on and off by sliding the switch’s raised section with a small screwdriver blade, or similar blunt tool. In the picture, all the switches are in the “off” position.
REWIRE YOUR PICKUPS
The first two DIP switches work in conjunction with the volume controls. With the volume controls pushed down, the pickups behave like standard humbuckers. To split a humbucker for a bright, thin single-coil sound, set DIP switch 1 (neck) or DIP switch 2 (bridge) to “on,” and pull up on the associated pickup’s volume control. For a sound that’s more like a fatter P-90 (Gibson’s “tuned coil tap” sound), set the associated DIP switches to the “off” position.
BRIGHTEN YOUR TONE
With switch 3 off, turning down the neck pickup volume control doesn’t just lower the volume, but also creates a “darker” sound. Turning switch 3 on maintains a brighter sound as you turn down the volume. Switch 4 provides the same function for the bridge pickup.
IMPROVE YOUR SOUND WITH DIGITAL EFFECTS AND RECORDING SYSTEMS
When you pluck a string, there’s a huge volume spike (called a “transient”) when your pick first hits the string. Amps and tube-based circuits tend to absorb this noisy, “non-musical” sound; however, digital effects and computer interfaces do not. As a result, you need to turn a digital device’s input level to accommodate this spike, or just live with it and accept digital distortion.
Turning on switch 5 introduces Gibson’s unique transient suppression circuit that absorbs this transient, just like a tube. So you can feed higher levels into digital gear (which gives less overall noise), while avoiding the digital distortion caused by the initial pick spike. The transient suppression circuit doesn’t need batteries or alter the guitar’s tone, so you can just leave it on if you use any digital gear.
For more information, please see the following articles.
Tuned Coil Tap vs. Tap vs. Split explains the differences among these different pickup wirings.
Trouble with Treble? Let It Bleed describes how treble bleed works, and its main applications.
Tame Your Terrible Transients describes the technology behind Gibson’s unique transient suppression circuit.