VC Guitars

Prewired controls for ES-335, 500k pots


This is a complete wiring kit for ES-335-style guitars, with 500k pots and paper-in-oil caps, and is available in 4 versions: '50s wiring with 2x .022µF caps, '50s wiring with 1 .015µF cap for the neck tone control and 1 .022µF cap for the bridge tone control, or the same versions with modern wiring (see explanation about the difference in wiring below). The standard version with 2 .022µF caps uses WD paper-in-oil caps, for the .015µF/.022µF version we use Emerson pio caps.

This kit is set up for Gibson ES-335 control spacing, but there is a little 'give' in the wires so it's not a problem if the controls are spaced slightly differently. All pots are CTS Premium 500k audio taper pots and are matched in our workshop: these are being sold as 10% tolerance pots, meaning they can vary in value in a -10%/+10% range, but in reality all their values lie within a 5% range; the switch is the industry standard Switchcraft 3-way toggle switch, in the short version for easier installation. Mounting holes required for pots and jack: 3/8" (9,5mm), mounting hole for the switch should be 1/2" (12,7mm). Please make sure the knobs your are using are for 24-spline pots such as CTS: most Far-East copies use metric pots with 18 spline shafts.

Full specs:

  • 4x value matched CTS Premium 10% tolerance pots
  • 2x WD .022µF paper-in-oil tone caps
  • Switchcraft short 3-way toggle switch, nickel
  • Switchcraft long thread output jack
  • wired with vintage-style braided wire


The difference between '50s and modern wiring is the way the tone control is brought into the circuit and how that affects the controls: with the '50s wiring, the tone tends to remain more clear as you turn down the volume, with the modern wiring your tone will also lose some of its highs as you turn down the volume; in general, even with the volume on 10, the guitar will sound slightly brighter with the '50S wiring (which can be useful if you have a dark sounding guitar). On the down side, turning down the tone control on the '50s wiring can cause your volume to go down slightly as well.

About caps: the combination of .015µF for the neck tone control and .022µF for the bridge tone is generally referred to as the 'Woman Tone' circuit. Why? Rolling back the tone control on the neck pickup isn't as dramatic with the smaller cap and gives a less muffled sound, with more upper mids. This setting was used on some Cream recordings by Eric Clapton, and probably got its name because it resembles the voice of a female singer. Anyway, for this version of the kit we use the Emerson Bumblebee .015µF/.022µF caps.

All wiring kits are handwired in our own workshop and are made to order, so please take into account a lead time of about two weeks. If you need a different version of this kit, for example with a gold switch and jack, don't hesitate to contact us to discuss the possibilities.

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