Matt Wickham

A request was made by a member of our forum, for a wiring tutorial. This is a modified write up as some details were incorrect on the original Burns diagram which we made them aware of.

As part of this tutorial I will attempt to walk you through section by section and highlight the section I am doing as we go.

Left: Burns diagram.
Right: hand drawn diagrams done by Brian and his father Harold


  • Solder
  • Flux
  • Soldering Iron
  • Wire cutters

To begin with hopefully you have already installed your 2 way ON-ON slide switches on the aluminium electronics shelf, you can purchase the aluminium shelves from G&W see their price list.

Firstly, to make soldering easier, you may wish to tin the terminals on the switch with solder, you can also do this with the wire, by stripping off the ends of the wire and applying flux and solder if you wish. Electrical flux just allows the solder to run easier.

The first part of the wiring I will do is put the short links in the On-Off switches, this is basically just a piece of metal wire / rod to connect the two terminals. I have circled the part we are doing and taken a picture of the area so it is clear.

Links added on the right side, using brass rod / wire, circled in white

Continuing with the next terminals over, the Red link wires seen on the diagram, you will need 3 cm of wire. When you get to the Bridge pickup On-Off switch, a wire will come off the middle terminal to go to the Tone pot this is about 10 cm long. On the image below the red line is represented by a Brown wire.

To solder the wire, you tin the end, place the soldering iron on the tag / terminal of the switch to heat up the solder which is on the terminal, you then place the wire through the hole of the terminal, whilst still keeping the iron the point you want to solder.

Left: Red line middle terminals
Right: Brown wire representing the red line

Next the left terminals or the Grey lines on the diagram, these link the On//Off to the phase switches. To represent the bridging wires I have used Black wire as I do not have grey.

Left: Grey lines linking the 2 switches
Right: The black bridging wires to the phase switches

On last piece of unfinished business on the On/Off switches, is the earth wire, represented by the green wire. This is the middle terminal on the Neck On/Off switch, I will be using green wire as on the diagram. I will also add a second green wire from the same terminal, this will be useful if you're doing the same as the original, where the Pickup earths go to a point in the chamber just in front of the polarity posts. Alternatively you can run a green wire from earth point to the underside of tone pot.

Left: Green wire Earth from neck switch
Middle: Green wires added to the front middle terminal
Right: Extra earth wire to the pickup earths

Next part is quite fiddly to do, the crossovers on the phase switches, highlighted in Grey and Black on the diagram. Wire colours will be White and Black. Again tinning one end of the wire, to the one of the terminals that link across from the On-Off switches.

The Wires run Diagonal to the other corner, you can see the initial White wire fitted on the middle image, with the black running on the opposite on the right.

Left: Phase switch crossover
Middle: White wire fitted
Right: Black wires fitted

Lastly the pickups, now if you're going original, you need to run 2 lengths of wire from the middle two. These are:

  • Red and Yellow (Neck)
  • Grey and Yellow (Middle)
  • Blue and Yellow for the (Bridge)

These are colours on our drawing, and may differ on your pickups. Pickups usually have 3 wires, plus and negative and an Earth wire usually Green.

The 2 lengths of wire will go to the polarity posts you can read below. If you are avoiding the posts just run your pickups to the switches.

Left: The middle terminals for the pickups.
Right: Wires fitted to the phase switches

All images

Polarity Posts

On the original RS guitar, in front of the pickups are 6 Brass posts / screws sticking out of the wood. I think we all know that Brian changes where his reversed pickup is from Bridge to middle hence why some people are confused. These 6 posts are called Polarity posts, there are wires leading from the middle terminal on the phase switch to these brass posts. There is a Positive and Negative so I recommend you use 2 different coloured wires to avoid confusion. The Pickups are wired to these brass posts also, this means instead of having to take the switch plate off and change the wires over, all he has to do is unsolder the pickup from its Brass post and swap them over avoiding the hassle of taking plates out. You can include these if you would like, or you can just go straight to the switch.

These are the Brass Polarity Posts on my latest Build, You have to be careful with the copper shielding tape so it doesn't make contact with the posts, cause you won't get any sound out of your guitar otherwise.

This is a picture of the same part of the guitar, on the Original guitar. I've labelled the parts where some of the wires go to, just to help you out.

Pots - Volume and Tone

The second part of this wiring tutorial I will be covering how to wire the Pots up to switches. You need the same equipment above, and you will need Wire 2x Long Shaft and 220K Log B pots. You can order the pots from Maplin in the UK.

Firstly we will put the Switch Plate in to the guitar and wire up the switches to the pickups.

This is the switch plate now in place with the earth wires connect as per Brian's, as you can see the bridge is earthed with copper tape which goes in to the chamber. This is a Must!

The red / brown striped cable coming from the switches towards the 3 green wires is the earth wire. There is also an Orange wire coming from this point that also goes back to earth , which in this case is the base of the Tone pot.

On the left of the picture, top to bottom you will see the Orange Earth Wire, The Red and Brown wire which goes to the tone pot, and a Back Wire, which goes to the volume pot from the Jack, It has 2 wires inside the black wire.

The Pots

After explaining the switch shelf installation, the next part is the pots. The pots are mounted again on an Aluminium plate which is mounted on a wooden post, on the base of the chamber. The wiring diagram for this section is below:

This is a simple Diagram of the Pots and Jack plug. The two wires at the top of the Diagram, the one on the left is the Earth wire, The Orange on in the Picture above, and the one on the Right is the Red and Brown Wire, which comes from the Phase switches.

Also on this diagram the Pots are 500k ones, which they use in the BMG's or Burns, On the original Guitar the pots are 220k Log B.

In this plate the pots are mounted I put the capacitor on top of this shelf. The capacitor is 0.022

This is how it should look to begin with, Tone pot on the right, volume pot on the left. This will be reversed when the plate is turned over.

This first step will concentrate on Attaching the Capacitor to the middle Solder Tag of the tone pot, with the other being soldered to the Bottom of the Volume pot. On the Diagram above, it shows it soldered to the bottom of the Tone Pot, you can attach it to either one, as they are both Earthed.

As before tin the solder tags, and tin the end of the wire your soldering.

The next part I shall do is attach the 2 wires from the Jack Socket to the Volume pot, With this 2 different colour wires would be best. The Live wire, which on this occasion is Red, will go to the middle terminal on the Volume control, the earth wire from the jack socket goes to the right terminal of the middle.

Next will be a small simple link from the right Terminal of the Volume to the base of the Volume pot.

Next will be another simple link from the base of the Volume pot to the Tone Pot, this ensures that both pots are earthed, you can see I started doing this in the above photo, with the Orange wire on the opposite side to the Yellow wire.

After earthing the 2 pots, I then link the Tone pot up to the Red and Brown striped wire coming from the phase switch, this wire goes to the top terminal on the Tone Pot.

Next you will need a wire coming off the terminal of the tone pot you have just soldered to, and run it to the opposite terminal on the volume, there should only be one terminal left if you have done this correctly!

If you remember from reading through this we have one wire left, the Orange wire which comes from the earth point in front of the Polarity posts. This Orange wire connects to the base of the Tone pot

Left: Wiring diagram
Middle: Link from tone to volume
Right: Earth wire

Job complete, all is left is to shorten the Shafts, and put the pick guard back in place, and then the knobs!

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