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Electronics from scratch

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Hey guys,

I’ve been playing for about fifteen years and never even changed a pickup. I have an old Yamaha ERG 121 that was given to me years ago. It is essentially a neck and a body with absolutely no wiring, pickups, pots, nothing! The body is just a lump of wood and I want to refinish it which I have no issue with. I’m struggling to find a comprehensive list of everything I need. Any help would be great And I’ll attach a link to an image of the guitar if you’re not familiar. 

thanks in advance 


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So do you only need the electrickery or also the tuners and the bridge?

Looking at the picture it's a HSH pickup combination, meaning humbuckers in the neck and bridge positions and a single coil in the middle. Plus there's a volume and a tone pot and a five way switch, basically for Neck, Neck-Middle-Middle, Bridge-Middle and Bridge. For tuning the tone you'd also need a capacitor. An output jack is also needed.

That was the simple part!

If the humbuckers are coil splittable you'd may want push-pull pots for getting the single coil sounds as well. That's where the options start to pile up! You can get the above variations plus the same in single coil mode plus neck-bridge either as single coils or humbuckers, and any two singles paired either parallel or series, humbucking or not, all three as such or as singles or partially...

There's guys that are much more capable than I am telling how to get the options you want.

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This is the basic parts checklist i use for a build:

neck - or parts to make one

body - or parts to make one


nut /zero fret/both







strap locks

neck plate (for bolt-ons)

truss rod cover

cavity covers

pickguard (optional).

decorations (inlays etc).


screws for everything


Note that some designs will have additional parts.    The guitar pictured above has a string tree/guide for example.   



optional features:

built-in eq/preamp/booster, etc

built-in tuner

allen wrench holder



my general build order:

design the guitar

get parts

test assemble - setup and everything - at least good enough to know it will all work together.  This way you know you won't have to cut, drill, file, or sand anything once its been refinished - which might mess up your new finish.



final assembly and setup.


This is the same way they build show cars.  They get all their bling bling aftermarket parts that are "supposed" to fit, test assemble it all, file, grind, and cut as necessary, then tear it all down and send it all off to the paint shop for powder coating etc.


Edited by norm barrows

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things you might need to know... since it is hsh you'll likely want 2 - 500k log pots.  you can search on evilbay.  a 5 way switch, a jack... and the pickups.  for hsh I would highly recommend you use the ibanez style jem switching.  you won't need a push pull... just the 2nd half of the 5 way switch.  you wire up your humbuckers like series humbuckers, and each humbucker will have a series link where two wires will be connected together.  if you take this link for either and run it to the corresponding lug on the opposite side (ie bridge series link to bridge side lug, neck series link to neck side lug), then wire a ground to the lug opposite the middle pickup... when you switch into pos 2 and pos 4... it will automagically split your humbuckers to give you single coil... which will work to hum cancel with your middle pickup.  long story long you'd get 1: humbucker bridge, 2 bridge split + middle, 3 middle, 4: neck split + middle, 5: neck.  you'll want to ensure you get a rwrp middle pickup. 

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