New lease of life for my first electric guitar

Hohner Rockwood Seymour Duncan


My first electric guitar, a Hohner Rockwood purchased 20 years ago, remains one of the nicest guitar I’ve ever played despite its low cost. It’s ideal as a practice guitar, but the pickup switch was temperamental, the pots were scratchy, and the jack input was loose. I decided to give it a new lease of life by replacing the pickups and all electronics.

I fancied trying something a bit different, so I opted for a pair of Seymour Duncan P-Rails pickups in cream. The guitar is a Les Paul copy. Les Pauls come with humbuckers – big fat loud mellow bluesy low-noise pickups – think Jimmy Page or Slash. As oppose to the beautiful raw sound of single-coil pickups like you’d find in a Jimi Hendrix stratocaster. The interesting thing about the P-Rails pickups is that you can use them as a standard humbucker, but you can also play the individual coils. More toys to play with.

To make things easy, I purchased a complete wiring set from Axetec. In the kit were the 4 push-push pots, a nice new switch, jack socket and wires. I decided to try the following wiring to give myself the maximum amount of pickup options:

P-Rails wiring diagram

This wiring set-up devised by Hermetico gives 22 possible pickup combinations through various combinations of the pickup switch and four pot switches. I used a cheap soldering iron and pair of cable cutters, and was able to recreate the above circuit. After soldering everything I double checked each connection. I had to make a couple of adjustments.. then stuck it all in the guitar, plugged it in, and it worked!

Les Paul wiring - before

Les Paul wiring - after

After several weeks use, I’m of the opinion there are too many options. Also the push-push pot switches can be temperamental. So if doing this again, I would use push-pull pot switches and choose a simpler wiring set up – perhaps the triple-shot mount, or 2 push-pulls – less options but more manageable.

I do really like the sound of these humbuckers though – will post a song in due course!

3 thoughts on “New lease of life for my first electric guitar”

  1. I’ve just got my Rockwood (by Hohner) Les Paul copy back from a friend after nearly 30 years. Got a few guitars but would really love to get this playable again; trouble is, apart from the volume and tone controls and pickup switch, there is nothing inside, bar a few wires coming from the pickups and switches. Could you please tell me what components I need and, if possible, a rough estimate of the cost of these, if they can be obtained?

    • In an ordinary guitar I wouldn’t expect to see much inside except wires and a couple of capacitors as per the ‘before’ pic above. If all the components are still there it may just need soldering to repair a loose connection (check the wiring from the pickups, at the switches, and at the jack socket). If you want to change the switches and re-wire it then you might choose to do as I did and get a kit from Axetec – Good luck with your project.

      • Thanks, I posted this before I noticed your before and after pics; mine looks almost exactly like your before pic, with no components at all


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