Put some warmth and classic tone in your guitar! More body, fuller tone and letting the subtleties of your pickups come through; that is what to expect with the BCS Vintage. Just because this is a “Vintage” kit don’t think think for a moment that this won’t make your Explorer roar. With the mass of the Explorer body (especially if it is made of mahogany), a strong bridge pickup (around 13K) and this kit, your guitar will roar like a beast. This kit is a complete electrical replacement for a Gibson or Epiphone Explorer, Explorer copy or any guitar with a standard Explorer layout.

We use only high grade components in our kits to bring out optimum performance.

Bourns Potentiometers: The VXPK-1 uses 500K Bourns Pro Audio, short-split shaft pots with a standard torque. We chose the Bourns pots because we found them to have a superior taper and a smoother feel than the CTS pots we used to use. These pots have a 24 spline shaft so your Epiphone or import knobs will not fit without first pinching the top of the split shaft together a little and then slowly push them on. U.S. spec knobs will fit fine. Click here for our selection of U.S. spec knobs. Be aware that if your volume and tone pot holes are not 3/8″ in diameter then you will need to open them up for the new pots to fit. Don’t worry this is easier than it sounds and a step by step is included in the instructions.

Audio or Linear taper for your volume controls? You can choose between Audio taper or Linear taper for the volume pots but the master tone pot is Audio taper only. What’s the difference and which one should you use? That depends on you. The Audio taper falls off rather quickly as you volume down with a clean tone (i.e. your tone will drop about 50% from 10 to 8.5 and then smooth out from there) but when using overdrive you can “clean up” your tone without losing volume. As you decrease the volume the amount of drive from your guitar decreases so your overdrive breaks up a lot less and you end up with a much cleaner tone and no real volume loss until you get down to about 3. The Linear taper acts more like you would expect from a volume control giving you a much more even taper as you volume down with a clean tone. When using distortion or overdrive with a Linear taper there is no real discernible volume drop as you turn it down until you hit about 3 and the amount of drive pushing the distortion does not change very much which results with a small amount of change to your distortion. If you like to use your volume pots to clean up your distortion then the Audio taper is for you, but if you want smooth volume control with your clean tone and run your distortion full open, or don’t use distortion at all, then go for the Linear taper.

Capacitor: Oil filled capacitors have a much smoother, more natural sound than the standard ceramic capacitors. While they sound better, they usually cost a lot more as well, but a higher price does not guarantee a better capacitor. Currently we are using the NOS Russian K40N .022uf/400v paper in oil capacitors. These capacitors (not shown in the photos, we need to take new pictures) use an aluminum foil conductor with an oil saturated paper for the dielectric that is sealed in glass and encased in a metal body that is painted with a red non conductive paint. We have used these capacitors in the past when our supplier was not able to deliver the caps we were currently using, so we know how these caps sound and perform. We decided to start using these capacitors as our first choice caps because not only do they sound great, but they are built like a tank and don’t fail. These caps are also reasonably priced so we can provide fantastic tone to our customers while keeping the price from going through the roof.

Switch & Jack: We use Switchcraft switches and jacks to provide reliable switching and rock solid connections for years to come. The VXPK-1 comes with a short shaft 3-way toggle switch and a cream tip (black or amber can be substituted on request).

Wire: For the Vintage series we use vintage accurate cloth covered wire that is encased in a braided outer shielding. This is the same type of 22 gauge thick stranded wire that was commonly used in the Gibson guitars of the 50’s and 60’s. Today most everyone else uses 24 to 26 gauge thin stranded wire in their guitars and that theoretically it gives you more electrical transfer because of the higher number of strands, but we have found that the higher gauge thick stranded wire (therefore fewer strands) lowers the resistance and changes the inductance which results in a more detailed tone. The electrical differences are very small but they are cumulative with the enhancements provided by the other components which results in a superior tone.

This kit is wired to a Gibson Explorer wiring schematic.

Click the links below to see the Installation instructions and our schematics so you will know what is involved in installing one of these kits. 

Explorer Installation Instructions

Vintage Explorer Wiring Schematic

Make Sure it Fits: Here are the measurements of our kits control layout. All measurements are from center to center. There is about 1/4″ (6.35mm) of slack between each of the components so the measurements can be close and the kit can still fit if it is within the amount of slack mentioned above. 

  • Switch to Neck Volume:                 11 5/8″ or 295.27mm 
  • Neck Volume to Bridge Volume:      2 1/8″ or 53.97mm 
  • Bridge Volume to Master Tone:      2 1/2″ or 63.5mm
  • Master Tone to Output Jack:          1 3/4″ or 44.45mm

This kit includes:

  • 3 – 500K Bourns Pro Audio, short Split Shaft pots with a standard torque
  • 1 – Russian K40N .022uf/400v paper-in-oil capacitor for a warm vintage tone
  • 1 – Switchcraft 3-way toggle switch (short shaft)
  • 1 – Switchcraft ¼” mono output jack
  • All shielded 22 gauge thick stranded wire (vintage accurate)
  • Assembly template

Out of Stock

If you would like to be notified when one of these kits is available for purchase, you can send a request for notification to kitrequest@bcsguitars.com . Please include your name, email address and which kit you would like to be notified about when it is available for sale. When the kit is available for sale, everyone on the list for notification for that kit will all be emailed at the same time, and it will be first come – first served.

Turn Around Time

Due to the expansion of our customer base, our turnaround times are 3 to 5 weeks from the time you order. We have recently picked up two guitar manufacturers that we are building wiring harnesses for, and the word of mouth about the quality of our work and customer service has expanded our customer base tremendously. Each kit is built to order, and in the order it was received. It will take some time for you to receive your kit, but it will be well worth the wait, guaranteed! - Bill Brown/owner BCS Guitars.

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