Short shaft or long shaft for my Les Paul, which will I need?
When it comes to Les Paul wiring queries, the question I probably get asked most is, "Will I need long or short shaft pots?". Unfortunately it can sometimes be a long or a short answer too, depending on your variation of Les Paul. Gibson are of course known for lots of transitional changes to specs from the golden era right up to modern day so the info can be a little cloudy as to which you'll actually need, particularly if you're not sure by physically checking them. The reason why some models require long shaft pots and others require 'short' shaft so to speak is down to the maple top or cap used on that model. Some Les Pauls have a carved maple cap which is a thicker and others a flat maple cap which is thinner. For example, my old man's early 70s Les Paul Custom despite having a maple cap, is flat requiring short shaft pots to be fitted.  

Les Paul long shaft or short shaft pots?

But! The simplest answer is that ALL types of Gibson or Epiphone Les Paul will fit a long shaft pot. How come? Long shaft pots come supplied with two adjustable nuts, which you can adjust to suit the maple cap depth in the body. So even if it's a thinner, flat maple cap Les Paul, you can adjust the two nuts so the pot sits correctly in the body. So if you're really not sure, the safest bet is to go with long shaft as it'll fit both. But you can certainly find out which you'll need with the info below. A good piece of info for Epiphone players, is that all Epiphone Les Paul's with exception of the Elitist model use short shaft pots. Also, in my experience of researching and helping customers through inquiries over the years is that import build Les Pauls, such as far east build instruments usually have short shaft pots installed. You can also check by opening the body cavity cover and looking inside. 

There is quite a noticeable difference between long and short shaft pots, the measurements are - 

CTS Short shaft - - Thread Height: 3/8” (9.52MM)
CTS Long shaft - - Thread Height: 3/4” (19.05MM)

Les Paul long shaft or short shaft pots?

For Gibson USA players, I've compiled a general list of which USA Gibson Les Paul models take either type. This might not be a definitive list, because as I mentioned earlier, Gibson are prone to transitional changes to various models for many years. But it serves as a pretty solid guide I've found.

Gibson Les Pauls that take long shaft pots:
Standard's
Faded's
Classic's
Studio's
Traditional's
50's & 60's Tributes
Historic '68 Custom RI
1977-current Custom's
1977-current Deluxe's
1977-1982 Pro's

Gibson Les Pauls that take short shaft pots:
Historic R4/R5/R6/R7/R8/R9/R0
1952-1977 Standard's
1954-1977 Custom's
1968-1977 Deluxe's
Historic R7 Custom
The Paul's
Les Paul Special's
Les Paul Jr.'s

I hope this helps you pin down which type of Les Paul harness or replacement pot you'll need, but of course if you're not sure drop me an e-mail with some clear photos of either the inside of your Les Paul's control cavity, or the pot(s) removed from the guitar and I'll be able to help identify which you'll need.

To view my selection of pre-wired harnesses you can check them out directly HERE

James

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