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Old 03-20-2004, 11:01 AM   #1
nirvanaozzie
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Location: Westchester, New York
Changing Pickups For Beginners

All your electrical components inside your guitar are connected by a metal called solder. Solder is a mix of lead and tin, and melts at a relatively low temperature. It is melted over a wire and electrical terminal, hardens in only a few seconds, and then you have a nearly permanent electrical link between the wire and whatever you've soldered it to. Solder is commonly melted with a soldering iron, here's a picture of one. http://www.modchip.ca/products/misc/images/iron-02.jpg

They work by heating up alot, you putting the tip to some solder, the solder melting over the wire and electrical terminal.

If you want to change pickups, you'll need to get yourself a soldering iron of your own, you can pick one up at radioshack for like $8. I'd reccomend a 35 or 40 watt soldering iron. One would tend to think that the lower value iron you get, the safer you are from messing up your guitar, but it's actually the opposite. If you get a low value soldering iron, it will take a longer time to heat up solder to the melting point. During the time it will take to heat up the solder, the heat will travel through the whole component, and could warp the plastic and sillicone parts inside. If you have a hotter iron, you'll hold it there for less time, heating up whatever you're working on for less time.

Picture it like this, if you put something in the oven or microwave at a high power for like 3 seconds, the outside will probabally get hot, but the inside will still be cool. If you put it in there at a medium power for a bit longer, the whole thing will get heated up.

You'll also need to buy solder for installing new pickups. The industry standard is 60/40 rosin core solder, this is the same stuff that's used bassically by everyone in the world, and is fine.

I also advise getting desoldering braid. It's a metal braid that sucks up liquid solder. So if you have alot of solder somewhere, you jsut heat it up and touch the desoldering braid to it, the braid sucks it up like a paper towel does water, and your joint is clean.

Now, you know what you need to buy, this is how you actually change your pickups.

Take off all of your strings

Unscrew the pickup you're removing.

Locate the wires from that pickup and carefully desolder them carefully. Be sure when desoldering or soldering anything that you let the component you're working on cool down before you work on it again, or you can overheat it.

Totally remove the pickup

Screw the new pickup into the pickguard.

Follow whatever sort of diagram you're using.

Test that everything works by plugging the guitar in, selecting the pickup you changed and tap on the pickup's coils with something magnetic, and listening to if you get a sound from your amp. If you hear any sort of noise, then you did it right, restring and play.
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