#1
Okay, I want to buy a new guitar. The only thing that I read in the reviews is that the guitar is absolutely amazing, feels great, but the pickups could be hotter.

So I'm planning on ordering 1-2 pickups with it. Is it really that easy as I think? As I'm thinking now it's removing strings, removing pickup, cut the wire, hook the old wire in the new pickup, solder properly. Is it that easy? Ofcourse I wouldn't want to swap the ground wire for the connection to the output jack, but it's probably color coded, and else it's just 2 wires.
#2
It depends on the guitar and the pickups, some are a lot easier to swap than others.

Usually you want to de-solder the old pickup at the pot or switch instead of cutting it out, it's cleaner and you don't end up with flying wires in your guitar (plus then you still have enough lead on the old pickups to install them in a different guitar or sell them).

In general though, yes, it's quite easy. If you know how to solder and can read a basic wiring diagram it's very simple.
#3
Quote by Roc8995
It depends on the guitar and the pickups, some are a lot easier to swap than others.

Usually you want to de-solder the old pickup at the pot or switch instead of cutting it out, it's cleaner and you don't end up with flying wires in your guitar (plus then you still have enough lead on the old pickups to install them in a different guitar or sell them).

In general though, yes, it's quite easy. If you know how to solder and can read a basic wiring diagram it's very simple.


Well a wiring diagram isn't even necessary, I think. I mean, if you're not changing the actual function of the pickup, all you gotta do is connect the wires, right? I mean, I'm not gonna coil split it or something.
#4
Yes , but not all pickups have the same color wires.
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#5
Quote by Robbgnarly
Yes , but not all pickups have the same color wires.

Matter of swapping them around once, if needed.
#6
oh god I've done pickup swaps with 3-4 hours of sleep and once you do it once or twice and know how to solder it's a walk in the park. Have pliers or something though for the more intricate ones and getting rid of older connections.

I'd say anyone can do a pickup swap, it's a lot easier than kids say it is. I started on cheap guitars myself.

for color codes
http://www.guitarelectronics.com/category/wiring_resources_guitar_wiring_diagrams.humbucker_wiring_color_codes/

if its 2 wire pickups the bare is ground and the insulated wire is hot lead.

ground wires are super easy you can solder anywhere to the back of the pot, even the sides of the pot that are metal

for the hot lead wire just follow it back to the point of origin. My best piece of advice is use a clean properly tinned iron and once the wire is in place for the new pickup to wait 5 seconds counted down slow like one Mississippi ...two Mississippi sort of thing and then giving it a light tug to see if the wire wants to come out.

Avoid the wires touching anything. If it does the lazy way is to use electric tape to avoid contact with the shielding paint in most guitars.
#7
No, it's not easy to do your first time ! no matter how much you study and prepare and watch videos on it, soldering is a skill that takes time and experience to master. I've been doing guitar electronics for about 10 years. I would say it took about 2 or 3 years of doing it at a pretty regular basis to get really good at it to where I was confident I wouldn't mess up, and i've been getting paid to be a guitar tech for about a year now.. I would not suggest doing it in your new guitar by yourself.. practice on a squier or something first.

also don't suggest buying new pickups until you've played this guitar.. get a feel for the tone of it first and hey you might like the stock pickups
Last edited by trashbeast at Mar 29, 2015,
#8
Quote by trashbeast
I would not suggest doing it in your new guitar by yourself.. practice on a squier or something first.



I'd go further than this. For first time solderers I would just practice tinning junked bits of wires, solder joining wires, getting scrap bits of copper and soldering off cuts of wires to them.

Get comfortable with the very basics of soldering, seeing how a good solder join flows, getting a feel of how hot the iron has to be and achieving a steady hand and a good eye before tackling a guitar.

Biggest cause of problems later on is cold solder joins, because one of the parts moved while the solder join was cooling or because the iron was not hot enough, etc etc.
'It takes 100 guitar players to change a light. One to change the light and 99 to stand around pointing, saying..."Yeah man, look...I can do that too"...'

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Last edited by Phoenix V at Mar 29, 2015,
#9
Quote by trashbeast
No, it's not easy to do your first time ! no matter how much you study and prepare and watch videos on it, soldering is a skill that takes time and experience to master. I've been doing guitar electronics for about 10 years. I would say it took about 2 or 3 years of doing it at a pretty regular basis to get really good at it to where I was confident I wouldn't mess up, and i've been getting paid to be a guitar tech for about a year now.. I would not suggest doing it in your new guitar by yourself.. practice on a squier or something first.

also don't suggest buying new pickups until you've played this guitar.. get a feel for the tone of it first and hey you might like the stock pickups

Well, my dad was an electrician. He can help me probably. he taught me how to solder properly. I did do it on my squier before but I accidentaly "broke" the wire because I held the soldering iron against it. Nothing that can't be fixed, but on that squier I just didn't feel the need to fix.
#10
trashbeast beat me to it, play the guitar for a while and see how you like it before you get new pickups.

Swapping pickups is usually not that hard, provided it's 2 wire to 2 wire, and you do a little studying to get familiar the the color code first. If you're not sure of your soldering practice on some scrap wire first. I've been doing this stuff for 30 years, the only time I dig into one without a second thought is when it happens to be a hollow body...those suck...

Just go over the wiring, take a couple of pictures before removing anything, make sure you know what replaces what before you start. If you have a pickup with a different color code it can be confusing, so make sure you know what goes where before you touch it.

But play it for at least a month before deciding on a pickup swap. You might find you like it then you have a set of pickups to do something with...like buy another guitar to work on
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#11
The bottom line of all this is make sure you know where the wires go and practice. That advice will serve you for any guitar electronic repair/upgrade you need. Have fun.
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#12
Quote by trashbeast
No, it's not easy to do your first time ! no matter how much you study and prepare and watch videos on it, soldering is a skill that takes time and experience to master. I've been doing guitar electronics for about 10 years. I would say it took about 2 or 3 years of doing it at a pretty regular basis to get really good at it to where I was confident I wouldn't mess up, and i've been getting paid to be a guitar tech for about a year now.. I would not suggest doing it in your new guitar by yourself.. practice on a squier or something first.

also don't suggest buying new pickups until you've played this guitar.. get a feel for the tone of it first and hey you might like the stock pickups

What are you short-bus special?

Pickup changes are about as beginner as you will get. And tech you how to hold a soldering iron

Trust me if I can do it, anyone that knows up from down can do it also.
2002 PRS CE22
2013 G&L ASAT Deluxe
2009 Epiphone G-400 (SH-4)
Marshall JCM2000 DSL100
Krank 1980 Jr 20watt
Krank Rev 4x12 (eminence V12)
GFS Greenie/Digitech Bad Monkey
Morley Bad Horsie 2
MXR Smart Gate
Last edited by Robbgnarly at Mar 30, 2015,
#13
Everything about a guitar mod or repair is relative to your own personal experiences. If you have never soldered anything before it's not easy. If you have some experience just stripping a wire seems easy but if you don't have good strippers or cutters and no experience with braided shielded ground wires it isn't a piece of cake. Everyone comes to the forum with a different experience and skill level. Changing pickups (depending on the guitar) can be easy especially if you have experience doing it. But since the type of guitar in question wasn't mentioned let's assume it is a semi acoustic ES-335 that needs to be soldered directly to the pots? Not so easy for a first timer (or even experienced players).
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Last edited by Rickholly74 at Apr 1, 2015,
#14
Quote by liampje
Okay, I want to buy a new guitar. The only thing that I read in the reviews is that the guitar is absolutely amazing, feels great, but the pickups could be hotter.

So I'm planning on ordering 1-2 pickups with it.


This is the part that I think needs some review.

I just this past weekend pulled a set of Invaders out of a guitar for a friend. He went through *exactly* the same process as you -- he bought a guitar, read some reviews, bought the Invaders and had them put in the guitar almost as it walked in the door. He didn't even try it with the pickups it came with, but relied on some moron 14-year old's "review" on YouTube. For me this was unbelievable stupidity, but it wasn't my call.

He played it for a while, then started asking me if he could try some of my guitars. He was suddenly looking for a new guitar because now his friends were telling him the problem was the guitar itself. After he went through about 20 of my guitars, he picked one he really liked the sound of, and got all set to order one up.

I suggested that we try something else...we found HIS guitar at Guitar Splinter, used, with the original pickups. The manager let me take it home with me (a large chunk of my credit card was held hostage upon its safe return) and I set my friend down with my guitar and with the used version of HIS guitar. Turns out that the original guitar already had pickups that were very close to what he liked in mine (and of course he'd let the repair guy have the original pickups from his guitar, and they were gone). Since we had two really good reference points, I had a friend of mine hand-wire some pickups that made his guitar sound like mine, and we pulled the invaders.

The moral of the story? Spend some time with the original pickups. Allow the guitar to have its own voice and see if you can appreciate what IT has to offer rather than submitting to someone else's taste before you even have a chance to work with what you have. Corollary to that: KNOW what it is you want the guitar to do and what needs to change before you buy pickups. It may be lots easier and perhaps even cheaper to have a good hand-wire guy make you pickups that do exactly what you need than it is to go through production crap until you find what you like.
#15
I just finished my first soldering project, which was swapping out a pair of humbuckers for a pair of P-Rails, also swapping out the two volume and two tone pots for four push-pull pots, changing tone capacitors, and I rewired the 3-way switch and input jack, basically all new wiring. I spent more time trying to figure out how things should be wired together, and did a diagram. The de-soldering was pretty easy. Some of the soldering was challenging, but I got it all done and it worked perfectly right off the bat, 24 different pickup settings. I had read a lot of advice about soldering cheap stuff before trying something pricey, and I consider P-Rails pricey, but I ignored that because this was the project I wanted to do. If you study "how to" stuff online, watch some videos, I think you can swap pickups as a first soldering project.

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#16
I have to disagree with that, if you have no soldering experience, always practice on some scrap wires a few times first.

Believe it or not, you can make some serious mistakes. Dropping a blob of solder on your nice finish, overheating and destroying a good pot, overheating something and melting a hole in a pick guard...

I've been doing this for 30 years, nothing replaces a little knowledge and practice...I've made some mistakes, fortunately only on my own guitars. And I already knew how to solder well before I touched any of my own. If I have to replace a pot or jack, I tin everything before I mount it in the guitar. Why take the chance of damaging anything when I can do most of the prep work before it's mounted inside.

Don't take the chance, practice on some scrap wires before working inside the guitar. KNOW you can do it right before finding out the hard way...
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