I may have screwed up my pickup. It is kind of an extra pickup I had, but I put it in a Strat that I don't play. I would like to fix it though. It is a 2 wire stock Epi Les Paul pickup.

Here is my situation. I wanted to change the pickup wires on my Les Paul's SD Alnico ll pro's. They have the standard 4 wire harness. I wanted to put the single conductor braided harness on to clean things up, and I have no desire to coil tap or anything.

I figure since I have never ripped apart a humbucker before I would start with the extra pickups I have. The stock Les Paul pickups, the ones in my Strat. I figured I would just try to replace the wiring on them and re pot them to see how it comes out, because thats what I plan on doing with my LP.

So I removed one of them from the guitar
Cut the solder holding the cover on it
Removed the nickel cover
Unscrewed the screws holding each coil in from the bottom plate
I unsoldered the grounds from the bottom plate
Removed the bottom plate
Removed the 2 plastic strips on either side of the magnet
Removed the magnet
Freed the 2 coils from each other

Now, I noticed there was a single white wire connecting both coils together. There was a single black wire coming from one of the coils, and got grounded to the bottom plate with the main ground that ran down the harness.

I carefully unwrapped the black tape around the coil And it looked like the black gound wire and the white wire were just wraped in tape. It didn't look like they were connected to anything. Then they popped out of the tape. I cant see where these wires would go. I am thinking they might have to get soldered to the copper wrap or something. And thats where I am at now.

Any idea. where the other end of the small white wire goes, or the other end of the small black wire? (one end got grounded to the plate bottom)

Any help would be appreciated.

Last edited by ninja23 at Jun 6, 2008,
Hello, I had that happen to me but by mistake. It was a brand new pickup and one of those wires came out from the tape. If you remove the tape from the corner where the wire came out you should see the very thin copper wire that the larger wire was soldered to. It is very thin and it might be stuck to the wax . Look carefully .
Hello and thanks. So I should remove that last little piece of tape? Am I looking for a loose strand of copped winding, or another wire coming out?

Any idea about the black one?

Thanks again.
Yes exactly. It's the same for the black wire.The wire is very thin .You can probably see where the wire came out from the tape . The wire should be near there.
How do I know which one gets grounded and which one goes to the white?

And again, am I looking for a single strand of the copper wiring or another wire in the copper winding?

Thanks again.
That might be the tricky part .I guess you didn't see which wire came from which Pickup. And yes you are looking for a stray end of the copper winding.I'am no electronic wizard but a Ohmn meter might help.If I'am not mistaken the end might be under the clear tape I see in your picture.
I will look. Both the ground and the white came from the same pickup in the same spot. The other coil is still fully intact as it was when it was together. I am almost debating taking the tape off that one to see where the wires came from. But there was no ground coming from the intact pickup, the one with the tape still on it.

Is that white wire possible a ground for both coils and the black just ties in and grounds it to the plate.

I am really lost here. Even if I find the end of the copper winding I don't know which end is which if it matters.
Sorry I don't think I can help you any further. I did have a spare pickup I would 've disassembled, but I needed it for a project.Google might help.
Wow, that is most unfortunate.

Not sure why you separated the two coils, or even completely freed them from the base plate.

You should had full access to the wires without doing that.

What kind of pickup was it? Just the Epi Les Paul ones, right? Well, I have a proposition for you, if you can't get this pickup to work. However, I think it is still salveable. I'm going to take apart a pickup myself, in the same manner you have, and see what we're dealing with.
I'll be in touch.
Thanks, I don't want you to ruin a pickup for me.

I wanted to find out how the wires connect to the windings. My goal in my other thread was to replace all the wiring. You can't really do it without separating the coils. They come apart easy enough. It was just 2 screws on each to free them from the plate. I had to take the tape off to see where the wires went, since my goal was to replace them.

It was just a stock Epi pup, honestly I don't really care what happens but I would like to know how to fix it.

On another note I did a little research and I think I found out that 1 end of the copper wind wire has to be the signal and the other is grounded. If I connect them to the wrong places, the pup will just be out of phase, I think. So its a 50/50. If it works when I am done and sounds weak I can switch them and try it again.

I was wondering why only 1 pup had a ground but tell me if this sounds right. The start of the winding on the first coil will be grounded while the end of the winding on the first coil will jump to the start of the winding on the 2nd coil. The end of the winding on the second coil will be the hot signal that goes to the switch.

That would explain why only 1 coil has a ground, the jumper from coil to coil and the 1 hot lead wire coming out. I just want to make sure I understand how this worked.

I found 2 strands of the copper wire sitting there. I can tell 1 is coming from the bottom of the wire wrap, while the other one is the last wrap. If they were single coils 1 end would be ground and the other end would be signal, I think. Since it's a HB I think the signal just jumps to the next coil. I may be wrong about this whole thing, I don't know.

I think I just have to reconnect the ground to the start of the coil winding and connect the white wire to the end of the winding and it should be fine. I just hope the coil windings are not broke anywhere.

Thanks for the help, but again there is no way to change the wire without taking the tape off. I was hoping to find a metal lug coming out or something, but it looks like I have to solder onto a single strand of copper wire.

After seeing all this I don't think I want to rip apart my SD Alnico ll's. I figured there would be a lug or something to solder to, instead there is 2 strands of wire.

I am debating taking apart the other pup now that I know what to look for.

I don't know this was a decent pickup I would like to fix it. I will work on it this weekend.

Thank you.
Those little wires are the start and end of each coil on the pickup. That means there should be 2 for each coil! if you are only seeing 1 on one of the coils then there is another one stuck in the tape that you pulled off or it means that both coils were shairing 1 of the wires and when you separatd the coils you brok it that way.

1 end of the wire is soldered to the very thin magnet wire inside the pickup. This copper wire is thinner than a human hair. Once it is soldered to the little black or white wires it burns off the insulation and becomes even thinner and it becomes very week. Most people would be unable to remove the tape covering the solder and not break that wire so as a general rule, never remove the tape covering the solder.

If you can find the stray wires coiming off the coil then you can resolder them but one of the wires you need to find comes from the middle of the coil. This means that it may not be possible to find the wire and even if you can it may not be long enough to solder new jumper wires to.
Not taking any online orders.
Pretty much what I was gonna say.
I just double checked underneath my pickup's tape, and that's how it should be. Glad Cord found the thread.

If you find that your pickup can't be repaired, let me know. I have a spare bridge Epi pickup that I really don't have a use for. I don't think this'll be an impossible task, though.
That's right. If you lose the start wire, you're screwed. Pickup wire is very small, even for coils. We make custom coils at my workplace that are used for magnetic measuring equipment. Nothing we wind uses wire that small. Thin wire really sux to work with. I had to repair a humbucker one time. Luckily, it was the finish wire that was broken, and not the start.

There are a few things you can do if the start wire is missing. One is, throw it out. Or, completely unwind the copper from the bobbin, and start over. Or, if there's a tiny bit of start wire sticking out, you could unwind a few layers and pray there'll be enough to solder to. Doing this will decrease impedance and change the sound slightly.

As far as which wire goes to ground, you'd have to either find the specs for the coils that list that, or check the first coil. The second coil's plus should be the same wire (start or finish) of the first coil, and connected to the first coil's "ground".
Hey guys thanks a lot I appreciate the help.

forsaknazrael thanks for the offer Maybe if I cant fix it I will throw you some money for it.

I do have both wires on the winding. I mean I found the start and the end. I think I am going to have a chance to mess around with it tomorrow. I will let you guys know what happens.

forsaknazrael thanks again for the offer, you really don't have to, but if you are not using it I will buy it for a reasonable price if I cant get this going.

Again thanks everyone, you guys have been a big help. I just wish someone told me you cannot re wire a pickup without risking breaking it. I think I had a 3 page thread last week about it.
Yeah, I mean, there's some risk, but usually, if you play it safe, it can turn out okay.
I think the issue here was that these were not 4 wire pickups...
Whereas your Alnico 2 Pro's ARE. So with those, all you'd have to do is snip the wires, solder the red and white together and insulate them, and then solder on the new metal bread lead. I think it would be much easier, and you won't have to remove the tape that holds the wires together.

They're just the stock Epi SG pickups, and they've just been lying around the house. I've got two of them, one of them I replaced the ceramic magnet with an Alnico 2 magnet for ****s, and the other one has a piece of tape, with the Dimarzio Air series of pickups in mind - also for ****s and giggles and etc...
No idea if they sound good at all, TBH, but they're just sitting around here.
Quote by forsaknazrael
Yeah, I mean, there's some risk, but usually, if you play it safe, it can turn out okay.

I think the issue here was that these were not 4 wire pickups...
Whereas your Alnico 2 Pro's ARE. So with those, all you'd have to do is snip the wires, solder the red and white together and insulate them, and then solder on the new metal bread lead. I think it would be much easier, and you won't have to remove the tape that holds the wires together.

Ya but I would still have to take the tape off to get to the single strands of the copper winding. Otherwise cutting the wire outside the tape would be the same thing as not even taking the pup apart and just spicing on my new cable about a inch after the pup, right.

All I am saying is that to actually remove the wiring and replace it to the stuff I want I would have to take the tape of and get to the single strands.

Hopefully I will get some time today and mess around with it.