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Alright to ask tech to change a pickup without changing strings?

still.ill

Member
Messages
3,234
I'd like to have the strings not change especially since the current ones I have on my my guitar are $10 elixers, and I would like to keep them as a reference tone for the pickup change.

Even if it's a semi-hollow 335 type, it shouldn't be that tricky for a tech, no?
 

B. Howard

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
1,211
The cost of the extra labor in dealing with the strings in place will far exceed the cost of a new set of strings, even Elixers.
 

John Coloccia

Cold Supporting Member
Messages
9,579
I've occasionally done it on Floyd equipped guitars, because I can sometimes get enough slack in the strings to do it without any trouble. I would flat out refuse to do it on practically anything else unless it's a bolt on neck. It's just way too risky in terms of finish damage.
 
Last edited:

Madgansound

Member
Messages
76
Not changing the strings does not mean not removing. Very simple to do obviously as long as there are enough coils/wraps on the posts to restring and tune to pitch. Done it more times than I can count.
 

skeeterbuck

Member
Messages
1,668
Why don't you take the strings off yourself and then take the guitar to have the pickup changed? They might charge you less because they don't have to fool with removing the strings.
 

xjojox

Tardis-dwelling wanker
Messages
5,740
I've done this at my home bench but it can be labor intensive. I typically do it when I'm doing work that may require multiple listens before I'm done (experimenting with magnets, unsure of a wiring scheme, other mod-type things). Hint: a capo helps! As noted above, the extra labor exceeds the worth of the strings so there oughta be a reason other than saving ten bucks.
 

bunny

Member
Messages
442
I hate it when customers ask me to reuse the strings so I specifically warn them about the necessity to include a new set of strings with the guitar. In some cases I can save the strings when changing the pickups and even doing some fret and nut work, though. On Gibsons you can use a capo and temporarily remove the tailpiece (wrap it in a sock to save the guitar finish), on flat tops you can do the same and use a simple piece of styrifoam with 6 cuts in it to save the strings from tangling. On vintage style Fender tuners it's possible to take the strings off and to put them back on (styrofoam block). The problem is the strings easily tangle, deform or twist, causing unexpected buzz or intonation issues. The best way is never to reuse strings and the string manufacturers agree :) So all of my customers trust me to put a new set of strings. Of course I often don't mind reusing the strings on basses.
 

Guitar Josh

Resident Curmudgeon
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
19,035
This is hilarious. You will pay for someone to do a simple job like a pickup swap but not $10 for a new set of strings.
 

David Collins

Member
Messages
2,246
Nothing wrong with asking, but the answer in my shop would usually be no. Some guitars it's not a big deal to do on, but usually it's an inconvenience that costs the tech more time (and therefore costs you more money) than changing the strings. Kind of like asking your auto shop if they can save and reuse the oil when they rebuild your engine, because you just got it changed with synthetic 500 miles ago.

Elixirs are an added issue, as the coating process involves heat which affects the temper of the core on wound strings, leaving them less tolerant to bending and unbending at the tuner post. They break easier than other strings in removal and installation, so in our shop the answer would be a definitive "sorry, no". Even if they lasted this process, last thing we want to do is send a client out to play with pre-fatigued strings that are ready to snap at the first gig or practice. Wouldn't be a prudent business practice on our part if we want to ensure positive outcomes and experiences associated with the work we do.

In short - just plan on having new strings installed.
 

Mark Robinson

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
8,676
Sure, it's possible, but it just adds more time to the job and in my case, would irritate me a little bit with a 335. Basically with a Fender you can loosen the strings, take them off the posts, move them away and then pull the guard, and you don't need to manipulate the instrument much at all to finish any sort of electronic work. With a 335, you have to take them all the way off, stash the stop bar and bridge somewhere else, they don't stay in place, and you do have to flop the guitar around to get the job done, at least I do this, getting the pots back into the body etc. So no big deal right?

The issue to me is how you wound them on the posts to begin with? With the Kluson posts, with holes, folks will back knot them, wind excess, not wind enough all sorts of stuff, and then when you go into salvage mode at the end of a three hour pain in the ass, you get stabbed in the fingertip trying to save ten bucks, O.K. but IMO a wee bit inconsiderate of the repair person.
 

mellecaster

Member
Messages
1,125
Nothing wrong with asking, but the answer in my shop would usually be no. Some guitars it's not a big deal to do on, but usually it's an inconvenience that costs the tech more time (and therefore costs you more money) than changing the strings. Kind of like asking your auto shop if they can save and reuse the oil when they rebuild your engine, because you just got it changed with synthetic 500 miles ago.

Elixirs are an added issue, as the coating process involves heat which affects the temper of the core on wound strings, leaving them less tolerant to bending and unbending at the tuner post. They break easier than other strings in removal and installation, so in our shop the answer would be a definitive "sorry, no". Even if they lasted this process, last thing we want to do is send a client out to play with pre-fatigued strings that are ready to snap at the first gig or practice. Wouldn't be a prudent business practice on our part if we want to ensure positive outcomes and experiences associated with the work we do.

In short - just plan on having new strings installed.
Same as David Collins....New Strings
 

paul14470

Member
Messages
248
No way on a 335, but anything else its a possibility. I'm not going to risk a scratched top from pulling & installing a harness for $10.
 

Ron Daniels

Member
Messages
46
I do it by using a capo to keep some tension in the strings at the head stock, but I would hesitate to do it for a customer. I find the strings get brittle and can break up at the tuners if they've been slackened/tightened too far. I've found this especially true of cryogenically treated strings or NYXL's.
 




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