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Is it hard to install pickups in a Les Paul?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by dmarkj22, May 21, 2011.

  1. dmarkj22

    dmarkj22 Member

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    I want to replace my current pickups and I am considering doing it myself instead of paying for someone to do it. My question is, is it difficult to do? I have never done it before. Would you suggest I have it done or is it possible to do it myself? What references could you point me to that will help me?
     
  2. XKnight

    XKnight Member

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    Can you use a soldering iron? And are you okay with possibly messing up your first few times and maybe even damaging the finish?
     
  3. kurtsstuff

    kurtsstuff Member

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    I forsee burn marks aroundnd the lip/shelf
    of the control cavity
    Lots of cussing and swearing trying to
    get the pickup rings and new pickups together
    and possibly a stabbed hand or two when the jewelers
    screwdriver slips off the hieght adjustment screw
    Most likely gonna wire em up backwards the first time maybe 2nd time as well
    I could go on but..I'm basically telling you what I went through the first time.. :)
     
  4. TheGuildedAge

    TheGuildedAge Supporting Member

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    Soldering isn't difficult but it takes some practice. I burned up a few pots and melted some plastic wires before I got good at it.

    Big thing for me to learn was heating the part and letting the solder flow. Also, making sure joints weren't cold and crusty, they should be shiny.

    Plenty of youtube videos. Jason Lollar and Seymour Duncan do some nice work. Mojotone's website too, I think, has some. Then grab some old parts or buy some wire and pots and have at it. If you still don't feel comfortable, nothing wrong with letting a pro do it. Be careful there too, big difference between a tech and a "shop that owns a soldering iron."
     
  5. dmarkj22

    dmarkj22 Member

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    Thanks guysl. Sounds pretty intimidating. My biggest problem isn't that I can't do it it's that I don't have the patience. I just took my Strat to Eric at Eric's Guitars here in Van Nuys and I was really pleased with His work. I think I'm going to take it to him to do it.
     
  6. cpricecpa

    cpricecpa Member

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    There's this thing out there called youtube. Check it out.
     
  7. smolder

    smolder Gold Supporting Member

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    dig in. it's not hard. the more home work you do and the more times you do it it gets easier and better.
     
  8. gulliver

    gulliver Supporting Member

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    If you're swapping once, you're probably better off having someone else do it. But, I think it pays off to try a lot of different ones. If you have a friend that can solder, it only takes a few minutes to make the connections.
     
  9. mgarrison99

    mgarrison99 Silver Supporting Member

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    There is a video out there where Seymour Duncan (the man himself) shows you step by step how to do it. It is either on his website or on YouTube (or both). In my opinion, the most important thing is to COVER YOUR GUITAR to prevent the finish from getting scratched by the pickup screws when you flip the thing over! The rest is a couple of solder points and you're done.
     
  10. Jan Folkson

    Jan Folkson Member

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    I haven't yet done it blindfolded, but I'm certain that I can at this point :)

    1. Everybody has their own technique for getting the pickup, screw, spring and pickup ring together. It'll take you a few tries to perfect yours. Don't forget to get some extra springs, those things can shoot pretty damn far and have more than a 50% chance to land under some immovable object or to blend in perfectly with whatever flooring you have.

    2. When you shorten the wires, leave some extra slack.

    3. Use some painters tape around the control cavity opening to prevent scratches and/or burns.
     
  11. theruley

    theruley Member

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    Go ahead, dig in.

    For about the same price of paying a tech to do it, you can buy your own soldering kit and will always be able to do the job yourself. Soldering is a very handy skill to have...especially if you play guitar.
     
  12. solitaire

    solitaire Senior Member

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    Oh, don't listen to those pessimists. Just have a steady hand and a keen eye and do exactly what the person did who installed the stock pickups.
     
  13. Improbable Joe

    Improbable Joe Member

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  14. donthasslethehoff

    donthasslethehoff Supporting Member

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    no, its not hard...you can do it....do searches on the webz..all the info you could ever need.and more
     
  15. Giraffecaster

    Giraffecaster Member

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    it's not that you can't do it, it's just that doing a good job on the first try w/o f'ing stuff up is almost impossible. especially soldering to the back of the pot is difficult.

    learn, practice, practice some more, then give it a go.
     
  16. cpricecpa

    cpricecpa Member

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    To me, this part is way harder than any soldering job lol. *BOING, spring flies across the room.
     
  17. Findthetone

    Findthetone Member

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    The advice of using painters tape by another poster is something you should REALLY do. Put 2 layers down. Trust me, if your new with soldering you'll be so focused on the part that you won't even know your burning the side of the control cavity.
     

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