Is it hard to install pickups in a Les Paul?

dmarkj22

Member
Messages
621
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?
 

XKnight

Member
Messages
11,088
Can you use a soldering iron? And are you okay with possibly messing up your first few times and maybe even damaging the finish?
 

kurtsstuff

Member
Messages
2,352
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.. :)
 

TheGuildedAge

Member
Messages
13,068
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."
 

dmarkj22

Member
Messages
621
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.
 

smolder

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
14,366
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?
dig in. it's not hard. the more home work you do and the more times you do it it gets easier and better.
 

gulliver

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
10,226
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.
 

mgarrison99

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
1,314
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.
 

Jan Folkson

Member
Messages
1,440
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.
 

theruley

Member
Messages
2,174
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.
 

solitaire

Senior Member
Messages
3,715
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.
 

Giraffecaster

Member
Messages
1,376
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.
 

cpricecpa

Member
Messages
609
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.
To me, this part is way harder than any soldering job lol. *BOING, spring flies across the room.
 

Findthetone

Member
Messages
300
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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