Newbie Question...for a guy thats been around a bit

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by Mojoman, Mar 10, 2006.

  1. Mojoman

    Mojoman Supporting Member

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    Alright, so I have a Suhr strat. In another thread I started about it someone mentioned trading out the pups may be a good way to tailor it to my tastes.
    So.....how difficult is it to trade pickups in and out? And also is it tough to put pup's back in after you take them out?
    Thanks for taking the time.
     
  2. atomheartmother

    atomheartmother Senior Member

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    It's not terribly hard, especially when you're only swapping the pickups; things get a bit trickier when you start switching out other components, especially the switch.

    But basically to swap pickups all you have to do is unsolder the leads of the current pickups (one lead on a switch terminal and the other on the volume pot) and solder the new pickup's leads to where the old ones were.

    It's easy to do and I'd recommend you do it yourself over having a tech do it for $50 or whatever. It's like a 20 minute job total. It'll probably take you more time to screw the new pickups into the pickguard than it will to do the soldering.

    Also, you can easily put the old pickups back in. You're not doing anything irreversible. I've gone through countless sets of pickups in the various guitars I've owned.
     
  3. Mojoman

    Mojoman Supporting Member

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    Thank you very much for the response.
    Sounds like it is easy enough.......guess a new soldering gun and pups are in my future. :hiP
     
  4. HereIGoAgain

    HereIGoAgain Member

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    NO!!!! IT ISN'T!!!!!!!!!!

    Sorry, bro, I don't mean to shout, but what you need is a soldering iron. A solider "gun" may/will de-magnetize the pickups rendering them useless and worthless. A soldering "iron" - the kind held like a pencil - is the way to go. Weller and Lenk are good brands, and you're looking for one in the 25-40 Watt range. Use only rosin-core ("electrical) solder. (Acid core solder is a no-no.)

    Once you've got the right tools and the right techniques, working on your own guitar electronics can be both fun and frustrating. It's worth it in the end sometimes.

    Oh, if you get into things like swapping out switches or replacing a two-wire humbucker with a 4-wire humbucker, you'll quickly understand why the tech charges that $50.
     
  5. GDSblues

    GDSblues Member

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    Switching pickups is the easy part. Which pickups to choose can be a lifetime quest. The good part about which pickups to choose is that there is plenty of information in this forum to get you headed in the right direction. Good luck...
     
  6. Tom Gross

    Tom Gross Supporting Member

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  7. atomheartmother

    atomheartmother Senior Member

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    Well, you probably don't even need to buy solder if you're just swapping pickups. Just heat up the solder that is already there. It's probably best to use new solder, but then you'd have to suck up the old solder unless you want giant piles of it.

    I'd recommend this little station. It's served me well, and I'm about to build an amp with it.

    http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2062750&cp=&kw=soldering+iron&parentPage=search

    Ignore the ratings. Some dude said that it was an A+ station and then gave it all 1 stars.

    Anyway for the solder, get 60/40 rosin core solder with a diameter of about .050. I wouldn't go smaller or much bigger. A desoldering bulb comes in handy too.

    To solder first "tin" the iron tip by letting a bit of solder coat the tip. Then just touch the solder joint with the iron and then touch the solder to the tip and let it flow onto the joint. Remove solder, remove iron. Every once in a while, clean the iron tip with the spone that comes in the station and re-tin.

    It's as easy as pie.
     
  8. Tom Gross

    Tom Gross Supporting Member

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    I was taught never to touch the solder to the iron - heat the two elements, then touch the solder to the metal.
     
  9. Mojoman

    Mojoman Supporting Member

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    Thanks guys for the reply.....
    Stupid me.....I know not to get a soldering gun, but it was late!;)
    I actually have one of Dave's Books, havent looked through it in awhile though, but tonight I will.
    Thanks again.
     
  10. HereIGoAgain

    HereIGoAgain Member

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    You should tin the tip at first use and periodically thereafter. This prevents the tip from burning up. When that happens, the tip won't solder right.

    I've had decent results doing it the way atomheartmother describes.
     
  11. tone4days

    tone4days Member

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    label the pups (neck/middle/bridge) you take out to make sure you can put them back where they came from if you decide to .. maybe even take a picture of the underside of the pickguard so you can be sure to get it back the way it came ... don't snip any wires, keep as much length as you can (just desolder them - a solder 'wick' works real well) .... make yourself a diagram of where everything went too
    good luck
    cheers
    t4d
     
  12. John Bell

    John Bell Member

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    I say this with all due respect.If you are asking this question you shouldn't just jump right in on a Suhr guitar.Practice on a beater guitar.Have someone with the know how teach you.Yes it's easy to do,but just as easy to mess something up.If your suhr has a pickguard,you will need to remove the neck to get it off the body.
     
  13. dave s

    dave s Member

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    Depending on how many times you plan on swapping in and out pickups on the Suhr, the best advice I can provide is to take it to a quality guitar shop or reputable luthier and have someone ELSE do the job!

    Sometimes, it's as little as a $20 upcharge over the price of the pickups if you can buy from the installer. Well worth it, IMO.

    dave
     
  14. OldSchool

    OldSchool Senior Member

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    Dang! If that ain't reason enough to rush out and buy a Suhr........we really can't help you here!

    Kudos to you John..............:AOK
     

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