what tools do i need to swap out the pups on an LP?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by wattsup32, Jul 21, 2006.

  1. wattsup32

    wattsup32 Member

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    You guys talk about it like you do it daily so i thought it would be nothing. but, when i opened her up i was completely lost. seems like some stuff is soldered or whatever. i am loooossssttt. please help me. i'd like to learn to do this myself.
     
  2. justonwo

    justonwo Member

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    You need a soldering iron and a screwdriver. Soldering can be a bit tricky so you'll want to practice before you dive into the Les Paul. Hunt around for soldering threads for some tips - there are probably hudreds of these on every guitar forum.
     
  3. tonefreak

    tonefreak Member

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    You also need a spool of solder... I use 60/40, but I'm sure maybe some folks use ones with higher silver content.

    A good pair of wire strippers could be handy. A damp sponge for wiping off the soldering tip.
     
  4. tonefreak

    tonefreak Member

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  5. Jack The Riffer

    Jack The Riffer Member

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    Best n easiest way to replace a p/u is to do it one at a time. Draw yourself a little cheat sheet diagram before you start so you can't forget what wire goes where. Better yet if you have a digi camera just take a pic before you start.
     
  6. tonefreak

    tonefreak Member

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    +1... great suggestion! Bottomline... have a plan.
     
  7. Badger71

    Badger71 Member

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  8. Flyin' Brian

    Flyin' Brian Member

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    A
    The vids will help a lot. Since you asked the question of what you need, the answer is a good video or somebody who knows how to walk you through the first time.
     
  9. tonefreak

    tonefreak Member

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    Slipped my mind! The videos are well done, IMO.
     
  10. stevieboy

    stevieboy Clouds yell at me Gold Supporting Member

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    +1 on the damp sponge to keep the tip clean. A vacuum pump from Radio Shack to remove excess solder is also a good idea--sounds complicated but really an inexpensive simple device. Research a little technique to avoid cold solder joints, work carefully, and don't panic if it doesn't work the first time, just go back and check your joints. An idiot can do it, I know from experience!
     
  11. Ed Alvarado

    Ed Alvarado Member

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    It's all tip and ring Bro! Don't forget to tin the connections first. Old phone man here.
     
  12. Mr.Hanky

    Mr.Hanky Supporting Member

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  13. gbdweller

    gbdweller Member

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    Practice first. Don't use an iron hotter than 25 watts (Radio Shack offers a nice 25/40 model) and make sure your tip is tinned and clean. Good clean solder joints are the key to a quiet guitar. You also want to be comfortable with the process so you don't melt too much insulation or burn up any parts. Use a heat sink between the heat and delicate parts. And yes, tin the joints first. An untinned joint could result in a cold solder joint that will inevitably fail. But most of all, relax and have fun.:D
     
  14. rooster

    rooster Member

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    Sorry to be a party-pooper, but I must ask the question, "why?" A Les Paul is not a guitar to be trifled with, due to the price tag, the delicate finish, and the fact that many of them have the shielding plate in the control cavity, rather than just the pots in the cutout. I can't see how a tech could cost you more than $25-30 to install them. The soldering iron will cost you at least $15 for a nice one, and the chance of burning your guitar finish to save $10 or so seems a little silly.

    Have your LP wired by a tech for you, and when you have a cheap beater guitar lying around, work on that one until you're proficient.

    rooster.
     
  15. VanStone

    VanStone Member

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    Do a search on soldering, there are several “how to” internet sites with tips (many of which were covered here). Get some wire and practice soldering before you begin (you can solder pieces of wire together, solder them to a piece thin scrap metal, or perhaps pick up a cheap potentiometer to practice soldering to) . Understand the wiring before you start. Get a wiring diagram, visually trace what’s already there, and draw a picture for yourself of the re-wiring job.

    The tools I use are as follows:

    - A 30 to 35 watt soldering iron is, IMO, perfect for working on guitars (15 to 20 watts is better for small heat-sensitive electronics like used on PCBs.).
    - Solder (60/40 rosin core is fine, I think I usually use .032”).
    - De-soldering braid (I far prefer this to a “pump” or “bulb”).
    - Wire strippers, or a sharp knife and a steady hand.
    - Screwdrivers.
    - Dykes.

    Also perhaps not necessary, but nice to have:

    - Needle nose pliers.
    - Forceps.
    - A “helping hands” stand with alligator clips.

    You may burn up a couple of capacitors or even potentiometers at first, but take your time and be patient and you’ll get the hang of it.

    V
     
  16. The Golden Boy

    The Golden Boy Member

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    What?!?

    Do you have a tech change your strings for you?

    If you get a flat do you put on the spare tire yourself, or do you wait for AAA to show up?

    Basic electronics is "user maintenance." There's nothing mystical about what's under that cavity cover.
     
  17. rooster

    rooster Member

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    No, I don't. I change my own strings, but I've seen plenty of guitars with crappy windings almost guaranteed to throw the guitar out of tune on the first bend. Many people should have someone show them how.

    Basic electronics is not user maintenance. There may be nothing mystical about what's under that cavity cover, but a soldering iron can leave a helluva scar on the finish if you slip with it. You can also cause yourself a serious burn. You can also screw up your control pots and have some kind of "blob job" that will start cutting out on you at your first gig. I've seen soldering jobs that came out of guitar repair shops that made me shudder, and I've yet to see more than a couple that were as good as mine. After 20+ years of electronics work, I can tell you flat out that it's not as easy as it looks to do it right.

    That's my opinion. It's your Les Paul, do what you want.

    rooster.
     
  18. The Golden Boy

    The Golden Boy Member

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    I'm not making fun of your opinion or anything, I just disagree with it.

    There's an amount of self sufficiency that you should be able to exhibit in basic repairs- to include basic soldering. I don't remember how to etch a circuit board, I don't remember resistor color codes, but soldering isn't brain surgery. Yes, you can screw up pots and pickups and paint jobs if you're not careful.

    You can also be run over by a bus, but if you look where you're going and the liklihood of getting run over by a bus greatly decreases. The rewards of going for a walk is greater than the fear of a random bus accident.
     

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