Comparing several pickups without complete disassembly/reassembly each time

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by LyleRyan, Apr 20, 2017.

  1. LyleRyan

    LyleRyan Supporting Member

    Jun 20, 2006
    Ashland, OR
    I have several different pickups I want to try out on a P-Bass. To make a decision, I plan on installing one set, compare the results to my other Basses, then swap in another set of pickups. Might involve a few go-rounds on each set.

    Any advice on avoiding a complete disassembly/reassembly each time?

    I've seen posts about mounting pickups on an external board, which doesn't appeal to me.
    I was thinking about leaving the pickguard uninstalled, which would probably be noisy, but maybe I wouldn't have to loosen strings or re-tune much to swap pickups.
    Maybe a couple of alligator clips to hold the pup wires on instead of resoldering.

  2. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    You're probably going to have to loosen the strings to get the pickups in and out, regardless of what you do. But that only takes a minute.

    If you're only going to be playing them for short time I would consider not screwing them in to the body, just use tape or a folded piece of paper to wedge them in place, as long as you can get the height right.
  3. I've compared pickups by using big blobs of blue-tack either side of the strings and simply positioning them upside-down, over the strings. You can solder a female jack to each pickup, or even just use aligator clips for quick swaps. As long as there's no pickup already installed underneath, this works fine.
    lz4005 and jallenbass like this.
  4. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Gold Supporting Member

    ingenious! ha! who knew?! thanks for the tip. :thumbsup:
  5. sikamikanico


    Mar 17, 2004
    Imo any shortcuts you take can undermine the comparison. I experimented with suspending pickups above the strings, but it was more hassle to get that right vs. properly screwing them in. It doesn't take that long, and then you can fine tune the setup to each pickup, which will assist in your evaluation. This way you can also attribute perceived differences between pickups to their design, not your mounting contraption :)

    On the other hand, aligator clips are a time saver.
  6. Toptube


    Feb 9, 2009
    Yeah, 1 full turn of height screws can make noticeable differences. You can't do that, with dual sided tape.
  7. My 2 cents - I think you need to play the bass live with a band to really know how the pickups are going to work.
    You could cut apart an old pickguard to create a piece that just holds a set of pots and output jack. Put a connector on the harness, and solder a mating connector on each set of pickups. Then it shouldn't take more than 5 minutes to change over.