Doin' It Yourself

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by TedP66, Sep 14, 2000.

  1. TedP66


    Aug 25, 2000
    I'm interested in replacing the pickups on my Mexi Jazz. I've checked around, and the best price for getting them professionally installed was about $90. How difficult is it to doe it yourself? What would you need besides a soldering iron & some solder? Would I need to chisel some wood out to fit the pickups? I'm not Norm Abrams and I dont have a dato-head cutter. I'm just an amateur. Any help would be appreciated.

  2. gweimer


    Apr 6, 2000
    Columbus, OH
    If you're only interested in replacing the pickups, make sure you get direct replacements (like a Bart J pickup to replace your current J pickup), so you don't have to worry about routing. I would bet that any pickup you buy new will come with a wiring diagram, so all you need is the soldering gun, some solder (rosin core only), and a steady hand. It's really pretty easy.
  3. I did mine. See profile. Had to hand chisel out a little bit of paint and wood for the bridge pickup to fit. No biggy, only 10 minutes. Then solder a few wires. Flawless. I should have wallowed out the pickup wire hole, cause I think it is kind of pinching the wires between the bottom of the hole and the bottom of the pickup, since the new pickup is thicker and longer. I used Dimarzio DP123's, Standard old J-Bass split coil humbucking replacements. I love them.

    If you have ever done anything like the above, you can do this. Practice soldering if need be just so you won't melt off all the insulation on any wires in the bass. I use one of the $5 soldering irons from Radio Shack when I'm not at home with my $100+ Hakko soldering station. Go to Radio Shack and buy some really thin diameter Rosin Core solder. It flows real good. DO NOT USE ACID CORE! Acid core is plumbing stuff.

  4. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    The Mexis are a little odd in that the pickups and the routs are a little smaller than they are for the US models. Most replacements are meant to fit the US models and won't just drop into a Mexi. While $90 is a little steep for the electrical work alone, it's not too bad if the fee includes the necessary routing.
  5. TedP66


    Aug 25, 2000
    Thanks for the help. I think I'm gonna do it myself. Just a couple more questions. Is their a certain wattage of soldering iron I would need? I saw a few different types at the store. Also, how about shielding? I've seen a kit you could buy from Carvin, 2 mile from home. Does it make much of a difference? Or does it alter tone at all? Any help would be appreciated.
  6. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    You should be fine with a 30-Watt iron, a narrow tip might help, though...
  7. lump


    Jan 17, 2000
    St. Neots, UK
    While we're here...

    How about uninstalling the old pickups? Just melt the old solder weld and pull the wires out of the preamp? Any particular trick to this?
  8. For dinky work like this, you could use a smaller iron than 30 Watts. 12 or 20 would work too. If your gonna have to buy one, get a 25 or 30 like JMX said. Buy a Weller WP30 and it'll last forever.

  9. gmstudio99


    Mar 11, 2000
    Cleveland, OH
    This is the "professional" way, but I've had satisfactory results with cutting the current wire and splicing the new wire to the old, pre-soldiered wire.

  10. Quick soldering how to for anyone who's never done it:

    Put the parts together, twist it, bend it, whatever, to get a decent mechanical hold, and then heat 'em up with a hot-ass soldering iron, well-wetted with small diameter rosin-core solder. Feed a little more solder into the joint so that fresh flux will get on all the parts. You'll see it flow and wet all the parts. Hold the joint absolutely perfectly still until it cools off without you blowing on it.

    If you were smart, you already put a small piece of heat shrink tubing onto one of the wires and pushed it back out of the way so it wouldn't close up from the soldering iron heat. If you are me you think at this point, "Damn, I forgot to put on the shrink tube." Then I reach for the elecrical tape.

    A good solder joint is smooth and shiny. If it looks grainy, it was disturbed in the cooling process, and should be reheated and maybe even feed a little fresh solder in to freshen the joint.

    During all this, keep the dang soldering iron from touching any wires. Nothing worse than melting a big hunk of insulation off a wire that you weren't even working on. Use idle tools to hold down wires or bend the offending wires out of your way.

    It's like the game "Operation". The Wacky doctor's game from Milton Bradley!

    "Take out his spare ribs for 100 dollars"
    "Oh you'll never do that!"
    "BZZZZZZZZZ" :eek:
    "Butta-fingas!" :(

    Alright, enough of that.

    Maybe this will help somebody solder better.

  11. TedP66


    Aug 25, 2000
    Thanks throbbin'. Does anyone have any wood chiseling experience. This is the part that I am most cautious about. Could a newbie do something like this or am I getting way over my head? I dont want to do irreversable damage to the bass. Its the only one I've got. Is their a good way I could practice?
  12. Rushfan


    Mar 29, 2000
    Hi Ted,
    I added a jazz pickup to my p-bass a couple of months ago. I used a router to make the cavity. I made a template and used a bit that had a pilot bearing. The bearing keeps the router within the ranges of the template so its almost imposibble to do it wrong. I practiced on a 2x4 first but it was easy. It looks like its always been there a pro couldn't have made it look any better. I think the key is to spend alot of time getting the template perfect then you'll have no problem......Hope this helps.....John.

    P.S. If you don't have access to a router and have to use the chisel. Just draw it out first. Chisel out a couple on some scrap wood first. Take out a little wood at a time not big pieces. When you can do it perfect on the scrap then move on to the bass.