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Essex wiring(yes i searched)

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Blankwall, Mar 17, 2008.

  1. Blankwall


    Jul 3, 2006
    Ok i have an essex jazz bass and i just got a pair of MEC p/u with one wire coming out of each. The essex p/us that are being replaced have two a white and a black on the front or a white and red on the back. I have no idea what i should do. Both of these are very thin but the ones coming out of the MEC are real thick. I was thinking of just undoing the other wiring and wiring from pot to pot and taking the mecs and soldering them right onto the pots. How do you think i should wire them?

    Also there was a stray wire wired to a pot going to the bridge.(the actual bridge not the pickup) Does that have any purpose or is that just a mess up?
  2. All pickups have a cold wire (that is usually wired to ground) and a hot wire (that is usually wired to the volume/tone or directly to the jack out) sometimes there are more wires but these 2 are always here.
    Maybe your MEC have one cable with a wire inside and shielding around. Then the shielding is the cold wire, and the core wire the hot wire.
    Before you do anything, I may request a snapshot of your actual electronics to see exactly how it's done.
    The wire that is coming from the bridge is quite normal, it grounds the bridge (and the strings).

    Where do the wires of the actual PU go ?

    I have not understood : do the actual pickups have two wires each or 4 ?
  3. Blankwall


    Jul 3, 2006
    The actual pick ups have no wires. The wires were soldered onto the pot and then soldered onto the pickups. There is no actual Pickup wired inside like on the MECs. So your saying i need to strip the MEC wire to reveal two wires? Then wire it like the sx was wired?
  4. Blankwall


    Jul 3, 2006
  5. First check how the actual pickups are wired. Do they have 2 or more wires on each pickup ? and where are the wires connected to the pickup leading to ?
    Check the wires of the MEC, without cutting anything, you should see if it's a coaxial cable or not.
  6. Blankwall


    Jul 3, 2006
    Yes that is what my cable looks like. Isnt there just a simple way where i can run the wires to the output jack or something? I dont care about having volume controls and such i just want it to work. Let me know what i can do. Thanks
  7. Sounds like you have shielded output cables coming from your pickups. I've seen this stock on Jay Turser 401 basses also.

    Shielded cable is supposed to be better for hum, noise and interference reduction. Shielded cable costs more than single stranded wire but it is also slightly more labor intensive to install due the delicate stripping and unbraiding required. The long term advantages outweigh the short term hassle.

    You will have to very, very carefully remove just the outer vinyl covering without cutting into the very thin braided wire underneath which is wrapped just beneath the outer jacket. Then you have to unbraid these braided outer windings. This outer braiding is the ground side of the pickup's output. Once you have the outer layer unbraided and peeled back enough twist the individual unbraided strands together to make a single strand. After that is done very carefully remove the next layer of insulation from only the very tip of the center stranded wire. Only remove enough of this inner insulation layer to enable you to solder the bare metal strands of this center wire to the lug on the pots. The exposed metal of the outer braided layer and the bare wires of the inner strands should not touch at all when you finish the installation.

    How far apart the lugs are where you need to solder each of the new pickup leads to will determine how much outer insulation to remove as you have to remove enough of the outer layer to unbraid enough ground strands to reach to the ground solder point while the central positive connector has to go to another lug. Usually these are on the same pot so start by only removing an inch of outer insulation and see if that is enough by looping the cable ends through the pot lugs where they will be soldered. It is isn't remove more outer insulation. You should only have to remove a small amount of the central insulation from the tip. Maybe one-quarter inch to one-third of an inch.

    The outer braided layer is equivalent to the BLACK wire on your stock pickups which is the ground. The smaller center stranded conductor is equivalent to the WHITE or RED wire on your stock pickups which is the positive.

    NOTE 1: If you swap out your pickups one at a time you can avoid getting the wiring mixed up since you'll only be dealing with two wires at a time.

    NOTE 2: I would not strip the insulation off until after you have fed the pickup cable through any channels it must pass through to get to the control cavity, if any. It will be easier to thread through a tight space before you strip off the insulation.

    I would not recommend wiring any pickup setup direct to the output jack. You would loose all sorts of tonal options and all control. One of the Jazz bass' best features is a very wide range of tonal options via the volume and tone controls.

    I know you want it to work, but with very careful stripping, some good quality solder and a steady hand you'll be able to swap them out no problem.
  8. I just looked at the photo in the link your posted to the thread where you bought them used.

    Those are some very short leads.

    There won't be much room for error.

    You may even have to splice another cable in. To do this just strip the pickup cable as described in the previous post. Then solder the central connector to a white wire long enough to reach the pot first, wrap to completely cover all bare central wire with electrical tape. Next solder the twisted outer braid to a black wire and wrap with tape again. It is possible you'll have enough lead on the pickups to wire it up, but if you don't you can splice if you have to do so. Just solder well and wrap with electrical tape and don't let one wire touch another.
  9. Blankwall


    Jul 3, 2006
    This is all a little confusing. So your saying that i need to take the individual strands and make one strand and wire it to one lug and then take the other center piece and wire it to the other lug without them touching? And for the splicing your saying to do the exact same thing but then take another wire and connect it with electrical tape to the indivduals ones wrapped as one and then one to center piece to add length? Sorry this is all a little confusing i know i wouldnt have been able to figure it out without TB!!!
  10. Someone poste a diagram, on your wire there is a center core and around it is a shield, the wire made from filaments of metal. those two must not touch, each of them is the equivalent of the two wires on your previous pickup.

    So, since your cable is so short, you'll need to make it longer. After separating the two parts of the wire, (core and shield). You'll have to solder to each one a certain lenght of wire, long enough to reach the pots where you want to solder them. When you splice (add lenght of wire to an existing wire to lenghten it) you don't just tape the two wires together, you solder them, then you wrap the exposed part in electric tape to make sure it won't touch anything.
  11. Mr. Splice-In-An-Extension here again.

    What I said was, "You may even have to splice another cable in. To do this just strip the pickup cable as described in the previous post. Then solder the central connector to a white wire long enough to reach the pot first, wrap to completely cover all bare central wire with electrical tape. Next solder the twisted outer braid to a black wire and wrap with tape again."

    I never said to just put the wires together with tape! You have to solder the wires together, as someone else pointed out. And yes, the central conductor and the outer conductor must not touch, so only strip the insulation from enough of the tip of the central conductor to make any connections, either at the pot or in any required splice. I also failed to mention that you must STRIP the ends of the extension wires where they connect to the pickup leads.

    I also said to do the CENTRAL conductor FIRST, you got that backwards.

    If by some miracle the leads are long enough to reach the pots then you won't have to splice any extensions in, and I would not splice in an extension unless you have to.

    I would strongly suggest you get some help with this project from someone familiar with basic electronics and who has at least a little experience with soldering and splicing.

    Swap the pickups one at a time. Only the old pickup leads should be removed. Any other wiring connected to the pot lugs where you remove the old pickup leads should be left in place.

    I also neglected to mention that this job will require DE-SOLDERING the connections where the old pickup leads connect to the pots. This is pretty much the reverse of soldering. Heat the lug and slip out the wire. You will also have to remove solder from the pot lugs enough to get the new pickup leads through the lug holes and solder back any other wiring that was there before you de-soldered it. Heat the lug enough so you can get a paper clip in the hole and wiggle it around to open the hole up.

    Do not apply too much heat, just enough. I have heard of too much heat damaging pots.

    My son did a very similar project when he was 12. This really is a pretty simple project. Solder ALL connections one at a time starting with the central conductor, wrap any of these bare spliced extension contact points with some electrical tape after you solder them together. You could use shrink wrap over the soldered extension points, but that might be overly complicating this project for you if you don't know what shrink wrap is.

    Electrical tape just keeps the two conductors at the splice points from ever touching and taped connections should be fine undisturbed in the control cavity for decades. Shrink wrap would be neater but if you are not experienced using shrink wrap, electrical tape should be just fine.

    If you are bound and determined to do this yourself unaided by anyone with any experience, spend a dollar at Radio Shack on a a foot or two of shielded two conductor cable similar to your pickup cable and another dollar or two on two small spools of stranded single conductor cable, one white and one black. Practice making any required splices a few times with the shielded cable you bought. You could also practice soldering in general if you have something with a lug on it to solder your practice cable to. For this you could use phone plugs for about a dollar each. Soldering is a skill which takes a few attempts to learn.

    Here are a few sites that might help you learn more about soldering audio connections:
    http://www.teamnovak.com/tech_info/how_to/solder/index.html (THAT ONE IS REALLY GOOD!)

    Again, good luck with your project! To insure it is successful please get somebody that knows a little about wiring or electronics to help you. This really is a very simple straightforward pickup swap out with the possibility of having to splice in some extensions. Any guitar shop should be able to do this at a reasonable cost and that might be your best bet as you are inexperienced with this sort of thing. Get a firm estimate in advance and a firm date when it will be ready. Any TV/radio shop, electronic handyman, electrician, ham radio operator should be able to help you with it.

  12. Blankwall


    Jul 3, 2006
    Thanks a lot brother dave for all your help

    They WORK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    I am pretty familar with sodlering and such bust just was pretty confuused by the whole thing. I followed what you guys said and it works great and they sound awesome. Thanks again for all of your help.

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