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How difficult is to change PUs?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by CrazyArcher, Apr 15, 2006.

  1. CrazyArcher


    Aug 5, 2004
    Here's the issue:
    My friend claims that chaging PUs should be done only by a specialist, and I say that anyone with some technical background is able to do the job.
    So, who's right? What difficuties can arise when changing PUs? (Keeping in mind that the instrument has no pickguard and the PUs are installed through a cavity. Also, can improper installation of passive PUs damage the electronics (if it's possible at all)?
  2. ElBajista


    Dec 13, 2005
    Sebring, FL
    It's not that hard at all. Things get trickier if you have to route for bigger/different pickups, install an active EQ, etc.

    If you're using drop-in replacements or pickups that fit the cavities and you have some soldering skills, it's fairly easy.
  3. i changed my pick ups. had to route out the j cavity on my bass to get it to fit. no big deal a steady hand and a dremel took care of that. the solderin was no problem. you just need a high watt iron and some rosin core pencil solder. the directions from emg are easy to follow. good luck.
  4. Linas


    Jan 6, 2005
    Its not very hard. I have very little sodering experience, and no experience installing electronics and i replaced my stock J pickups with Dimarzio model Js, and did a series/paralell mod, with not many problems. The worse you might do is damage a pot if you heat it up too long.
  5. walkerci


    Mar 7, 2006
    Orlando, FLA
    I replaced the stock Pups in my Ibanez Blazer (P-bass) with Reverend 10K Pups in less than 15 minutes.

    The old and new pups were the same size.

    Most of the time was used taking out and putting back the screws for the pick guard. There are only 3 wires to solder.
    2 for the Pups (black to black and white to where the orange was attached) and a ground wire for the shielding plates under the Pups.

    I love the new sound.

    Go for it!
  6. HooBass


    May 27, 2003
    I say that this is an individual decision that depends on how you see the pros and cons. To me the pros of wiring something myself are that I get experience so I can do future wiring projects, I can keep costs low, I get the "utility" of being able to tell my friends that I did it myself. The cons are that I was risking losing money if I did it wrong (I felt the probability of a screw up was high as I was a total newbie to soldering; the cost that was "at risk" was low in that the StewMac parts were cheap and the guitar was an SX). I think depending on one's situation, and their personal risk aversion, both options can be the good decision.

    Now, back to practical. I had never soldered before. TalkBass' pointers and schematics *definitely* were very helpful. I did a series/parallel mod (note I didn't change PUPs, but could have; didn't do any routing although did remove some wood from the control cavity "bottom"). Was pretty sure the odds were I'd have numerous problems. My ohm meter didn't work. Result: it worked on the first try, and I'm now eager to learn more.

    For me it was an easy decision to go for it! I wouldn't blame others if they weren't as comfortable since maybe their situation is different (different risk tolerance, boutique bass, known to be dangerous around electronics, inexpensive soldering expert handy, wiring task that has bazillions of contact points, or purist).


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