How to change pickups

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by PinkFloydDan, Jul 21, 2005.

  1. I have a few cheap basses I wanted to experiment with by changing the pickups and electronics. I have no idea how to do this. One bass is a Kramer and the other is an SX fretless.

    Can someone tell me what equipment i need and where I can get it?

    I assume I need sodder and a sodder gun. It seems all I would need to do is match the correct wires, but I really don't know. Any help would be appreciated.
  2. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Terrific Twister

    Apr 12, 2001
    Lacey, WA
    Besides what you have listed, you'll need a small head phillips screwdriver. You'll also need wire cutters and wire strippers. Pick up some shrink wrap tubing also. I would suggest investing in a good dose of patience as well. Don't start a project like this if you are busy for time. Not that it will take you all day, but don't be under any kind of pressure to hurry up and get done. You can get all the parts you will need at Radio Shack.

    As far as a soldering iron.....stay away from that lousy Cold Heat cordless piece of junk they are selling on TV. If you are going to be doing a lot swapping pups and electronics, invest in a soldering station from a brand like Weller.

    Let us know how it goes.

  3. Zebra


    Jun 26, 2005
    Get a soldering iron, not a soldering gun. A wattage rating of 30-40 (I think) is all you want on it. Soldering guns tend to be much higher. Soldering probably isn't as simple as you'd think, I know it wasn't for me. It took me two tries to rewire my P-bass, and that's after some prior practice. Yes, wire strippers are a neccesity. Also read up on some soldering tutorials online.
  4. luknfur


    Jan 14, 2004

    I think Bart recommends a soldering iron no larger than about 20 watts. The only soldering that is touchy is grounds to pots which requires some heat and for a lower watt iron that requires a large tip while for typical soldering you want a long thin tip. Walmart used to sell about a 20 watt gun that came with two such tips that threaded into the iron - about $12.

    You can eliminate the grounds altogether by simply throwing down a strip of copper shielding between each pot. Not only does that reduce clutter in the bay and minimize shorting (which a completely shielded cavity is ideal for), it eliminates the issues with stacked pots where you can't solder to the pot back. Then you can get a iron with the single thin tip and not have to jack with swapping tips, or having two irons going at the same time.
  5. rumblethump

    rumblethump Supporting Member

    Mar 25, 2000
    Pioneer CA. 95666
    Because you will be switching out from one instrument to another. Study the wiring and draw a picture/diagram. Then number and mark the ends of the wires removed, noting the wire colors, so that if you want to return to stock it will be much easier.