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Long pickup leads - cut, bundle, or...?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by tracer03, Apr 16, 2015.

  1. Not trying to open a potential can of worms, here - but I'm curious: I just installed some Super 55's in my Geddy Jazz build, and the leads are long. LOOOONG. I'm reluctant to cut or trim, in the event I want to swap/sell them later - my fear being that even if I cut 'minimally' I'd take too much.

    I thought about bundling the excess lead with heatshrink, or using a non-conductive twist tie of some sort so that it's more compact under the control plate, but then I got curious: what do other people do?

    Do you cut them?
    Do you bundle them some how?
    How do *you* keep your control cavity nice and tidy?
  2. NEVER EVER cut leads short. Very bad practice.
    Growlmonkee likes this.
  3. MasonMinor


    Nov 29, 2014
    I like to leave at least 6-8 inches of lead wire on mine. Seems like a good length to do the ole "unsolder and swap" thing
  4. Will_White


    Jul 1, 2011
    Salem, OR
    I'm curious as to why you say this, obviously cutting it so you don't have enough Is no bueno,
  5. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Supporting Member

    I never cut them, I may end up removing them one day and I would hate to screw the next guy as it may be me.
    LoveThatBass likes this.
  6. Once the leads are cut, it is not always easy to lengthen them. The worst case are four conductor leads that are epoxied into the pickups. The only option you will ever have to extend them is to solder new wires onto the ends and hope that the new leads/solder joints fit in the wire channel. If you have pickups with wires soldered onto the bobbins, an inexperienced player could damage the pickups by trying to resolder, since the wire that the pickups are wound with is very delicate. If you have quick connects, then replacing leads is easy if you have a replacement, but replacements are not always easy to find, and may require you to do your own crimping. All in all, it's a much bigger hassle than just leaving the leads long. There is no disadvantage to having extra long leads, as the capacitance of a few inches of wire is not significant.
    LoveThatBass likes this.
  7. So - if you're not cutting them, how do you keep the control cavity from being a rat's nest? Creative folding? Wrap them around the bottom of the pickup cavity or control rout? I've heard people say they use small zip ties, or heat shrink to keep them bundled, but I haven't found any photographic proof....
  8. Awesome Sauce

    Awesome Sauce Already tired tomorrow

    Dec 21, 2011
    NW Chicago 'burbs
    Yes, mini zip ties. Google: tidy control cavity.
  9. Growlmonkee


    Jan 30, 2013
    Florida, U.S.
    I cut them to about 6", unless the are already shorter, then add 3 inches of teflon wire, with heat shrink, and use 6 inch ground wires too, so I can pull out the control plate, away from the bass if I ever need to change something, or experiment with tone mods.
  10. Snaxster


    Nov 29, 2008
    Hello. Though I accept that your advice is correct, and already my habit is in keeping with it, please say why we should not cut pickup leads short, so we can know the theory behind the practice. Thanks.
  11. Snaxster


    Nov 29, 2008
    Sorry, I hadn't yet read your reply to someone else yesterday. Never mind. :)
  12. Snaxster


    Nov 29, 2008
    Hello. My preference is to avoid using measures that are difficult to undo in an emergency. A zip tie needs to be cut with some sort of sharp edge; and if it is cinched tightly then there is a risk of accidentally cutting the thing it is tying.

    Blue painter's masking tape works for me. It is unsightly, but is easy to spot when you need to remove it. And it is thin, so it tears easily when you can't get it to unravel neatly from the exposed edge. Lastly, the 3M tape I use does not leave any adhesive residue.

    Here is a J type electronics installation I did recently. I'm no expert, but I arranged something that had plenty of slack for being worked on away from the bass if need be, but that folded snugly in the cavity, without tangling or too much pressure. I left the pickup leads at their original length.



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