New Pickups are too tall. Break out the router or keep it stock? + Wiring questions.

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by CoughSyrup, Nov 27, 2022.

  1. Route it out.

    15 vote(s)
  2. Stick with stock, it's not worth the trouble.

    5 vote(s)
  3. Carrot cake.

    2 vote(s)
  1. CoughSyrup

    CoughSyrup Supporting Member

    Jun 23, 2022
    I bought some SD Apollos for my Sire V3 because I thought it would be a fun little DIY project and I'd be able to remove the SDs and re-install the stock pickups once I buy a new bass.

    I looked at the dimensions of the Apollos and compared them to other similar pickups and they are all about the same height, and by comparison my stock pups are pretty short and the route is pretty shallow, only 1/2" deep. Seems like I'm going to have to route if I want to upgrade. I know @LowEndLobster has put DiMarzios in his V7, but don't remember him running into this issue.

    I have access to a router and a flush cut bit, so I don't think I'll need a template, just some nerves. I have copper shielding tape, will that be sufficient to cover the raw wood once I route it, or should I paint that with shielding paint?

    And since we're on the topic, the new pups come with a ground, a lead, and a bare wire. Old pups only had a ground and a lead and each soldered to one spot on the preamp PCB.

    Here's the preamp. Where do I solder the bare wire to?
    2018-02-06 21.08.03.jpg [​IMG]
  2. LowEndLobster

    LowEndLobster Bass reviewer and youtube dude guy. Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 29, 2003
    Northern MA
    Very interesting that you've run into this issue! I have a set of Apollos handy that I've never actually used yet (have an upcoming video testing them). I put an Apollo side by side with a DiMarzio Area J and a standard single coil generic J pickup. Here's what I found:


    The generic single coil is on the left, the DiMarzio Area J is center, and the SD Apollo as left. It appears that the Apollo is quite a bit taller than the Dimarzio and regular J, likely due to their stacked humbucker design as opposed to the side-by-side design of the DiMarzio.

    In regards to the wiring, I believe the bare can go to ground as well. Hope that helps!
    TyBo, dkelley, Raman and 2 others like this.
  3. micguy


    May 17, 2011
    1/2” deep routing is shallower than normal. With the right router bit, making a route deeper is about the simplest thing you can do with a router, and will make your bass more “normal”.

    A route that’s too deep can always be easily dealt with with a piece of foam. A route that’s too shallow is a roadblock you don’t need.
    Alivefor5, dkelley, Slater and 2 others like this.
  4. bolophonic


    Dec 10, 2009
    Durham, NC
    Respectfully, my dude, those sound like some of the famoustest of famous last words.
  5. CoughSyrup

    CoughSyrup Supporting Member

    Jun 23, 2022
    Thanks for the side-by-side. I was debating between the Area Js and the Apollos. Seems like I might be better off just returning the Apollos and getting Area Js instead. And I believe the Apollos are linear humbuckers, but SD does make stacked humbuckers.
    TyBo, dkelley and kesslari like this.
  6. CoughSyrup

    CoughSyrup Supporting Member

    Jun 23, 2022
    What's normal? 3/4"?
  7. CoughSyrup

    CoughSyrup Supporting Member

    Jun 23, 2022
    If I'm using a top bearing flush cut bit that rides along the side of the pre-existing pup route, how would that be any different than using a template, where it would ride along the side of the template?
    Avezzano, dkelley and ctmullins like this.
  8. micguy


    May 17, 2011
    In that ballpark - .700 to .800 is where most of the routs I’ve seen end up. I’ve done a few even deeper in special circumstances.
    funkinbottom and CoughSyrup like this.
  9. micguy


    May 17, 2011
    Thst is how you make a route deeper - works fine. The only trick is to make the plunge in the center of the route, so when you get to the edge, the router base is bottomed out, and the bit is vertical.
    funkinbottom, dkelley and CoughSyrup like this.
  10. thisSNsucks

    thisSNsucks I build Grosbeak Guitars and Basses Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 19, 2004
    Yonkers, NY
    Grosbeak Guitars
    Just a tip, if you're going to route then please make sure that you have the right size bit for the corner radius of the pickups. If you were to route with a standard 3/8" diameter or similar bit, the pickup probably wouldn't fit the deeper route due to the corners being a smaller radius.

    Other option, depending on how the bass setup is already, you might be able to just put a small shim in the neck pocket and leave the routes alone. 100% reversible if you ever decide you want to go back to stock .
    CoughSyrup likes this.
  11. micguy


    May 17, 2011
    Iff the router bit is a bit too big, a few cuts with a chisel can get you there.

    In some cases, the route is deep enough for the pickup - you just need to deepen the pocket to get some foam in there - in those cases, the lack of a sharp corner in the lowest part of the route isn’t an issue.
    CoughSyrup likes this.
  12. LowEndLobster

    LowEndLobster Bass reviewer and youtube dude guy. Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 29, 2003
    Northern MA
    Thanks for the info! I just assumed after freshly working on a different SD stack, the Stinger.
    CoughSyrup likes this.
  13. ctmullins

    ctmullins Dominated Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2008
    MS Gulf Coast
    I'm highly opinionated and extremely self-assured
    Yep, route it out another 1/4” to 3/8”. Especially since you’re comfortable using a template bit. It’s a doddle, although @thisSNsucks is absolutely right about the corner radius; that might need some hand fettling.
  14. kerrycares

    kerrycares Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2006
    Route it and get a slightly lighter bass as a consolation gift
    StereoPlayer and CoughSyrup like this.
  15. Slater

    Slater Leave that thing alone.

    Apr 17, 2000
    The Great Lakes State
    If mods are necessary, I usually lean towards “standard” or “common” specs.
  16. JeezyMcNuggles

    JeezyMcNuggles Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2018
    Santa Maria, CA
    I suck, but nobody really notices
    Screenshot_20221127_192035_Samsung Internet.jpg

    These holes on the end are for any additional grounds. So, bare wire from the bridge, would go here. Wire grounding your sheilding, would also go here. Although, you can always just simply run everything to the jack, if you want to.

    That's what they're for though.

    Oh, if you mean that your pickups had a third wire, that's for buffered preamps.

    You can either run those to one of the extra side holes as mentioned, or connect them to any other ground connection that's easier. It's a loop. It all goes to the same place.
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2022
  17. CoughSyrup

    CoughSyrup Supporting Member

    Jun 23, 2022
    Here's an edited picture. There's currently a black wire on spot A that connects to a screw in the control cavity that has the bridge ground and the cavity ground from both the bridge and neck pickup cavities all connected. B and C are currently empty.

    Please tell me if I have this correct:
    A would remain unchanged
    B and C would be the bare wires from the new pickups
    D and E would be the white and black wires from the neck pickup respectively
    F and G would be the black and white wires from the bridge pickup respectively

    There's no issue with the bare wire possibly touching something on the PCB once I stuff everything back under the control plate?

    Since I'm going to be routing out the bottom, where the cavity ground screws for each pickup are currently located, can I cover the new bare wood with copper shielding tape as long as it overlaps the shielding paint and screw the cavity ground screws into that? I already have the tape, or would the paint be a better idea?
  18. S.F.Sorrow


    Dec 6, 2014
    You probably won't need a template. If you've got a suitable ball bearing router bit you can use the existing cavity as a template (provided of course that the bit is the right length to sit correctly along the edge of the existing cavity). If you've never used a router before I strongly recommend a practise run on a piece of scrap. Like others have said, you might have to chisel out a bit of the corners (depending on the size of the bit).

    Keep your wiring simple and just solder everything to the same solder points as your stock pickups. The white wires from the Apollos should be soldered to wherever your current hot/signal wires from the pickups are soldered. Black+bare wire from the Apollos should be soldered to wherever your current ground wires from the pickups are soldered. You could solder the ground wires from the Apollos to lots of different places of course but if you don't know what you're doing you could end up creating a ground loop (=noise) so the safest and easiest way is to solder everything exactly like the stock wiring.

    Yes, you definitely need to make sure the bare wire doesn't touch anything on that circuit board. Twist the bare wire around the black wire, solder them together and you will probably be fine. If it looks like it might touch anything, use a shrink wrap.

    You shouldn't really need shielding in the pickup cavities with the Apollos (in theory) as they are split coils and hum-cancelling by design. But then again, it doesn't hurt to put some shielding in there. In some cases shielding MIGHT actually affect the tone/highs (again: in theory) but it's something I would be more worried about with the Strat than with a bass. Make sure any shielding you put in there is connected to ground (or it might work as an antenna for noise instead of shielding against it). Most types of copper shielding tape use a conductive adhesive but it's always a good idea to check for conductivity with a multimeter to make sure all your shielding is actually connected to ground.
    CoughSyrup, dkelley and yodedude2 like this.
  19. JeezyMcNuggles

    JeezyMcNuggles Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2018
    Santa Maria, CA
    I suck, but nobody really notices
    I use paint. I don't ever use the tape. But, it'll probably work out for you just fine.

    Yes, there's a chance of the bare wire touching the board. What you can do is coat the wires with a piece of electrical tape. Twist them together, and put a piece of tape on them. Solder them both to one spot.

    As long as you solder them to something grounded, that's all that matters. Pins B and C are grounded, as far as that diagram shows, so either one would work out. Your sheilding, and bridge ground can be soldered to the other one together.
    dkelley likes this.
  20. Al Rivera

    Al Rivera

    Mar 20, 2021
    I would use a forstner drill bit to deepen your route, I bought mine at harbor freight for $12.00,worked great,much easier then a router. 20211215_115353.jpg 20211215_131235.jpg