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Soldering new lead wires from a pup

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by bassbully, Mar 20, 2013.


  1. bassbully

    bassbully Endorsed by The PHALEX CORN BASS..mmm...corn!

    Sep 7, 2006
    Blimp City USA
    Can it be done? I have a 87' MIK Squier P bass that has dinky tiny frail looking wire leading from the pups. One wire was cut and soldered together and taped by someone in the past.
    I have some vintage type cloth wire and am good at soldering so can I remove the leads from where they connect at the pup and re-solder them with better..new cloth covered wire? I never have thought to do this and I don't want to damage the pups. Thanks.
     
  2. Meddle

    Meddle

    Jul 27, 2009
    Scotland
    It *should* be an easy fix. You should be able to pop the covers off the pickups and see where the copper coil wire meets runs off the bobbin and comes to a solder point at the end of the flatwork. If, on the underside of the pickup, there are two solder blobs on each pickup half, with both blobs at the same end of the flatwork for each pickup half.

    Generally, a white wire will connect to one spot, the other spot will be for a wee wire that joins the pickup halves (spot to spot) and a black wire will run off the final spot. Be careful de-soldering these wires as you can damage the copper wiring leading to and from the bobbin.
     
  3. bassbully

    bassbully Endorsed by The PHALEX CORN BASS..mmm...corn!

    Sep 7, 2006
    Blimp City USA
    Thanks. that was my thought. There should be a solder joint on the bottom of the P pups where the white and red wires attach. If I take those off and resolder the cloth cover it should be fine. the only issue is on top having the thin copper leads from the winding to come off where it is connected to the solder. I will look it over and if it looks like it is risky use them as is and reapir the bad spot in the old wiring myself.
     
  4. oldleftybass

    oldleftybass

    Jan 24, 2013
    You "can" do it, but it can be tricky sometimes. I did it on a Tele neck pickup and it was a real bear making the connection to the teenie weenie copper coil wire as it came off the bobbin. As long as that part is well connected and you only have to connect the lead wire that goes to the controls, it should be much easier. Just be careful with the heat- just enough, you don't want to get into the little winding wires.
     
  5. Meddle

    Meddle

    Jul 27, 2009
    Scotland
    Splicing into the wires away from the pickup casing might be a better option. Maybe buy some heatshrink tubing?

    I've been replacing the wires on some pickups, a PAF style and a P94 pickup. I had to try and get the chrome covers off both, but it was still easier than working on a P pickup.

    Maybe split the wire connecting the two halves so you can do S/P wiring?
     
  6. bassbully

    bassbully Endorsed by The PHALEX CORN BASS..mmm...corn!

    Sep 7, 2006
    Blimp City USA
    I thought of that also. Is there any thought that the use of the really small wire causing any issues. I have have only seen wire from a pup this small with cheapo mini pots and thread like wire in a few China made basses before.

    This is an E series 87 MIK P bass and it has that crappy wiring. I feel it could rob tone...is there any thought to it? I will say the bass sounds great but I'm rewiring the whole thing since the jack is bad. I'm using cloth wire ,CTS pots, switchcraft jack .047 orange drop cap.
     
  7. Meddle

    Meddle

    Jul 27, 2009
    Scotland
    So the wire is short, or just thin? As a young idiot I cut some pickup wires far too close to the body of the pickup, which is one of the reasons I'm rewiring now.

    Not sure it could 'rob' tone either way. I would be worried about having very thick wire over very thin wire (though given that the next thing the bass sees is a length of cable to the amp it is all relative). The biggest tonal variation would come from different pickups, different pot values and different cap values. I don't regard cloth insulation as adding anything (though no doubt some numpties on the Les Paul Forum or The Gear Page will think otherwise). If anything cloth wiring has, to me, been a bear to work with; it doesn't strip cleanly, it smells bad if you burn any stray strands and it adds a level of 'fiddle' to otherwise clean projects.
     
  8. bassbully

    bassbully Endorsed by The PHALEX CORN BASS..mmm...corn!

    Sep 7, 2006
    Blimp City USA
    The wire leads from the pups are plenty long enough no problem there. For some reason the red lead was cut and soldered together and taped with black electrical tape.

    The issue is the size of the wire and it's really thin gauge wire not what you normally see in a guitar or off a pickup... at least any I have seen before. I just thought since I was going to rewire the whole thing with the cloth covered wire and that guage would it be a benefit to rewire the leads from the pup with the larger gauge wire?

    It might be best to just resolder the red wire and leave it as it is. Like I said the pup sounds great about like a 62' Fender RI does.

    As for the cloth wire? I don't feel it adds anything myself. It comes with the wiring and pots kit I bought. One thing I like about it is not having to strip it. I cut it to length and push back the cloth..solder and its done. That is a nice feature for me. I don't know the guage off hand but what ever was standard vintage guage cloth wire is what it is. Thanks for the help.
     
  9. Wagz

    Wagz

    May 2, 2012
    Milwaukee, WI
    The wire inside the pickup should be really thin (more than 40 gauge enamel-coated magnet wire - as thin as human hair). You can solder a thicker lead to it - that's what happens at the factory when they get made.
    One of the trickier parts is getting the enamel stripped back off that wire without breaking it. You can try to burn the enamel off or use an X-acto to finely scrape it back. If you do end up breaking the wire, just take another loop off the pickup and try it again (since there are thousands of windings inside the pickup losing a few won't change the sound).
    Once you make a connection, make sure you get the lead wire back into the pickup body somehow and secure it to the body with some glue (again, it's all about removing stress from that thin, hair-width pickup wire).
    It can be a frustrating process your first few times but it's not too tough of a repair, and it should resurrect your pickup.
     
  10. bassbully

    bassbully Endorsed by The PHALEX CORN BASS..mmm...corn!

    Sep 7, 2006
    Blimp City USA
    Thanks my thought and hope is that the solder lug already on there from the former thin wire lead will be enough to attach the thicker cloth covered wire. If I tin the cloth wire end and use the solder already where the old wire was and removed I hope I can connect there without ever touching the tiny winding wire. Does that make sence? :smug:
     
  11. Meddle

    Meddle

    Jul 27, 2009
    Scotland

    That is the scary bit! If its a taped coil, or a potted coil, it gets far more difficult. I ruined a Yamaha BB424 bridge single coil by trying to take the tape off and finding copper strands stuck to the tape. :rollno:
     
  12. bassbully

    bassbully Endorsed by The PHALEX CORN BASS..mmm...corn!

    Sep 7, 2006
    Blimp City USA
    So I went to youtube and watched a few vids of repairs on pups and builds on them. The winding wires are brought thru 2 holes hole where the leads are soldered to them. They had one vid showing how to find a broken wire and resoldering it at the hole with the lead. I'm sure now it's not a big deal but will look it over before I try. One thing for sure was in all those vids you never seen the tiny thin wire they are using on this pup I have and one reason it has to go.
     
  13. bassbully

    bassbully Endorsed by The PHALEX CORN BASS..mmm...corn!

    Sep 7, 2006
    Blimp City USA
    Thought I would give you an update. I decided not to re-solder the leads with the cloth wire. After further inspection the wire was thicker than I thought it was. The poly casing was thin but the core wire was almost as thick as the cloth wire. I did find yet another splice in the red lead under the pups why it was done ..who knows? This was wrapped with the older paper tape I seen Fender use years ago. I repaired the connections sealed them up and they are good now.

    I rewired the whole thing with CTS pots, switchcraft jack and a .047 orange drop cap and it sounds great. I might try changing the leads on a pup sometime when I have extra time to see if there is a change in doing so but I'm a happy camper now.
     

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