How to Change Pickups

Posted on by scott

Changing your pickups isn’t rocket science and the right set of pickups can completely transform the tone and character of your guitar. Sometimes changing pickups can seem a bit daunting for those who have never picked up a soldering iron or opened up their guitar. Below you can find resources to select the perfect set of pickups for the guitar you own and the tone you are dreaming of. We have also included videos and wiring diagrams to easily help walk you through the process of installing your new pickups.

Choosing the right pickups

First, give our Tone Wizard a try. If you are looking for high-gain pickups, click here to listen to sound samples. You can also look at our reviews here or pose your question on our forum that contains over 33,000 tone seekers who are knowledgeable and can help you get the sound you are looking for.

Once you have the right pickups, here is how to install them:

How to change passive pickups

How to change active pickups

How to change passive to active pickups

How to change active to passive

We have wiring diagrams for just about any guitar imaginable, just take a look and you should find what you need.

Still have questions, post in our forum for a quick answer by many other guitarists who have found the answer.

Another great resource is our Guitar Wiring Diploma Course. If you have never picked up a soldering iron before, check out this article for a great tutorial.

If you find yourself changing your pickups a lot, you might like our Liberator system which allows you to change pickups in just a couple minutes with only a screwdriver.

Need help choosing which high-gain pickups are right for you? Check out the sound samples below.

Click here to listen to our other sound samples for vintage and moderate output pickups or visit our YouTube channel for videos.

Learn more about your pickups at our Pickups 101.

Where to buy:


JMI Music MacDaddy Music Sam Ash
AMS Audio Midi Plus Mike’s Music
Sigler Music   The Mad Ape



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Located outside the USA? Click here to locate our distributor in your country.



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  • Wrath

    What about changing from passive to active?

    Wrath did not rate this post.
    • Seymour Duncan Pickups

      We are working on a video for that now, check back in a week or two.

      Seymour Duncan Pickups did not rate this post.
  • Craig Willms

    SO what does all this mean? I liked Alternative 8 the best. Now what? How do I order these?

    Craig Willms did not rate this post.
    • Seymour Duncan Pickups

      Hi Craig, you can order online clicking on any of the stores and find the SH-15 or if you are in another country, click on the link at the bottom of the article and find where you can get our products in your country.

      Seymour Duncan Pickups did not rate this post.
  • Dom Portera

    any bass pickup audio?

    Dom Portera did not rate this post.
  • Matias Muñoz

    i liked speak seymour duncan sh-4jb

    Matias Muñoz did not rate this post.
  • nah

    9 tracks on why i shouldnt buy these.

    nah did not rate this post.
  • Brandon

    OMG I love how you used Keiths demo for the metal samples <3

    Brandon did not rate this post.
  • mark kimbrell

    very cool, i`ve changed a few but i`m always lookin for a new tip or two plus for xmas i gave myself(bit selfish i admit) 7 or 8 new and vintage pu`s to try in two or three of my gtr`s and am always trying to figure what`s the best way ,,what caps etc to use and so forth,,,thanks seymore! by the way i have an old duncan in the bridge of my tele that i wouldn`t change for anything(maybe a million dollars but the chances are)!!!!!

    mark kimbrell did not rate this post.
  • juancho

    Helo i am new in the post but i have a similar question. I have a neck 59 and ssl5 rwrp and a sh4 jb in a ibanez s 770pb. My 5 way swith functions la these: position 1 only bridge pickup; position 2 all bridge pickup combinated with the middle Single; position 3 only middle single; position 4 all neck pickup combinated with the middle single; position 5 only neck pickup. Its that ok? Thanks for the answer

    juancho did not rate this post.
    • SeymourDuncanBlog

      That’s a perfectly fine switching scheme.

      SeymourDuncanBlog did not rate this post.

    I would like to change the pick up of my Squier Modified Bass guitar (made in Indonesia) with a Seymour Duncan that would fit in its cavity without routing. What pick up should I be focusing on? I am looking at either the Hot Stack Jazz bass combo or the Quarter # Combo or any Passive pick up that has a good deep low end and a clear high. Thank you.

    GILBERT GRASPARIL did not rate this post.