So you want to experiment with pickups, but are afraid of soldering…

With all the information readily available on the Internet, and the plethora of discussions on forums like the Seymour Duncan user group forums, a lot more people are interested in tinkering with their guitar’s electronics. Many people are experimenting with different pickups, wiring combinations, and various modifications to the pickups themselves. It all sounds like a lot of fun, but there is one thing that quite often puts some people off this sort of experimenting – soldering.

The idea of using a soldering iron can be pretty harrowing. There’s the chance of burning one’s self, damaging the guitar, and bad solder joins can mean that your guitar’s electronics just don’t work properly. Many would rather pay a tech to install any electronics in their guitar, and as a result don’t really experiment with pickups.

What if you could pay a tech a one-time fee to install a device that would mean you could swap out pickups to your heart’s content, at home without a soldering iron?  Well, Seymour Duncan has you covered with the Liberator.

Installing pickups with the Seymour Duncan LiberatorThe Liberator is a nifty little contraption comprised of a high-quality Bourns volume pot, attached to a board containing a ten station pickup connector, a four station potentiometer connector, and easy-to-solder pads for additional circuit grounds. The ten station pickup connector has colour-coded wires attached, ready to attach to a pickup selector switch. These wires are typically the only thing that needs to be soldered during a Liberator installation. Once the wires are soldered to your pickup selector switch in your favourite combination you will be right to experiment with any passive pickups without ever having to use a soldering iron again.

All of this makes for a fantastic package that even keen DIY-ers can benefit from. As anyone who has worked with guitar electronics can attest to, soldering wires to the back of a pot can be extremely frustrating. Heating up the surface and getting a good connection can be quite hard. The Liberator’s easy-to-solder gold-plated pads make this task so much easier. The screw-clamp connectors are fantastic too. There’s nothing worse than discovering you made a bad joint after you’ve put the guitar together and turned off the soldering iron.  With the screw-clamp connectors you’ll never have to worry about bad joints again. It’s so easy to connect the pickup wires to the Liberator’s pickup connector. Just loosen the screw-clamp connector, slide in the pickup wire, and tighten the connector back up with the supplied screw-driver.

Two models of the Liberator are available: 250K for single coil pickups, and 500K for humbucker pickups. A selection of wiring diagrams is available from the Seymour Duncan site. If there isn’t a diagram for your particular application you can always contact Seymour Duncan for assistance, or post in the Seymour Duncan user group forums.

So the Liberator not only makes it possible to change pickups without the use of a soldering iron, it also makes changes faster, and fool-proof with its rock solid screw-clamp connections. If you haven’t already seen this check out the video Seymour Duncan’s Product VP Frank Falbo change a pickup on a Liberator-equipped guitar in super-fast time. You may not be able to change your pickups as fast as Frank, but you’ll be able to change them just as easily.

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  1. It would be kinda neat if pick-ups attached to the pots by snap-fit connectors — so that they could be switched out quickly, like cell phone batteries. Please don’t steal my idea before I get a chance to patent it. Thx. 

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