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Thread: Stupid newbie question (first attempt at pickup swapping)

  1. #1
    Ultimate Tone Member Seraphial's Avatar
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    Default Stupid newbie question (first attempt at pickup swapping)

    Guys, I'm an absolute novice when it comes to these things - I've picked up a soldering iron once in my life and that was to hand it to someone else - but I thought I'd learn some new things and plan to put in a Sentient and Wilder L500XL in my cheapo Ibanez.

    Pickups are on the way, plus some cheap tools and iron. I've watched the SD video on changing pickups, found the (close enough) schematic from the SD site, and watched a few tutorials on soldering and electronics. Once I get the pickups I'll mark up the wires on the L500XL so i know whats how, etc.

    The ONLY spanner is the guitar I'm putting it in (RG421AHM) has special wiring for phase switching on the 5 way switch. However, common sense dictates that if I start with one pickup at a time, see where all the wires are connected (and take pics before and after) and just do a direct swap with the 4 conductors on each pickup, it should be pretty simple.

    Or am I missing something?
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  2. #2
    Tone Member Zheddar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stupid newbie question (first attempt at pickup swapping)

    Those Ibanez 5 way switches are usually looking to do bridge series (or usual humbucker mode), both inner coils with the wind and magnets in reverse (in order to make this work with Duncans I have to flip the magnet in a pickup and do unconventional wiring), both humbuckers together in series, the neck pickup with both coils in parallel, and then the neck humbucker in series. That switch is kind of a tough thing for a first time situation. There are schematics for if you are using Dimarzio with those, or Duncans (not the way I do duncans with it but it works), but when one combines different brands there can be unexpected wiring issues sometimes.
    Last edited by Zheddar; 04-01-2019 at 01:48 PM.

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    Ultimate Tone Member Seraphial's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stupid newbie question (first attempt at pickup swapping)

    Oh...bugger...so are you saying in order for me to copy the Ibanez wiring I may have to flip magnets, etc?

    And I thought I was originally being ambitious
    'Without music life would be a mistake'.

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    Super Toneologist Dave Locher's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stupid newbie question (first attempt at pickup swapping)

    If you stick with your "replace one pickup at a time, wire by wire" plan you should be okay. Worst case scenario is one two-pickup position sounds weird (or awesome, depending upon taste).
    Wilde pickups are sealed. You can't swap, change, or flip their magnet.

  5. #5
    Bacteriaolgoist GuitarDoc's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stupid newbie question (first attempt at pickup swapping)

    If you're using a SD wiring diagram, just make sure you have the proper wire color conversion to the pups you are using. Otherwise, just as you and Dave said...take it slow and replace one pup at a time. I'll take it a step further and say just replace one wire at a time (existing pup hot wire for new pup hot wire; existing pup ground wire for new pup ground wire; etc).
    Originally Posted by IanBallard
    Rule of thumb... the more pot you have, the better your tone.

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    Default Re: Stupid newbie question (first attempt at pickup swapping)

    I would recommend getting a fairly expensive iron. I went cheap on that when I first started, and I had a very hard time b/c it didn't get very hot. Some others here could tell you what wattage to look for.

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    Bacteriaolgoist GuitarDoc's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stupid newbie question (first attempt at pickup swapping)

    It doesn't have to be expensive. The wattage is the important consideration. At LEAST 40 watts, but I recommend 50. The 40 watt iron will get hot enough but it doesn't have the energy to maintain that heat if you are trying to solder to a large metallic object, such as a pup cover to a baseplate. The more heat the better.
    Originally Posted by IanBallard
    Rule of thumb... the more pot you have, the better your tone.

  8. #8
    Ultimate Tone Slacker KNUCKLHEAD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stupid newbie question (first attempt at pickup swapping)

    make sure to Pre-Tin Everything so U dont get Any Cold-joints either ( especially Switch). Also keep a dish with a p-towel or rag submerged with water ( halfway rung-out ) to clean oxidation from Iron as U go ( Dipping Iron). Those 2 things will save doin' S*** twice . Hemostats (surg. Roachclip) work great to displace heat , as well .

  9. #9
    Bacteriaolgoist GuitarDoc's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stupid newbie question (first attempt at pickup swapping)

    I like this type of tip cleaner better than wet towel or wet sponge. It cleans better and doesn't cool down the iron as much.

    https://www.amazon.com/Hakko-599B-02...ay&sr=8-3&th=1
    Originally Posted by IanBallard
    Rule of thumb... the more pot you have, the better your tone.

  10. #10
    Administrator Mincer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stupid newbie question (first attempt at pickup swapping)

    Quote Originally Posted by GuitarDoc View Post
    I like this type of tip cleaner better than wet towel or wet sponge. It cleans better and doesn't cool down the iron as much.

    https://www.amazon.com/Hakko-599B-02...ay&sr=8-3&th=1
    Oooh, never seen one of these. I will have to order one.
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    Super Toneologist Dave Locher's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stupid newbie question (first attempt at pickup swapping)

    Is that a metal container with a brass pot scrubber inside?

  12. #12
    Ultimate Tone Slacker KNUCKLHEAD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stupid newbie question (first attempt at pickup swapping)

    Quote Originally Posted by GuitarDoc View Post
    I like this type of tip cleaner better than wet towel or wet sponge. It cleans better and doesn't cool down the iron as much.

    https://www.amazon.com/Hakko-599B-02...ay&sr=8-3&th=1
    Quote Originally Posted by Mincer View Post
    Oooh, never seen one of these. I will have to order one.
    double ooooooohhhhww ~ Me either , Doc is that what U use ongoing nowdays ? I've been doin' it like above mentioned for longer than care to mention

  13. #13
    Ultimate Tone Slacker eclecticsynergy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stupid newbie question (first attempt at pickup swapping)

    One more piece of advice - when soldering to a pot, do it quickly. If you leave the heat on too long you'll cook the pot and it'll be ruined. Pre-tinning helps with this. And it's one more good reason why a decent iron is preferable.
    .

    If you look closely enough, all mirrors look like eyeballs.

    .

  14. #14
    Tone Member TinPan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stupid newbie question (first attempt at pickup swapping)

    One other thing to have on hand is some "solder wick" for un-soldering, if you make a mistake the solder wick will suck up the old solder, that way you can start fresh without gobs of solder on the pot lugs. Other more expensive tools are solder suckers but I am old school and been using wick for years with much success.
    "I can't play the blues if Im sad"

  15. #15
    Bacteriaolgoist GuitarDoc's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stupid newbie question (first attempt at pickup swapping)

    Quote Originally Posted by TinPan View Post
    One other thing to have on hand is some "solder wick" for un-soldering, if you make a mistake the solder wick will suck up the old solder, that way you can start fresh without gobs of solder on the pot lugs. Other more expensive tools are solder suckers but I am old school and been using wick for years with much success.
    Good point. I've used solder suckers, but the wick works way better for small jobs like we will encounter. Make sure you get good quality wick. I've had some that didn't seem to be pure clean copper braid, like it had some coating on it, and it just didn't attract/soak-up the solder

    The soldering iron tip cleaner I mentioned is just an aluminum container with brass pad inside. I've been using it for years. Much much better than wet sponge. Well worth the extra cost.
    Originally Posted by IanBallard
    Rule of thumb... the more pot you have, the better your tone.

  16. #16
    Administrator Mincer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stupid newbie question (first attempt at pickup swapping)

    I never had much luck with the solder sucker. The wick works much better for me, too. It is especially useful when trying to 'fix' someone else's gobs of solder everywhere.
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    Mojo's Minions Gtrjunior's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stupid newbie question (first attempt at pickup swapping)

    This is the first Iíve heard of the wick. Very interesting.
    I have a solder sucker and itís just ok. You have to have it positioned just right for it to work.
    And the tip is plastic on mine (itís a cheapie) so you have to be careful of the heat.

  18. #18
    Ultimate Tone Slacker KNUCKLHEAD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stupid newbie question (first attempt at pickup swapping)

    Quote Originally Posted by GuitarDoc View Post
    The soldering iron tip cleaner I mentioned is just an aluminum container with brass pad inside. I've been using it for years. Much much better than wet sponge. Well worth the extra cost.
    Doc ~ nevermind , U wouldn't have Suggested it so I just bought one ) ?

    Name:  Tip cleaner.jpg
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    Last edited by KNUCKLHEAD; 04-04-2019 at 08:34 PM.

  19. #19
    One of Jerry's Kids Securb's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stupid newbie question (first attempt at pickup swapping)

    Quote Originally Posted by BluesIsBlood12 View Post
    I would recommend getting a fairly expensive iron. I went cheap on that when I first started, and I had a very hard time b/c it didn't get very hot. Some others here could tell you what wattage to look for.
    I would agree and the keyword here is "iron". Do not get a soldering gun they can demagnetize your pickups rendering them useless.

  20. #20
    Mojo's Minions
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    Default Re: Stupid newbie question (first attempt at pickup swapping)

    Quote Originally Posted by Mincer View Post
    Oooh, never seen one of these. I will have to order one.
    Or just pick up a copper chore boy at the grocery store ...

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