Wednesday, July 9, 2008

How To Install New Pickups On A Strat-Type Guitar

I recently upgraded my Yamaha Pacifica 112 with Dimarzio pickups, and I thought about making a detailed account here about the project.

So, here's a step-by-step account on how to remove the stock pickups and install new pickups on a Stratocaster-type guitar, based on how I installed the Dimarzio pickups (DP100 Super Distortion: bridge, DP116 HS-2: middle, DP217 YJM: neck) on my Pacifica. Here it goes!

1. Loosen the strings but don't remove them from the tuning pegs. When it's loose enough, remove the neck mounting screws and carefully detach the neck from the body.

* This will save time when putting it all back together, using the same strings. On the other hand, if you're going to put new strings anyway, then just remove the strings and don't bother removing the neck.

2. After putting the neck aside, detach the "volume", "tone" and selector switch caps. Once removed, the volume pot, tone pot and selector switch can now be detached from the pickguard.

3. Remove the pickguard screws.

4. Detach the stock pickups from the pickguard.

5. To totally remove the stock pickups, look for the 3 lugs under the selector switch where the 3 stock pickups are connected. When found, de-solder the 3 "hot" wires from the stock pickups.

* Before de-soldering, try to remember or label WHICH LUG IS FOR WHICH POSITION (bridge, middle or neck).

6. De-solder the ground wires of the 3 stock pickups from the back of volume potentiometer.

* Now the stock pickups are completely detached. Set them aside or store them in a box for safekeeping.

7. Attach the replacement pickups to their respective positions in the pickguard.

8. Check the wiring diagram for the color coding of the new pickup. Usually the new Dimarzios have 5 wires with the following colors: red, green, black, white and a bare wire. (For me, I used the full humbucker *series* wiring for all three Dimarzio pickups). Solder tips of the black and white wires together then wrap tightly with electrical tape.

9. Solder the green and bare wires together then solder properly to the back of the volume pot for grounding. Be sure to use higher wattage soldering iron ( >45 watts ) in order for the soldering lead to stick and make a good connection.

10. Solder the red "hot" wire from the pickup to its the corresponding position in the selector switch lug as mentioned in Step#5.

11. Repeat Steps #9 and #10 for the other two pickups.

* After all soldering jobs, be sure to conduct a visual inspection on all soldering connections. All connections should be secure and solid.

12. Return the "volume" pot, "tone" pot and selector switch to their rightful places. Be sure to properly attach their screws securely. Re-place the pots and switch caps.

13. Re-place the pickguard and attach screws on the guitar body. Check for stray wires that may stick out. All wires should stay inside the guitar cavity.

14. Re-attach the neck to the guitar body's neck joint, then screw tightly.

There you go. Just a simple 14-step procedure anyone can do at home. Hope this helps!


Anonymous said...

the pickup cavities on my pacifica 112 aren't routed to fit standard strat type single coils and the hole in the pickguard at the bridge is too small to take a humbucker with a metal cover, so replacing the pickups means either doing some of woodwork or chosing single coil pickups that don't have that v shaped bit of fibreboard sticking out at the base where the wires come out

Eric said...

I replaced mine with Dimarzios (single coils and humbucker) and they fit nicely.

I believe these pickups are in standard sizes therefore changing the stock pickups with existing pickups in the market like Dimarzio and Seymour Duncan wouldn't have to cause fitting problems.

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