Step 1: Tools for the Job
-Safety Glasses (Eye Protection is a must)
-25-40Watt Soldering Iron
Step 2: Remove the Strings
Step 3: Remove Pickguard Screws
Keep Screws in a Safe Place!
Put all the pickguard screws in a safe place, so you don’t lose them. Nothing like having a pickguard with one missing screw!
Step 4: Remove Pickguard
It will still be attached with the jack wires, and the ground wire to the bridge, so make sure you carefully turn it over and don’t pull too hard on it.
Step 5: Make Notes of the Wiring
One wire from each pickup will go the the selector switch...Usually the white or “hot” from the pickup. In this case, the middle pickups “Hot” is yellow.
And one wire from each pickup will be soldered to the back of the volume pot....
The black wires from the pickups will be the “ground”
Refer to wiring diagrams from places like www.guitarelectronics.com to make sure everything will go back in the right place. Watch where the neck, middle and bridge wires connect to the switch!
Step 6: Unsolder Old Pickups
2.Repeat the same process and unsolder black ground wires from the back of the volume pot...
3. Wires are now off! Time for some new tone!
Step 7: Remove Old Pickups From Pickguard
Step 8: Spring or Tube Pickup Mounting?
Step 9: Read for New Pickups!
Step 10: Install New Pickups
Begin the prep for the installing the pickups by making a neat wiring path.
Step 11: Cut Black (or Ground) Wires to Length
Remember, the black wires will solder to the back of the volume pot, so cut them near the middle of the volume pot.
Prep wires for soldering
Here we are using vintage style cloth “push back” wire. You can push back the outer cloth to reveal the wire inside. For other plastic coated pickup wires, you’ll need to use a wire stripper. Leave about 1/4” for soldering.
Solder to volume pot
Put some solder on your wires before soldering to the back of the volume pot. This will make the connection easier. You might also need to put some more solder on the volume pot. Heat up the solder with your iron, and attach all three wires. Tweezers come in hand here since the wires can get hot.
Step 12: Route, Cut and Solder White Wires
Repeat the cutting, push back/stripping of the white (Hot) wires and solder them to the appropriate lugs of the 5-way switch. Refer to a wiring diagram if you get lost. In this picture it is Bridge, Middle, Neck (Left to right)
Step 13: Check Your Wiring Job
Step 14: Almost Finished!
Put in all the pickguard screws, and restring the guitar. After you have the strings on and can play it a bit, adjust the pickups heights to taste. Usually a nice balance between all three pickups volume wise is a good idea. Some people like the bridge louder so they will raise that pickup higher than the others.
Enjoy your new pickups
Often times a great playing guitar can be upgraded with new pickups for a lot less than buying a new guitar. You now have completed a great tone overhaul of your instrument! Turn it up and rock out.
If you have questions about pickups, please visit us online at www.porterpickups.com