July 25th, 2009, 03:48 PM
Total newbie here, this is a very basic question. Let's say I buy a cheap Squire Affinity Tele, and want to put in better pickups. I'm no electronic wiz, but I can solder, and I'm pretty sure I could replace pickups. Not sure if I could handle re-wiring the whole thing. Or, whether it would be worth it financially.
Anyway, my question is this: when you replace pickups on something like that Affinity, do you have to replace all the wiring, and the pots, and switches, or can you get away with replacing only just the pickups themselves? I can see how replacing everything would probably be the ideal choice, but if I were to replace only the pickups, lets say with standard American Fender Tele pickups, would that be worth doing - would it give me a noticeable improvement in sound? Or, are the Fender pickups 'mis-matched' in some way for that purpose?
July 25th, 2009, 04:07 PM
You can get away with just replacing the pickups, and if you get decent pups there should be a great improvement in sound and tone quality. I would replace the pots and switches as needed when they start to get scratchy. My new favorite pickups are Toneriders.. great bang for the buck! http://www.tonerider.com
July 25th, 2009, 06:41 PM
Sometimes putting better Pots and switches in an Affinity can present a few small problems concerning the depth of the rout in the control cavity...Not saying it can't be done, but you should be made aware of it.
July 25th, 2009, 06:57 PM
+1 on the toneriders, great sounding pups for the money. I'd replace the pots, switch and wiring while you have the guard off if I were you, bear mellecaster's point in mind and do some measuring and online research regarding pot and switch depths etc.
There are loads of wiring options and schematics to be found on the internet, like this (http://www.lacemusic.com/wiring/pdf/1.pdf) one, which is for Lace Sensors, but can be applied to any Strat pickups.
Take it slow, make notes and draw diagrams if you have to. Good luck.
Colt W. Knight
July 25th, 2009, 07:30 PM
Here is what I do when Im rewiring something I am unfamiliar with, Open up the control cavity and look at how its wired now. Keep it open. Mount all the new stuff on a piece of cardboard and wire it exactly like the old stuff. You can't screw it up if you check your work as you go. But you don't really need to rewire the whole thing. And like said before, not all switches play nice with Squier control cavities. be sure to measure religiously.
Putting in new pups is easy. Just a few screws and a few solder spots. The hardest thing is playing with pickup height until you find the sweet spot.
Here is how I do it.
1. Install the new pups, and assemble the guitar back. Leave the pickguard off if your neck pup mounts to the body. Put it back on if your pickup mounts to the pickguard.
2. Tune to pitch.
3. Fret the 21st or 22nd fret. Raise your bridge pickup until it almost touchs the strings.
4. Now start lowering each screw one full turn at a time until you get to the rough area where the pickup sounds the best. I like to lower all three screws at the same time at this stage, keeping them the same. Now fine tune by raising each individual screw by raising or lowering 1/4 turn. You will get an idea of what rasing and lowering will do, just go by your ear. I have my guitar plugged in and the amp up. I just turn down the volume on the guitar while turning the screws.
5. Then I move to the neck pup and repeat the process.
6. Then I put the selector switch in the middle position for both pickups. Just because youve setboth pickups where they sound the best doesn't mean that they will sound good together. You may have to readjust the neck pup or the bridge pup so that the middle position sounds like it should.
7. This ussually takes me a week. I will adjust up and down until I am finally satisfied.
Colt W. Knight
July 25th, 2009, 07:34 PM
Keep in mind that your pickups maybe higher on one side or another, All mine seem to be higher on the treble side.
I wouldn't upgrade with American Standard pups, I would probably grab some aftermarket pups like Dimarzario, Kinmans, Toneriders, or something else that doesn't cost a fortune but sound great.
For what Fender charges for their high end pickups, you can have someone wind a set and probably get almost the exact sound your after.
July 25th, 2009, 11:45 PM
As said, any Fender pick ups, from a single coil guitar like your tele, will fit. But check it out, there are many pick ups available on the market. Some are just stellar sounding. A little time here, or using the search function, will flesh out the favorites of people who are very experienced in the nuances of different vendor's pick ups. And some of these pick ups are going to give very good tone and be a relatively good bargain. Have fun, you are bound to hit on something excellent. My
Affinity has Keystone (Bill Lawrence) pick ups in it now with improved switch and potentiometers. Sounds so organic and sweet, pleasure to listen to. Good Luck Doug