In praise of GFS Kwikplug!

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by regularslinky, Jun 14, 2019.

  1. regularslinky

    regularslinky Tele-Holic

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    Like most of you,, I like to tinker with my guitars. Unlike most of you, I solder like a one-armed chimpanzee. I can usually manage to (sloppily) replace a pickup, but that's about my limit.

    Anyway, I have a 1979 Gibson The Paul that my parents bought for me in 1979 - my first good guitar. It's very special. It was like a part of my body during my teens and 20's. Unfortunately, sometime in the mid 90's I lost my mind. I removed (and threw away) the stock pickups because they were rusty, and replaced them with Carvins. I soon grew to hate the Carvins, and the guitar spent the next few years in its case.

    In the early 2000's, I tried to replace the Carvins with humbucker-sized P-90's and install all new electronics. What a disaster. I spent hours, even days, trying to get everything to work. I burned my fingers and the guitar trying to do the soldering. Eventually I gave up and took it to a local shop. They installed the pickups and replaced the electronics. I hated the pickups. The guitar is walnut with an ebony fretboard and it was just harsh. Back into the case.

    This year I was determined that I would get this guitar back into playing condition for its 40th birthday. I did some research and decided that Alnico II pickups might work. I wanted to try them, but I knew I couldn't/shouldn't do the installation, and I didn't want to spend a ton on pickups, pay for installation, and then learn I don't like them

    Enter GFS Kwikplug. I got their wiring harness and a set of Alnico IIs. Around $100 total. Everything looked to be high quality and well-constructed. The GFS rig frankly looked much more solid than the components the local shop used. I took out the old electronics and installed the new. It took me about an hour. It would have been half that but I arranged the pots wrong (twice) and installed the pickup mounts backwards.

    The verdict: it sounds great! No noise, no problems. The Alnico II pickups work really well in this guitar. I think I'm going to keep them, but it's nice to know that I am only about $30 and 10 minutes work from trying different (GFS) pickups if i get the urge. I took the guitar to band practice this week and played it all night - the most playing time this guitar has seen in decades - and man it felt good. Thanks GFS!
     
  2. bender66

    bender66 Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    Pics?

    I want to use those plugs on a hollowbody I'm building up to make it serviceable. Anyone have a link for some? I honestly don't know what to look for.
     
  3. bricksnbeatles

    bricksnbeatles Tele-Afflicted

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    I use SM-3P connectors for hollowbody wiring.
     
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  4. cottonmike

    cottonmike Tele-Meister

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    A happy story of the re acquaintance of an old love from years gone by.

    Rarely do they work, but when they do, it's for life!
     
  5. Octorfunk

    Octorfunk Tele-Meister

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    I've used their Kwikplug system on multiple guitars with similarly positive results. However, I've been very unimpressed with their volume/tone pots. In my experience they've been more like on/off controls with hardly any noticeable taper, has anyone else noticed this?
     
  6. bender66

    bender66 Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    I think that's the audio taper pot. I can't stand those either.
     
  7. nojazzhere

    nojazzhere Poster Extraordinaire

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    I've never tried the kwikplugs, and have an open mind on them, but I'm curious as to what "problems" you experience when soldering? I know when I first started soldering (when I was a teenager), my joints were sloppy and "globby", and sometimes didn't make good connections.....but after a little practice, learning to clean my soldering iron tip, and using flux, I generally have good results. I would say for any do-it-yourself-er, soldering is a skill right up there with knowing the circle of fifths and remembering your debit card pin. :) By all means, use the kwikplugs when changing pickups, but try to hone your soldering skills as well.....I've used soldering for WAY more than just fiddling with guitars.....
     
  8. Jim_in_PA

    Jim_in_PA Tele-Meister

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    I honestly intend to use solder-less as much as possible for any of the builds I do. I hate soldering, especially in tight quarters. Additionally, it makes things a whole lot easier to move things to other bodies to tinker/test when the budget doesn't allow buying additional stuff. I'm using EMG for my first build or two but am aware of Obsidian's setup which works nicely with "whatever" pickups because of the screw terminal block. I hadn't heard of GFS-Kwickplug but will check that out, too.
     
  9. crazydave911

    crazydave911 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Go to the guitar fetish website and you will see,all pups are offered with kwik plug but come with wires plugged to the pup if you want to solder them. on some pups and the bottom of the page is a link to the wiring harnesses.Many many kinds lol
     
  10. bender66

    bender66 Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    His guitar! lol
     
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  11. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Tele-Afflicted

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    I have built a couple of semi hollows and I do all the wiring before the back is put on, then I tuck everything inside while I finish it. The components all have little strings (actually pieces of dental floss) tied to them that runs thru the masking tape that covers the holes. When I'm done finishing I can push the tape into the guitar, then fish it out thru the hole, pulling the pot or switch into position.

    That still leaves the problem of wiring the pickups. What I have done is simply put a small terminal strip in the pickup cavity and wire that into the controls as usual. After the whole thing is done the pickups connect at the terminals. The terminals that I used were designed for low voltage signals - strain gauges or load cells in my case - as far as I can tell they don't degrade the p/u signal at all. Obviously any quick disconnect connector could be used, I just happened to have the terminals on hand.

    IMG_3323.JPG IMG_3327.JPG IMG_3332.JPG IMG_3394.JPG IMG_3395.JPG

    On this guitar I put both terminals in the the back p/u cavity. It also has a common ground terminal that I can take to the string ground. FWIW, I do tin the p/u wires before inserting them into the terminals.

    Advantages of doing all of this is that (1) the wiring is infinitely easier, you don't have to fish the whole harness thru the f-hole, (2) you can change pups whenever you want, (3) you can easily add coil tapping to a humbucker if you want
     
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  12. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Tele-Afflicted

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    Bender, when I build my hollow I didn't use the quick connectors (or terminals for that matter) - in retrospect it would have been a nice feature. Its easier to fish a wiring harness in and out of a hollow because you can normally go thru the pickup hole, but I still prewired mine and left everything inside while I closed the box. In the second picture you can see the white pieces of floss that are tied to the pickups so I can pull them back into position, all of the pots and jack and switch have them also

    IMG_3525.JPG IMG_3545.JPG
     
  13. eichaan

    eichaan Tele-Holic

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    I am very happy with the single coil size humbuckers I put in my Baja from GFS. The Kwikplug system was great for me, because I don't even have a soldering gun. But I agree, the tone control is now pretty useless--it's "on" or "off". That said, the pickups themselves sound really good, and there are three distinct tones from the 3 pickup positions, so it's not all bad news.
     
  14. Orpingtons

    Orpingtons Tele-Meister

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    I've always sort of liked GFS pickups. There are better values out there but hey, they have a pretty good selection of hard to find pickups.

    When it comes to the kwikplug thing, that's when I draw the line. I bought some units that worked great, some not so much, some didn't even register in the multimeter. Practice your soldering, you'll get better, it's not rocket science. I prefer to install pickups the classic way, to me it's all part of the experience.
     
  15. kodiakblair

    kodiakblair TDPRI Member

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    I've often thought about using connector strip but never got around to it,nicely done @Freeman Keller :)

    Normal method for me is 3 pin PCB terminal block glued to the back of pots,relevant pins soldered to lugs.
    s-l1600.jpg
     
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