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Braided Humbucker wire question....

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by biblebound, Feb 25, 2021.

  1. biblebound

    biblebound TDPRI Member

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    This isn't specifically about a tele, but I thought I might fine help here.

    So, I have a Collings SoCo 16LC, which is a ES-335 type semi-hollowbody guitar. As you probably know, changing out pickups and wiring harnesses in these type of guitars via the f-holes, is a real hassle. I want to change the humbuckers but I'm fine with the rest of the harness. The pickups both in the guitar and the ones I want to replace them with both have the shielded braided wire---ground in the outside shielding, hot in the interior push back wire--so, it seems I could somehow just cut the wire on the existing pickups and splice in the new ones? Even better, is there some way I can use some sort of connector by soldering the shield to ground and hot to hot on a male/female connector? Anyone know of a connector I can use?
     
  2. BorderRadio

    BorderRadio Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    You can do all of the above. For all my hollowbodies, I usually redo the harness and make solderless connectors on the pickups leads for easy swaps. I use d-sub pins on each lead, even the braided shield, so can swap phase easily. Other guys use Molex connectors, or JST, but you can't change phase without cutting and splicing again. In that case you just check it before you commit to the connector splice in.
     
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  3. mikestearns

    mikestearns Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    Not to hijack this thread to much, but I recently put a '57 Classic in the neck position of a Greco SG I have, and it has the braided wire. I accidently put it in upside down, which I didn't think would matter, but its out of phase with the bridge pickup. I like it that way and I'm going to keep it, but I'm not sure why it happened. I have the braid connected to ground and the hot connected to the volume pot.
     
  4. teleplayr

    teleplayr Tele-Afflicted

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    I pull the bridge pick-up and access the wiring that way, more room to work in.

    I saw that method years ago in a "Guitar Player" magazine. Tie strings on the pots and when you're finished with you wiring mods, pull the pots back into place using the strings.
     
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  5. EsquireBoy

    EsquireBoy Friend of Leo's

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    Putting the pickup upside down doesn’t change its phase indeed. Reversing the ground and hot wire do.
    But in your case, since you’ve wired it correctly, it’s just that the 57 is out of phase with your original bridge pickup. You basically have 50% chances to end up like this when you mix pickups from different brands / builders.
     
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  6. Peegoo

    Peegoo Poster Extraordinaire

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    Molex and JST connectors are unshielded.

    You can use copper tape that has conductive adhesive to wrap over the connectors to held reduce noise.
     
  7. EsquireBoy

    EsquireBoy Friend of Leo's

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    To the OP: I do not know how much experience you have with soldering, but all in all it’s not that difficult to do in a hollow or semi hollow.

    Usually Collings come with Lollars pickups and it would be a shame to cut the leads short in the case you want to sell them. They are quite valuable pickups.

    I recently changed the pickup on my Gretsch 6120. I’ve already done it countless times in multiple guitars, but never on a hollowbody.
    At first I wanted to cut the leads not to bother with fishing the harness out. But I realized I had just enough wire length to be able to fish out only the volume pots through the f hole.

    Take a look inside your collings and see where the pickups are first connected: volume pots or selector switch. That’s the thing you’ll have to fish out.
    See if you’ve got enough wire length to fish out this component without having to fish out the rest of the harness. If you do, I would consider fishing out since it won’t be too much of a hassle and certainly not so much longer to perform than by cutting the leads:
    - Hook a cotton thread (or something similar) to the shaft of the pot or switch from the outside.
    - Then you loosen the component and let it fall inside the guitar. You can then manage to catch it with your fingers to take it out through the nearest hole (f hole or pickup cavity).
    - Take a piece of cardboard and attach the part to it in order to be able to support it while you’re soldering. It’s fundamental to protect the finish on the guitar: remember your volume pot or switch are going to get hot, so you do not want them to be directly in contact with the top of the guitar.
    - Once soldering is done, you just drop the part into the guitar, and all you have to do is to fish it out. The cotton thread allows you to very easily pull it right up into place.
     
  8. biblebound

    biblebound TDPRI Member

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    Many thanks for all the replies with sound advice. I will be considering everything written...
     
  9. mikestearns

    mikestearns Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    That makes sense. I even after that replaced the bridge pickup and (luckily) its still out of phase.
     
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  10. Telekarster

    Telekarster Tele-Afflicted

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    Out of curiousity, is there some special trick to soldering Gibson braided wire? I'm not too familiar with this sort of wire.
     
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  11. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    Tease the braid apart at the end, and twist it into a separate lead.

    That's usually sufficient for guitar work, but for amps I solder a length of cloth-covered wire to the braid / lead, bend it back on itself, and slip a piece of heat shrink over the joint. This also works for modern coax, where the outer conductor is just stranded, and is protected by an outer layer of insulation.
     
  12. Telekarster

    Telekarster Tele-Afflicted

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    Thank you! Interesting... good info to file into the misc. knowledge center of my brain pan ;)
     
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  13. BorderRadio

    BorderRadio Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    If you want to get fancy, you can push back the braided shield on both ends as far back as you can. Clip back the inner lead on one side about 1/4". Put an appropriate sized piece of shrink tubing on. Strip, splice, and solder as normal. Slip the shrink tubing over the joint, and shrink it down. Now let the braid come back to the joint. It should slightly overhang/overlap with the braid on the other side. Use this to make a connection: drop a bit of solder quickly, being careful not to heat up and expose the inner wire and joint. If you can pinch the braiding to the side of the inner core, against a work bench for example, even better.

    In most cases this kinda work is best done away from the guitar. I usually do what Moosie said and just twist the braid into a separate lead.
     
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  14. mikestearns

    mikestearns Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    My first go around with braded wire was when I bought some Bootstrap Sweet Serrano's for a cheap Jackson heavy metal guitar. I instantly emailed Ryan thinking something was wrong because it just had one wire. I wired it up and never knew until like 2 months ago that you have to ground the braid, and all this time couldn't figure out why it was buzzing.
     
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