Replacing pickup leads

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by cj_tele, Jul 14, 2008.

  1. cj_tele

    cj_tele TDPRI Member

    Posts:
    30
    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2008
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Any advice/tips/instructions on replacing Tele pickup leads? Mine have had their leads trimmed too short, then spliced with other wire, which in one case is falling apart, and I'd like to clean it all up and install old-school cloth wire leads.

    Thanks for your suggestions.
     
  2. Topper

    Topper Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    136
    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2007
    Location:
    Columbus, Ohio
    Be aware that pickup coil wire is microscopically thin. It is very easy to break and hard to work with. You may ruin the pickup. That said, if it non-functional what have you got to lose?

    Carefully and slowly unwind the tape from around the bobbin (the plastic or fiber frame). After a couple unwraps, you will find the layer where the very thin coil wire was soldered to the external leads. Unwrap this and solder your new leads back on to the coil. The coil wire is covered with a coating so bare copper needs to be exposed. Re-wrap the joints being careful to cushion and insulate the exposed wire from the rest of the coil. Usually, the leads are then fastened to the bobbin to prevent strain on the coil, with the long, external leads fastened to the short leads from the coil.

    On some pickups the coil wire is brought out directly to the bobbin where the long external leads are soldered to them. These are easier, but still require that you work carefully and make a good solder joint.
     
  3. cj_tele

    cj_tele TDPRI Member

    Posts:
    30
    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2008
    Location:
    Minnesota
    > Be aware that pickup coil wire is microscopically thin. It is very easy to break and hard to work with. You may ruin the pickup. That said, if it non-functional what have you got to lose?

    The pickups do work (or did the last time I used them), it's the splice from too-short lead to added wire that is falling apart in one case.

    The procedure you describe sounds intimidating. I've seen one or two companies recommended on these pages for PU repair. I'll look into possibly hiring one of them to do this.

    Thanks for your reply.
     
  4. jefrs

    jefrs Doctor of Teleocity

    Posts:
    13,313
    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2007
    Location:
    Newbury, England
    No problem, unless you break the invisible coil wire. Do not be intimidated. E.g. on a tele the neck pickup coil wires are taken out to two rivets, with a third rivet for the casing which may be jumpered to the (black) earthy wire. It is possible to de-solder the connection wires without harming the fine coil wire, just don't use too much heat or poke around at it. Sometimes it is better to cut away the old connecting wire and solder the new wires on top. Helps if you use the same colours and gauge, and lightly twist them together. Draw them through the body and reconnect to the selector.
     
  5. cj_tele

    cj_tele TDPRI Member

    Posts:
    30
    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2008
    Location:
    Minnesota
    > No problem, unless you break the invisible coil wire.

    Yeah, that's what I'm afraid of! My bridge PU is a '56, and I'd hate to mess it up. (I'm a little less certain of the age of my neck PU, but both are precious to me.)

    > Do not be intimidated. E.g. ...

    Thanks for the tips re: neck PUs. Any tips for the bridge PU?
     
  6. Topper

    Topper Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    136
    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2007
    Location:
    Columbus, Ohio
    I think you are correct in letting a pro do it, if the pickups have value to you and you aren't confident. If you think you want to do it yourself, get an old junker pickup and practice on it. It isn't brain surgery, but does take a smidgen of soldering skill and precision, and you can mess up the pickup.
     
  7. Jack Wells

    Jack Wells Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    18,423
    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2003
    Location:
    Albuquerque, USA
    Replacing pickup wires is a piece of cake. It should only be a problem if you've never soldered before. Just don't break the coil wire on the starting side.

    ......[​IMG]
     
    sproctor72 likes this.
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.


  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.