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How to change guitar Pickup wires?

change pickup wires

Changing the pickups on your guitar is a straightforward and low-cost way to give it a new tone without having to shell out money for a whole new instrument. Because the tone of the pickup is controlled by the material of the wire, upgrading from a low-quality wire that is wrapped in plastic to a high-quality wire that is covered in the fabric will not only make the pickup appear and sound more vintage but will also improve the tone slightly.

You will, depending on which option you choose, have a somewhat darker or lighter tone. To get better pickups out of your instrument, you could try switching out the factory wire for audiophile HiFi wire or Teflon-coated wire. When it comes to the wiring of your pickups, perhaps vibrant neon colors like green and pink appeal to your sense of design.

The tools needed to change Pickup wires

In light of the fact that you’ll be working on both sides of your guitar, you should look for a peaceful location in which to do so. Find a tidy table or desk and sit down there. You should have everything you need on hand and be prepared to start immediately. A soldering iron and solder, a Phillips-head screwdriver, an X-acto knife or another sharp blade, and a soldering iron are all necessary tools. a pair of shears or scissors for severing wires, A substantial portion of fabric.

Step 1 – Make notes and snapshots

pickup wires
Source: Mojotone

Take a picture right now so you can evaluate it in relation to the actual height of your pickups; doing so is a smart idea. It is nevertheless beneficial to be familiar with the process of resetting your instrument to its factory settings, even if you anticipate that the new pickups you installed will meet your needs.

Step 2 – Uncover The Wiring

uncover pickup wires
Source: iFixit

To gain access to the guitar’s wiring, you must first remove the back plate. Making a simple diagram of the wiring is also recommended. In the event that something goes wrong during your upgrade, you may simply refer back to your diagram to reverse your changes or determine where things went wrong.

Step 3 – Trim strings

trim pickup wires
Source: Guitar Space

After you have unwound them by hand, you can quickly cut them using wire cutters. In addition to installing new pickups, you also need to change to brand-new strings on your instrument. It is possible that removing the saddles from your bridge is the best option if they are prone to shifting and breaking.

Step 4 – Remove solder from pickup wires

Source: Seymour Duncan

The pickup wires must be traced back to their connections on the underside of the guitar. You can cut the wire by heating and applying the soldering iron to the spot. Eventually, the solder will become liquid and can be used. Once the solder has been cooled, you can pull the wire out.

Step 5 – Disconnect the pickups

Source: MusicRadar

Flip the guitar over once the pickup cables are no longer attached. Usually, you just need to unscrew a couple of screws to get at the pickups. Once the screws holding the pickups in place have been removed, the pickups can be carefully pried out by pulling the wires out through the instrument’s body.

Step 6 – Install the new pickups

Source: Reverb

Start by putting the rings on the new pickups. To connect the pickups to the rings, run the wire through the hole and into the chamber at the back. Take your time untangling the wire from the back of the pickup as you set it in place. Put in new screws to re-secure the pickups.

Step 7 – Establish the wiring

Source: Pinterest

An electric guitar can be wired in a variety of ways. Because of the vast differences between the Les Paul and the strat guitar designs, each requires a unique wiring configuration. Pickups can be wired in a variety of ways to achieve a wide range of tonal effects. Single-coil tones can be achieved by “splitting” the coils on humbuckers, connecting them in parallel, or connecting them in series.

Step 8 – Join the new wires together

Source: Inronstone Pickups

Take your time with this step because it is really important. Tonal problems can be the result of a badly soldered connection. An internal wire coming free and cutting off your guitar signal mid-set is the worst possible scenario. You can get the most out of your pickups if you take the time to learn how to solder properly.

Step 9 – Adjust the guitar’s strings

Source: Sweetwater

If you want to play it before deciding whether or not to alter the pickup height, set it at the same height as when you started playing. This will allow you to make an informed decision. You can now play in a wider variety of tones thanks to the fact that you learned how to upgrade your pickup wires. Modify the strings on the guitar.


If you want to improve your sound as your musical tastes develop, it is necessary that you change the pickup wires on your guitar at some point. The pickups found on less expensive guitars are typically the most cost-effective option. If you replace the pickup wires on your guitar, you will notice a significant difference in its tone. You have access to every possible form of pickup imaginable. It is impossible to get an accurate impression of how various pickups will sound in your guitar before you actually install one.

Here is some of the Best Stratocaster Pickups to buy in 2022, if you’re interested to buy one.

What kind of pickup wires should one use?

The 42 AWG gauge is the one that is used the most frequently in guitar pickups. On the other hand, guitar pickups can be produced with wire gauges ranging from 41 to 44 AWG these days. An insulating coating is coated around the copper wire in order to prevent the wire from accidentally shorting out.

How long do Pickup wires last?

They typically remain in good condition for around half a decade before showing signs of wear and tear themselves. The lifespan of active pickups is the shortest. After approximately two years of constant use, the output and treble frequencies will, in most cases, have significantly degraded to a lower quality.

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