Putting New Pickups in a Guitar

putting new pickups in a guitar

Installing new pickups in your guitar is an effortless upgrade that’s both simple and reversible, as this article will detail. Here we’ll guide you through installing Seymour Duncan single-coil pickups onto an electric guitar.

Assemble your materials: soldering iron, wire stripper, side cutters and any surgical tubing provided by your pickup maker. Flip your guitar over.


One of the hardest aspects of switching out pickups on a guitar is wiring. Luckily, many brands provide online tools to help determine what kind of wiring will best suit your specific instrument, along with diagrams. When installing new wires into your instrument it is vital that they be done so correctly – any incorrect soldered connections could cause unwelcome noise or even cut off its signal altogether!

Start by reviewing the wiring diagram that came with your new pickups. Feel free to ask the staff of a music store for help; but keep in mind they have likely seen it all before; don’t be too pushy about asking. Before beginning work on your instrument, turn it off so as to avoid making any accidental mistakes.

Once you understand what wiring you require, remove the old pickups from their connection points using a soldering iron and then unscrew any screws securing them to the pickguard and pickup. Once that has been accomplished, unscrew and unscrew any remaining screws to free it before taking steps to safely reattach it back through your guitar body without damaging anything along the way. Tie some fishing line around each end of the pickup wires so they can easily be guided back through without damaging anything along their journey back through.

Examine the colors of your old pickup wires, comparing them with a wiring diagram to determine their meanings. Black wires usually serve as ground, while white and green ones connect at one point, known as series links that need to be attached to your guitar’s new wiring system.

Before beginning work on your acoustic guitar, check that the new pickups fit correctly; if they do not, saddles must be purchased which can be very expensive. Once this step has been completed, solder the wires into their appropriate places; restring your instrument and plug it into an amp for further verification of connections and safety.

Pickup Installation

Installing new pickups may seem intimidating, but the process can be made easy by taking a few simple steps: remove your pickguard, loosening any screws holding down pickups, remove them and set aside for later.

Now is an excellent opportunity to take photos of the wiring and pickup placement for future reference; doing this will make switching back to original models much simpler.

Change the height of your new pickups as well, as this can make a major impactful statement about their tone. Use a screwdriver and ruler/tape measure for this task – then adjust your strings, put back together the guitar, and test out these awesome new pickups!

Pickups are designed to capture and transmit vibrations from your strings as electrical signals to an amplifier, but when these pickups become old or worn out or improperly installed they won’t produce clear vibrations and your guitar’s tone may suffer as a result. Switching out pickups is one of the quickest and easiest ways to improve its sound!

Once your replacements are in hand, simply follow your wiring diagram and solder in their wires according to instructions. Next, double-check that each connection on your diagram is accurate and clean – take care not to short circuit any connections and trim away any excess wires which might get jammed inside the body!

Once you understand what colors mean on your guitar, installing pickups becomes much simpler! Plus, learning to solder may prove to be invaluable – there are lots of videos and guides online to assist with that endeavor; just take care not to damage yourself when handling a hot soldering iron! A poorly soldered wire could quickly cause shorts or shut down its signal altogether during a performance!

Pickup Adjustment

Pickup height adjustment should always be a key part of guitar playback, whether you have just purchased used and are upgrading its pickups, or are simply beginning your musical explorations. Too close proximity between pickup and strings may result in string magnetic interference which results in warbly notes; too low an adjustment could mean weak output signal from your guitar.

Adjustment is easy with just a screwdriver, pocket ruler or machinists rule, and your guitar. First depress one string at the last fret closest to your pickups and use a ruler to measure distance from string bottom to pole piece of neck or bridge pickups corresponding to each string – this should give an idea of your ideal pickup height. Repeat these steps with all remaining strings.

Most pickups come pre-set at factory settings, but that may not always be the best solution for your guitar or specific needs. Some players like their bass and treble tones closer together while others may prefer them farther apart; your ideal pickup height depends on personal taste – typically this adjustment includes:

If your adjustment is set too high, your sound may become thinner with reduced overall output; while if adjusted too low it could produce muffled tones with diminished bass response and excessive treble. Some guitarists even like having their neck pickup lower than their bridge pickup for more aggressive sounds. Play your guitar while closely listening for whether you have found your desired tone; if not continue making adjustments either higher or lower until you find one you like best! Be sure to test both with and without pedal boards so that you can hear what the results of adjustments look like; if this fails then switch up or change up setups until it works for you – otherwise repeat until satisfied!


Once your new pickups have been installed, it’s a good idea to double-check each connection on your wiring diagram. Make sure everything is where it should be; wires won’t get crimped or jammed into each other and that there is enough clearance between pickups to adjust height as desired. Also if using active pickups make sure they’re running off fresh batteries with proper voltage levels;

Adjusting guitar pickup height is one of the key elements to creating great tone, as this has an immense effect on output, clarity, warmth and balance.

Trial and error may be necessary when finding the ideal setting, as every pickup, guitar and player’s style varies slightly. But the process should be straightforward without needing complex tools or soldering for completion.

At its core, all you’ll need to use this method are a screwdriver and pocket ruler. Start by depressing the last fret of your guitar’s string, using your ruler to measure from top of string to bottom of pickup pole piece – this will give an approximate estimate for pickup height which you can fine-tune using your screwdriver.

If the pickups are placed too closely to the strings, they will create an abundance of feedback and make bending them difficult. On the other hand, too far away can result in weak and flat sounding guitar tones.

Higher-quality pickups tend to get closer to the strings without losing clarity or power, though don’t discount lower cost pickups – each may offer its own set of benefits that might appeal to you.

Many are stunned to discover they can dramatically alter the sound their guitar produces with different pickups. While this change may improve sound production, it can also significantly change how the instrument feels – so take the time to consider your desired goals before making major modifications. When upgrading to more expensive pickups it may also be beneficial to contact their manufacturer directly for advice and recommendations.