Do I really need to pull all the guts just to change the pickups???

Discussion in 'The Pickup Place' started by mikechandler, Oct 26, 2019.

  1. mikechandler

    mikechandler Gretschie

    Jul 7, 2015
    Chandler, AZ
    I ordered the TV jones kit to yank the guts from my 5420T and put in some HS Filtertrons.

    But looking at it all and watching the video again... is it really necessary to yank it all just to solder two new pickups in?

    Will the volume pots by themselves not reach up through the holes otherwise?

    Those molex connectors are looking very tempting. I wish they were smaller and shielded.

    Ugh. Maybe it's easier once you start, I am just not enjoying the prospect of yanking it all out.

    And what about the taped wire under the bigsby hinge???
  2. mikechandler

    mikechandler Gretschie

    Jul 7, 2015
    Chandler, AZ
    Oh, and FWIW, I might just start with the neck pickup. TBH I kinda dig the blacktop bridge through my marshall. not a bad sound at all.
  3. Ricochet

    Ricochet I Bleed Orange

    Nov 13, 2009
    Monkey Island
    You could splice’m in, but that usually leaves the wires short for the next PU swap job.
  4. Uncle Daddy

    Uncle Daddy Friend of Fred

    Jan 19, 2012
    Maldon UK
    You can wriggle the pots through the f holes to do the soldering.
  5. Lockupyourfatdog

    Lockupyourfatdog Synchromatic

    Aug 8, 2016
    Everett wa
    I save a used hi e string and use that to get the ground wire back through the little hole behind the bigsby.
    unknown fan likes this.
  6. ramjac

    ramjac Synchromatic

    Aug 14, 2011
    You can work through the f- hole, but note that you’ll be working with limited flexibility and soldering near the surface of the guitar. If you’re worried about yanking the Bigsby ground wire loose while fishing around, you can remove the Bigsby and solder the ground wire to the end of a spool of similar wire and cut it loose when you’re done.
  7. ramjac

    ramjac Synchromatic

    Aug 14, 2011
    Or better yet, do this with one of the strings you’ll be cutting off to do the job. I know TV works around them in his video, but he’s done it many times and can avoid nicking the strings and scratching the guitar.
  8. jfassett

    jfassett Synchromatic

    Dec 9, 2017
    If you’re not replacing the pots, totally unnecessary imo, simply cut and solder. I actually solder on quick connectors just in case I want to do another pickup swap in the future..
    DHart and Rock Lajoint like this.
  9. calebaaron666

    calebaaron666 Country Gent

    Aug 15, 2018
    Portland, Maine
    If you can fit the vol pots thru the F hole, you can solder your connections there and forgo taking everything out. When I changed the neck pickup again on my 5420 I did it this way. Easy as 1-2-3!
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2019
    section2 likes this.
  10. rcboals

    rcboals Country Gent

    Nov 21, 2008
    Springfield Oregon
    Yes and No. I have done this at least 20 times. My experience on "upgrading" lower end guitars is to replace all the no name pots, and switches, and upgrade the pickups, with quality parts. I am not slamming lower end guitars their fit and finish on a lot of them is great the electronics are usually not so great. Two of my favorites I have done this to are my Hagstroms wonderful low end guitars after replacing cheap no name electronics. If you are going through the expense of TV Jones pickups, just a little more effort and less than $50.00 for new quality pots and switches is worth it IMO. Like Kanter Classic Auto Parts says, "do it once do it right"
    section2, DHart, Zeek and 1 other person like this.
  11. stevo

    stevo Friend of Fred

    May 1, 2012
    Not sure what video you're watching, but the TV Jones 5120 video is what I just watched. Not sure there's a better way to do this and really, it's not bad at all if you use the tubes with the pots. You have to get to your switch and pots to do this job unfortunately. I've done this exactly 4 times myself and while it seems painful, it's worth it.
  12. wabash slim

    wabash slim Gretschified

    Feb 10, 2010
    lafayette in
    Ah, the joys of a hollow body guitar!
    section2, Jeff67, Lister and 2 others like this.
  13. capnhiho

    capnhiho Gretschie

    Feb 16, 2013
    I gutted my 5420 years ago and replaced the OEM wiring, pots, and switch with a TVJ harness - but kept the Blacktops. I recently upgraded the neck pup with a TVJ Supertron. It was relatively easy to pull the neck pup and other requisite components out and solder the leads without totally disemboweling the guitar. Be sure to protect the top from damage with rags, cardboard, etc.
  14. stevo

    stevo Friend of Fred

    May 1, 2012

    I forgot to mention that pot, jack and switch replacement are a very good idea with these guitars. In fact, almost any guitar I buy gets the pots replaced with CTS Emerson pots.
    DHart and wabash slim like this.
  15. drmilktruck

    drmilktruck Gretschified

    May 17, 2009
    Plymouth, MN
    Why don't more pickup manufacturers offer the solderless connectors like EMG, GFS, Seymour Duncan?
    section2 and MotorCentaur like this.
  16. mikechandler

    mikechandler Gretschie

    Jul 7, 2015
    Chandler, AZ
    I guess I should just yank it all out. damnit.

    I have CTS 500K pots, and a long shaft switchcraft switch. I could rebuild it all using the shielded wire and some PIO caps.

    But damn.. I all I really want is to replace that neck pickup. Ironically the bridge pickup is already on a connector. That blacktop filtertron is not a bad bridge for alt-rock.
    section2 likes this.
  17. wabash slim

    wabash slim Gretschified

    Feb 10, 2010
    lafayette in
    Upgrade to coax wiring for its superior shielding as well.
  18. stevo

    stevo Friend of Fred

    May 1, 2012
    I have it in my Strat. Didn't bother in anything else.
  19. Outlaw

    Outlaw Synchromatic

    Jul 13, 2011
    yanking the guts OUT is the easy bit.
    I think it is worth it, get some belden cable, cts pots and switch craft switch for a nice humless guitar.
    DHart likes this.
  20. DHart

    DHart Synchromatic

    Jun 26, 2019
    Go for it Mike! New harness, top quality stuff. And install quick connectors for the pickups, so if you ever want to replace them in the future, you won't need to even think about the harness itself. (Like when you finally decide to try something different in place of that Blacktop in the bridge.)

    Plan it carefully, take it slow and methodically, and you'll find that it's really not that bad - perhaps just one or two curse words, and you will have accomplished something that you can be proud of. And, when the next semi- or hollow-body pickup or harness swap opportunity presents itself, you'll have the confidence to dive in and get-er-done! :)

    Make a template box out of a small shipping box for making-up your harness. Use the guitar top and the existing harness to make your template accurate and be sure you don't have any wires crossing under the f-hole. Cover the coax shielded wire with shrink tube.


    While you're at it, you can make your neck pickup tone pot into a No-Load pot, if you want to unleash some more sparkle. Very easy to do. Just take a sharp razor blade and scrape off a small section of the track inside the pot so it looks like this (where the pointer is). This quick job can be done in about 2.5 to 3 minutes.
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2019
    dswo likes this.
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