1. #1

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    As much as I love my recently acquired AR503CE I’m going to try a different pickup as I’m not convinced the mid scooped Seth Lover works optimally with what is already a fairly bright, chimey guitar.

    I’ve been in discussion with a boutique pickup builder in the UK, Sunbear pickups. He’s going to modify his 59 PAF clone with a brass baseplate and hotter wound A3 to warm it up...anyway, I digress.

    Ive decided to install it myself, particularly given I’m not currently allowed to travel out of region. I have basic soldering skills and have partially wired a strat before, never an archtop.

    So in order of technique, I’m thinking:
    1) Thread/ dental floss around pots.
    2) loosen pots in order: jack socket, tone then volume and deliver through f-hole.
    3) Remove Seth Lover, photograph its current solder points for reference then detach from volume pot.
    4) Strip end of new pickup wire and choose appropriate coloured wires (it’s vintage spec, will there be coloured wires...not sure)
    5) Solder new wire(s) to volume pot where previous pickup attached. Will there be a connection to the tone pot that needs dealt with too?
    6) Replace and secure pickup then pots and Jack in reverse order.

    That sound reasonable or am I missing anything? Tips and tricks welcomed.

    ps I’ve ordered an “archtop helping hand” from Stewmac, I’m sure it’s basically a bent coat hanger but I’m a sucker for advertising!

    thanks in advance
    Last edited by Humbuckr; 12-16-2020 at 03:22 PM.

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  3. #2

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    One way to do it is to just cut the wiring at the pickup, and connect that to the new pickup, without needing to do anything with the pots. Some people don't like that, but it's just wires, and new wiring can be resoldered to the old pickup if desired. There is far less potential for damage or other issues doing it this way. Depending on the pickup, it's sometimes easy to unsolder the wiring from the pickup, but many make that difficult or impossible. If you do cut it, cut far enough from the pickup to allow easy splicing of a new cable onto the stub, an inch or so. That's the way I would do it, but I'm just a random internet stranger. I've changed a bunch of pickups, but I can't easily prove it.

  4. #3

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    I put a 36th Anniversary PAF Dimarzio in my AR371 and it made it into a new instrument. Just night and day. Warm and tasty, really capturing that ES175 thing.

    I just cut the leads off at the pickup and spliced the provided leads right on them and zip tied the extra into a nice neat bundle. Quick clean and easy...

  5. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by guido5
    I put a 36th Anniversary PAF Dimarzio in my AR371 and it made it into a new instrument. Just night and day. Warm and tasty, really capturing that ES175 thing.

    I just cut the leads off at the pickup and spliced the provided leads right on them and zip tied the extra into a nice neat bundle. Quick clean and easy...
    I’ve changed out a pickup like that too
    yeah quick and easy ....

  6. #5

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    If I would cut the wire, I will never dare to go with that guitar to my luthier. :-) So I had no choice. It was not necessary for me to dismount the jack, it was enough to take out the two pots, and it became possible to take out the volume pot in the fhole, where all the soldering was made.

    I took 4 hours, but I was pretty proud after.

    (changed the original Kent Armstrong to a Benedetto A6 in my 371. The character is not changed so much as both are pretty warm, but the definition changed way clearer, and more acoustic.)

  7. #6

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    Thanks to those who responded.

    The update is that I installed the pickup today (soldered to volume pot after all) and it all works fine.

    After putting it back together I noticed a rattling in the guitar and it seems I’ve inadvertently pulled off the tailpiece ground wire (a thin black wire).

    It’s still attached to the tailpiece.

    Is this more likely to have come off the input jack or the tone pot?

    It’ll be a bugger to fix as it’s not long enough to reach the f hole!

    Having said that, there’s no hum so I’m not 100% sure it’s actually needed.

  8. #7

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    The ground is normally attached to the case of the volume pot along with most everything else, which gives more or less a star ground. But you can take it to any ground. If it won't reach the f hole, you may have to remove everything. It's a pain. One possibility is pulling it out through the output jack and splicing on another piece of wire to make it long enough to reach where you need it to go. Or you can remove the wire from the tailpiece, solder a splice on, and pull it through far enough to solder it. If you're okay without having it connected, you can just leave it.

  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by sgosnell
    The ground is normally attached to the case of the volume pot along with most everything else, which gives more or less a star ground. But you can take it to any ground. If it won't reach the f hole, you may have to remove everything. It's a pain. One possibility is pulling it out through the output jack and splicing on another piece of wire to make it long enough to reach where you need it to go. Or you can remove the wire from the tailpiece, solder a splice on, and pull it through far enough to solder it. If you're okay without having it connected, you can just leave it.
    By the time I read this I'd removed the tailpiece and re-installed a new, longer piece of ground wire then put it all back together (grounded to case of tone pot). Was a pain but it's all working now.

    You're method of feeding through the input jack to enable a splice would likely have worked- I didn't think to do that. Would've save me some hassle!

    I assume in the factory they must solder the ground wire to a pot then pull it back fairly tight and cut it off at the tailpiece end. The problem being there's then too little slack to pull it all back through the f-hole later on.

    Thanks

  10. #9

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    A new ground wire certainly works. There are multiple ways to do the job, so whatever works is good enough. One reason for taking out the slack is to prevent the wire from vibrating against the back and causing unwanted buzzing. The more modern way is to use clips stuck to the back with double-sided mounting tape to hold the wires in place.