Electric guitar and bass pickup wiring and switching

See more electrics projects in my blog

Your sound – your pickups

You’d be amazed at how much the sound of your guitar is influenced by your pickups.

I take great pride in my rewiring. Wherever I feel that there is a need, I will use heat-shrink tubing to protect soldered joints from shorting. I use cable ties to ensure that pickup wires are routed correctly and my wiring remains neat and tidy. This not only looks great but it reduces the chance of future problems occurring.

On a Vintage guitar I will use cloth-covered wire sympathetic to that instrument.

The basic sound of the guitar is dependent on the woods and construction techniques used. A Gibson Les Paul gets its tone and sustain from using solid mahogany and a set neck. A Fender Telecaster on the other hand, is generally made from ash (or alder) with a maple neck. You cannot make a Les Paul sound like a telecaster by fitting Telecaster pickups and vice-versa.

Within any guitar’s basic tonal palette however, you can get a wide variation in sounds by changing the pickups. A Fender Stratocaster can be a very different guitar depending on whether “vintage” or “hot” pickups are fitted. A common upgrade for a Stratocaster is to fit a humbucker to the bridge position for more output when soloing. This is often coupled with a coil tap so that it can be reverted to single-coil sound when desired.

Please note that the cost of this service will vary depending on the type of guitar being worked on. It is far easier to change the pickups on a Fender Telecaster than a Gibson ES-335!

Guitar Shielding

Kill that hum!

I can effectively shield most guitars from unwanted hum. I use only high-quality copper foil which is soldered to form an almost complete barrier to interference.

Pickup Potting

If you are happy with the sound of your pickups, but find that they squeal in high-gain situations, why not have me pot them in wax for you? I have had superb results potting older Epiphone pickups. It’s certainly cheaper than replacing them!

Custom Switching

I can perform the following:

  • unusual pickup combinations (e.g. bridge and neck on a Strat)
  • custom switching for out-of-phase sounds


Well no two jobs are the same, but expect to pay about £40 plus parts for a full rewire of your guitar.

2 Comments on “Electric guitar and bass pickup wiring and switching”

  1. Hi. I need a full rewire on a les Paul copy. I bought some new cheap pickups then realised that I haven’t a clue on what to do next. Can you send a price and address please.

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