First Time Soldering: Swap Noiseless for CS 69 pickups

Discussion in 'Tech-Talk' started by lawzenge, Jun 27, 2021.

  1. lawzenge

    lawzenge Strat-Talk Member

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    I recently purchased a set of Custom Shop 69 Strat pickups with the intention of replacing the Noiseless pickups set in my MIM Classic 70s Strat. I've never soldered before but have read up on it and was thinking of this being my first attempt.

    I opened up the pickguard and saw an orange cap near the tone pots. What could this be? Also the pots seem to have taller posts. Would switching out the Noiseless set for the CS 69 be simple? I would just de-solder the original pickups and solder in the new set? Not sure if I should keep the orange cap. I have some photos of the wiring here: https://imgur.com/a/ghNlQKh

    Also, any recommendation for a soldering iron set I can use that will last? There are so many options that I am unsure which is best. I plan to do more soldering like this if all goes well. Thanks for reading.
     
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  2. Antstrat

    Antstrat Dr. Stratster

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    Can you post a pic of the entire backside?

    This will last you decades: Weller WLC 100 $33 on amazon.

    Good choice with the 69's.

    In general:

    Take a picture of the backside of the guard for reference.

    Don't worry about the cap or anything else.

    All you have to do is just go slow and do one pickup at a time.

    One wire gets grounded to a pot, one wire gets soldered to a lug on the switch.

    So all you have to do is start with the neck or bridge, de-solder and pull out the wire on the switch lug and de-solder the ground wire on the pot. Now just solder the correct wire of the 69 in the exact same lug on the switch and solder the ground wire to the pot. You can even just do all 3 pickup wires to the lugs first and do the 3 ground wires last, twist them together and you'll just be soldering them as 1.

    If you should run into any issues they will be easy fixes and a good learning experience, just post up here and you will get all the help you need.
     
  3. Jesse414

    Jesse414 Senior Stratmaster

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    Welcome to strat talk. Good luck changing pickups it should be pretty easy just follow Antstrat's directions
     
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  4. kurher

    kurher Strat-O-Master

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    Hi and welcome.
    The whole assembly, as far as I can tell from the pictures, is aftermarket. Not sure what the pot values are but you can get 3 new pots and a cap of your choice and rewire everything pretty easily.
     
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  5. lawzenge

    lawzenge Strat-Talk Member

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    Thanks for the recommendation and tips! Just updated the link to include a full photo of the backside. Would I be able to get away with re-using the solder, if possible? As in, I heat it up to remove the old pickups and again to add the new?

    Which solder should I be using?
     
  6. lawzenge

    lawzenge Strat-Talk Member

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    Should I replace the pots? I'd like to make it as stock as possible. What is the purpose of the cap that is installed?
     
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  7. Antstrat

    Antstrat Dr. Stratster

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    Good question.

    Assuming they are 250K pots then no. That's why a pic of your pick guard would be helpful.

    The cap is for your tone control, as you slowly roll back on the tone control on your guitar you notice how it starts to darken the sound. That's what the cap is there for.
     
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  8. Antstrat

    Antstrat Dr. Stratster

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    You can reuse the solder but still might need an extra dab.

    The solder I use is this and it's on amazon as well:
    Kester 83-4000-0000 SN60PB40 Solder Pocket Pack, 0.031" Wire Diameter
     
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  9. Antstrat

    Antstrat Dr. Stratster

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    Just looked at the new pics, easy peasy.
     
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  10. lawzenge

    lawzenge Strat-Talk Member

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    Thanks. I just ordered the items you recommended and will post if I hit some roadblocks or succeed.
     
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  11. Colnago1

    Colnago1 Senior Stratmaster

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    Those are not stock pots or anything in there at all.
    I’d start over.
    Get 3 CTS short shaft 250k A pots.
    Get one .047uf orange drop capacitor.
    Get some cloth push back wire, white and black is all you need, 2ft of each is lots.
    Get a 5 way switch.
    Get some .8mm solder and a 40 watt soldering iron.
    Now you just need a wiring diagram that you like. There are so many different types, just google and find one you like.
    Now you’re all set.
    Take your time to make it nice and neat and enjoy the experience of putting it all together as it goes pretty quick and it’s not something you do all the time. It’s really fun though!
    Enjoy your new tones!!
     
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  12. Antstrat

    Antstrat Dr. Stratster

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    For someone who's never soldered or changed pickups a complete rewire and replacing pots can be over daunting. It's easy for those who have done this many times but it could be a lot to chew with zero experience.

    I think, imho, the best route for the OP is just do the pickup swap, let him get the hang of the very basics first.
     
  13. Colnago1

    Colnago1 Senior Stratmaster

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    I’d rather start with a completely fresh and clean setup without big globs of solder and excess wire.
    It’s pretty easy, even for a newbie to follow the wire lines on a picture and put them in the correct spot in real life. It’s not a difficult thing. The only thing I’d suggest practicing is the soldering part, and he’d be doing that anyways.
    This way he gets the correct length pots and everything is closer to factory spec which is what he wants.
    We all started somewhere, my first soldering job was making a harness to replace the pcb board in my Les Paul and I ran new wire to the switch too.
     
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  14. lawzenge

    lawzenge Strat-Talk Member

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    Thanks for your recommendations. I appreciate it.

    I think I'll first try to get these pickups in and then if I don't manage to destroy the guitar, try what you mentioned!
     
  15. Baelzebub

    Baelzebub Dr. Stratster

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    Great overview and not too hard to look at either....

     
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  16. Rudedawg

    Rudedawg Senior Stratmaster

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    <<<THIS>>>
    That's your best bet for now; chase the wires carefully, tin the wire and tip, take your time and you'll soon be a pro at soldering.
     
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  17. Steve J

    Steve J Strat-Talk Member

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    Pick up a solder sucker too. Ive only just started soldering, and that thing is invaluable to me.
     
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  18. EC Strat

    EC Strat Senior Stratmaster Gold Supporting Member

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    Swapping out pickups, trying different wirings and experimenting with tone caps is unbelievably fun! It’s awesome learning how to do what you’d pay someone to do and wait weeks to get your guitar back.

    antstrat gives GREAT advice in his posts - he’s spot on. Don’t worry about upgrading pots and caps for now - just get those fabulous 69’s loaded. Immaculate tones!

    They are bright! It’s going to be a stark contrast to your noiseless. I tend to run my tone knobs around 7-8 on the guitar that has 69’s loaded.

    I have a Weller soldering iron too - try to get one that has a light on it and 40 watts.

    I spent all weekend tinkering with my strats, soldering new pickups and adjusting pickup heights. Total bliss.
     
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