Setting Up Your Bass Guitar| New pickups
Next, the new pickups. You can see from the picture that the old ones are somewhat lower than they should be. The reason: the foam that acts as a crude spring to push the pickups up has deteriorated, so this needs to be replaced. Remove the scratchplate and cavity control plate, but before you remove any wires make a quick drawing of where they go – never rely on memory alone! Unsolder the old units, and before you solder the new ones clean the terminals and the back of the pots with some wire wool. If you try and solder onto a dirty surface it will not stick, and remember to tin the ends of the new cables first by covering them with solder.
New pickups always come with instructions, but generally the black wire will go to earth and the white or red will be the feed to the pot or to the switch. Bear in mind that these J-style pickups have a 'front' and a 'back', so you need to make sure you get them the right way round. Make sure you get a good join on the back of the pots – you'll need a 25W iron but do be careful not to fry the pots, and use fresh solder rather than the solder that is already there.
Our new pickups have four rubber sleeves on the screws to act as springs to hold the pickups up, and you should be able to see how I've put a small piece of Blu Tack around them to stop them from falling off when you turn the pickup around to screw it in. I've also put some foam from the pickup packaging under the pickup to help push them up towards the strings. The new pickups are a slightly different shape to the old ones so I've had to re-shape the scratchplate a little: all that's needed is a piece of glasspaper wrapped around an improvised round-section sanding block, in this case a Maglite torch.
1. Setting Up Your Bass Guitar
2. Setting Up Your Bass Guitar| New pickups
3. Setting Up A Bass Guitar | Fretboards
4. Setting Up A Bass Guitar | Set Action
5. Setting Up Your Bass Guitar | Picture instructions