Bass Gear Finds 2022 – Premier Guitar

Why change the wires of a microphone? Here is a list of reasons I hear most often in the store when someone brings in a pickup for this operation:

1. A wire is broken and needs to be replaced.

This can happen if the wire has been bent too much, or if it has been damaged with a soldering iron, a screw has split it, etc.

2. A used pickup was purchased on eBay or a similar marketplace and the wires are too short for your wiring.

Maybe one of the pre-owners cut it off the circuit at some point, rather than desoldering it to save the full length of the wire. The quick and dirty solution in such a case will be to extend the wire by soldering another piece of wire to it. For the “Trekkies” among us, that’s how James T. Kirk and Scotty would solve it. Jean-Luc Picard and Geordi La Forge would solder a new wire of the correct length to the microphone to replace the old one. Manage!

3. Change threads as quality update.

Often cheap mics have thin, poor quality plastic coated wires that will likely break soon. It’s always a good investment in terms of reliability and longevity to swap them out with a good quality wire.

4. Change wires for tonal and/or aesthetic reasons.

Changing the wire material can alter the sound of a mic, so replacing a cheap plastic covered wire with a good quality cloth covered wire will not only look more vintage, but also provide a slightly warmer tone. Or vice versa for a slightly brighter tone. Or maybe you want to upgrade your mics with high quality teflon coated or audiophile HiFi wire. Maybe you like having neon green and pink wires on your pickups, for some reason.

5. Change the wires to shielded cable to add more shielding to the sensor.

This often goes hand in hand with shielding the entire single coil pickup and is a logical step in such cases.

6. Change wires with NOS wire.

Often vintage pickups are modified with non-original wire, sometimes as part of a repair. Bringing them back to factory spec is a good investment to retain the value of a vintage pickup.

let’s start

So, you see, there are good reasons to change the wires of a microphone. This list is not complete ; of course there are others.

Now, let’s start our project by preparing the pickup for this operation. Above all, it is important to protect the windings of your pickup from damage. It only takes a split second to hit the winding with the tip of the soldering iron and that’s a scenario you don’t want.

Picture 1

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1. I simply put a standard plastic mic cover over the mic to protect the winding. I usually use two small zip ties to secure the cover, but you can also use two small screws and a hex nut, rubber band, or piece of tape.

Picture 2

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2. Look where the hot wires (usually white, yellow, or red) and ground wires (usually black) are connected to the sensor and mark one of them. I always hot mark the connection using a Sharpie, but you can also use a drop of nail polish, a small piece of masking tape…be creative.

Picture 3

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3. Measure the DCR (direct current resistance) of your sensor as a reference using your DMM (digital multimeter) and write it down. When this is complete, push the wires you want to replace up through the hole and pull them out, as shown in Picture 1, Picture 2and Picture 3.

Picture 4

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Now place the prepared sensor in a small vise and orient it so that you can look at the solder terminals to which the two wires are connected (Picture 4). Be careful not to apply too much pressure with the vise: we only want to secure the mic, not break it.

Picture 5

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Pre-tin the tip of your soldering iron and heat the solder point while gently pulling on the wire until it comes out (Picture 5). It shouldn’t take more than 2-3 seconds. A small chisel-shaped soldering tip is my weapon of choice. Warning: Do not touch the pickup coil with the soldering iron, it will melt. Repeat this procedure with the second wire.

Picture 6

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Strip the new wire, pre-tin it, pull it through the hole and bend it so that the stripped part touches the solder point (Picture 6). I prefer to guide the thread with my hands, but you can also use tweezers for this. Now pre-tin the tip of your soldering iron and heat the solder point while gently pushing the wire until it is inserted. It shouldn’t take more than 2-3 seconds. Repeat this procedure with the second wire. Cut the excess wire with a small wire cutter.

To verify your work, measure the DCR of the sensor and compare it to the value you measured before. Small differences are acceptable and may be caused by the higher temperature directly after soldering to the sensor, or the new wires may be a different type and have a different length. If you read zero or infinity, something is wrong and you should check your solder points.

Picture 7

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Remove the mic cover you put on the mic to protect the winding, and you’re done (Picture 7). Congratulations! If you do this regularly, you’ll get better and faster over time, so don’t worry if it takes longer than expected the first time.

Bonus: Stunning Pickup Wires

Staggering the pickup wires is a trick to not wasting wire, which can be a real problem when using expensive audiophile wires. Pickup manufacturers generally apply the same length of wire to all pickups, whether it’s a bridge, middle, or neck pickup. And they’re usually far too long, resulting in a good chunk of outdated and cut wires. To avoid this, you can only add the length of new yarn you really need. Here are the values ​​I use in store for a standard Stratocaster:

That’s all for this month. Next, we’ll continue with our guitar relic project, so stay tuned. youuntil then…keep modding!

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