Epiphone Musical Instruments is one of the brands owned by Gibson Guitars. It specialises in creating student and beginner versions of Gibson models of guitars. Epiphone instruments are of lower quality than their Gibson counterparts but substantially cheaper to purchase. The pickup switch on an Epiphone guitar or bass can become damaged or broken over time. Issues with the pickup switch often prevent the guitar from making any sound through an amp. This might happen only when specific pickups are selected or for all of the pickups. The pickup switch can be replaced relatively quickly and easily.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Challenging
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Things you need
- Pen or pencil
- Replacement pickup switch
- Solder iron
- Needle-nose pliers
Remove the back panel directly behind the pickup switch, using a screwdriver to remove the screws holding it in place.
Write down which wires are connected to each tab on the pickup switch. Some of the wires might be the same colour, but identical-coloured wires will be coming from different pickups. Make sure you write down what pickup each wire is connected to in order to avoid confusion.
Plug the solder iron and let it sit for a few minutes to warm up.
Grip a wire with the needle-nose pliers. Use the solder iron to melt the solder connecting the wire to the old pickup switch.
Unscrew the mounting screws holding the old pickup switch in place. Remove the switch from the guitar.
Place the replacement pickup switch into the hole where the old switch used to be.
Secure the pickup switch in place using the mounting screws. You can use the old screws or new ones that came with the switch.
Grab a wire with the needle-nose pliers. Hold the exposed end of the wire against the same tab the wire was connected to on the original switch.
Touch the tip of the solder iron against the end of the solder. You should have a drop of liquid solder on the tip of the solder iron after doing so.
Touch the drop of liquid solder to the exposed end of the wire and the pickup switch tab. The drop should deposit itself onto the wire and tab.
Remove the tip of the solder iron. The solder will harden near instantaneously. The solder should hold the wire securely to the tab. You can add another drop of solder if the connection does not appear secure.
Reattach all of the wires to the new pickup switch using the same procedure.
Replace the back panel on the guitar. Screw all of the screws into place to secure the panel.
Tips and warnings
- Pickup switches come in a variety of sizes and styles. It is easiest to replace the switch with the exact same model of switch. If you are unsure of what pickup switch to get, remove the pickup switch and take it to a musical instrument store and compare it to the available models to find the closest match.
- Gibson and Epiphone parts are often similar in style and size but are not necessarily identical matches.
- Solder irons are very hot. Make sure you are careful not to touch the tip. Solder irons take a significant amount of time to cool down. It is not safe to touch the tip, even if the solder iron has no power, after it has been used.
- Make sure you use electrical solder for replacing a pickup switch in an Epiphone guitar or bass. Plumber's solder will cause the parts to become corroded.
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