Changing pickups on a Stratocaster

I decided to put my old stock pickups back on my Fender Stratocaster to get back that vintage, hummy sound. Here’s a small guide on how to change your pickups on a Stratocaster! Once you’ve figured out which pickup is which it’s very easy to do the switch.


Begin by removing the strings and then unscrewing the pick-guard. Since it might take a while, I recommend sitting in a comfortable chair. That might save any frustration or wire burning.


Establish where all the connections are going, that makes it easier when you’re installing your new pickups. Remember that some diagrams may be different. You can find diagrams by Googling your guitar.


It doesn’t really matter if you unscrew the old pickups before you unsolder, but I tend to do that so they pop out easier.


Find a proper temperature, never go hotter than you need. You might end up damaging the electronics if you heat them for too long. The older the equipment, the harder it tends to be to heat up old tin.


Begin unsoldering the connections. Be careful not to touch any wires and try to do it as smoothly and clean as possible. Simply het the tin up until it becomes liquid form, then pull the wire carefully away.


Clean off any excess tin that might cause problems in the future. Tin on tin solderings tend to break easier than if you go straight for the volume pot.


The new pickups were very straight forward. From top to bottom on the switch: Neck, Mid, Bridge. White, Yellow, White. The middle pickup is marked yellow so you know which of the pickups are reversed in polarity. All three black cables go straight to the volume pot.


Test your new pickups by plugging in a cable and tapping the pickups while changing the switch position. If everything sounds right and no other connections broke during the installation, you should be all set! If you experience loud hums you might have forgotten the grounding cable that is attached to the backside of the bridge. Remember to adjust the height of the pickup by screwing the two screws on the side that are balanced by a spring on the inside of the pick-guard.

Thanks for reading!