Swapping LP pups without removing strings?

79standard

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Hi gang! I just finished doing "due diligence" searching this wunnerful site before posting this, so I hope I'm not wasting anyone's time with it.:fingersx: The question is pretty much summed up in the title: I know there's a trick to swapping Les Paul pups without removing the strings, but I can't figure it out.:hmm: I'm at a stage where I'm really bonding with my LP and grooving on the fact that I can actually swap pickups without ruining the finish:lol: but I'm swapping out the pickups every few days out of curiosity and running through a lot of strings! Any help you could provide would be most...helpful.

(BTW, I'd like to put in a little plug for Fret Doctor...I LOVE this non-toxic sweet-smelling stuff. Best friend your fretboard ever had.):thumb:
 

SKATTERBRANE

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I just loosen the strings enough to slide the tailpiece off the studs, I do it all the time. Of course you would have to have had wound enough extra string on the tuners to give you the leeway to do this.
 

LeftyF2003

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What he said - you just have to be sure you leave enough wraps on the tuning posts to allow enough slack to slide the tailpiece out of the posts and set it to one side. Also be sure to support the tailpiece while you loosen the strings or it can drop on the top and slide across. Learned that one the hard way years ago!
 

River

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What they said. I have quick-connects in my wiring harness, so do it "all the time".
 

79standard

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Many thanks, Tone Brothers. I've tried to slack the strings enough to gently pull off the tailpiece, but it's just too tight. Looks like I'm just not leaving enough wraps on the strings. On the next re-string I'll try to have at least 3 or 4 wraps on each post...can anyone tell me how much string length that translates to?:hmm:

After 30 years of playing I am still so pathetic about changing strings! To me it's like programming a VCR!:laugh2: I think it's because I'm so used to 6-inline and locking tuners.

Also, I really dig your quick-disconnect idea: how do you achieve that? Do you use "push connectors" or screw-on terminals or...?

Thanks again, and I look fwd to any further wisdom.:fingersx:
 

BillB1960

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I've been able to do it on a non-Historic without even removing the tailpiece. I generally don't put more than 3 wraps on the wound strings or 4 wraps on the plain strings but I can still loosen the strings enough to get the pickups out without taking off the tailpiece. Gotta be really careful how you twist the pickup out but I've never scratched the finish.

I actually haven't tried to do this on my G0 but the mounting ring is quite a bit taller so I'm thinking it would be a lot more difficult.
 

79standard

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Thanks BillB, and everyone else. BillB, not sure how you manage to do that impressive stunt. And pardon my Gibsonian ignorance, but what does "G0" stand for? I've only just recently learned what "R" means.:laugh2:

Anyone else got any words o'wisdom? I'm liking all these replies.:applause:
 

River

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Yeah, I mean no, I don't remove the tailpiece. Same winds as Bill, and I just slacken the strings until they can be routed around the pickup rings. Then I change the pickups one at a time, using the still-mounted ring to help keep the strings out of the way.
 

b-squared

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I usually thread the string through the post, pull it taught, then measure to the next tuning post...then I back the string to that point and make my first bend to wrap.

Does that make sense? Anyway, that always leaves enough room to remove the tailpiece with the strings on.

BB
 

River

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I usually thread the string through the post, pull it taught, then measure to the next tuning post...then I back the string to that point and make my first bend to wrap.

Does that make sense? Anyway, that always leaves enough room to remove the tailpiece with the strings on.

BB
Same here, except I measure three finger widths, before sticking it through the hole.
 

BillB1960

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Thanks BillB, and everyone else. BillB, not sure how you manage to do that impressive stunt. And pardon my Gibsonian ignorance, but what does "G0" stand for? I've only just recently learned what "R" means.:laugh2:

Anyone else got any words o'wisdom? I'm liking all these replies.:applause:
G0 is just a plaintop Guitar Center exclusive R0. It has the same taller pickup rings as the other Reissues ("R"s)

As far as the "impressive stunt" I just hate wasting strings so I tried it without removing the strings and it worked. The reason for the number of wraps is that I want 1 wrap on top of the hole and 2+ underneath so the string is locked onto the tuning peg. I've found that my guitars stay in tune quite nicely with this configuration.
 

sj250

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I don't remove the tailpiece either, just unwind the strings enough that I can pull them up above the pickup with one hand and pull the pickup up and out with the other. I usually lift the pickup at an angle so one of the feet is higher than the body and then slide it out to the side like that. Just did it last night to put the new Sheptones in!
 

79standard

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You guys are awesome! :thumb: And River, thanks for the great straight line!:naughty:
 

River

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You couldn't figure that out yourself? Wow :D
:rolleyes:

Look, senor know-it-all, I didn't go through with it for quite a while. The risk of denting/scratching is actually pretty high, especially since it's not easy to, nor obvious that you should or not, remove the bridge and tail piece, which are now free to flop about.

Go show your mom your post.
 

79standard

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BTW, I'm seeing the "Thanks Ratings" under everybody's name and I'm wondering how they're tallied. Clearly I'm missing something?
 

79standard

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:rolleyes:

Look, senor know-it-all, I didn't go through with it for quite a while. The risk of denting/scratching is actually pretty high, especially since it's not easy to, nor obvious that you should or not, remove the bridge and tail piece, which are now free to flop about.

Go show your mom your post.
River-san, not only are you a big help, you are too funny!:dude:
 

River

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BTW, I'm seeing the "Thanks Ratings" under everybody's name and I'm wondering how they're tallied. Clearly I'm missing something?
You can only "Thank" the thread-starter. Your only option with responses is "Like".
 

79standard

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Out of all my axes, my LP is the one I'm most terrified of gouging.:wow: It's like a fine piece of furniture, and I don't mean that as a slag against its playability or musicality. That's why I'm so glad you've all been so helpful with this, as your advice both prevents me from wasting strings AND keeps me from plowing furrows into my almost-new finish. (Yes, I promise I'll get to taking some pix. :)
 




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