Guitar Repairs 101: Coil-splitting a humbucking pickup (part six)

Ed Mitchell (of Ed's Shed-fame) tackles the tasks that we can't fit in the mag!

Last month I showed you how to prepare the push pull potentiometer (or 'pot' for short) with a built-in DPDT switch. Before I move on to the really technical stuff, I want to address a couple of questions that I've had from Total Guitar readers.

To install your new pot in your guitar you have to remove the old one. Yeah, I realise that's obvious but some of you may find it tough to pull your knobs off (no laughing at the back). This is especially true with the classic plastic knobs fitted to Fender and Squier Stratocasters and those guitars that 'pay tribute' to them. It can be hard to get any grip on these knobs, so try this easy tip if you're having difficulty.

1. Using your digits, pull the knob up until a gap appears between the edge of the knob and the scratchplate.

2. Next, slide the edge of a plastic ruler under the knob. You can use a credit card – preferably an old one – if you don't own a ruler.

3. Apply some upward pressure on the ruler while slowly turning the knob. Keep at it. The knob will eventually begin to loosen.

4. Pull the knob off, put it to one side and prepare yourself for some hot soldering action…

Yep, next time we're going to put all that solder practice you've been doing to good use. I'll show you how to work out where each wire goes in the control cavity, so we can finally put this bad boy to bed.

Subtle hint: this would be a good time to check out the previous five instalments ofcoil-splitting a humbucking pickup to bring yourself up to speed. If you miss a step, you won't be able to do this job properly. We're nearing the end of the road here so be prepared and I'll catch up with you again next month.

Ed Mitchell -

Check out Ed's Shed in Total Guitar issue 208 (on sale 29 October - 25 November) for a guide to adjusting the height of locking top nuts.