New Seymour Duncan Pickups for an ESP LTD

Experimenting with various pieces of gear is one aspect of the guitar hobby that appeals to most players.  This Indonesian-built ESP would benefit from some after-market modifications.  Here We Go!

This is not a bad guitar, and is surprisingly easy to play despite it’s flying-Vee shape.

What the customer wants, the customer gets!  These will fit right in to the guitar without any modification.

As you can see, this guitar is strung through the body.  If you look closely, you can see that the string saddles are all going the same direction.  From a practical point of view, this doesn’t make much difference as long as the intonation can be set properly, but many an Internet flame war has been waged over the ‘correct’ saddle orientation.  Spare me.

These are the original factory pickups.  They work fine, and will be saved and returned to the customer.

The main work will happen underneath this cover.  All of the wiring is terminated here.

The original electronics are just fine.  I’ll cut the tie-wrap and sort out where the existing pickups are wired.

Both pickups are wired directly to the selector switch.  The red cable is the neck pickup.

Note that the trim screws are different length.  Knowing which screw goes where will be important when putting everything back together.

We are liberating the the neck pickup and trim ring.  Note the red insulation.

The cable to the bridge pickup is covered in black insulation.  Note the common passage that both cables use on their journey to the wiring cavity, accessible from the back.

Houston, we are clear the launch tower.

The original pickups were stored in the same container in which the new pickups were delivered.  And, because I’m forgetful, I made a note about which one was which.

I clipped the wires in order to remove the old pickups.  The solder sucker is clearing away the terminal where the neck pickup was wired.

Now we’re cleaning up where the new bridge pickup will be soldered.

All the shields were wired together and attached to the body of the selector switch.  Here, I’m cleaning this up so that a new solder connection to the shielding braid can be made.

With all the hardware off, this might be a real good time to clean everything up, don’t you think?

That’s better!  Oops, I did it again…  Guitar Porn!

The Seymour Duncan pickups were wired for split coil operation, but we’re not using that option today.  Thus, the two halves are soldered together, as shown here.

Heat shrinkable tubing insulates and protects the splice.

The original pickup trim rings are cleaned up and polished.

Can you guess which one is the neck pickup trim ring and which one is the bridge pickup trim ring?

With a little patience, the new pickups are integrated into the trim rings using the springs and screws provided.

Here, I’ve snaked the neck pickup cable through the body of the guitar.

And as we saw earlier, the cable passes through the bridge pickup route and onward into the electronics cavity.

I’ll use a couple of the trim ring screws to temporarily keep things in place.

Same with the bridge pickup.

The new cables were soldered where the old pickup cables were originally installed, and a fresh tie-wrap will keep things under control.  We’re done here.

Now that the guitar is closed up, it’s time for a little Fret Love.

We’re all set up and ready to play!

Jacob does a final test on the electronics and guitar action.  He was pleasantly surprised that such a radical-looking guitar could be so easy and fun to play!  Good Job, Unbroken String Crew!


Thanks for reading all the way to the bottom.  More Guitar Porn to come!

David Latchaw  EE


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