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Swapping pickups can be a daunting task. Putting your beloved axe under a soldering iron can be expensive if you take it to a tech, or just unnerving if you try to do it yourself. The time it takes to warm up a soldering iron, which wire goes where, and if you’re mixing and matching pickup brands, which wiring chart to use, can all lead to frustration (not to mention burnt fingers).
Seymour Duncan is looking to change that with their new Liberator Solderless Pickup Change System ($35 retail). It replaces your volume pot (available in 250k and 500k values) and has a small circuit board mounted on it with all the connections you’ll need for installing it on any guitar. The connections are as solid as a solder joint, with no chances of failure like a cold solder joint. And if you think this is just for guitarists, you’re wrong; it’s designed to work for bass pickups as well.
While it was designed for guitar techs to be able to swap pickups quickly and easily, once installed a novice should have no problems using it. Seymour Duncan has a video showing a pickup change in less than two minutes on their website. It’s something akin to a patch bay, connections to your instrument are done with the typical input, output and ground, either via the solderless quick connect block or soldering the connections to the gold plated pads on the back. Connecting your pickups is as simple as sliding the pickup’s wires into the terminal block on the circuit board, and tightening the set screw. A wiring chart is included that will enable you to use any brand of pickups with this system. The Liberator supports any combination of up to three pickups and it also accommodates two and four conductor wiring.
For anyone that’s shied away from changing his or her pickups, this system might be the trick to help quickly (and easily) dial in your tone. For a professional guitar tech who is constantly changing pickups, this should make life a whole lot easier.