Replacing hardware on a Yamaha Pacifica

So i have a Yamaha Pacifica 112LH. This was my first electric guitar i’ve ever bought.
Now that i have a few guitars, which all sound different, i’m thinking of replacing the hardware on this guitar.
Why? It’s a project i’d like to start to learn more about pickups/humbuckers and overall electronics regarding the guitar.
Also i’d like to have a different sound. The pickups/humbucker that are in place now, are the standard ones.
But here’s the problem. I know in my head what kind of sound i’d like to have, but i find it difficult to express into words. Think of it as a metal/blues combo.
I’d like to have the grit (if that makes sense) of metal, along with the warmth and depth of the blues sounds.
I don’t know if this is even possible, but looking at different pickups/hardware online, i got lost.
First of all, where does one buy pickups online, when living in Europe? There’s a lot to choose from outside the E.U., but i’d like to avoid import fees.
Second, do pickups/humbuckers have standard sizes? Or do you have to measure the dimensions of the hardware fitted in the guitar, to compare with the hardware i’d like, to see if they’ll fit?
Third, how reliable are those yt videos, reviewing hardware?
Since this is all very new to me, i’d like to know what the community thinks about this and what your experience is in this matter.

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Hi @GrytPipe, I managed to successfully mod my Pacifica.

I think went a bit crazy installing a P90 pickup at the neck, as this required a router to enlarge the hole.

I left the humbucker pair in at the bridge as these drive my overdriven sound nicely.

I bought the parts from https://www.northwestguitars.co.uk/

But I’m sure once you start searching for specific parts a local shop will pop up in google.

I like watching that pedal show https://youtube.com/c/ThatPedalShow
for ideas on tone, but that’s a deep rabbit hole :grin:

For me, the humbuckers are good for the overdriven sound and the P90s sound warm and rich. I got the idea for the P90s after learning of the LesPaul Gibsons.

I Would guess that you may improve the tone replacing the single coils, not too big of a job but they do need the wires shouldered in.

Happy searching :slightly_smiling_face:

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Hello @liaty , and thank you for the advice. Your mod worked out fine.

For me, taking a router and making bigger holes is out of the scope of this project, i’m afraid.
I’d like to replace the pickups with others, without the need of a router. Same goes for the humbucker.
Would you think that a P90 (for instance) would fit where the original humbucker sits now?
Soldering is not going to be the problem, it’s more about the dimensions of the pickups.
Does every pickup have a the same dimensions or do they differ?

Also, i’m a fan of that pedal show, been watching them for years now. :slight_smile:

The P90s I bought were both wider and deeper than the single coils and deeper (at least) than the humbuckers. I did find these online (US I know, but it shows they exist):

As for reviews, I think if you search on YouTube Both Paul Davids and Matt from the pedal show have done a “expensive pickups vs/in cheap guitar” video.

What I learnt doing mine was:

The stock single coils sounded thin and weedy to me, but I haven’t had / played any decent guitars to compare against. So it could be the case that they are all like that and I’m just amplifying them “wrong”?

The P90s sound both deeper and richer compared to the replaced single coils and provide a “lush” clean tone. I went for this sound to make the switch completely from my acoustic guitar, so now my “acoustic” strumming sound songs I can play on the electric and it sounds nice (to me).

When I took out the single coils they had no markings or ‘brand’ indicated so assuming just cheapy stock stuff.

The humbuckers were marked up and to me sound strong and ‘full’ they overdrive better than the P90s because the extra low end you get from the P90s turns to mush when pushed too far.



2 Likes

@liaty solid gold!

Thank you for the pictures and feedback. Now i don’t have an all too big of a surprise when opening her up.

And now i’m thinking this over, since she’s a blond, i think i’ll give her some colour too. Don’t know what exactly yet, but seeing that i’m going to change some hardware, might as well change te colour too.
This is going to be one fine project. Don’t know how long this will take me, but i’ll get there.

Again, thank you for the help!! :+1:

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That’s a pretty decent choice - putting a P90 in. The routing looks decent - I’ve never taken a router to a guitar, but they are scary enough anyway.

…Always good to have a dog that can help with the tech side too :grin:

@AndyTake2 Always need a sniff of approval :slightly_smiling_face:

Also, check out pickups even though you might not want them but they have a good description. Example: Bare Knuckle pickups makes awesome but expensive pickups. What you could do is check them out; they have samples but also detailed info on values and a little graph about their low-mid-high response. Based on those figures, you might figure out where oyu need to go to make that sound in your head expressable in numbers.

Example; check this product page

compare the sound to the values and other pickups you like.

Also, there are manufacturers that stack humbuckers into the casing of a single coil and some make real hot ones… There is soo much to choose from but know that it isn’t "the hotter (high output signal) the better! Many factors come into play; especially pickup high, gain settings and neck versus bridge, humbucker versus single coils etc.

for measurements; all guitars have certain string spacings and pickup sizes you want to take into account but.

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@LievenDV
Thank you very much for this insight. This will help a lot. I knew there was someting too it, but now i see that there’s much more that will need consideration.
The pickups even have different covers? That made me think what i’m going to do with the body.
Which colors, what desing… This is going to be fun!

standard strat single coil pickups should all be the same an yes, that gives oyu some options for selecting a color. you’ll probably have to buy the colored cover elsewhere as most pickups come in 1 or 2 colors only

Yep.

The project is (in my head) coming along like this:

  1. Take the guitar apart, being carefull to take note what was where. (Especially the wiring)
  2. Decide in what color(s) are going to be used and how. (spraypaint, brush…)
  3. Getting the body ready for paintjob(s).
  4. Applying paintjobs.
  5. Deciding on new hardware.
  6. Building the guitar back and see that it works.

All through these stages, i’m going to document this project and post it here…

Small update: i should have included in the list parts 0 = getting the materials and 0,5 = how do i replace pickups/humbuckers?

Part 0 is almost complete.
I have a list of items i’m going to be needing (from sandpaper to spray cans).
I’m also going to have to make a “thingy” that can hold the body of the guitar somewhat horizontal for painting purposes.
Part 0,5 = this here has helped a lot too in getting a better clue at what the hardware needs to be doing and what i can get/want/pay.

And all this while i’m working full time, going to school in the evenings (twice a week) and keeping my family happy too. I think i’m going to be needing more than 24 hours in a day. :crazy_face:

Oh well, one step at a time, i guess.

So, i’ve decided on 2 pickups to use. 1 on the neck position and one in the middle.
On the neck i’d like to fit a telecaster style pickup and in the middle, a stacked noiseless single coil.
The humbucker in the bridge position is yet to be decided, but i’m thinking of either a gibson 57 or a filtertron. (if this is possible)

What do you guys think? Could this work? The guitar has a 5 position switch, so that’s also a thing to keep in mind.
From what i can tell, by looking at vids at yt, they all sound very nice, clean and/or distorted.

Any feedback/ideas are welcome.

That’s a very fun project and you will also gain some experience in setting up your guitar your way.

As other friends here have said, there’s a wild choice of pick ups to choose from. I went for DiMarzios Heavy Blues 2 and Heavy Blues which sound quite versatile, quite sensitive to the dynamics of the picking as well. I think in my case they sound a bit darker than I expected but I quite like that. And I suppose changing the wiring, capacitors etc could affect this if I’m not happy later on.

You don’t need to worry too much about the wiring. Keeping a record is good but there’s a ton of wiring diagrams online. I had one to follow and in the end I did my own thing so, I didn’t follow it to the letter (i.e., one tone knob adhusts bridge and neck and the other the middle pickup which isn’t the “standard” way). Point is, it’s your project, go crazy.

What I’d say though, while at it, a good upgrade could be the nut. It doesn’t cost much and those TusqXL nuts sound good. I don’t own stocks in Graphtech but I’m quite pleased with their nuts.

To your HB question, I suppose it depends on the kind of music you’d like to play with this guitar. If your chosen HB fits in the slot, then all is good.

Thank you for the insight. That was very helpfull. I’m hoping tot learn from this project indeed.
Regarding the hb’s, i think i’m going tot buy a 57. But that might be overruled by a Seymour… :slight_smile:
I have a hollowbody here that seems tot be asking for filtertrons, but that’s going tot be a job for a luthier.

Right now, it’s gettung the tools required for the job. Slowly but surely, i’ m getting there.

Here’s a picture of how she looks today.

Gryt

For PUPS, pots and condensers, take a look at Iron Gear.

They are darn good quality, create smoking tones, come in all shapes and sizes. And are really good value for money, I have 2 Hammer Head HBs (split) and a Smoke Stack II (single but two split coils) on my HSH affinity, that was upgraded from SSS a few years back. The result was a tired 20+ year old POS became very hot and very useable. See my Learning Log that covers the pimped Fender project.

:sunglasses:

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Hey Toby, thank you for the link. I had a look around and this here caught my eye… (From their site)
Are your pickups wax potted?
Yes.
Why?
Because it makes them less prone to microphonic feedback.
What’s that?
It’s a nasty noise used to frighten people who can’t use Google. :crazy_face:

Apart from that, their gear looks smashing. Something to take into consideration for the build.

Unfortunately, they’re located in the UK, and since Brexit, authorities over here love to add some revenue to everything bought outside the E.U. (highway robbery, if you ask me, but it’s there). I’m not a big fan of the government over here, so if i can skip added taxes, i will.
You wouldn’t know if they have a warehouse in these parts? (Somewhere in the neighborhood of Belgium?)

I’ll defintily check out your learning log for any tips an tricks regarding your previous build.

Gyrt

Re the B word. They cater for that in their prices, I’ll see if I can find it on the website (I’m in France). From what I recall last time I looked for a possible pup replacement on one of my Washburns, they drop VAT for Eurozone customers, so when you pay the import tax at your end, it evens out. Also time last time I looked they were still distributing from the UK but a lot of companies are setting up in the EU to avoid the extra hassle.

See what I can find !

:sunglasses:

Oh that would be fantastic.

And it’s adding to the list of hb’s i’m taking into consideration. (oh god, even more choice… :rofl:).

Let’s fire up yt once more for comparisons.

Again, many thanks for all the help!

OK just checked their distribution site

At the bottom of the pages see this

image

So that balances out the import duty. Simples