Dean Dimebag – Pickup and Electronics Swap – EMG-X
A fellow metalhead from Burnet, TX wanted to switch out the stock pickups of his Dean Dimebag for some active EMG-X 81 and 85’s. Since the last time I installed an EMG pickup, they pulled a fast one on me and switched to a solderless electronics system. EMG may have had good intentions when they made the executive decision to change their entire product line for folks that want to install EMG pickups but don’t want to solder.
So each connection has a few inches of lead and ground wire, which either comes from the pickup, that goes to the pot, another wire that goes from the volume to the tone pot and into this circuit board hub which goes to the 3-way selector which goes out to the jack…. Seems simple, right? Well, the issue in all of that, was the wiring allotted to go from that circuit board hub was too short to make it to the output jack from this Dimebag model. It’s located uncommonly far from the rest of the electronics, but nonetheless, the wires needed to be traditionally stripped and soldered with extensions to make the full stretch from the electronics cavity to the output jack mount. Meh…
Another “gotcha” in wiring EMG products (which by the way, I’m totally an advocate of, they just require a few different procedures when installing) , are grounding issues. This Dean, had its electronics cavity lined with grounding paint, which acts as an electronic conductor to all that it touches. The issue being, EMG electronics contain all their grounding within the circuitry, and assume they are being mounted to bare wood, or at least, not electronics cavities with grounding paint.
If you were to mount the pots in the cavity “as-is,” you would have intermittent output and overall, bad tone. The only way to fix this, is to get rid of that paint! With my trusty Dremel tool acquipped with an abrasive wire brush, the grounding paint was turned to dust and this guitar went on to play so much metal, it rust.
No, it really didn’t, but we can agree on one thing, I am much better off with guitar repairs than attempting a career in comedy, right?