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Thread: Quick Connect -- To Offer or Not to Offer

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    Quick Connect -- To Offer or Not to Offer

    I get requests for this option from time to time, and as most of you probably (and rightly) suspect, it's mostly from players who don't know how to solder and flat-out don't want to learn.

    My usual response is that I don't offer it because you have a lead length problem -- you need to know the exact lead length, to within +/- a half inch anyway, before you can put the QC adapter on the end of the lead, and this length will vary from guitar to guitar, and even from player to player as some may want to keep a little more slack on the lead than others. And some may need to connect the pickup to a different pot or switch than others, even in the same type of guitar with the same control layout, ie: on a 4-knob guitar like an LP, maybe the customer wants the bridge pickup wired to what would traditionally be the neck vol/tone pot chain and vice versa.

    Needless to say, I don't trust the ability of someone who has no tinkering experience and no desire to change that to give me a lead length measurement accurate to fit their needs so I anticipate some frustrating back-and-forths because "it's too short", fix, "it's too long this time", fix, "still wrong, you stink, gimme my money back I'm going elsewhere".

    For many if not most of you, who tend to have many of each model already sitting on the shelf, this would be an even bigger problem. I have what I call Specials Page items laying around but my business model is overwhelmingly wind-to-order, so I at least have that level of flexibility but the lead length problem is still a head-scratcher for me. Like all of us I hate to turn away business, so, any thoughts?

    But maybe I'm missing something that could open the door to offering QC after all. Any thoughts?

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    (When I see "QC" I generally think Quality Control not quick change.)

    I'd say the only time is makes sense to go solder-less is if you need for your pickups to be drop in replacements in some existing solder-less connector system like EMG. Make it available but at a steep up charge and put connectors at the back of the pickup and make the interconnect cables to custom or standard lengths.

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    I can see where it would be a benefit for a customer to order a model-specific pickup set as a drop in replacement for a particular guitar. The issue I think is establishing what the lead lengths need to be for a stock guitar and not rely on a customer measurement. If I order an alternator belt for my car I only need to supply the year and model, they don't ask me to measure it - the manufacturer/supplier has already established what size is needed.

    I see this as a differentiating factor in a crowded market. Very often the choice of a replacement pickup is down to a final two options, often from different makers and the final choice may be based on some tiny detail. If one pickup set is QC and the other requires soldering this could swing the decision in favour of the QC pickups. Look at it from a customer perspective - they may not own a soldering iron, or want to cut off the existing connector and length of lead to graft onto the new pickup.

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    Woodgrinder/Pickupwinder copperheadroads's Avatar
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    What type of quick connect are you referring to . the Molex connectors like Gibson has used & still use on some models ?

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    "UP here in the Canada we shoot things we don't understand"

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    I had an Ampeg Dan Armstrong guitar many years ago, and it was designed so you could just plug in different voiced pickups. Maybe that idea needs to be revisited?

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    Supporting Member Jazz P Bass's Avatar
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    Wow.
    I remember those guitars.
    Space Age Lucite!

    Quick connect pickup was a good idea but the guitar itself needed to be routed out to let the pickup slip in.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mick Bailey View Post
    I can see where it would be a benefit for a customer to order a model-specific pickup set as a drop in replacement for a particular guitar. The issue I think is establishing what the lead lengths need to be for a stock guitar and not rely on a customer measurement.
    I thought of that, but as I said, the customer's guitar may be wired differently, say on an LP, they may have the neck pickup wired to the volume pot closer to the edge of the guitar (toward the floor when standing) which may require an extra inch or two -- or maybe they have the LP wired with a 2 volume, master tone and a pot devoted to Spin-A-Split or maybe a toggle switch for coil splits in place of the 4th pot. On top of that, there's also many different kinds of guitars available now with different control cavity and stock wiring layouts. It's hard to standardize in the face of all that.

    Look at it from a customer perspective - they may not own a soldering iron, or want to cut off the existing connector and length of lead to graft onto the new pickup.
    I get that, I talk to guys like that often enough that I thought it would be a good idea to start this thread. If it wasn't for this lead length headache, I probably would already be offering it.

    On the other hand, I fear that at least a significant minority (if not a majority) of those prospective customers who don't/won't do soldering and are chomping at the bit for QC's are a group that don't know much about pickups and likely have unrealistic expectations of what a pickup swap can do for their playing, will be vague and scattered about what they're looking for and are more likely to be disappointed in the results and want their money back. When I am talking to a customer and they don't seem to know what they want, I always encourage them to be as specific and picky about the sound as they can possibly be. I tell them that as counterintuitive as it sounds, the pickier they are, the more likely it is I can make them happy and that if they don't know what they want, how can I possibly know? Vague request = vague pickups = refund or at least bad word of mouth.

    Maybe it's sour grapes on my part but for all these reasons, the QC crowd always has me wary. What to do...hmmm...

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    I'm surprised you'd argue so passionately for a position that might cost you sales. I think part of the appeal of pickups is the sense of permanence that comes with soldering them in place, they become a part of the guitar. You need a special key called a soldering iron to put them or take them out. If the pickups are plug'n'play, they're not so much "part of the guitar", and a guitarist doesn't have as much reason to commit to what the pickup sounds like, or what it represents.

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    Seems like many guitarists own several if not dozens of guitars to fit whatever need they think they have. We have become so many uncommitted chameleons rather than finding our true voice and sticking with it.

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    Senior Member LtKojak's Avatar
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    Quick Connect for boutique p'ups?

    I wouldn't even dream of it. That's exactly the opposite of what the customer value when dealing with one.

    Next!

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    Pepe aka Lt. Kojak
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    How are you proposing that the customers connect their pickups to a guitar that already has Molex headers? Are you providing advice and instructions, or leaving them to it? If you do a trawl of forum discussions you can see it's a problem area and confusing for customers. Gibson already sells a QC adapter lead - a 5-pin plug and short flying lead to a small PCB. That may be an option to offer to customers. PCB fabrication is really cheap and can be silk screened with your own choice of pickup lead convention, though the pins are fiddly to fit and the proper crimp tool is expensive

    It's reported (though I haven't verified this myself) that with some guitars Gibson uses a different conventions between neck and bridge resulting in an out-of-phase middle position if not spotted.

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    I bought the crimper (a real Molex brand one. German or Swiss, I think) and two types of the quick connect plug ends. I sold a few sets with them and quickly realized it wasn't for me.

    The kicker for me was that, if someone is installing my pickups with the stock PCB harnesses that Gibson offers, they are wired up with "modern wiring" which is not generally what customers of my pickups actually want with them, not to mention fixed values for pots/caps and switches they may not use. The type of customer that's going to buy pickups with Gibson-style Molex quick connectors on them is not likely the same type of customer that's going to cut traces and mod a PCB harness to another circuit. The solution has been a replacement traditional-style harness for the component brands/values and schematic of choice in almost every case.

    I did use the crimper for repair/mod work for a time but my hourly rate and work load has exceeded the replacement value of those Gibson pickups with the QC plugs, at this point.


    I'll gladly sell my crimper and the remaining connectors I have to anyone here at a more than fair price. I don't get on this forum often though, so reach out directly if anyone wants it. info@re-wind.net 435-429-9622





    Quote Originally Posted by Mick Bailey View Post
    It's reported (though I haven't verified this myself) that with some guitars Gibson uses a different conventions between neck and bridge resulting in an out-of-phase middle position if not spotted.
    That's correct. Gibson USA guitars with push/pull pots have RWRP neck and bridge pickups so that when both pickups are split into singles, and the selector is in the middle position, you have hum cancelling.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zhangliqun View Post
    I get requests for this option from time to time, and as most of you probably (and rightly) suspect, it's mostly from players who don't know how to solder and flat-out don't want to learn.

    My usual response is that I don't offer it because you have a lead length problem -- you need to know the exact lead length, to within +/- a half inch anyway, before you can put the QC adapter on the end of the lead, and this length will vary from guitar to guitar, and even from player to player as some may want to keep a little more slack on the lead than others. And some may need to connect the pickup to a different pot or switch than others, even in the same type of guitar with the same control layout, ie: on a 4-knob guitar like an LP, maybe the customer wants the bridge pickup wired to what would traditionally be the neck vol/tone pot chain and vice versa.

    ... Any thoughts?
    Well, one for sure. One can use European style screw terminal strips intended for stranded wire. Solder the strips to the fretboard, insert 1/4" stripped wire into terminal strip, and tighten screw to clamp wire.

    https://www.amazon.com/Position-Styl.../dp/B0050CF4QI

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    Quote Originally Posted by Antigua View Post
    I'm surprised you'd argue so passionately for a position that might cost you sales.
    First, there's no position you can take on anything in any business that might not cost you sales. The only question is how many.

    Second, I'm not taking this position to be some spiteful old Luddite coot, I'm taking it -- again -- because so far no-one has solved the lead length problem for me. Make that go away and I'm all in...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zhangliqun View Post
    First, there's no position you can take on anything in any business that might not cost you sales. The only question is how many.

    Second, I'm not taking this position to be some spiteful old Luddite coot, I'm taking it -- again -- because so far no-one has solved the lead length problem for me. Make that go away and I'm all in...
    I'm not understanding the lead length issue. Why not allow for extra lead wire, and let the customer coil up the excess in the control cavity?

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    Because the customer will complain that it's too long.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zhangliqun View Post
    Because the customer will complain that it's too long.
    You said you get requests for quick connectors from time to time. If customers really want them, I'm sure they can get over it.

    But suppose a customer is so demanding to want both connectors and perfectly sized cables, if they remove the existing pickups first, as is inevitable, the existing lead wires should be easy to measure. And if they make a mistake in the measurement, that would certainly be on the customer, not on you.

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    Last edited by Antigua; 03-12-2020 at 05:32 PM.

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    ToneOholic! big_teee's Avatar
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    I don't understand the argument?
    If you want to sell pickups with quick connect, then do.
    If you don't want to bother with quick connect, then don't!

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    Last edited by big_teee; 03-13-2020 at 07:13 AM.


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