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Alex_C

Pickups jammed in pickup route - extraction?

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I picked up a used Kiesel. The pickups are not stock. I wanted to see what brand/model they were, but they are jammed into the pickup cavity. Kiesels are known to have tight pup cavities, some pickup brands need to have their tabs filled to get them to fit. Whoever put these in used brute force to cram them in. The screws are superfluous at this point because these suckers are crammed in and don't move at all. How the #$@*(! do I get them out?
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well, something like this... man you wanna take care.  The guitar is finished in gloss?  even more care.  if it's jammed and you catch the edge of that gloss coming out - you'll be sorry.  Post some pictures... there are lots here who can help but I think I can speak for them all in saying that pics would help us/me/them help you best!

funny, I go look for keisel pickup route pics and first one... notice the little chips in the finish right where the pickups are. 

I would suggest you A) just leave them and enjoy or B ) prepare for needing a finish touch up to your gloss.  You could put some wax on the edge right there to try and help... maybe see if you can take all the screws/springs out and see if you can bend the little tab a bit... but then you have to get them back in w/o issue too.

hope that helps.

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can you mount a pickup ring upside down around it? (preferably metal) that might clamp down the edge finish while you work.

with the surface properly secured with a hold down plate of some sort, you should be able to simply rip it out with no damage to the finish.   similar to preventing tear out when drilling by using a backing block.

cut a pickup sized hole in a board and clamp it on the guitar is another option.  metal would be even better.

me personally, sounds like a job for an exacto knife.  cut away material from the bobbin / base / whatever, and the cavity walls below the finish. or just use the thin blade to move it around and persuade / tease it out.

see if you can cock it at an angle some for better clearance.  enlarging the cavity below the finish may help get you room to cock it up at an angle, then perhaps slide it out.  

there isn't any other way to get at the pickup, like a back cover plate, i assume.

proceed with extreme care, and infinite patience. 

worst case, determine how much finish you can cover with a pickup ring, and cut / file / dremel that material away as needed.

 

Edited by norm barrows

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I seem to remember their cavities are all copper taped, can you remove the tape at the same time as tugging on the pickup? might be just enough to get it angled enough to take it out. Absolute worse case, you could take a sharp chisel and remove a hair of material right by from where it's jammed, again just enough to get a bit of angle in there so you can work it loose. If you reapply some copper tape afterwards, it will never be seen. And def file the poles down before reinserting! The PRS single cut template I use regularly also have very tight routs and I have to round over the screw poles slightly (even with PRS pickups) to get them in as well.

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Some great advice here. Thanks to all. 

I never thought of using an exacto knife, this is the first thing I'l try. I also never thought that someone may have used double-sided foam tape! This is likely the problem because the pups don't move in any direction (can't even rock them) and one of the pup tabs isn't touching the side. The finish is matte, but I don't want to snag the top wood, so an exacto to make some room, then bend the tabs and use mini j-bars (modified allen keys) to pry them up. I'll order new pups and perform the surgery next week or so. I'll post pics of the operation. 

Low quality pics: 

This pup tab has some room, but no movement.

Top down view - poor angle.

This tab is touching the route.

The guitar

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4 hours ago, ADFinlayson said:

And def file the poles down before reinserting! The PRS single cut template I use regularly also have very tight routs and I have to round over the screw poles slightly (even with PRS pickups) to get them in as well.

I've had to take a bit a metal of pup tabs for some solid mount builds. It only takes a minute or two. Odd that people don't take the time do it properly.

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Instead of a knife, running a feeler gauge in and around the seam might work as well.

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