Changing a line6 piezo pickup in a Variax Guitar
First get your replacement pickup from line6, I got sent one for free as I had just had my board replaced on a second hand Variax 300. Thanks Line6.
Now get your tools ready, you will need a heat controlled or gas soldering iron, some flux to get rid of the old solder, some solder, some Philips screwdrivers and your variax.
I was told by support that you can replace the pickup by loosening the strings and lifting the bridge, but my soldering is not that good and I didn’t want to damage my guitar so I took the strings off using a string winder. Here she is on my makeshift operating table, note the towel underneath so as not to scratch the guitars finish.
So firstly loosen or remove all your strings using your fingers or if you want to do it quickly, use a string winder.
Remove the four screws holding the bridge onto the guitar, you can then see the circuit board and the plug that you need to remove to take the bridge off completely.
Once all your strings are removed, she looks bald but I found this a necessary step.
You can now remove your bridge and replace the offending pickup.
Here is what the bridge looks like out of the guitar, make sure you remember what string was making a noise or crackling, you don’t want to change a healthy pickup.
Here is what the bridge looks like from underneath. As you can see Line6 have kindly labelled the pickups from high E to Low E.
Now get your soldering iron out and use your flux to remove the old solder from the offending pickup. I don’t have a temperature controlled soldering iron so I used a gas one, just as good.
My offending pickup was my D string and it made a horrible droning noise, when played. So remove the solder and mind you don’t burn anything, shush don’t tell the misses 🙂
Once you have removed the solder, you can pull the pickup out from the top of the bridge and put the new one in, by poking the wire through the hole and out of the circuit board, here you can clearly see the hole the wire needs to go through.
As mentioned above feed the wire through the hole in the top of the bridge and then through your newly exposed hole in your circuit board.
Now simply solder the wire back and your guitar will sound like new again. I did mention my soldering was not that good. Take a look at my newly soldered D string piezo pickup.
Now all you need to do is plug your bridge back in, screw in the 4 screws and re-string.
And here she is all fixed and sounding much happier.
Copyright © Shane Hogan
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