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Installing Don Mare Pickups in the 50s Strat - Pt. 1

Now it's more dissasembly of the old pickguard.  The pickups just unscrew.

The Stratocaster pickguard is a great example of Leo Fender's genius on several levels.  For one thing, almost all of the guitar's electronics - pickups, volume and tone controls, and selector switch - are all one on place and are put together as a sub-assembly and then just attached to the guitar.  Unlike a Telecaster, the people who are assembling the electronics never have to touch the guitar.

It also makes it easier for repair or modification - just take the whole thing off in one piece.  And of course, the shape is simply functional art - iconic.

As with the Surfcaster, I'm shielding the electronics.  I used copper tape for the body cavities.

Here's the control cavity - you can see the overlapping tape seams.  I won't win any awards for beauty, but it will be functional, and no one will see it when the guitar is back together.

You can also see the 'lip' around the top of the cavity - that will contact the aluminum shield on the bottom of the pickguard so the whole thing will be a 'box' around the electronics.

One of the old pickups is on the right, and one of the new Don Mare pickups is on the left.  The top bobbin on the old one looks totally different, and it's not wrapped with cloth tape like the new one.  The new one also has push-back cloth insulated wiring. 

Don's pickups look just like the old 50s pickups, and most importantly, they sound amazing.

The set I have is Don's "Super Sport" set.  This one is the bridge...note his signature.


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