AIMING TO MAKE IT AS EASY AS possible to swap pickups into your guitar, Seymour Duncan has introduced the Liberator Solderless Pickup Change System ($35 retail/$24 street). This compact unit incorporates a ten-station pickup connector, a four-station connector for input and output, and a 250k or 500k pot, all mounted on a small PCB.
The Liberator on review here was already installed on a Strat-style pickguard with two Duncan humbuckers, a 3-way selector, two Volume controls, and a Tone control. All we needed to do was pop the assembly into a Strat body that had been routed out to accommodate a pair of humbuckers, connect it to the output jack (via the no-solder connector block), and presto, we suddenly had a very beefy sounding Strat with no hum.
Once installed in your guitar—a semicomplex procedure that involves routing the wires that exit from the pickup connector block as needed to the pots and switches in your guitar—the Liberator definitely takes the hassle out of changing pickups. You simply feed the bare ends from each pickup lead into the appropriate terminal on the connector block, and use the included mini screwdriver to tighten a screw-driven metal clamp that secures the wire. A colorcoded guide details where the conductors and shield wires from Duncan pickups are attached, and a chart for other manufacturers’ pickups is also provided.
For those who prefer to use soldered connections throughout, there are also ten brass pads on the underside of the board to facilitate this procedure. If you’ve ever struggled with trying to make a good solder joint on the back of a potentiometer, you’ll definitely appreciate this feature!
The volume pot mounted Liberator presented here is just the first in a series of “quick change” systems, as Duncan plans to offer pre-wired Liberator harnesses with volume and tone controls, as well as completely wired pickguards (such as the prototype version we tested) for a truly drop-in-and-play experience.
SEYMOUR DUNCAN LIBERATOR
SOLDERLESS PICKUP CHANGE SYSTEM
KUDOS Makes it easy to change pickups without the hassle of soldering. Can accommodate up to three single-coil or humbucking pickups.
CONTACT (805) 964-9610; seymourduncan.com
The Liberator installed.