What types of pickup wires will fit into the Solderless harness connector blocks?
The RS Pro connector blocks I use for easy, solder-free pickup wire connections on my Solderless Series pre-wired kits have been tested with a wide variety of common pickup wire types, and comfortably will fit a wide variety of common pickup wire types.

Whether you have traditional single coils with cloth covered push-back style individual hot/ground wires, 4 conductor plastic coated wires or traditional braided 2 conductor seen on humbucker for example, they will all fit, but each will just need to be prepared slightly differently depending on which you have, for install. In this article I'll talk through what that prep work is, and how to install the wires into the connector blocks. I hope this helps make your install process that bit smoother.

Cloth covered push-back style wire
This is perhaps the easiest wire type to install into the solderless connector blocks. Minimal prep and the quickest/fastest to install. This wire type is most commonly seen on traditional single coils, where you'll most likely see an off-white colour wire, and a black wire, but sometimes the colours used vary from brand to brand, so as always, clarify with your pickup brand/manufacturers reference info prior to install to confirm.
To install these wires, simply push back the cloth covering using your fingers to expose around 5/6mm of central core wire. With that core exposed, insert it into the relevant connector. Tighten up with a small flat head screwdriver, I tend to just test it has a good grip on the wire by gently pulling and if not, loosen, re-seat the wire and tighten again. With the wire secured in the connector block, simply push the cloth covering back down to neaten up and you're good to go. 
Here are some photo examples of the process - 

2 conductor individual plastic coated wire
Some pickups will have 2 conductor, or two individual pickup wires, one hot, one ground much like the cloth wires discussed above, but instead are plastic insulated. So if you have thinner, plastic insulated/coated wires, they will work with the connector blocks too. To prepare those for install, you will need some wire strippers so you can trim back the coating to expose around 5mm of central core wire. Very often these plastic coated wires are stranded wire underneath the coating, so if this is the same for yours, then simply twist the wire so it forms a nice tight portion of wire that the connector block can tighten comfortably, then insert that into the relevant connector block and tighten. 
Here are some photo examples of the process - 

4 conductor plastic coated wire
4 conductor pickup wires are very common to see on many modern day humbucker pickups. They will however have a variety of colour codes used by pickup brands/manufacturers, so firstly you will need to refer to their information as to which colour wire is hot, ground and series link for example. A common reference point is to look at Seymour Duncan's colour coding, where the black wire is hot, green and 'bare' are both ground, and the red and white are both the series link wires. I have compiled a small reference sheet showing a selection of the most common pickup brand colour codes, but I highly recommend referring to each manufacturers own documentation for the specific pickup to ensure it is correct for the model of pickup you have.
The 2 'series link' wires will not be used on a traditional install like these, as none of my solderless kits ultilise coil splitting switching etc, so those need to be securely twisted together and taped off.
Much like the prior plastic coated wire prep method, using some wire strippers, strip back around 5mm of the plastic coating, twist the stranded wire to form a nice portion of wire that you can comfortably secure into the connector block. With 4 conductor pickup wire there is usually 2 ground wires, a coated wire as well as a 'bare' un coated wire, both of these need to be inserted together into a ground connector point/block. So best practice here is to securely twist them together and insert/tighten. 
Here are some photo examples of the process (shown with an Iron Gear brand pickup) - 

Traditional braided 2 conductor wire
If your pickups are vintage/traditional style 2 conductor 'braided' wire, then these will also fit the connector blocks used in the solderless series kits, you just need to prepare them to do so. First step is to push back some of the outer metal braiding. Then using some needle nose pliers or a small screwdriver, separate some of the braiding so you can twist and form an off-shoot of wire. This will be your ground, so with that twist of wire pop that into the connector block and tighten. Then your central core wire is the 'hot' signal wire and goes into the relevant connector block via the same methods as prior, exposing around 5mm of core to ensure a nice firm seat in the connector. 
Here are some photo examples of the process - 

This next recommendation would apply whether you're using a solderless kit, or a regular soldered install kit too. You may notice that for braided wire, all of that outer braiding is exposed within the cavity. If installed neatly this is rarely an issue, but if you are worried about that ground braiding touching 'live' contacts and causing issues, then simply pop some shielding over the braid such as an off-cut of heat shrink tubing for example. If you need some heat shrink tubing, then perhaps consider ordering some here, or from any good electrical store easily too. For reference, I use the 3.2mm diameter heat shrink tubing over 22awg 2 conductor braided wire when I am carrying out installs. Hope this helps! 

As always, if you have any questions or concerns about whether your pickup wires will be suitable, please just drop me a message or call and I'll be happy to help guide you through the install. I have tested these connectors with all varieties of pickup wires and they worked great so happily will advise on how to correctly install with you :)

22 July, 2023 by James P Gascoigne


Alan Birch

Alan Birch said:

Hi James I have previously purchased 2 wiring looms from you which have been fantastic. I now have another Strat and want to use my wire less loom but I have misplaced my wiring diagram as to which pickup goes to which contact. Could you please help and bail me out buy supplying the diagram for a ssh configuration
I will be in your debt. Regards Alan Birch 🎸

James Gascoigne

James Gascoigne said:

Hiya Alan,
No worries at all, good to hear from you and that you’re enjoying the kits still!

Main Solderless wiring diagrams page is here -https://www.homeoftone.co.uk/pages/solderless-wiring-diagrams-helpful-info

And the HSS Strat diagram specifically is here – https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/1117/5838/files/Solderless_HSS_Strat_modern.pdf?v=1601903322

If these web links don’t happen to work in the comment, then if you go to the main menu on the site navigation, click on wiring diagrams and the solderless page is linked there too :)

Hope this helps :)

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