#2
It's harder to work with because it melts at a higher temperature, but yes there is lead-free solder. It's used in a lot of manufactured electronics to meet RoHS standards.
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#3
Quote by Mike-T93
It's harder to work with because it melts at a higher temperature, but yes there is lead-free solder. It's used in a lot of manufactured electronics to meet RoHS standards.

So is it going to wreck the sound of my guitar? And where can I get it from? Does any old lead free solder (from somewhere like radioshack) work? Or do I need some specialized stuff?
#4
you need a HOT soldering iron. You will get far better results from doing a neat, tight, clean job with cheap solder than a sloppy, loose job with expensive stuff.
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#6
Quote by timbit2006
60/40 solder is what's recomended for electronics.

But can I use lead free solder? Will it ruin the sound of my guitar? I know that a few times just soldering with leaded solder won't hurt me, but I really want to avoid lead as much as possible, especially if I am to get in to guitar repair.
#7
just use a mask if u are concerned about the fumes, honestly its not worth the effort, plus you can damage pots if you heat them up to much, which will be possible with the temp required to melt silver solder.
#8
I find that lead-free solder is really hard to work with and I'm not going to use it again. But if you are worried about the fumes from the lead solder, get a solder fume extractor.
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#9
Why stick to lead-free? Look at those guitar stars - the probably don`t even know what that is! Instead of wasting time (effort and overheated parts) on lead-free soldering, solder it with a regular one and spend those hours playing

And no, it won`t ruin your guitar tone. Solder can neither ruin the tone, nor make it noticably better.

Cheers. Ace.
#10
Everyone saying things about the fumes, that's irrelevant. Soldering takes place at a much lower temperature than the vaporization temperature of lead. The fumes from solder are just from the rosin in the core, which is harmless.

@OP Just use whatever you're comfortable with. If you're really concerned about lead poisoning from contacting solder once in a while go ahead and buy a good iron and some silver solder. Just be aware that it will be more difficult to solder and you will run more risk of damaging components due to the higher temperatures involved. It will have absolutely no effect on tone or reliability as long as your solder joints are good, though.
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#11
Lead solder is harder to work with, but usually because it requires more preparation and better technique when soldering. I have to work with it quite commonly at work to make sure that any testing we do will properly mimic what our actual product will be like.

You really want to make sure you have a clean surface when you work with it, and you also might want to use flux, even if the solder already has it. I normally take whatever I am soldering to, say the back of a guitar pot, and use a dremel tool to rough the surface up and then clean if off with alcohol if I have to use lead free solder.

It requires a higher temperature, but can be safely done to a guitar. Heck... depending on where you live leaded solder may not even be legal to use anymore.

If you don't know how to solder, or have very poor technique 60/40 is very forgiving. 63/37 is better to work with as it does not have the middle stage between solid and liquid (its exact name escapes me).

Lead free solder is not forgiving, and it will not stick at all if you don't have a clean part or a hot enough iron.

If your worried about the fumes, its not a big issue. Only minimal amounts of lead may be in the fumes, as its more the flux. That being said the flux is not good for you to breathe in either. If it bothers you that much just get a small fan on the desk that will blow it away from your face while you work. I actually have to have a fume extractor at work because of how much exposure I can possibly have to it.
#12
OK thanks guys, I think I'll just go with the 60/40 leaded stuff
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#13
It is illegal to use leaded solder in Ireland. I was fortunate enough to find an old hardware store that was closing down and I bought up their last dozen tubes of the good stuff.
I've used lead-free but as mentioned, it takes quite a bit more heat and better preparation.
Always make sure your work is ultra clean, 'tin' the surfaces by applying liquid flux and melting a small bit of solder, so that when you make the join, it is solder to solder which is quick and easy. This avoids overheating the pots which can cause problems.
Tone-wise, there is no difference if the job is properly done.
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#14
I would like to add:
On a personal scale, Lead solder is way more easier to use, and if you inhale enough fumes, some wierd shit happens.
I have 2 containers of it, from when my dad was a kid in the 70s.

Then, I go to grab my Rosin-core solder, and I'm like shit... No funky fumes. This is so hard to melt. My soldering iron can barely get to a high enough temperature to melt Lead-free solder.

EDIT: Sometimes, I accidentally lick my solder and bite it, while mistaking it for lead-free. I usually bit the solder and pull to get out of the tube, because my 2 hands are busy.
..I was watching my death.
Last edited by timbit2006 at Jun 23, 2010,
#15
lead solder won't hurt you unless you're chewing on it or something. the fumes do not contain lead since lead atomizes at a much higher temperature than what soldering involves, all the fumes are from the rosin core flux which is present in both lead and lead free solder. lots of exposure to the fumes can be bad for you, but if you're just doing it occasionally as a hobby you should be fine.
#16
Fumes won`t hurt you unless you`re working with it every day for a decade or so. If you smoke a pack of cigaretts a day then it blasphemy to be afraid of the fumes

Cheers. Ace.