#1
Getting this guitar that has an active pickup and I wanna switch it out for a passive. Actives come will smaller pots than guitars equipped with passives, and I plan on buying a 500K CTS Precision Tolerance Audio Taper Pot and switching it in place of the old one.

I have never installed new pots or even changed guitar pickups before but since this guitar has only one pickup, and since I'm tired of throwing my money at these over-payed guitar techs, I figured I might as well learn how to do it now. Obviously I'll need a soldering iron, and something to strip wire, right?

I know the dimarzio will come with instructions, so that should help, but regarding the size difference in pots, I will most likely have to drill so that the new pot will fit. I want the least amount of damage done to my guitar.

Can you guys give me any recommendations, and maybe post a couple links in your responses to any drills or other tools that I havent mentioned that you think I should acquire?
Last edited by DeathShredder23 at Jan 6, 2014,
#3
I am going to need to unscrew the washer and all that. What kind of pliers do I need for this kind of job? Don't I also need something to scratch the surface of the pot so that the solder sticks more easily?

Help me out guys.
Last edited by DeathShredder23 at Jan 6, 2014,
#4
You don't need to scratch the back of the pot to solder to it.
I would avoid that, the residue may find its way inside the pot. Which would be a bad thing.

You can just use an adjustable wrench (Or Crescent wrench as they are called here in the US) to remove the current pot.
A socket would be better if you have access to those.
When tightening the pot back up, hold onto the pot (your fingers will do fine for this) so that the pot doesn't twist and possibly damage your work.

To solder on the back of the pot, you will need a large soldering iron tip. At least one larger than what you would use for the pot tabs.
A little bit of flux helps too.
Look around for flux pens in a pinch. They look like a "magic marker" type of thing but contain flux instead of ink.
As for cleaning the back of the pot, a simple pencil eraser works well, followed by preferably, acetone, although rubbing alcohol will do in a pinch.
An acid brush is helpful for cleaning remaining flux is a good idea as well.

Use Q-tips as an alternative.

If you tend to get into DIY electronics work more, get Isopropyl alcohol from a hardware or electronics store.
You can use the alcohol you find in most pharmacies, but those are only 70% or 90% alcohol. The remaining bits are perfumes and such so you may get some residue (although minimal amounts).
Last edited by CodeMonk at Jan 6, 2014,
#5
There are 3 main shaft diameters that I know of. The small pots (16mm) usually have a 1/4" shaft, the large pots (24mm) have either 5/16" or 3/8" shaft. Note that I am referring to the threaded portion of the shaft, not the part where the knob fits onto. Note also that these are SAE measurements. Metric will be close but not exact.

As for removing the pots, you want to use a nut driver.
http://www.milwaukeetool.com/~/media/Images/Hand%20Tools/Screwdrivers/48-22-2404/SL48222404front.ashx

A pair of slip-joint pliers will also work as long as you are careful and don't damage the guitar's finish.
http://imightneedanap.files.wordpress.com/2013/06/pic-of-slip-joint-pliers.gif

For stripping wire and roughing the surface of the pot casing you can just use a knife.
Last edited by Invader Jim at Jan 6, 2014,
#6
Quote by Invader Jim
There are 3 main shaft diameters that I know of. The small pots (16mm) usually have a 1/4" shaft, the large pots (24mm) have either 5/16" or 3/8" shaft. Note that I am referring to the threaded portion of the shaft, not the part where the knob fits onto. Note also that these are SAE measurements. Metric will be close but not exact.

As for removing the pots, you want to use a nut driver.
http://www.milwaukeetool.com/~/media/Images/Hand%20Tools/Screwdrivers/48-22-2404/SL48222404front.ashx

A pair of slip-joint pliers will also work as long as you are careful and don't damage the guitar's finish.
http://imightneedanap.files.wordpress.com/2013/06/pic-of-slip-joint-pliers.gif

For stripping wire and roughing the surface of the pot casing you can just use a knife.

You are the devil incarnate!!!

I prefer these (They cost about $70 though):


Or these if i'm working in a tight space (Can be had for less than $10):


Although you can go with thermal wire strippers (If you have $300 - $400 to spare).
#7
Yeah, I'm not paying money for something I can do with a pocket knife. I've done it enough I know how to keep from nicking the wires inside. For small or delicate wire I use the shaft of my soldering iron Ooga booga-booga
#9
I must admit, I have used exacto knives in a pinch.

But as you know, I've been in this game for a LONG time (Probably since before you were born, you little shit ) so I have accumulated all these tools over quite a long period of time.

Christ, I probably have like 6 pairs of wire strippers.
Last edited by CodeMonk at Jan 6, 2014,
#10
You don't know how old I really am...

Quote by Explorerbuilder
I dont even use a knife. Most of the time i use my teeth.

I used to use my thumbnail before I stopped getting enough calcium.
#13
Quote by CodeMonk
To solder on the back of the pot, you will need a large soldering iron tip. At least one larger than what you would use for the pot tabs.


Can I still use the big soldering iron for the pot tabs as well?
#15
What Jim said.
Use the right tool (or tip) for the job.
You should only use the larger tip when you are soldering something with a lot of mass (such as the body of pot).
But after you have been doing it for several years, you can get away with it.
Edit:
As an example:


Use something like PTDD or PTE for the pot body and any of the first 3 on the top row for the tabs


Quote by Invader Jim
Well, if you'll refer to my profile you'll see that I was born the same day as the point-contact transistor. It sure is one hell of a coincidence.


Well damn.
I thought I was the old fart here.
And the fact that you know that you were born the same day as the point-contact transistor, makes me worry about your sanity.

The best I got is...
Johnny Cash plays 1st of many free concerts behind bars.
Bank of France issues new franc, worth 100 times the value of existing francs
Cameroon (French Cameroon) gains independence from France
Montserrat adopts constitution
(Yeah, I had to Google that).
Last edited by CodeMonk at Jan 6, 2014,
#16
I'm not really 66 years old According to my profile I have been 7, 16, 35, 53, and now 66. I've also switched back and forth between male and female a number of times. But I do have a birthday coming up in a couple of days. I actually almost forgot about it until now.
#17
Quote by Invader Jim
I'm not really 66 years old According to my profile I have been 7, 16, 35, 53, and now 66. I've also switched back and forth between male and female a number of times. But I do have a birthday coming up in a couple of days. I actually almost forgot about it until now.



You bastard.
People suck.

Happy future birthday anyway.
And BTW, the birthday in my profile is correct.
Last edited by CodeMonk at Jan 6, 2014,
#19
Thanks for the help so far, guys. Some great info here. Regarding the soldering iron tips, can you buy the tips separately and then just put them onto your iron?

I know that might sound like a dumb question, but I've never done this before. It would cool if I became someone's apprentice.
#20
If you buy a high-quality iron (like a Weller) then yes, the tips are interchangable. You'll be paying more for the iron and tips, but it'll last for decades. Some even have replacable heating elements.

If you get the iron from Walmart or RadioShack or something, you'll be getting a cheap iron with cheap tips. These tips need to be filed to shape occasionally because the molten solder eats them up. Quality tips like you'd use with a Weller are NEVER supposed to be filed. You NEVER break through the plating on those tips.
#21
+1
I'm on my second Weller iron currently.

My last one lasted me over 30 years before it died (Didn't know the model number so couldn't get a replacement heating element). And using the same tips all that time.

Currently going 3 years or so on another Weller someone gave me. Same tips there as well.

Back in 1981, I went to a local trade school that had a 6 week course in Electronic Assembly. The instructor was a former tech at NASA/JPL.
That's how I started out.
7 years later, I got hired (via a temp agency) at NASA/JPL doing the same thing he did. I went back to the school. When I told the instructor where I was working, he got this huge ear to ear smile on his face.
Just another option to look into if its something you really like doing.

Its a fickle industry though. At least in my case.
Southern California, countless military contractors and sub-contractors.
Most jobs were short lived, but plentiful back then. Get laid off on Friday, be working somewhere else by the following Tuesday at the latest.
I've had my soldering iron on everything from sprinkler systems to Space Shuttle parts.

/nostalgia
#22
I've never had a Weller iron. I used one in college and it was glorious compared to the cheap irons I was used to. I have two Weller soldering guns that my dad has had since he was younger. I don't know exactly how old they are; probably mid-1960s. On one of them the bakelite case has a couple of small cracks but they still work beautifully. I only use guns when I am soldering to stuff with lots of surface area or mass, like pot/switch casings and chassis in tube gear.