#1
So I want to put new pickups in my guitar. Its has a traditional Ibanez HSH config. I know how to solder, but the most experience I've had was helping someone solder their ground wire back to the output jack. It doesn't look that hard but I don't wanna mess it up as it's my only guitar.
Can I do this?
#2
Coming from someone who had No soldering experience and decided to build a GGG Tubescreamer kit I can tell you soldering is very simple. Don't rush anything, take your time and you will be fine. Additionally, worst case scenario you can purchase a solder wick so that if you do make mistakes you can absorb the solder and try again
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PRS SE Custom 22
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Jackson Dominion Pro
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Line 6 Vetta 2
Peavey 6534+
Big Crunch One Knob
Hovercraft Dwarvenaut 20
#4
It isn't that difficult, you just need to have the right tools and the right technique.

Make sure you tin the tip of the iron before using it, and tin the wire and the jack before attempting to connect them. Apply the soldering iron to the part to heat it, before adding solder. Then add solder to the heated part adjacent to the iron, not the iron itself. Many noobs apply the solder to the iron too soon and do not heat up the two parts sufficiently, which causes dry joints. Noobs also apply far too much of it.

Don't breathe in the fumes coming off the melting solder. It's carcinogenic.

A good solder joint doesn't use a whole lot of solder, and the joint itself should be shiny.
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I also have to do that. Cottaging this weekend
Last edited by T00DEEPBLUE at Nov 26, 2014,
#5
T00DEEPBLUE has really good tips above.

Soldering is fairly straight forward and most guitar jobs are easy (ish). The biggest problem is nerves, so take it slowly and watch a couple of youtube vids to help. Do a "how to solder youtube" and the first few to come up are pretty good.

I trained as a theatre electrician for 6 months in my teens so I had a lot of soldering jobs, which means I'm pretty good at it. It does take practice (like anything really) but most guitar jobs won't be as fine as the jobs I learned on.

Good luck.
#6
Practice for a while on scraps, flux will help bond to slippery surfaces.
#7
It probably won't help if you're just swapping a pickup, but when I do a whole wiring overhaul I take the pots out and set them up on a jig made of cardboard or something similar. Arrange them exactly as they will be installed. It makes the job easier because you won't be soldering inside the cavity on the guitar. ::


Make sure you unsolder the wires from the pots when swapping the pickups, don't just cut the wires and splice them in. You can test out the job by plugging the guitar into your amp and tapping a screwdriver or other ferrous metal tool on the pickup and see if it "pops" (sounds something close to plugging your guitar into an amp that's already on). No sound means you wired something wrong.
Harmony: Stratocaster
Alvarez: F-200
Schecter: Omen 6
Fender: BXR-60
Dean: Metalman Z Bass (Betty)
Egnator: Tweaker 15
Pearl: Maximum
ESP/LTD: EXP-300
Custom: Harley Quinn Bass
Custom: TK-421 Explorer
A steadily growing supply of pedals
#8
The thing you will most likely have the most trouble with is positioning the wires where you want them and having them stay in place while you solder. This can be tricky if you are doing it inside the guitar cavity as others have mentioned. Depending on what kind of soldering iron you use, you also have to be careful not to melt any other wires that may be in close proximity to your work area around the iron tip.

I will say that having the right solder will be very important as well. You don't want to make the mistake of buying plumbing solder for instance haha. You should be able to find solder that has a flux core so that you don't need to apply flux prior to soldering. The stuff I use is actually from an RC hobby shop since I was using it for wiring batteries for my cars, but it's high quality silver solder which makes for very solid connections.
#10
Good tutorial here.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6QznAAwL8rI

The type of solder you want is either 60/40 or 63/37 (the ratio of tin and lead) and make sure it has a flux core. DO NOT use plumbing solder because it has an acid flux that will destroy your soldering iron tips and the circuit you use it with. And don't use 50/50 solder, as it has too high a melting point and is harder to work with. 60/40 is the industry standard but I prefer 63/37 because it has a slightly lower melting point and doesn't go through a pasty phase when melting. Kester 44 is really good and a 1lb spool will last a very long time (I had some that lasted me a year with heavy use, and it wasn't even a new spool).

I've never liked silver solder. I had some before that was hard to melt and literally wouldn't stick to anything. Idk if all silver solder is like that or if this was just cheap crap, but I've always used lead solder since.
Last edited by Invader Jim at Nov 26, 2014,
#11
Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
It isn't that difficult, you just need to have the right tools and the right technique.

Make sure you tin the tip of the iron before using it, and tin the wire and the jack before attempting to connect them. Apply the soldering iron to the part to heat it, before adding solder. Then add solder to the heated part adjacent to the iron, not the iron itself. Many noobs apply the solder to the iron too soon and do not heat up the two parts sufficiently, which causes dry joints. Noobs also apply far too much of it.

Don't breathe in the fumes coming off the melting solder. It's carcinogenic.

A good solder joint doesn't use a whole lot of solder, and the joint itself should be shiny.

I thought that stuff was banned?
#12
Quote by RockGuitarist09
I thought that stuff was banned?

Nope.
Quote by Axelfox
Reeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

Quote by H4T3BR33D3R
I also have to do that. Cottaging this weekend
#14
I solder for a living. Its not too hard to learn. The hardest part is getting a good iron. Luckily my work had a bunch of leftover ones that are professional. So I just took one home without them ever knowing..

Suckers.
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#15
The best advice i can give you that already hasn't been said is:

trace back the wires to their existing places and write them down
tin every wire. This means put solder on them. It makes your job much easier
understand the color code of your pickups prior to swapping pickups

a 30w or 40w soldering iron kit is all you need.
60/40 (lead) solder is the best (I do wiring harnesses all the time and this is easier)
thin solder if you've already got an iron I recommend
don't use lead free solder if your iron is designed for 60/40
the solder has to have rosin core in it. There is a difference between plumbers solder
tin the sodlering iron tip. This means coat it in a thin layer of solder to make life easy
Touch the newly tinned tip near but not directly on a contact and pull the wire away.

when soldering..
the bare wire and ground wires can go anywhere on the back of a volume pot. Doesn't have to be with the other wires. The idea is simple when grounding pots. You don't want to put a blob of solder and make the wire stand up in the blob. You want to lay it down flat. If you lay it down flat it's a much better connection.

for the selector switch though regardless of kind remember to tin the contacts with a wall of solder. Have the soldering iron tip again .. NEAR but not on the hot leads contact. The wall of solder will slightly liquify and you can put the unshielded wire through. Take the iron away from the contact and count to 5 slowly. Once the heat goes away from the wire and the solder on the contact has cooled you've got a good connection. The idea is a wall of solder you've stabbed an unshielded wire through. Anyone can do it.

afterwards remember to clean the soldering iron tip. Apply a bit more solder to the iron tip and then wipe it against a wet sponge. A clean soldering iron tip is what you want at all times. Otherwise it'll rust and you'll have to buy another much sooner than you should.
#16
Silver Solder is for brazing pipes with an open flame torch and joining metals that can't otherwise be welded. It has a much higher melt point than the rosin or flux core stuff so it doesn't work well for us.
Harmony: Stratocaster
Alvarez: F-200
Schecter: Omen 6
Fender: BXR-60
Dean: Metalman Z Bass (Betty)
Egnator: Tweaker 15
Pearl: Maximum
ESP/LTD: EXP-300
Custom: Harley Quinn Bass
Custom: TK-421 Explorer
A steadily growing supply of pedals
#18
Here is some things you should watch out for.

The light and temperature of soldering should be so bright that it can damage your instrument. (Make sure you have a good mental picture of your guitars' color when doing this, you don't want to provoke any damage)

If you need to repeatedly stop and go due to stress in the quality of your work, put it away and put some more thought into it while you still can.

Beware of hazards and extremely sensitive material.

Take mind of your complications, you are tampering and changing the wiring of electric parts. (You can add alot of work to your instrument like this)
#19
Quote by Evecin
Here is some things you should watch out for.

The light and temperature of soldering should be so bright that it can damage your instrument. (Make sure you have a good mental picture of your guitars' color when doing this, you don't want to provoke any damage)

If you need to repeatedly stop and go due to stress in the quality of your work, put it away and put some more thought into it while you still can.

Beware of hazards and extremely sensitive material.

Take mind of your complications, you are tampering and changing the wiring of electric parts. (You can add alot of work to your instrument like this)

wut?
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#20
Exactly as Robbgnarly said:

Wut!?!

Either he's drunk/high or confused... Probably thinking of flame welding or brazing? lmao.
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