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Thread: Can You Give a Feller Some Soldering Wisdom?

  1. #1
    Forum Member ch willie's Avatar
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    Can You Give a Feller Some Soldering Wisdom?

    I'm really trying to learn about repairs and electrical work on me guitarz, and I'm not the best solderer in the world.

    I have the right equipment and solder for repairs, but I could use some of your wisdom about soldering.

    Please?
    If we'd known we were going to be the Beatles, we'd have tried harder.--George Harrison

  2. #2
    Forum Member DanTheBluesMan's Avatar
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    Re: Can You Give a Feller Some Soldering Wisdom?

    argh. stupid computer crashed in the middle of my reply

    Tin the leads of wires. This helps prevent spread of strands.

    if using a new pot, lightly scratch the back where you intend to attach wires, using a screwdriver, file, knife or razor.

    when reusing a lug, clean the eyelet with solder wick or solder sucker

    when putting a capacitor, plan how you want it to sit in the available space. If putting on the back of a pot, pre bend the legs and trim to fit. Legs going to another lug/elsewhere, I like to put a piece of shrink tubing to prevent accidental grounding. You do not need to shrink the tubing.

    Wear googles. Clean your solder iron tip frequently. Tin the tip right before using it. Try to not breathe the fumes. and avoid holding the solder iron like this:

    "Live and learn and flip the burns"

  3. #3
    Forum Member Don's Avatar
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    Re: Can You Give a Feller Some Soldering Wisdom?

    Quote Originally Posted by DanTheBluesMan View Post
    if using a new pot, lightly scratch the back where you intend to attach wires, using a screwdriver, file, knife or razor.
    Unless you're using CTS pots or some of the other brands that are tinned from the factory. It's fine to clean them off and use flux, but leave the surface intact.
    I add some solder to the spot on the pot where I'm going to solder grounds on pots, tin the wire and then reflow the solder on both parts to make the joint. This prevents the pots from overheating.

    One of the most important things is to keep your soldering iron tip tinned with a little solder or tip tinner. A dull dry soldering iron tip can't transfer heat.

    When you're done soldering for the day, put a blob of solder on your soldering iron tip. It'll last longer.

    There are a lot of good videos on youtube.

  4. #4
    Forum Member ch willie's Avatar
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    Re: Can You Give a Feller Some Soldering Wisdom?

    Thanks, guys.

    I knew a lot of this but had forgotten it. I've watched a few vids, but you have saved me some time. I appreciate it. I'm going to try to put the new harness, switch, and jack into the Ibanez Artist today. Wish me luck. My biggest problem is trying to hold down the wires, hold the solder, and then the soldering iron. For about $15, I bought one of these helping hands things with flexible things with clips on the end that can hold the wires down while I solder. One reason I quit doing my own solder work is that I just couldn't manage holding all the things down.

    So danke sehr, I'm in your debt.
    If we'd known we were going to be the Beatles, we'd have tried harder.--George Harrison

  5. #5
    Forum Member Offshore Angler's Avatar
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    Re: Can You Give a Feller Some Soldering Wisdom?

    Willie, late here but a few things since I see in other threads you're still working on it.

    OK, solder selection. For working on guitars you want 1/32" diameter, rosin core 60/40 lead/tin solder. Too large a diameter can make "flowing" the joint difficult if not impossible.

    For now, avoid "silver bearing" solders. Even though they sound sexy silver makes it a lot harder to work with as it raises the melting temperature quite a bit. This makes it a lot harder to work with and can cause damage to the components if you're not careful.

    Tin the end of the iron, apply heat to the joint. The trick is not to apply the solder to the iron and then blob it onto the joint, but to heat the joint and flow solder from the roll into the joint. This is where the small diameter will help you a lot. Just keep the heat there and start touching the solder from the roll to the joint. It will melt and flow when you do it correctly.

    The joint should look smooth and shiny and the solder will wick into the wire strands. Otherwise you have a cold joint that can easily fail.

    You'll get the technique down very quickly with the right solder, it's easy.

    Chuck
    "No harmonic knowledge, no sense of time, a ghastly tone, unskilled vibrato, and so on. Chuck is one of the worst guitar players I know" -Gravity Jim

  6. #6
    Forum Member DanTheBluesMan's Avatar
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    Re: Can You Give a Feller Some Soldering Wisdom?

    yes, get a spool of the good stuff, it'll probably last you a lifetime.
    "Live and learn and flip the burns"

  7. #7
    Forum Member Don's Avatar
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    Re: Can You Give a Feller Some Soldering Wisdom?

    I'm using Kester 44 63/37 rosin core 0.020" diameter. Any 60/40 or 63/37 rosin core 0.015-0.032" diameter is good.

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