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Soldering Noob

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(@barr00mhero)
Active Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 4
Topic starter  

Hey I'm interested in changing the pickups on my guitar and I have a few questions that I'd like to have answered before I begin. Ive never really soldered anything before, let alone guitar parts. I was wondering if there is a certain type of soldering iron you should use, and what about a certain type of solder?

Also what is the best way to remove wires that have already been soldered down? I assume you probobly just re-melt the solder and take the wire off but I figured I'd better find out for sure before I try anything.

And lastly, if anyone has any tips on what brand of soldering iron to buy feel free to let me know, if I am going to invest in one I'd like it to last me a while.

Thanks for the help,
Fred


   
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(@gnease)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 5038
 

Weller makes good soldering pencils (not a gun or big @ss iron, you need a pencil), but you are going to pay about $100 for a decent one that's temperature controlled and has replacable components -- especially tips. Cheap irons, such as the majority sold at Radio Shack that are pencils and plug in directly to AC mains, are difficult to use and do not last long. Anyone on this forum buy a decent temp controlled iron from RS? If so recommend it!

Wattage: about 40 W. Less, and you will have trouble melting the solder. More, and you will likely commit noob soldering murder of something you attempt to solder.

Solder: ALWAYS use ROSIN core solder. Rosin is the type of flux contained in the solder's hollow core. You may also by solid core solder and add rosin flux manually from a separate container. Flux cleans the solder surfaces as you heat, making the likihood of success greater. IMPORTANT: NEVER use ACID CORE or ACID FLUX on electronics. Eventually, the acid flux will eat through something in your solder joint.

For removing solder: Yes, you are correct: Heat a solder joint to disassemble it. To remove the hot, molten solder, use a suction tool such as a Solda Pullt or wicking braid such as Solder Wick.

Two other things: Look for on the web soldering lessons. Practice to proficiency on scraps of wire and old electronic parts before doing the "real job."

-=tension & release=-


   
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(@barr00mhero)
Active Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 4
Topic starter  

Hey I appreciate the help quite a bit! As for the new pickups, will they contain diagrams on how to wire them? And/Or are they easy to understand?


   
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(@gnease)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 5038
 

Welcome.

BTW, here's a link to some soldering equipment: http://store.guitarfetish.com/soirandac.html
I cannot vouch for this hardware directly, as I've had my own equipment for many years. But Guitar Fetish is easy to work with. If you had an issue with what they sell you, I believe they would make it right.

Many makers, such as Seymour Duncan and Guitar Fetish, supply printed diagrams in the package. If they don't, the maker will supply diagram on request -- usually via email or web site. Pup wiring is color coded. But even so, those who are not good with diagramatic directions may find the info confusing. It helps if you understand the concepts of how pots and switches work, as well as coil tapping and phase reversal, as the last two usually are cited as wiring options.

This is Seymour Duncan's wiring info web page: http://www.seymourduncan.com/support/wiring-diagrams/
Choose your pup types and desired wiring config (number of pots, tapping, phasing, switch positions) and go!

-=tension & release=-


   
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(@slejhamer)
Famed Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 3221
 

Two other things: Look for on the web soldering lessons.

Click on the video clips on this page:
http://radiojove.gsfc.nasa.gov/telescope/soldering.htm

"Everybody got to elevate from the norm."


   
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(@trguitar)
Famed Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 3709
 

I have a cheapie iron I got at Radio Shack oh ...... 15 years ago. The tip is replacable and I have been through 3 or 4. It is'nt the greatest but it serves my needs and cost maybe $15. That said I don't do a lot of soldering, so couldn't justify spending $100 on an iron. I say, get the best you can afford if you plan to use it much and I am a fan of rosin core solder. If you just want a new set of pickups in one guitar ..... it would be cheaper to pay to have it done than buy a $100 iron, thats why I did it on the cheap side and just kept reusing the darn thing. Anyhow the advice above is exellent as usual. Yes, practice first with what ever equipment you buy.

"Work hard, rock hard, eat hard, sleep hard,
grow big, wear glasses if you need 'em."
-- The Webb Wilder Credo --


   
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(@greybeard)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 5840
 

I'm currently looling to replace my cheapo soldering iron with something a bit better. Whilst looking over the Weller site I came across the Weller Better Soldering Guide

I started with nothing - and I've still got most of it left.
Did you know that the word "gullible" is not in any dictionary?
Greybeard's Pages
My Articles & Reviews on GN


   
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(@bdkauff)
Estimable Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 62
 

I'm thinking about doing some PUP changing myself, and havn't soldered since I was a wee child. Are heat sinks neccesarry for changing pickups, or other guitar soldering jobs? Like a crocodile clip or something?


   
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(@slejhamer)
Famed Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 3221
 

Are heat sinks neccesarry for changing pickups, or other guitar soldering jobs? Like a crocodile clip or something?

Having destroyed a cheap import 3-way toggle switch in my very first guitar mod project by overheating it and melting the insides, I use heat-sinks religiously. Gator/croc clips work; locking tweezers; etc.

"Everybody got to elevate from the norm."


   
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(@bdkauff)
Estimable Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 62
 

Ok, thanks. I'm not so familiar with the innards of a guitar...Where do you clip the heatsink? Is it anywhere on the wire (s) your soldering?


   
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(@eadgber)
Trusted Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 43
 

When you solder to pots remember you should turn it to the off /0 postion. The heat can damage them if not.


   
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(@peesho)
Active Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 11
 

Hi,
Im also about to install new pickups on my guitar. Is this set good enough to use for soldering?

http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2062758&cp=2032058.2032236.2032313&allCount=48&fbn=Price%2F%246.00+-+%249.99&fbc=1&fr=StorePrice%2FRSK%2F00000600%2F00000999&parentPage=family

Also the rosin core solder comes in many different diameters, which one is good for soldering guitar equipment? Thanks


   
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(@eadgber)
Trusted Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 43
 

peesho, That iron is fine. 25-30 watts is really all you want to use for most jobs. The radioShack .032 60/40 rosin core solder would be good to go with.

google " soldering tips". Read about how to make good joints. It's not hard just can be tricky. If ya got any broken radios,alarm clocks, whatever use it's board to practice 1st. You want the solder to flow over the connection not ball.I always clean up the leads & part where I'm soldering to 1st.I just like to make sure I sand off any oxidaion.Use sandpaper,steelwool or even a needle file just to make sure you're to bare metal.


   
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