Barrel jack replacement...

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Claymore, Jun 7, 2020.

  1. Claymore


    Nov 10, 2019
    Rhode Island
    I have 2 basses with barrel jacks and the general consensus is that they suck. Both of them are crackly and both of them need to be replaced. I am entertaining the idea of replacing both of them with electrosockets, which I have zero experience with. I keep looking at YouTube videos and no one I've found is explaining this properly. So what exactly am I DOING here?... Am I drilling out a larger hole to accommodate a different kind of Jack? Is the electrosocket just part of the equation and then there's a traditional jack that's attached to it? I just don't get it because apparently I've never owned a single instrument with an electrosocket so somebody please school me because I don't want to just replace it with another barrel jack and then have to repeat this soon cuz it craps out again. I have drills and step drill bits and all that nonsense... What do I need to do to upgrade a barrel jack?
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2020
  2. An electrosocket is a type of jack cup originally made as an aftermarket replacement for Telecasters which have a fiddly jack cup with an annoying retainer clip.

    The electrosocket requires a 7/8" hole which is a lot bigger than the hole for your barrel jack. It is secured by two screws (same size as used on Fender pickguards). You thread a standard Switchcraft output jack into the electrosocket.


    With a jack threaded in:

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  3. Claymore


    Nov 10, 2019
    Rhode Island
    That was more concise and helpful than anything I was able to find elsewhere. TB does it again! Thank you. :D
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  4. An alternative would be to enlarge the hole just enough to fit a switchcraft jack and then mount it with a jack plate similar to a Les Paul:

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  5. Claymore


    Nov 10, 2019
    Rhode Island
    Does that jack plate just sit over the body or do you have to route out a squarish shape so it's recessed?
  6. It sits right on the outside of the body.

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  7. Jefenator

    Jefenator Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2008
    I do like the extra beefy Electrosocket setup and I'm not especially fond of barrel jacks.
    But when a barrel jack does go bad on me, I just replace it with a new one made by Switchcraft. I haven't had one of my replacements need replacing as of yet.
    I myself would not be inclined to put a 7/8" hole in the side, unless maybe I had the whole body stripped down for refinishing.
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  8. Claymore


    Nov 10, 2019
    Rhode Island
    I'm on the fence about all these options but leaning towards Electrosocket. I'm not squeamish about putting holes in things. :smug:
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2020
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  9. One last consideration with electrosockets. Take a look at this picture of a tele body:

    If you look at the section where the output jack is, you'll notice the body actually flattens out. This allows the stock jack cup to sit flat against the body. This is what the electrosocket is designed to do as well.

    When you put an electrosocket on an instrument that doesn't have a flat spot on the body the electrosocket won't sit perfectly flat and flush. It's a small discrepancy that only you will notice but still...

    here's a super close-up of a tele I built using a Warmoth body that doesn't have the flat spot (and yes, it bothers me enough that I am planning a convert it to a plate):

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  10. Claymore


    Nov 10, 2019
    Rhode Island
    Would it be possible to use a step drill to recess it just a wee bit? Just enough so that it disappears flush with the wood?
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  11. Claymore


    Nov 10, 2019
    Rhode Island
    Nevermind... I just realized you wouldn't be able to get it flush with the wood for the exact same reason. :bag:
  12. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY

    I put one on my Squier 50s P without a problem.

    The Squier has no flat spot but the curve isn’t as tight as a small tele body.

    The stock hole fit the electro socket perfectly and it’s flush with only the outer lip exposed. Keep in mind my bass used the vintage Fender type tele cup.

    If you open your hole up the right amount, I think you can get it to sit nicely. Get an. Non-metric electrosocket and thread in a Switchcraft, tighten it well, and forget about it for decades.
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  13. JTE

    JTE Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2008
    Central Illinois, USA
    There's also a "football" shaped backplate (which only makes sense if you think of American football instead of the sport the rest of the world calls football), an oval plate that's bent. Those work very well for rim mounting a standard 1/4" jack on a Fender-style Fender-style instrument. The advantage over the Les-Paul style plate is the only use two screws to hold them in place and those go in the center of the rim.

    Oval Jack Plate |
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  14. John Cribbin

    John Cribbin

    Jan 5, 2018
    One of my first mods on a Tele is the Electrosocket, it's a quality piece of kit and designed to fit on the flat part of the Tele's body and fit into the already drilled hole.

    It won't fit flush on a curved body and will be noticeable, especially if you have any degree of OCD!

    In your case I would use an external plate as other people have suggested. Personally I think the football plate is the more elegant solution.

    Just one point to bear in mind, depending on the hole already there, it might be a tight fit to get the Switchcraft jack socket in there. But a quick bit of surgery with a Dremmel will sort that. If you need to do any surgery, either remove the electrics or srick the vacuum cleaner hose inside to collect the dust as you do. Pots and PCB's full of sawdust doesn't help ....
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  15. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician - Retired
    Just note that the football or the square mounting plate may or may not fit the contours of your bass without modification. I've had to bend many of them for a good flush fit when replacing barrel jacks.
  16. dwizum


    Dec 21, 2018
    What I like to do before drilling through the 7/8" hole is to just barely kiss the surface with a forstner bit that matches the diameter of the outer rim on the socket (I can't remember the diameter off the top of my head, it may be 15/16"). Then drill through the 7/8" hole. This way, you end up with just a tiny hint of a recess for the lip of the socket to sit in - it doesn't sit fully recessed and it's not totally proud of the surface, either. That recess isn't even cut all the way around the diameter of the socket, I really just let the drill bit make contact along the top/bottom and it basically cuts out two little crescent moon shapes instead of a full circle.

    The result is that the mismatch between the body curve and the flat socket lip gets lost - you don't visually see a gap, and your eye is less able to pick up on the difference between the flat vs curve shapes since the curve gets hidden against the side edge of the lip, instead of being exposed as an obvious gap, if that makes sense.

    A picture is worth a thousand words, but I'm probably only a 500-word photographer, so I hope this makes sense. I tried to get a closer photo but it just got blurry...


    All that said, I would never (personally) choose to switch jack styles purely because of perceived reliability of one style over others. Yes, barrel jacks fail (regardless of brand, I've got one bass that's on it's third Switchcraft barrel jack in 20-ish years). But to me, the effort of switching styles is probably a wash against the effort of having to slap in a new jack every half a decade or so. If you're worried, keep a spare and you can swap it in about 2 minutes with a soldering iron. And "normal" jacks fail sometimes, at any rate. So, in the end, I choose jack styles based on how it fits the overall look of the instrument. The electrosockets have a nice clean look, but it also strikes me as a touch retro - while a barrel jack comes off as more modern, and fits a modern-looking bass better IMO.

    Also something else regarding getting a good clean look with electrosockets:

    I like to thread a nut down on the jack before threading it in to the electrosocket. Then you can adjust the position of that nut to act as a "stop" for setting the depth that the socket threads onto the jack, which lets you control how far the jack sticks out past the front of the socket. I don't like to leave a lot of the jack sticking out, as is shown in this photo - I think it looks cleaner to keep maybe only half a thread sticking out versus having several threads past the front surface of the socket as shown here.
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  17. Claymore


    Nov 10, 2019
    Rhode Island
    I was thinking about just this sort of thing. Enough for it not to be an eyesore. Thanks for the feedback.
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  18. I like this look too. The downside being that most right angle plugs won't reach unless you have the jack protruding as far as it can.
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