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Gonna make and install a P Bass harness.... tips?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by armybass, Feb 6, 2016.


  1. armybass

    armybass Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 19, 2001
    After 30 plus years of playing and doing all of my own setup I am gonna make my first attempt of a real job with a soldering iron. I have a 63 RI P bass that came with a preamp in it. I yanked all of the crap out and am left with the pickup wires and the ground wire from the bridge. I ordered a P Bass set with the two CTS pots, input jack, cloth wire and the orange capacitor. I have a few diagrams off of the internet and they seem mostly the same. I am a total newb with this stuff but I assume it is relatively simple. Anyone have any suggestions for a first timer that could save me some time and trouble or at least help insure I get it right the first time? :)
     
  2. nerkoids

    nerkoids Supporting Member

    Jan 3, 2014
    Montreal
    Pretty sure you got this. Unless you got a solder-less harness, there's not really going to be a quicker method, other than to make sure your iron is hot.

    What values will the pots have, BTW?
     
    armybass likes this.
  3. Hi, i have done a lot of soldering over the years on industrial panels and electronic gear so i can give you a few pointers i you want.

    Its important to have all joints and wire ends clean and suported so they don't move as you solder. Sometimes helps to bend a hook into the wire to hold it in the tab on the pot. Joints must be clean. I use an eraser and rub it over the tab you are soldering and then a quick spray of isopropyl alcohol.

    Soldering iron must be fully warmed up and use resin core solder. You can get away with using a small soldering iron as long as it is nice and hot and tip clean. Use a wet sponge to clean tip before each time you solder a joint. Touch tip of iron and solder at the same time on the joint and the solder will run beautifull. It should be a really quick process. Holding the tip of the iron on too long will cause dry joints. The joint needs to be relatively shiny, if not redo it. Use a solder sucker to remove old solder if you need to do it again.

    Its a good habit to use soldering tweezers as heat sinks on the components you solder to stop heat transfer damaging gear like capacitors, pots and resitors etc. Hope this helps! ☺
     
    armybass and LoveThatBass like this.
  4. In some diagrams, the third terminal of the volume pot is bent back to the casing, and soldered directly to it. Don't do this. Instead, use a short piece of wire. This will make future resoldering or disassembly of the pot much easier to do.

    When soldering to the back of a pot, it is best to rough up the surface of the chassis, so that the solder can bond to it. (Some pots have coatings on them, and sometimes the solder won't stick.) You can do this with sandpaper, or an emery board, or something like that.

    Also, when soldering to the back of a pot, make sure that the iron is very hot, and that you work quickly. If the solder is not melting, don't hold the iron down for too long. It will overheat the pot.
     
    armybass and LoveThatBass like this.
  5. LoveThatBass

    LoveThatBass

    Jun 28, 2004
    Follow pebo and lineman6's instructions and you should not have a problem. Good luck and let us know how it goes for you
     
    armybass likes this.
  6. Growlmonkee

    Growlmonkee

    Jan 30, 2013
    Florida, U.S.
    Spend time getting all the points that need to be soldered well lined up (one at a time is easiest), so that you only need as brief a touch as possible with a hot iron to complete the joint. If your new to it, take a minute and Google "military spec solder joints", just to get to the pictures, they usually show pass, and fail examples, it will give an idea as to what's good , and what's poor. Avoid repeatedly heating up anything, (time spent lining things up will help with that.)..one last tip, try to get 63/37 rosin core tin/lead solder, or 60/40, those really do make things easier.
     
    armybass likes this.
  7. armybass

    armybass Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 19, 2001
    Thanks folks. Great great input. BTW I ordered 250K pots.
     
  8. armybass

    armybass Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 19, 2001
    Ok..... Got it all wired up and it makes noise which I guess is a plus for my first attempt. But I think I need a tried and try wiring diagram. I used the one that came with it. It had me solder one leg of the capacitor to the volume pot but have another where it is connected to the tone pot. I am getting a pretty good grounding buzz and I'm not sure the volume pot is working exactly as it should. I'll take pics tomorrow to show what I've got now.
     
  9. It's probably too late to mention it now, but that kind of wiring is not preferable, because it puts stress on the capacitor, if a pot works loose and spins around in the control cavity. For future projects, you want the capacitor soldered to the back of the tone pot.
     
    armybass likes this.
  10. armybass

    armybass Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 19, 2001
    Thanks I did redo the capacitor to the tone pot but I'm still getting lots of buzz.
     
    mbelue likes this.
  11. armybass

    armybass Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 19, 2001
    image.
     
  12. armybass

    armybass Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 19, 2001
    Anything glaring other than my crappy soldering job?
     
  13. armybass

    armybass Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 19, 2001
    It sounds like more of a 60 cycle hum and not a grounding issue. There is no staticky buzzing when the strings are touched and the hum gets louder when the tone is domed. It also swells a bit when the volume is turned down. Other than that it all sounds good and clean. Any ideas?
     
  14. Just had a quick look, but i cant see the ground from the bridge connected anywhere. Did it have one before?
     
    DiabolusInMusic likes this.
  15. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Supporting Member

    As @pebo said, I think you need a ground wire ran from the bridge from the looks of it. If the hum persists after that you require shielding, which you probably will from the looks of things.
     
  16. armybass

    armybass Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 19, 2001
    I had the input jack wired backwards.... thanks for the input.
     
  17. petrus61

    petrus61 Supporting Member

    The solder looks good for a first time. The most important thing that can't be stressed enough is keeping the iron tip HOT and CLEAN. You always want your solder to have a smooth texture after being applied...when it's rough like that it indicates either the tip wasn't either hot or clean enough. Also important is to learn the lengths and keep all leads no longer than they need to be. The more wire you have to work around, the more likely you are to make contact with the iron or tug on something. The longer the cap or jack lug leads, the better chance they stand to short the circuit after failure by enclosing the harness/making contact with shielding. I see some really good work that for some reason misses this point. Don't bother roughing up the pots with anything either. Almost all of them come with a thin coating of a material that promotes solder flow...scraping them with anything can actually make it harder.
     
    armybass and pebo like this.
  18. petrus61

    petrus61 Supporting Member

    image.

    Also, the reason you're getting noise is because you need some shielding where the pots are mounted. This is why early P basses either came with a big under-guard shield or anodized guard. No need to copper tape the whole cavity.
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2016
    armybass likes this.
  19. Ah, I can see that now you mentioned it. All sounding ok now?
     
  20. armybass

    armybass Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 19, 2001
    Yes but I had my tech look at it and he also rewired how I had the hot lines on the pots....
     
    pebo likes this.

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