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Solid wire vs. stranded wire?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by fourstringbliss, Dec 13, 2011.


  1. fourstringbliss

    fourstringbliss Supporting Member

    Oct 5, 2003
    Puyallup, WA
    I did a search and read some stuff, but couldn't find my answer, so here goes.

    For bass and guitar control cavity wiring (pots, jacks, shielding) would 24AWG solid wire work just as well as 24AWG stranded wire? Theoretically the stranded wire would be more flexible, but at this gauge either is flexible enough. Would there be a tone difference between them?
     
  2. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    They both work fine, but the solid is harder to work with and it sometimes breaks if you bend it too many times. They sound the same.
     
  3. Gord_oh

    Gord_oh Midtown Guitars Supporting Member

    Oct 4, 2008
    Michigan
    i posted something similar awhile ago. IME stranded wire is way easy to work with. thats the biggest benefit.

    maybe this will help:
    http://www.talkbass.com/forum/f57/threaded-vs-solid-wire-606783/
     
  4. fourstringbliss

    fourstringbliss Supporting Member

    Oct 5, 2003
    Puyallup, WA
    I'm really just looking for a way to avoid having to tin the wires since I plan on doing a lot of soldering in the future.
     
  5. If you plan on doing a lot of soldering in the future, get used to tinning your wires.

    It's one of the best ways to avoid cold solder joints.
     
  6. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    You can buy tinned stranded wire. I get mine from Jameco. But I still tin the ends before I solder. As mohawk said, it makes it easier to solder.
     
  7. Tristan

    Tristan

    Jan 28, 2001
    Ottawa, Canada
    Even with tinning etc, stranded is way easier. Its no big deal dude.
     
  8. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    alpha-music.com
    why would you worry about trying to avoid such a quick and trivial step?
     
  9. fourstringbliss

    fourstringbliss Supporting Member

    Oct 5, 2003
    Puyallup, WA
    'cause it hasn't been quick or trivial with my current soldering iron and solder. It'll be much better with better of both, though.
     
  10. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    alpha-music.com
    good, 'cause if the ends won't tin right, they wouldn't install right anyway.
     
  11. solid wire for metal, stranded for everything else.

    I wired my guitars with stranded, worked great. I wired a couple of adapter boxes (I power my active basses externally and had to make a box to combine the signal and power into a TRS cable) with solid wire. The solid wire is much stiffer which can make it easier or more difficult depending on what your doing.

    The flexibility of stranded made it easier to maneuver parts around once everything was soldered. The stiffness of solid makes it a little easier to solder in small places because the stiffer wire tends to holds shape better.

    Always tin wire before soldering, solid or stranded.
     
  12. bassbenj

    bassbenj

    Aug 11, 2009
    No tone difference...well unless you consider no sound a "tone"! I'll tell you true. My personal choice for wiring is teflon insulated stranded wire. Teflon because it doesn't burn and melt all over the place when you solder it and stranded because in my experience stranded wire seems to not be as prone to breaking off at terminals as solid wire does.

    And HERE Is the key. You need to strip all wires with automatic-style strippers of the right size designed for teflon wire. The reason is that one of the main reasons for wires breaking off at terminals is that they were not stripped properly. What happens is with solid wire, the wire strippers (or knife or whatever you use) nick the copper that makes a weak spot where the vibrations and general handling (and carting around in the back of a van etc.) eventually work-harden the copper wire and it gets brittle and snaps off (bass dies!). The same thing ALSO occurs with stranded but in this case what happens is SOME of the strands can get clipped off during stripping so that where the wire is soldered it is now a much smaller diameter stranded wire again making it more prone to breakage. I cannot stress enough that you DO NOT want to use any strippers that can nick the wire or cut strands.

    Anyway, that's what I do. To me non-nicking strippers are well worth the investment!
     
  13. Bassamatic

    Bassamatic keepin' the beat since the 60's Supporting Member

    What a great post - thanks!! I have been supervising electronic manufacturing since the 70's and completely forgot about the issues of nicking the wire. Absolutely right on, although it can be years before any problem shows up, but it will do it at the worst time for sure.
     
  14. fourstringbliss

    fourstringbliss Supporting Member

    Oct 5, 2003
    Puyallup, WA
    I've got me a pair of non-nicking strippers (though I'm not sure how happy my wife is about it). :D
     
    BigKD likes this.
  15. bassbenj

    bassbenj

    Aug 11, 2009
    I would URGE you to fork out for a temperature controlled soldering iron! I used to have some Brit thing that is not sold anymore that was perfect. Looked like a regular soldiering pencil with an allen screw on the side to set temperature. My favorite for YEARS! And then it died. Well, ordinary irons are just a pain. They take forever to come up to proper temperature. Tend to overload with heavy copper joints and in generally only have the advantage of being cheap.

    On the other hand, I was not about to lay out hundreds for some pro soldering station either. In the end I got some Radio Shack "station" that does the job and didn't cost too much. It's great. You just turn it on and in a minute or so it's up to temp. Makes you wonder how you put up waiting forever for one of those old style irons.
     
  16. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    I second that!

    I use one of these:

    Amazon.com: AOYUE 936 Soldering Station: Electronics

    It's made in the same Chinese factory as the more expensive Hakko 936, but has a 30 Watt heating element instead of the 60 Watt on the Hakko. But that hasn't had an impact on how well it works. I've been using it for about three years now.
     
  17. Foamy

    Foamy

    Jun 26, 2006
    Sac Area
    Yup.
     
  18. Foamy

    Foamy

    Jun 26, 2006
    Sac Area
    For our English friends...
     
  19. bassmanbiff

    bassmanbiff

    Apr 3, 2008
    makes no difference other than the mechanical issues.
     

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