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Successful re-wiring project -- Was I lucky?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by HooBass, Nov 3, 2005.

  1. HooBass


    May 27, 2003
    Hi everyone,

    I recently had success rewiring an inexpensive experiment bass to series / parallel, and I know that I didn't "follow the rules" of good soldering technique (detailed below).

    Was I lucky?

    Now I'm considering re-wiring my Geddy Lee Jazz. But I'm wondiering if I should be more cautious with my relatively more prized possession.

    The details -- This was my first real soldering project. In preparation I read a lot on these boards (very, very helpful). Among the "rules" I broke:

    - I read that one creates a solder joint, they're supposed to heat the component and let the solder melt onto it rather than letting the solder melt on the iron and flow onto the wire/component. In many cases it was taking forever to heat the component to the point where solder would flow that way.

    - I checked nothing for cold joints. I read that it's a good idea to check each joint with an ohmmeter. I tried, but my multimeter behaved really erratically (is a cheapo).

    - I cleaned nothing in advance. I've read that since packing grease, etc. can form on the components it's a good idea.

    A bit more background: I used Lyle Caldwell's diagram http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?t=153374 (thanks go to him and, really, to a whole host of related threads and posters). The bass was my 5 string fretless SX Jazz. I had to drill a bit to get the push-pull pot to fit in the control cavity. I did no shielding work.

    I was very happy (and surprised, given my shortcuts) that it worked on the very first try. Wow! And no hum whatsoever. I haven't tried turning on my computer monitor, and I expect the radiation to give me a nice hum, but with it turned off I get far less hum than I did with the stock pots and wiring.

    talk soon,
  2. Unchain

    Unchain I've seen footage.

    Jun 20, 2005
    Tucson, AZ
    Sure, you broke rules. But it worked! I would clean components first. It is best to heat the component first, but makes no "real" difference if you just melted the solder straight-out.
  3. Hookus


    Oct 2, 2005
    Austin, TX
    Actually it makes a huge difference. There is a difference between a soldered joint, and two pieces of metal with solder connecting them. In one case, the solder is welding the two parts, in the other, the solder is nothing but a globby ugly wire.

    Use flux, and wait to apply solder until it flows on the parts, this should be pretty fast, even grounding pots, if you sand them and use flux.
  4. Metal Mitch

    Metal Mitch

    Jul 14, 2003
    First one is true, and is a general rule for soldering electronic components. However if you follow this rule for soldering ground wires to the side/back of your pots, you stand an excellent chance of overheating the pot and killing it.

    It's better to use a ground/shield plate so you don't need to solder your grounds to the pots. And re cleaning, a small pocketknife and a desoldering braid is all you need.

    The desoldering braid is a lifesaver if you make a mistake or use too much solder. I've also used it to clean out gobs of cheap factory solder before I use my own. It's well worth the money to buy no-clean fine gauge electronics solder. The stuff from guitarelectronics.com is excellent, it makes very clean and shiny joints using very little solder.

    When soldering to the side/back of a pot, use a pocketknife to scrape the surface before soldering and you get a much better connection with a lot less heat required.

    Nice job for a first try. Feels good, don't it?
  5. HooBass


    May 27, 2003
    Thanks for the comments, to you and everyone!

    I was lucky in that the schematic I used from Lyle Caldwell didn't involve soldering to the backs of the pots, like what was done in the previous, stock setup.

    It *definitely* felt awesome to have it work on the first try, and to work so well. I now feel comfy enough to move on to the next project (that is, with my experience and this new advice.

    A very liberating feeling!

    Talk soon,