Grateful Dead Music Forum

A place to talk about the music of the Grateful Dead 

Chat about Equipment Info
 #89823  by monroe
 Sun Nov 21, 2010 6:37 am
I've got a couple of guitars, and with my new Carvin "Wolf" on the way and likely to become my new #1, I'd like to make some changes (pups, wiring, etc) to some of the old ones. I'd like to learn to do this kinda stuff myself, as it'll A.) save me some cash, and B.) doesn't seem like it would be all that hard. That said, I've never done it before, so is there any advice that experts here can offer? Any sites others have found that have information for beginners in guitar wiring? I guess what I'm really looking for is a little encouragement ...

I guess the first thing I should do is get me a soldering iron and learn how to use it (Dear Santa, I'd like a soldering kit for Christmas). Next step I would guess is learning how to read/follow some basic guitar wiring diagrams. I'm a logical/math oriented person, and I had some electrical physics courses in college, so I know the basics of electricity and resisters capacitors, series/parallel, etc. I've looked at several wiring diagrams, and it really doesn't seem that hard. just follow along and solder the right wires to the right spots ...

I think I'm going to hop on craigslist and pickup some POS beater for $50 that I can use as a "learning ground", and then when I feel comfortable, I can tackle one of my real guitars ... Now I just need someone to tell me, "you can do it!"
 #89829  by drewfx
 Sun Nov 21, 2010 11:08 am
Ask Santa for a (basic) multimeter to go with the soldering iron, as it makes testing/troubleshooting much easier. :-)

Soldering is a skill to be learned, and, like playing music, you just need some practice when you start. You definitely want a good, well lighted work area.

Also note that rear-routed guitars are much easier to practice on (and troubleshoot, and experiment on) as you can leave the strings on.
 #89830  by tigerstrat
 Sun Nov 21, 2010 11:14 am
As important as the well-lit area is a well-ventilated area! Toxic solder fumes will gravitate and stick to your face and respiratory system... at least get a fan going to disperse it, and open a window.
 #89839  by TI4-1009
 Mon Nov 22, 2010 7:15 am
Make sure to get a soldering iron of about 45 watts. The 15-25 watt irons work ok for soldering wires together or to the lugs, but you need a 45 when you solder a ground wire to the potentiometer case- it acts like a heat sink. There are loads of wiring diagrams on the web from pickup manufacturers and parts suppliers, and a few good basic electronics courses. Ya just gotta poke around. If you haven't done it before it wouldn't hurt to get a cheapo pawn shop beater to do some playing around with- the learning curve is steep but quick at the beginning. I have a Jay Turser that's my "mule". I love soldering and welding- "gluing metal together". Enjoy!