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How difficult is soldering and installing pickups?

Discussion in 'DIY Strat Forum' started by Jazzant85, Apr 12, 2018.

  1. Jazzant85

    Jazzant85 Strat-Talker

    Aug 4, 2016
    lol or that moment where something so painful happens to you, you don't even react to it lol.

    Ok next and hopefully last question. There's not a whole lot of info on these guitar bodies, can anyone tell me if these are the bodies from the AVRI series, thus making it a safe bet they have a nitro finish. The price is unbelievable if this it is.
  2. jaybones

    jaybones Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

    She looks like Mary Neely, from that Tide Pod commercial.

  3. Nick Evans

    Nick Evans Senior Stratmaster

    May 8, 2016
    South Wales UK
    Try practicing on some old scraps/broken radios that type of thing. Once you get the hang of it, there will be no looking back.
  4. RaySachs

    RaySachs Strat-O-Master Silver Member

    Jun 25, 2017
    Philly area
    I used to solder with those radio shack kits as a kid. I could do it but I was never particularly neat about it. And I don't think I've handled a soldering iron since I was probably 11 or 12. If I had a LOT of guitars, I'd probably learn to do more than really basic setup work to them - I used to have a LOT of bicycles and I became a damn good bicycle mechanic if I say so myself. But I only have two electrics and the only mod I'm thinking about is a minor wiring change on my strat (add the bridge pup in with the neck tone control) that I'd probably have a tech do. He's already set up for it and it would be a five minute job for him. It would be a bit of an ordeal and learning process for me and if I doubt I'd do enough of it going forward for it to be worth it...
    SRF_GRN_STRT likes this.
  5. Green Craig

    Green Craig Senior Stratmaster

    Oct 15, 2012
    I'll be the dissenting opinion here:

    Soldering is simple and straightforward:
    Pre-tin everything...make sure there's a good mechanical connection (as a poster above pointed out, that's why some people wrap or make a hook out of the wire to get it to stick to the pots and switches)...heat up the component/lug (NOT the solder) and let the solder flow around the wire or post.

    But, it takes a steady hand, and a LOT of patience to become proficient. A cheap soldering iron isn't going to do you any favors; the best option (maybe not the most affordable) is a variable-wattage soldering station. And, there are a lot of tight spaces inside a guitar that can make maneuvering a soldering iron difficult.

    Again, simple? Yes. Easy? I'd honestly hesitate to call soldering "easy." Or, the easiness of the task is greatly overstated on the Internet.
  6. Tone Guru

    Tone Guru Senior Stratmaster

    Dec 13, 2011
    Music City TN
    Japanese bodies are not the same as an AVRI and not really a "reissue" in the strictest sense.
    Most MIJ are poly.

    EBay sellers have a bad habit of calling everything "reissue" whether it actually is or not.
    Jazzant85 likes this.
  7. Jazzant85

    Jazzant85 Strat-Talker

    Aug 4, 2016
    That's really annoying. And kinda false advertisement in my opinion. On the other hand, I've heard nothing but good things about the MIJ models so we'll see.
  8. Paully

    Paully Strat-O-Master

    Oct 16, 2014
    Maine, USA
    Good soldering comes from practice.
    Find an old electronic device, and unsolder
    and resolder stuff. :thumb:
  9. Chasy

    Chasy Strat-Talker Strat-Talk Supporter

    Jun 7, 2018
    Danbury CT
    Back of pot soldering is the hard part. I have 2 40w irons. A weller 0-5 type cheapo and a Hakko which has a temp dial. The Weller has way more thermal mass than the Hakko and made the job easier. I would practice that on an old pot before I wrecked a new one. I have soldered a lot of stuff and was leery about doing it cause I know how weak that iron is.
    Vinnie1971 likes this.
  10. dirocyn

    dirocyn Strat-O-Master

    Jan 20, 2018
    Murfreesboro, TN
    I think soldering is pretty easy. And soldering pickup wires is a pretty good place to start, especially compared to replacing power switches on a Nintendo DS. Jeez what a pain that one was. I know a guy who solders cell phone stuff, professionally. Mostly under a microscope, with other special equipment. I don't even...

    Just get you a 15/30 watt iron, some thin rosin-core solder. Let the iron get up to temp where the solder melts immediately if you touch it to the solder iron tip. Heat up the thing you want solder on, then touch the solder to it. The thing to be most careful about is not overheating stuff, but that's not hard to avoid with these relatively large wires, and the insulation lets you hold the wire itself (at least an inch away from your solder join). Let things cool down a minute if your insulation is getting too melty, and be careful you don't burn yourself too much.

    Now, soldering anything involving actual pickup wire (the 42 awg stuff in the coil, that is)--that's tricky, cuz there's a small temp window where the solder melts and the wire doesn't burn through.
  11. Bazz Jass

    Bazz Jass Chairman of the Fingerboard Strat-Talk Supporter

    Nov 19, 2014
    Up a lazy river
    Worth mentioning: make sure the guitar body is covered when you do the soldering. I use a couple of old towels, so that none of the body is exposed, just the upturned pickguard. I once splashed hot solder on a new paintjob, and I'd done a LOT of soldering at that point. Fortunately the resprayer had some paint left in the can to fix it.
    Teleplayer likes this.
  12. CalicoSkies

    CalicoSkies Senior Stratmaster

    Jun 10, 2013
    Hillsboro, OR, USA
    I agree with those who have said to buy a good soldering iron. Another tip I might mention (which you may already know if you've done some soldering) is that it can help to melt some solder onto the wire before soldering it to the joint. That helps create a more stable connection.

    If you trim the wires too short, you (or the buyer) can always solder some extra length of wire back onto the pickup wires, so I'm not sure that's a big issue. And to make it cleaner, you can put some heat-shrink tubing over the solder joint so that the solder joint isn't exposed. I've done that before with some guitar mod jobs I've done.

    Heat-shrink tubing can be sold in sets of various colors/widths, or a length of one particular color/width. A couple sets on Amazon:

    And to apply heat to heat-shrink tubing, you can get creative (use a hairdryer if you have one that gets hot enough, or you can use a lighter or similar, but that can make it easy to burn the tubing). The easiest way to apply heat to heat-shrink tubing would be to use a heat gun, like this one or similar:
    Elvie likes this.
  13. CalicoSkies

    CalicoSkies Senior Stratmaster

    Jun 10, 2013
    Hillsboro, OR, USA
    You can cover the guitar to protect it, but as has been mentioned, you can do your pickup soldering work away from the guitar, since Strats have all that installed in the pickguard. That's a good tip, though you'd have to cut the ground wires to get the pickguard away from the guitar and then re-attach the ground wires when you're done.
  14. Chasy

    Chasy Strat-Talker Strat-Talk Supporter

    Jun 7, 2018
    Danbury CT
    I have a set of cs69s installed with little marette connectors. I just clipped the wires and installed em with no solder. That is a good way to go if you are not sure you want to keep them but want to listen to them. In my case, I wanted to use these while I wait for my rumples. See what I like best. Better than marrettes for this would be those nylon European terminal blocks they sell at Home Cheapo under the ideal brand. You can cut them up and make 1 pole connectors. Ideal part number 89-608. You can cut em into pieces and gives a good connection.
  15. Teleplayer

    Teleplayer Strat-O-Master

    May 29, 2012
    Sydney, Australia
    Soldering is not hard, but can take practice as everyone says. There are some rules:

    #1 Keep the soldering iron tip clean. Wipe it with a damp cloth while its hot to keep it from accumulating carbon muck. You don't want that stuff to contaminate your solder joints.

    #2 Be sure its hot enough. If the iron is not hot enough you will have a lot of trouble soldering to the back of the volume pot or other large components.

    #3 It can help to apply fresh solder as the "rosin" in the core of the solder helps clean the joint.

    #4 Protect your guitar so you don't splash molten solder on the finish or plastic parts. I put painters tape on exposed areas of the body if its close to where I am working.

    #5 Get yourself in a comfortable position so you can access the work properly. Then you are less likely to have accidents or burn things.

    #6 Use eye protection so you don't get molten solder in your eyes.
  16. Vinnie1971

    Vinnie1971 Senior Stratmaster

    Nov 14, 2015
    It’s very simple

    Especially reusing your existing pots and switch

    Take a photo before

    Desolder connections carefully. If it’s a strat tempo be and replace one pickup at a time so it’s easier to get right.

    Use rosin core 60/40
    Make sure the iron is hot

    Tin components and end of wire first. This will help flux to flow and minimise any dry joints ( where the solder fails)

    Allow the soldering joins to cool and garden by themselves- takes about 5 seconds. DO NOT BLOW. This will ruin the join.

    Use something like helping hands or alligator clips to help. Helping hands is good as not only does it hold things in place it also acts as a heat sink to minimise the risk of frying components.
  17. Namelyguitar

    Namelyguitar Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

    Jun 3, 2009
    Mobile Bay
    The OP started this thread in April, I wonder if it's completed?
  18. Paperback Rocker

    Paperback Rocker Nitro-mancer Strat-Talk Supporter

    Sep 18, 2014
    Lewisville, TX
    Burns are still healing. Shrink tubing phase scheduled for August at the earliest.