Has anyone done this?

Discussion in 'Tech-Talk' started by Uncle Jimmy, Apr 13, 2021.

  1. Uncle Jimmy

    Uncle Jimmy Senior Stratmaster

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    I've got an old Washburn hb-35 that I found in a dusty old shop. Nicest fretboard I've seen in quite some time. Beautiful instrument, well made, beautiful fretwork, grover tuners etc. But everything else is wrong with it. Only one position on the selector switch works. bridge pick-up cuts in and out. All the pots either crackle or cause the most ungodly hum in my amp. My thought is to suck it up and replace all the wiring and pickups, switch, pots. But good grief, seems like a bear of a job. Tying dental floss to the selector switch so I can pull the new one back into position, etc.

    So... anyone done a job like this? Any tips?

    Thanks in advance!
     
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  2. Stratoskater

    Stratoskater Fuzz Meister General

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    God I hate working on electronics in semi or hollow body guitars. My advice is take your time and definitely don’t let the floss lead fall in the body 10 times or more like I tend to do. My real advice and what I do now with these type guitars is to let a tech do it.
     
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  3. bluejazzoid

    bluejazzoid Strats Amore Silver Member

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    I've only done that kinda change once and it is a pain, but next time (if) I will probably use something like RC connectors with the pickup leads just in case another pickup swap is ever desired.
     
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  4. Lonn

    Lonn Mod Admin Staff Member

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    I don't understand why people think this is such a hard thing to do. You don't need to tie anything off other than the jack before removing the electronics. Once everything is out you put 5 strings through the holes, grab the inside ends with needle nose pliers and then tie them to the new electronics. Pull each piece through it's respective hole and there you go. I've done it probably 20 times so it can't be that hard.
     
  5. Scott Baxendale

    Scott Baxendale Senior Stratmaster Gold Supporting Member

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    Just get the wiring fixed, it’s usually a simple short or dirty contacts. There is absolutely no reason to replace everything to get it to function correctly.

    If it’s a hollow body or semi hollow then it’s kinda like building a ship in a bottle. My final exam in my luthier school is rewiring a 335! It ain’t easy. The big secret is to tie string or thin wire to the post of the pots, switch and Jack to drop them down. Fishing things through the pickup hole, if you can, rather than the F hole makes it a little easier.

    The first thing is to inspect the wiring with a light and mirror. Often you can see where it is shorting out and just fix that part without taking everything else out. This is step one.

    Then, I start with taking the pickups out and taping them upside down to the top of the guitar, then tying the thin string or wire to all the pots, switch, Jack before dropping them down. I use a single wire to tie both ends to the volume pot and tone pot before dropping them down and another wire for the other volume and tone pot. This way you never have to worry about losing an end of the wire down in the body.

    the really hard part if you take them out is putting them back in without creating a new short from a ground wire touching a hot lead as you pull everything back into place.

    In the case you are replacing all the pots and Jack it makes things a lot easier if you mount the pots upside down on the top of the guitar body into their respective holes to do all your wiring and soldering. This way your leads are all the right length and the pots are lined up with all of the holes. Then you take the new wire harness and flip it over to pull it into the guitar through the pickup hole if possible. Everything usually lines up right if you do it this way. I use a .017 gauge stiff unwound string and bend a little hook on it with needle nose pliers then it goes through the Jack hole and hooks on the tab that contacts the tip of the Jack. Then I pull the Jack into place once I get the nut and washer on the Jack I then pull the string harder and it pulls itself off the Jack tab. Then the previous wires I tied to the pots will pull them into place.

    I suggest taking to someone who really knows how to do this, and not every so-called luthier can.

    I’ve had customers who tried doing this and ended up cutting a big hole it the back of the guitar....yikes!
     
  6. Oldboy

    Oldboy Senior Stratmaster

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    Before you go tearing it apart and replacing everything, try Deoxit or some other similar electrical cleaning product in the pots and switch to solve the problem.
     
  7. Antstrat

    Antstrat Most Honored Senior Member

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    5 holes? I’m guessing 4 for the volume and tone pots and 1 for the p/u toggle switch?

    I have an Epi dot that hums like a mofo and I’ve been reluctant to pull the guts out. I may hit you up for a walkthrough if you don’t mind.
     
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  8. 2aug82b

    2aug82b Strat-Talker

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    A handy tool to have on hand is one of those expandable magnets that have the little round magnetic end on em. In case anything gets lost in there, especially.
     
  9. Seamus OReally

    Seamus OReally Mr. Serious Gold Supporting Member

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    ^^^ This.
     
  10. Uncle Jimmy

    Uncle Jimmy Senior Stratmaster

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    Thanks all! That 3-way switch is a total goner, no amount of deoxit has done anything for it, it's loose and wobbly, almost feels like someone smacked it with a hammer. The pots? I dunno. Pickups? meh. I guess I'll suck it up and go for it.
     
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  11. Baelzebub

    Baelzebub Dr. Stratster

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    Lots of good advice here. I'll just add an idea I saw somewhere that I thought had merit.

    take a long piece of surgical tubing, like the stuff you use on pickup screws, and fit it over the shaft before removing the pots. Then use the tubing to push them to where you can get them out. Check/clean/replace, whatever is called for, and then do it in reverse to pull the shaft back up through the hole.
     
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  12. Scott Baxendale

    Scott Baxendale Senior Stratmaster Gold Supporting Member

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    Just replace the bad switch.
     
  13. Angel S Bunny

    Angel S Bunny Strat-Talker

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    To fix a Switch is not a easy thing, to get the Pins in the right place and so many moving parts working loose.

    As for Pot, dirt can get in and maybe not made correct. Could scrap some of the track away inside. If the Arms in there are bent its murder putting them back in the right place.

    I've taken a lot of pots apart and switches (watch out for your spring loaded balls!! before you know it you lost your balls and you gotta guess the size to replace it)



    I don't like chucking things away so if you want to fix the parts take a VERY close up photos .. main thing is Contact with the track.