How to… solder electronics

by claesgellerbrink

How to change a potentiometer
When I found my Tokai Love Rock it had a broken shaft on one of the potentiometers so I’ve been planning to change that for the last month or two. This weekend I finally got around to do it. I changed the broken one for a Alpha 500k pot, not the most expensive replacement but I had heard quite good things about Alpha so I thought I would give it a try. I have no experience what so ever when it comes to soldering so I decided to play it safe and move one cable at the time from the old to the new pot. My main concern was of course that I would get confused and not manage to get all the bits back in the right place. Everything went fine, well maybe not the cleanest soldering but pretty good for being my first time. I should of course have scratched the new pot with a bit of sandpaper to get the solder to stick better, I didn’t think of that until after.

Tokai Love Rock electronicsI changed the pot one cable at the time to not mess anything up

Tokai Love Rock electronicsThe final result, my newly fitted Alpha 500 k pot. Perhaps not the cleanest soldering but OK for being my first time.

Tokai Love Rock electronicsTokai Love Rock with 4 brand knew knobs, straight from China via eBay.

How to do a 50’s vintage wiring mod for Telecaster
When I had to soldering iron out I thought I might as well sort some other stuff too. I’ve been reading about different ways of keeping the tone on a Telecaster when you turn the volume down and decided to go for the old 50’s vintage wiring on my Claescaster. It’s a really easy procedure since you just need to move one cable but when I opened the Claescaster up I realised that it wasn’t wired like the standard Telecaster, not according to Seymour Duncan’s excellent wiring diagrams, so I had to move the capacitor and another cable as well. The capacitor is the worlds biggest Orange drop but it does the trick, I might go for something smaller and a bit more suitable when I build the new Claescaster.

Telecaster 50's vintage wiringThe cables I swapped around on the Claescaster. It sounds great now and keeps the tone when you turn the volume down.

How to solder a endpin jack for acoustic guitars.
I found this nice old Shadow humbucker pickup for acoustic guitars when I was back in Sweden. I have a 12 string guitar from the 70’s that I bought cheap from an old Jazz musician and I had completely forgotten that it was equipped with a Shadow pickup. I brought the pickup back to Barcelona and have spent some time trying to figure out how to fit it in my Cort that I normally use for rehearsals. I bought a gold endpin jack and then I just needed to solder a mini jack cable to connect it. The question was, how the hell do I do that? I found and old RCA to mini jack cable that I decided to slaughter for this project but couldn’t find any info online how to connect it. I tried every single combination I could think of but just couldn’t get any sound out of it. Then it hit me, of course, a guitar cable has only on cable inside and then the shield around, so I have to make something similar to this. I twined the left and right together and then the same with the shield from both and it worked perfectly. It might not be the best cable in the world but it was what I got at home and it seems to work fine.

RCA to mini jackStandard RCA to mini jack.

Mini jack for acoustic guitarI connected the left and right and then twined the shield together

endpin jack to mini jackThe left and right soldered together to the shortest pin and then the shield to the longest.

Shadow humbucker pickupShadow humbucker pickup for acoustic guitars, newly fitted on my old Cort.

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