How to… solder electronics

by claesgellerbrink

How to change a switch
I spent Saturday doing my new favourite thing, soldering. How could I have lived for thirty two years without realising how exciting this is, well maybe not, but still. It’s a nice past time and probably healthier, even with the fumes, than spending Saturday afternoons in the sun drinking beer in a terrace, that tends to happen when you live in Spain. First I changed the old 3-way switch on my Westone Strat from 1979 to a fancy US made 5-way switch that I got from Swivel Electronics on eBay Japan.

Westone Strat from 1979 Note how bent the blade of the old switch was

I fitted the new switch and then started to unsolder one cable at the time and moved it from the old to the new switch. Unfortunately I managed to fit the switch the wrong way around so when I was done and had put the pickguard back on and strung up the guitar again I had to take it all off and redo it. I turned out that a 5-switch wasn’t that much more complicated than a 3-way switch for a Telecaster and I know those by heart now. Suddenly I have a fully functioning 70’s Japanese Strat and who knew that the in-between pickup sounds would be so amazing.

Westone Strat from 1979 New 5-way switch fitted

How to change a potentiometer
When I ordered all the electronics needed for the new Claescaster I bought two new pots for the old Telecaster as well. I found this great guitar shop in Valencia called Stringsfield with super cheap and quick shipping so I got two Alpha 250k audio pots for my old one and two CTS 250k for my new Claescaster project, my Mighty Mite Swamp ash body that is still stuck in customs in Madrid.

Morgan Telecaster, Claescaster It was time to change the old mini 500k pots for a full size Alpha 250k

Morgan Telecaster, Claescaster I fitted the new pots on the control plate and then started to move all the cables around

The old electronics was such a mess so I changed the pots but kept cables, switch and my Orange drop capacitor. I figured there was no point buying any better cables since I wasn’t going to change the pickups yet. I might change all of that in the near future, as soon as the new Claescaster is done. I’m tempted to get the Artec Vintage Style AlNiCo Telecaster Pickup Set from Northwest Guitars, they sound really good for the price, £29.99. Of course I did the old 50’s vintage wiring again, I really liked the tone of that modification. I haven’t had time to rehearse with this guitar yet but I’m pretty sure that the new pots will make it a bit less treble sounding and hopefully make it sound a bit warmer.

Morgan Telecaster, Claescaster Looks pretty clean and tidy to me

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