Claescaster

Tag: How to change a potentiometer

How to… install a treble bleed

Claescaster New, Mighty Mite bodyThe Claescaster, put together in May 2013 out of a Mighty Mite Swamp ash body, Tonerider Vintage Plus pickups, Wilkinson hardware and a cheap but fairly fat China neck.

Last night I decided to change the pots and install a treble bleed on my new Claescaster, I never liked the feel of the CTS pots I had on. I’m still not sure if I like the new changes or not, in my head it sounded better before but I stupidly forgot to record it so I can’t compare the before and after. I think it had a clearer sound with more highs, now I feel that the neck pickup is more muffled. I’m not sure if this is down to cheaper pots, the treble bleed or the wiring. I changed the wiring too from a more standard wiring to Seymour Duncan’s suggestion for a ’66 wiring which matched what I had seen for the treble bleed. Maybe it has more to do with the changes in wiring than the actual treble bleed because before I had an old 50′s vintage wiring to help with the lack of treble at lower volumes and I was pretty happy with that. I’m so confused with all the different wiring options, I have no idea who’s doing what to whom, and where? I might just have to redo it again and copy the original wiring on my Greco TL-500 or my Fender TL52-75, they both sounds great.

How to... install a treble bleed, Telecaster, ClaescasterThe new Claescaster got a treble bleed and the ’66 wiring, bottom right photo shows the original wiring on my 1979 Greco TL-500

Claescaster, Telecaster,  50′s vintage wiring
Update: December 27, 2014,
Since I had the soldering iron out to fit the electronics in my new home built Claescaster I took the treble bleed out in this one and changed the wiring back to it’s original 50′s vintage wiring

How to… solder electronics

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

How to… solder electronics

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.