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Old September 23rd, 2003, 01:11 AM   #1 (permalink)
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soldering irons and strobe tuners...

hi everyone...

i wanted to start doing some more guitar projects at home, and i figured that i could use a good soldering gun and a strobe tuner so i can do intonation by myself.

my questions are 1. how powerful of a soldering gun do i need to make strong connections. 2. where is the best place to buy one. and 3. what strobe tuners do you guys like, and are those new digital peterson ones any good?

thanks again everyone

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Old September 23rd, 2003, 01:38 AM   #2 (permalink)
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A 30-35 watt or so iron will be plenty. You can spend as much as you want on a soldering iron, but I dont' really think that it's necessary. My main iron is a Weller work station model I picked up a few years ago, It's a cheap iron but It's never let me down.
My portable iron is one of those $25 Radio Shack pen irons (Not the very cheapest all black one, the one with the gray cushion grip) I'm sure alot of techs would frown on my little cheapy, but I've used it for years and it's been a workhorse. Several years of heavy use and it's still going strong. I've definitely gotten my $25 worth.

I've heard nothing but good things about the Peterson strobe, and I'm GAS'ing for one pretty hard. That said, I've never used one.
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Old September 23rd, 2003, 01:56 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I'll let others talk about soldering irons

I prefer the strobe tuners with the spinning disks. They are easier for me to see. The Peterson 490 is a very good strobe tuner and is kind of the industry benchmark. I'd love to have one but it's pretty pricey. You can find old strobe tuners on ebay for less than $100 quite often and they can be recalibrated and reconditioned by Peterson. If you are only doing intonation, you don't even need them to be calibrated because all you care about is relative pitch. I use an old Conn strobe I got off ebay for most of my guitar work. It does a beautiful job. I think I paid about $80 for it.
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Old September 23rd, 2003, 08:33 AM   #4 (permalink)
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My 2 cents...

Don't get anything over 45 watts.
For most jobs, a 30 or a 40 watts would do.
I recommend the ones from Radio Shack. Their quality is very good and the price reasonable. Get also a desoldering wick or a "sucker". Clean the parts before soldering, work clean, and you'd be fine.
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Old September 23rd, 2003, 05:03 PM   #5 (permalink)
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you can purchase irons with variable temps. If you are not going to use it every day though, save some money by buying a cheaper one. it will probably serve you well. I have an old Conn strobe tuner. I only break it out for intonating and i like it. I don't think its practical to use for just tuning but it is a great tool.
good luck!
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Old September 23rd, 2003, 07:43 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Peterson VS-2

The new Peterson Virtual Strobe tuners are fantastic. They just brought out the VS-2 so look and see if you can find a VS-1 for less. The new ones retail at $199.
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Old September 23rd, 2003, 09:35 PM   #7 (permalink)
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My 2...

get a cordless, butane soldering iron. You're going to find yourself in situations where you can't reach an outlet- with one of these you can do emergency guitar repair anywhere- also, you don't have a cord pulling on the iron and the temperature is adjustable so it will fit all situations. And if you've ever tried to unsolder a ground wire to a Strat tremelo claw, you'll appreciate the highest heat setting.

The one I have has saved my butt many, many times over.
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Old October 1st, 2003, 10:26 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Strobes

Hello....while the new digital peterson strobe is great....the older spinning wheel models are better tuners...the reason being that in a perfect world you'll be stretching your guitar tuning much like a piano....to do this its easier with a real strobe because it lets you not only see the pitch of the note , but it also lets you see what the overtones are doing (the new dig. version does not do the overtone thing) ....With practice you can make a fixed bridge Martin sound as "in tune" as a six bridge hardtail strat! I've used a Peterson Strobe since 1973 and I won't change....they are the best!!!!!!!1
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Old October 1st, 2003, 05:56 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Soldering...

I have a Radio Shack dual temp workstation that will work at 20 or 40 watts. It takes the copper replacement tips from RS, which I like. I do have a couple of portable units, one is butane and the other runs on batteries. The butane one is adjustable, 10-60 watts, and is especially good for bigger jobs, like pots and terminal rings. Even at the lowest setting, I think it gets too hot for small parts. You would want to use a heat sink with it to protect caps and wire and It can be a little awkward in small cavities. The battery powered iron is only good for circuit boards and micro to small parts where you don't need much heat.
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Old October 1st, 2003, 06:20 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I have a few VS-1's and I love em...as Bill said it's hard to see the overtones but you can actually see them by looking at all the moving patches.....The sweetened tuning is great and I intonate with that setting too.....I think that Musician Friends has them on sale for $149.00 now....great deal......don
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Old October 8th, 2003, 01:14 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Strobe Tuners....I have an old Conn Strobotuner, but unless you have an extremely sensitive ear, any standard tuner will do the same job, even the $19.99 ones. Plus as I found out the hard way...if they are in direct sunlight or daylight, you can't see the dial at all! I had to build a special box to keep it in the dark so I could see the dial to tune. I bought mine 20+ years ago for $385 & I think they're still the same price.
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