Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups

Learning how to use a soldering iron (... or not !)

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by rocksteady Max, May 19, 2008.

  1. rocksteady Max

    rocksteady Max Tele-Afflicted

    In my quest for tone and fun I've encountered a serious handicap : I don't know how to use a soldering iron properly ... well I've already 'played' with an iron but I don't feel ready to wire a guitar or, this is what I'd really love to do : build my own pedals from DIY kits (B.Y.O.C.). I'm really not good working with my hands but I think that if I commit to this, I'd be able to build and repair stuff for me and my friends.

    I just wanted to know exactly what stuff I need to start (nothing too fancy) and if there's a handbook or a website for dummy like me !:rolleyes:

  2. aznrambo481

    aznrambo481 Friend of Leo's

    terry downs has a soldering video that is very highly regarded here.

  3. casterway

    casterway Friend of Leo's

  4. outbreak

    outbreak Tele-Holic

    Dec 28, 2007
    soldering iron, flux or whatever, some of tha wax stuff. i found as long as im patient it's not too hard but if you rush you will mess up

  5. jimd

    jimd Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Nov 3, 2006
    Cleveland, Ohio
    Check out Terry's video. I haven't seen it but I've heard good things.

    You can get a 40w iron at most hardware/home stores pretty cheap. That and some rosin core solder should be good for starters. Get some wire and practice soldering ends together. The key is to have clean ends to solder together and a nice firm connection.

  6. Jimbodiddley

    Jimbodiddley TDPRI Member

    Apr 24, 2008
    I'm looking to do the same thing, to put some TV Jones pickups in my Gretsch 5120. I took a very introductory course in soldering many years ago, and it wasn't that hard. Look on YouTube - there are several How-To soldering videos that seem pretty good.

  7. stephwills

    stephwills Tele-Meister

    Apr 9, 2008
    Lubbock, Texas
    Is there anything the YouTube can't do?

  8. smitty54017

    smitty54017 Tele-Holic

    Apr 9, 2006
    New Richmond, WI
    You could check your local Radio Shack. They used to sell a lot of good stuff for the newbie.

    Back in my CB radio hacker days, they used to sell books and different kits where you could build your own radio and other projects. Soldering can be tricky (I've blown out enough CB's in my day to know :lol: ), so getting something you can practice with is a good idea.

    And use those safety glasses. :cool:

  9. Mark Davis

    Mark Davis Telefied Ad Free Member

    Mar 2, 2003
    Bakersfield Ca.
    I did my 1st soldering project when I was 13 years old and it still works.

    Its a 1 headphone to 2 stereo headphones box.

    Soldering is super easy Im legally blind and can do it easy.

    If you can change strings you can solder.

  10. WisconsinStrings

    WisconsinStrings Tele-Afflicted

    Jan 15, 2007
    Arcadia, Wisconsin
    Get Terry Downs video from his website. I ordered one and it's worth the money x10. He shipped it fast, and it helped me with my guitar and amp build.

    At the end of the video he even shows you exactly how to wire a tele step by step.

  11. monfoodoo

    monfoodoo Tele-Holic

    Sep 3, 2007
    The best soldering flux is "Stay Clean".

    Attached Files:

  12. The Saint

    The Saint Tele-Meister

    Dec 13, 2007
    Palmdale, CA
    Another vote for Terry's video. You'll be a soldering fool in no time!

  13. SMPTE

    SMPTE Tele-Afflicted

    Aug 21, 2006
    I'm going to start a soldering iron clinic :)

    Here's some general things to keep in mind:

    1. The basic idea of soldering is this: You're making two metals hot enough so that another metal melts and bridges the gap between them. You're not heating the solder, the metals you heat with the iron melts the solder. At the same time you're trying to keep out contaminants and make sure that when the bridge metal was heated it heated past it's liquid point (cold solder joint). Flux keeps the solder from forming oxidation (raising resistance) and lowers the surface tension (letting the solder flow cleanly and letting you remove heat quicker).

    2. When in doubt remove the heat and don't ruin the component.
    - If you have to hold the soldering iron down too long you don't have a big enough soldering iron.

    3. Practice, practice, practice.
    - They make practice kits that are fairly cheap.
    - It takes time to recognize when the solder is liquid and bridging without over heating the components.

    4. Clean the solder areas so they're bare metal.
    - Dissimilar metals act differently sometimes. When in doubt, Google.

    Theres more, but boards and components are pretty cheap. Get a soldering iron and some cheap stuff and go to town.
    Last edited: May 20, 2008

  14. byrdbrain

    byrdbrain Tele-Afflicted

    Jul 5, 2006
    One more vote for Terry's DVD, which helped me a lot.
    Mister Downs is that rare cross between Roy Nichols
    and a most noble rocket surgeon – a great man, and kind enough
    to answer my moronic questions about switch lugs.:oops:

  15. jefrs

    jefrs Doctor of Teleocity

    Nov 20, 2007
    Newbury, England
    Dad taught me this stuff when I was a nipper. When I was 8 I learned:-
    Don't pick the iron up by the wrong end.
    Only use good multi-cored resin flux solder.
    New electronic components are already clean (unless they're not).
    Assemble the joint, the components have to be in contact because solder works by capilliary flow.
    Clean and wet the bit.
    Heat the joint.
    Apply solder to the joint (start at the tip of the bit), not the iron. Watch it flow, bright and shiny.
    Don't use too much solder.
    Remove heat.
    Keep joint stationary until set.

    A 40 watt temperature controlled bit (TCB) is good, otherwise a 25 watt iron is plenty.

    Dry-joint = not enough heat.
    Old dull grey joint = oxidised.
    Too much heat = oxidised joint, lead vapourises, damaged components.

    Lead vapour and flux fumes are bad news = use well ventillated area.


  16. jefrs

    jefrs Doctor of Teleocity

    Nov 20, 2007
    Newbury, England
    I'll also go +1 to and Terry Downs although I have not seen the video the info is very good (it appears to be a TCB in the clips).
    A point of interest, solderinguide appears to depict an iron with a two pin plug, i.e. no earth, is this normal? -it must play merry hob with semiconductors.

  17. BAW4742

    BAW4742 Tele-Afflicted

    Just to add a few more points -

    Keep the tip clean. You don't want gobs of solder dripping off of it.

    If the iron doesn't seem to be heating well - make sure the tip is tightly screwed into the body. (Use pliers - not your fingers:eek: )

    Practice a little before your start on your guitar.

    It's not that hard.

  18. Telemaniac

    Telemaniac Tele-Afflicted

    Mar 28, 2003
    Wokingham, England
    +1 - I learned that I didn't know how to solder properly until that DVD, great value, very quick delivery, thanks Terry.

  19. rocksteady Max

    rocksteady Max Tele-Afflicted

    Huge thank you guys. I've just ordered Terry's DVD. Next step will be finding out all the tools and stuff I need to solder. Any suggestions for an online store that offers a beginner soldering kit ? Also, I'm look for easy projects/kits to build up my skills. What would you suggest ??

  20. fltpkr

    fltpkr RIP

    Feb 13, 2007
    Home Despot has a 40W Weller Iron with extra tips for about $18. Radio Shack has terminal ends and 22 ga wire to practice with and you can also pick up a solder sucker, 63/37 solder, flux, etc. All available online and cheap.

IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.