Good Soldering Iron? - NOOB HERE! - Tips welcome!


Feb 21, 2021
St Louis, MO
Hi guys!

OP here!!

pretty good advices and Tips (pun intended!)

okay so, Hakko, if not Weller, if not just generic ones! I’ll try to spring for a Hakko - probably used.

i now own a strat, so i might go crazy with Loaded pickguards that I might interchange depending on my mood!

may I ask what do i need to put in my shopping list besides the soldering iron/station?

1. Interchangeable tips?
2. Sponge???
3. What kind of metal wire do i need to use?
4. Whats the lead for?
5. Whats a dipping tray?!? Lolol

i feel like I’m gonna open pandora’s box once I learn how to solder. Lol. But still, soldering is my no.1 priority in learning, then I’m gonna buy some luthier equipment and buy some fret work and nut tools! Lololol

The Hakko comes standard with a small chisel tip that works great for just about everything. If you buy used there's no telling what it might come with, but tips are cheap and easily replaceable.

The Hakko comes with the brass sponge for cleaning so you won't need that separately.

Not sure if by "metal wire" you are referring to the wire that you are installing. Most guitar and amp stuff is 22 gauge pre-tinned wire. If it's available, the cloth-covered "push back" wire is kind of nice because you can push the insulation back away from the cut end, solder your joint, and then slide the insulation back down over the wire. It's a little quicker and cleaner looking than trimming plastic insulation off the wire.

The lead is the type of solder. It's an alloy of tin and lead that allows for the relatively low melting point. A lot of newer solder is lead-free. I've never used lead-free but I have heard it's a little harder to use and requires higher temps. You also don't want to mix them. Because of the lead content, some countries no longer sell it. It's still available in the US but I'm not sure about other places.


Friend of Leo's
Jul 21, 2015
4. Whats the lead for?
Lead as in a heavy metal they dig out of the ground ..... not the thing you pug into your guitar. (Same spelling: different meanings.)

Lead-based solder is a lead - tin composite. Different ratios give different melting points.
Common ratios are 60 tin/40 lead, and 63/37. Both these are easy to work with.
Solder for electronics work comes with a flux core, so you don't have to worry about that.

3. What kind of metal wire do i need to use?
The vintage style cloth covered wire looks the best and is very easy to use. No need to strip back insulation.

John Nicholas

Friend of Leo's
Jun 26, 2014
Poughkeepsie, NY
Picking a soldering iron is a very personal experience. I have used a couple of different Wellers, Radio Shack and a couple of cheapie soldering irons. They all did a passable job of soldering, it's more about the proper temperature, technique, the proper flux, and solder.

The techniques folks have shared here are all good, but in building a CNC, my soldering technique needed to be upped by a huge jump. Sure, there are tons of different techniques and many of them work, but when soldering an 12mm Aviation connector with 5 wires, you have to really know how to solder correctly and be extremely careful with the amount of heat and length of time you apply that heat.

I purchased this kit, yes its a US supplier, but these soldering irons are available from China, so you can probably buy them in Australia.{"sceneId":"23416","sku_id":"67082051091"}

I learned how to up my soldering technique by watching this guy on YouTube (he also sells the kit listed above from Ebay)

Honestly, you have to find a good soldering iron, then practice, practice, practice. The worst thing you could do on a guitar is to heat up the pot so much that you melt the plastic wiper assembly inside. So you need to have good technique for that. Get some old pots and practice.

Whatever soldering iron you choose, good luck!


Poster Extraordinaire
Dec 31, 2009
Queensland Australia
I have been soldering since I was about 15/16Y.O. when I started an apprenticeship as a radio/tv technician. In the early days when all the tv's were black and white, and all valve operated I was fortunate to be trained by a very experienced tech who impressed upon me how to solder correctly. In those days we used Scope Irons which are a 240V to about 3volt high current secondary winding. The irons have a plastic ring on the handle which is pushed forward to heat up and released to cool. I actually used one of my original scope irons today for a small job. We used to make our own "Solder Wick" to desolder components by stripping the woven copper shielding from microphone wire, stretching it and flattening it by hand and then soaking it in "Flux"
When it was used it was put on the solder joint and heated until the solder melted and it was "wicked" into and soaked up by copper Solder Wick. Now of course you buy the solder wick by the roll!!! Ah the good old days!

I spent several years as a hearing aid tech working on printed circuit boards which were about 1/4" square, so high powered magnification was a necessity ( usually about 3 or 4 to 10/12 times magnification. I have a full set up in my workshop but rarely use it, as guitar wiring to me is HUGE !!!! by comparison.

The secret to successful soldering shall now be revealed to one and all!

1.....Ensure your iron tip is clean and fully "Tinned."
2....Tin the leads of the component!
3....Cut the component wires off to the appropriate shortest length, and "tin."
4....Apply the tip of the iron to the junction where component lead and target on the tag or printed board.
5....Touch the solder end where the tip of the iron meets the junction of what you are soldering to.
6.... Allow a small piece of solder to melt and run to form a small shiny "blob" of solder joining all the points that are to be joined.
7....Pull hot iron tip off the job, wipe clean on a rag.
8....Go and open a cold beer!

Ensure the component does NOT move before the joint has solidified, or you would have made a "dry joint! which will be a real hard thing to find in a few weeks time!!

Have fun and practice, practice, practice!



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