Is My Soldering Right?

no doz

Tele-Meister
Joined
Jul 12, 2020
Posts
276
Age
32
Location
NYC
in addition to a lot of good advice up above, i'd recommend investing in some quality soldering equipment, specifically an iron that has a variable temperature control. your iron runs way too hot for guitar components imo. i find the sweet spot to be between 300-320C (at the maximum). a variable temp iron was a huge breakthrough for me when i first made the switch

having the option between using a chisel tip and a conical tip is a nice luxury depending on the job

a multimeter with a continuity function, helping hands, deoxit, a solder sucker, heat shrink, wire snips, and a decent wire stripper are all your friends

practice on some old and/or inexpensive pots, switches, etc. DIY pedal kits are also a really great (and typically well documented) step by step way to hone your skills
 

Flyboy

Tele-Holic
Joined
Aug 13, 2009
Posts
794
Location
scotland
If the solder gun doesn't put out enough heat, the component may be getting overheated and damaged. The wrong or poor quality flux and solder can cause lots of problems.
I recently was soldering copper pipes using new flux. Couldn't get the solder to take. Got pissed, found some other flux, soldering like a pro again.
No lead solder is a PITA!
N
Lead solder is a must for guitar circuitry. I was once out on the road and the Runner came back with solder, non-lead solder. It was all he could get. Not good.
 

middy

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Apr 28, 2010
Posts
4,396
Age
51
Location
MSP
You’re using a soldering gun made for plumbers?

Just a cheap 15 watt pencil iron is all you want.
 

jvin248

Doctor of Teleocity
Joined
Apr 18, 2014
Posts
11,203
Location
Lions & Tigers oh Mi !
.

Cut a piece of cardboard and put holes in it that match the guitar cavity holes. Then mount all your parts on that cardboard so that all you do is attach the pickup wires in the tiny cavity. That way you can work 'outside' the guitar as much as possible.

Doing new soldering over 'old work' on parts will always make soldering look rougher. Instagram photos and forum photos are 99% of the time all brand new parts with a wiring circuit the poster did a few times.

Getting a 'solder sucker' (often under $10) can help clean up old work before starting fresh. Although, your Strat switch may be toast, if solder leaked into all the contacts and mechanism.

Plastic coated wires have different heat ranges and some melt a lot faster than others so a lower iron temperature can help.

Here are technique hints.

 

DuckDodgers

Tele-Holic
Joined
Nov 5, 2015
Posts
522
Location
Dee-troit City
Get a good temperature controlled soldering iron- they can be had cheaply these days. Soldering guns are still a favorite of some, but they’re ancient technology as well as clumsy.

A good soldered connection has the minimum amount of solder needed to bond things together. Makena good mechanical bond, heat it, and allow just enough solder to flow to fill the gap.
 

Telekarster

Poster Extraordinaire
Gold Supporter
Joined
Aug 14, 2019
Posts
5,446
Location
Earth
FWIW When soldering a Les Paul it's best to do the pots outside of the guitar, using a template that you've made from the guitar to do so. Essentially, you should end up with something that looks like this

1643377984373.jpeg

1643378070438.jpeg


So.... you take the electronics out of the LP and then take a piece of paper and draw out your template, put template onto a piece of cardboard, punch the holes out for the pots and such, and now you have a nice open place to work with. Once you're done you simply put the parts as a single unit back into the guitar, solder up your jack and switch, and that's it. This example is for a 335 but the process is the same. Also, you need to be using 60/40 lead solder with resin core. My soldering iron is nothing special, just a cheap 10 buck iron, and I've used it for years. Soldering takes practice but if you do it enough, you'll get better and better. Good luck man and hope this helps!
 

SacDAve

Poster Extraordinaire
Silver Supporter
Joined
Dec 23, 2009
Posts
7,784
Age
70
Location
Rocklin Ca.
It cost a lot $32 but all solder is not equal.

Kester 24-6337-0027 Solder Roll, Core Size 66, 63/37 Alloy, 0.031" Diameter​



 

Telecaster582

Tele-Holic
Joined
Jan 24, 2022
Posts
982
Age
13
Location
Muskegon MI
I wouldn't go to a Guitar Center unless you're already familiar with the tech that works there. A lot of times their "tech" really isn't.

If you want to drive to Grand Rapids, try RIT music or North Coast Guitars.

Are you using a soldering "gun" or "iron" - I wouldn't let a gun anywhere near these types of things. And yes, guitar cavities are a pain to work in, but you get good at it.

But yes, with the images you've shown, the only real solution would be to start over completely.
How did you know grand rapids is an hour away?
 

Telecaster582

Tele-Holic
Joined
Jan 24, 2022
Posts
982
Age
13
Location
Muskegon MI
in addition to a lot of good advice up above, i'd recommend investing in some quality soldering equipment, specifically an iron that has a variable temperature control. your iron runs way too hot for guitar components imo. i find the sweet spot to be between 300-320C (at the maximum). a variable temp iron was a huge breakthrough for me when i first made the switch

having the option between using a chisel tip and a conical tip is a nice luxury depending on the job

a multimeter with a continuity function, helping hands, deoxit, a solder sucker, heat shrink, wire snips, and a decent wire stripper are all your friends

practice on some old and/or inexpensive pots, switches, etc. DIY pedal kits are also a really great (and typically well documented) step by step way to hone your skills
I don't have a pedal... So there's a double whammy right there!
IMG_20220128_094227041.jpg
 

Boreas

Poster Extraordinaire
Joined
Nov 3, 2019
Posts
8,496
Age
67
Location
Adirondack Coast, NY
Picture #3 looks to be temperature or tip related. You should never see black solder joints. The soldering tip should always be clean and shiny, and continually kept TINNED. #3 looks like you are trying to solder with a ruined tip that is too large.

Check out a few online videos and keep practicing. Just find some old parts and keep soldering and un-soldering them. And learn how to remove solder with a wick or solder-sucker. But if your tip is not clean and properly tinned, you will never get good joints. You will often ruin components from too much heat absorption.
 

Boreas

Poster Extraordinaire
Joined
Nov 3, 2019
Posts
8,496
Age
67
Location
Adirondack Coast, NY
I don't have a pedal... So there's a double whammy right there! View attachment 945311
The tip is corroded and ruined. Cheap tips are cheap tips and do not last long. But the KEY to soldering is a clean, TINNED tip. The tip also needs to be tinned well before unplugging the iron. That is the only thing keeping it from corroding and ruining the tip.
 

WalthamMoosical

Tele-Afflicted
Ad Free Member
Joined
May 28, 2020
Posts
1,276
Location
Vermont
Always tin your soldering iron tip, and the wires with solder as well.

You may also wish to tin any solder lugs as well (pots, switches).

Cut a piece of cardboard and put holes in it that match the guitar cavity holes. Then mount all your parts on that cardboard so that all you do is attach the pickup wires in the tiny cavity. That way you can work 'outside' the guitar as much as possible.

FWIW When soldering a Les Paul it's best to do the pots outside of the guitar, using a template that you've made from the guitar to do so. Essentially, you should end up with something that looks like this

Yes, try to solder everything you can without it crammed into the guitar body. The templates referred to here are a great idea, and make them out of something even stiffer than cardboard if you can. I go so far as to drill holes/cut slots in a slab of wood to match pot shafts and switch levers and insert the knobless/tipless components into those, for a nice heavy component holder that I'll never accidentally push around with the soldering iron.
 

Boreas

Poster Extraordinaire
Joined
Nov 3, 2019
Posts
8,496
Age
67
Location
Adirondack Coast, NY
I clean it after ever solder joint
It looks to me like you are cleaning a ruined tip. How do you clean it? Do you tin it after cleaning? The tip in that picture has a coppery color. It should always be bright silver from tinning. Once they become corroded, they just don't tin properly. If you have ever cleaned the tip with sandpaper, it is also likely toast. And tips DO wear out. Cheaper tips wear out sooner because of cheaper alloys used.

Start over with one of those unused tips, tin it before you start, and tin it immediately after cleaning it. Try to buy brand name soldering stuff - it isn't that much more expensive and have more dependable tips and temperatures.
 




Top