Soldering: Help a chap out.

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WhiskeyJack
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Soldering: Help a chap out.

Post by WhiskeyJack » Wed Jan 31, 2018 3:34 pm

TL;DR: I am a total newb and i need help advice, so answer only when you have a free minute.


I have a confession, my soldering skills are garbage. After reading a bit and watching some videos (seymour duncan had a really great video on changing pick ups) it doesn't look terribly hard but it looks like a pretty skilled procedure.

I guess i need some advice & also a shopping list.

I think i am going to buy this (click for link, TAD gave me this product idea thanks tad) or this (click for link) for a soldering unit.

I am curious to know a few other things?

What type of solder do i actually need to procure? there seems to be almost infinite options available. if i could get that narrowed down to like one or two things that would be cool. In my mind i think the little 1mm stuff might be ideal? But some guidance and a point in the right direction would be a huge help.

How about the stuff that says rosin core or flux core?

Solder sucker or desoldering wick? Will i need these items?

Will i need any specific tips that either of the those two options of irons i have listed do not provide?

Copper clips to act as a heat sink if there are caps involved? true or false?

How about wiring schematics?

I watched a few videos and i want to say that picking the right lug on the pots almost seemed arbitrary to the person shooting the video, but i feel like that is an incorrect assumption? So i feel i need to ask that.

I think i am going to practice my solder work with spare bits of wire to get a feel for it, then fix the wiring in my Sparrow and then i will tackle the P90's. I don't really want to go screwing that guitar up.

Am i asking the right questions? Have i not asked an important question(s)? Am i overlooking something in the supply chain?

Thanks TRR's. :like: :like:
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Greg_L
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Re: Soldering: Help a chap out.

Post by Greg_L » Wed Jan 31, 2018 5:40 pm

WhiskeyJack wrote:
Wed Jan 31, 2018 3:34 pm
TL;DR: I am a total newb and i need help advice, so answer only when you have a free minute.


I have a confession, my soldering skills are garbage. After reading a bit and watching some videos (seymour duncan had a really great video on changing pick ups) it doesn't look terribly hard but it looks like a pretty skilled procedure.

I guess i need some advice & also a shopping list.

I think i am going to buy this (click for link, TAD gave me this product idea thanks tad) or this (click for link) for a soldering unit.
Those will do.


What type of solder do i actually need to procure? there seems to be almost infinite options available. if i could get that narrowed down to like one or two things that would be cool. In my mind i think the little 1mm stuff might be ideal? But some guidance and a point in the right direction would be a huge help.

How about the stuff that says rosin core or flux core?
I use 60/40 Rosin core on just about everything because it's cheap and plentiful and works just fine for the light duty shit we need to do as musician tinkerers.
Solder sucker or desoldering wick? Will i need these items?
Both are good to have. For guitar wiring, a bulb-sucker is prob better and you probably won't actually need either.
Will i need any specific tips that either of the those two options of irons i have listed do not provide?
No. If you can get a wide blade tip, those are good for soldering grounds onto pots, but not really a must-have.
Copper clips to act as a heat sink if there are caps involved? true or false?
Not a bad idea. It doesn't have to be copper. Any metal alligator clip will work as a heat sink.
How about wiring schematics?
Google. They're eeverywhere. Seymour Duncan has a nice library of wiring options and schematics.
I watched a few videos and i want to say that picking the right lug on the pots almost seemed arbitrary to the person shooting the video, but i feel like that is an incorrect assumption? So i feel i need to ask that.
It's not arbitrary at all. The middle lug is the wiper, the outer lugs will be signal or ground. Follow the schematic. You being a lefty can use left hand pots or you can wire the pot backwards.
I think i am going to practice my solder work with spare bits of wire to get a feel for it, then fix the wiring in my Sparrow and then i will tackle the P90's. I don't really want to go screwing that guitar up.

Am i asking the right questions? Have i not asked an important question(s)? Am i overlooking something in the supply chain?

Thanks TRR's. :like: :like:
Practice is good. Get the iron very hot. Keep the tip clean and "tinned". Heat the wires and let the solder flow instead of trying to "weld" them together. You'll see. Practice on scrap.
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Re: Soldering: Help a chap out.

Post by Lt. Bob » Wed Jan 31, 2018 6:06 pm

pretty much everything greg said

I like soldering wick but it's actually not always super easy to use so the bulb is prolly better for general use.

I'd get the Weller but that's simply that it's a brand that long been associated with electronics ..... maybe the other brand has too but I've not heard of it. BUT I notice it comes with three tips but the Weller seems to only have the pointy tip so that may be a reason to go blue.

Middle lug is the wiper but the outer two lugs are the same so either can be ground or signal however, as Greg pointed out ... using the wrong one will have the knob turning opposite to how you want so , as Greg also said, be sure to follow the schematic.

Also greg said keep the tip clean but didn't mention you do that by keeping that sponge on the station wet and wiping the tip clean on that.

60/40 rosin core is best and you can get it in all different thicknesses. NEVER acid core ..... and really, solid core's a PIA too so go with the rosin core.
Personally I like to have a little container of flux (rosin) handy ..... I find for large things like pots .... it helps to brush a little on before you heat it.

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Re: Soldering: Help a chap out.

Post by Bubba » Thu Feb 01, 2018 6:17 am

I use a little spring-loaded desoldering pump. It works well. My best investment was upgrading from an almost useless 18 Watt iron to a 40 Watt. Cheap, too. I think it's been mentioned already, but the idea in soldering is to get the workpiece hot (but as briefly as possible), not the solder. Then you touch the solder to the workpiece, not the iron.
Last edited by Bubba on Thu Feb 01, 2018 6:37 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Soldering: Help a chap out.

Post by muttley » Thu Feb 01, 2018 6:21 am

Its a good idea to have a small iron of around 20w for lugs, caps, and any smaller items that need fine work. A higher wattage iron of around 40 watss for the heavy duty stuff like pot cases, bridge blocks, trems etc.. Variable irons are ok but not perfect for all jobs.

Keep the work clean as well as the tip of the iron. Dont leave it on there too long. Practice on scrap.

The Weller is a good tool.. Not sure about the other one but all soldering irons work. some just last longer than others. I have Wellers that are well over 10 years old..

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Re: Soldering: Help a chap out.

Post by muttley » Thu Feb 01, 2018 6:23 am

...and 60/40 will be fine. Avoid acid core.

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Re: Soldering: Help a chap out.

Post by Bubba » Thu Feb 01, 2018 6:51 am

muttley wrote:
Thu Feb 01, 2018 6:21 am
Its a good idea to have a small iron of around 20w for lugs, caps, and any smaller items that need fine work. A higher wattage iron of around 40 watts for the heavy duty stuff like pot cases, bridge blocks, trems etc.
Agreed.
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Re: Soldering: Help a chap out.

Post by Lt. Bob » Thu Feb 01, 2018 11:08 am

those stations he linked to have adjustable wattage.
The Weller runs from 5-40 watts so they should handle anything

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Re: Soldering: Help a chap out.

Post by muttley » Thu Feb 01, 2018 11:40 am

The trouble with many of the adjustable wattage irons is that they dont hold steady heat and the tips are not good for low and high wattage. They tend to burn out quicker... Even the Wellers which are about the best irons you can get. I ditched mine a while back having tried a few. ThE other small niggle is the actual size of the iron. I prefer a smaller tool for getting into routed cavities when possible it avoids those infuriating insulation burns when you accidentally catch an existing cable sheath... One iron will do, around 25-30 watts, 2 is better. YMMV, I'm not an electronics expert, I pretty much only solder pups and guitar stuff along with the occasional motor contacts on my machines...

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Re: Soldering: Help a chap out.

Post by WhiskeyJack » Thu Feb 01, 2018 1:37 pm

Thanks guys this is an awesome help. I am not going to break the bank on a tool i don't think. I will look at the shipping on all the stuff and make my decision based on all that shit but i am sort of leaning towards the Weller it's the name a bunch of people have told me is reputable. The solder itself was the big one. I have solder at home and it is not at all useful for this. found it in the garage from previous owner. I suspect it was for plumbing or welding of some sort. I'll purchase the appropriate stuff.

You lot are true champs.
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Re: Soldering: Help a chap out.

Post by Greg_L » Thu Feb 01, 2018 1:42 pm

WhiskeyJack wrote:
Thu Feb 01, 2018 1:37 pm
Thanks guys this is an awesome help. I am not going to break the bank on a tool i don't think. I will look at the shipping on all the stuff and make my decision based on all that shit but i am sort of leaning towards the Weller it's the name a bunch of people have told me is reputable. The solder itself was the big one. I have solder at home and it is not at all useful for this. found it in the garage from previous owner. I suspect it was for plumbing or welding of some sort. I'll purchase the appropriate stuff.

You lot are true champs.
I used to have a huge spool of WWII era solder my grandpa gave me. That shit was like pure lead or something, and it was fucking awesome. Best solder ever. I used it all up and now I have to use this modern fucking hipster safety clean environment solder crap. :mad:
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Re: Soldering: Help a chap out.

Post by muttley » Thu Feb 01, 2018 1:45 pm

Yeh dont use plumbers tin. That aint the stuff you need at all.

In your case I would get the weller if you can afford it and add a second heavy duty iron that you will use on pot cases etc. You can pick them up for really cheap (under (10 quid here). If you can get one with a chisel bit they work best for getting large areas to heat up quick and also for removing solder with a solder sucker. The smaller 25 watt and under are no good for that. 60/40 is also cheap and widely available..

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Re: Soldering: Help a chap out.

Post by muttley » Thu Feb 01, 2018 1:46 pm

Greg_L wrote:
Thu Feb 01, 2018 1:42 pm
WhiskeyJack wrote:
Thu Feb 01, 2018 1:37 pm
Thanks guys this is an awesome help. I am not going to break the bank on a tool i don't think. I will look at the shipping on all the stuff and make my decision based on all that shit but i am sort of leaning towards the Weller it's the name a bunch of people have told me is reputable. The solder itself was the big one. I have solder at home and it is not at all useful for this. found it in the garage from previous owner. I suspect it was for plumbing or welding of some sort. I'll purchase the appropriate stuff.

You lot are true champs.
I used to have a huge spool of WWII era solder my grandpa gave me. That shit was like pure lead or something, and it was fucking awesome. Best solder ever. I used it all up and now I have to use this modern fucking hipster safety clean environment solder crap. :mad:
Its not the environment that is the worry, it's you blood stream and lungs..;)

I can remember melting down old lead figures and recasting them when I was a kid. They would have fits now if a kid did that...

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Re: Soldering: Help a chap out.

Post by Greg_L » Sat Feb 03, 2018 7:21 pm

I bought one of these cheapo Chinese jobs last month:
https://www.banggood.com/110v-60W-936-S ... rehouse=CN

Motherfucker showed up from China just today. I'm very impressed. Good construction, good iron, nice all-metal holder, adjustable heat range. Fired it up and it got to temp pretty much immediately. Yay China!
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Re: Soldering: Help a chap out.

Post by Lt. Bob » Sun Feb 04, 2018 1:11 am

That looks nice!

It's crazy how easy it is to get stuff from China .... it's like shipping has no cost.
I ordered a buncha hats for about 8 bucks a piece and they showed up in four separate packages ..... they didn't even bother to consolidate it to one package.

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Re: Soldering: Help a chap out.

Post by Greg_L » Sun Feb 04, 2018 1:28 am

Lt. Bob wrote:
Sun Feb 04, 2018 1:11 am
That looks nice!

It's crazy how easy it is to get stuff from China .... it's like shipping has no cost.
I ordered a buncha hats for about 8 bucks a piece and they showed up in four separate packages ..... they didn't even bother to consolidate it to one package.
Several years ago I got duped by a chinese knock-off company. My wife wanted this specific pair of Vans, and I couldn't find them anywhere. Green and black checkers. So I'm like combing every corner of the net, and finally I find a Vans site that has them. Cool. I order them. A month later I get an email in chinese that roughly translated to them not having the shoes and they showed me links to options for another pair. I didn't want any of the options so I asked for a refund. Then I got an email in english saying they'd refund my money. Cool. I kind of just put it out of mind. Another month later I get a box in the mail and it's a Duke Blue Devils basketball cap....from china. I go back online to return that stupid hat and the site is gone. So I paid 60 bucks for a pair of shoes and got a ball cap for a team and sport I don't even follow. Lol. Those crazy chinese bastards!
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Re: Soldering: Help a chap out.

Post by WhiskeyJack » Wed Feb 07, 2018 3:27 pm

I am ordering this item for tools. While it isn't a Weller it seems my money gets far more mileage in terms of extra purchases, and if i do upgrade later on down the road i am not out much.

And i am getting this a learning tool :lollers2: :lollers2: :happytrees: :happytrees: :happytrees: :happytrees: :spacepalm:

I tried to find a DIY Boost or overdrive pedal on amazon but for the price they wanted for no name pedals i can't justify it. This is a good start.

Hope to have it in about 2 months. :k:
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Re: Soldering: Help a chap out.

Post by Tadpui » Wed Feb 07, 2018 3:43 pm

Heck yeah, I love those useless little kits from Elenco and Velleman. I destroyed my first one while I learned the ropes, but the 2nd one and beyond actually went very well and gave me the confidence to do a pickup swap. The main difference is that the components on those kits are pretty tiny, while the leads on a guitar pickup are huge by comparison. It still went well and I've had pickups on my Les Paul that I've hated ever since I put them in :)

I need to get with Muttley and buy some Classic '57 style Mutt Pups.

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Re: Soldering: Help a chap out.

Post by Minerman » Wed Feb 07, 2018 4:40 pm

Nothing wrong with those learning kits Shan, it's actually a good idea that will help a lot in the long run dude...

I bought this a couple years ago, along with some extra tips for the iron & it's been very handy:


The little alligator clips & adjustable arms are very handy, they're about like having that 3rd hand you always need when doing stuff like this...And the magnifying lens with the lights is great too, over the past couple years my eyesight has went to shit...
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Re: Soldering: Help a chap out.

Post by Greg_L » Wed Feb 07, 2018 6:38 pm

Yup, all of that stuff is good for soldering. I just did some amp sugery today. Had to get under the board on my 73 Plexi and replace some resistors. That's some scary shit on an amp that old, but it worked out fine.
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