Sunday, February 12, 2012

Guitar Wiring Problems: 5 Things to Check Out Before You Spend Money on New Parts

photo by notsogoodphotography

I've got a few tips for you that will help you repair your guitar and probably also save some money. This is what you should check out when your guitar wiring doesn't work properly: 

Open your guitar's wiring cavity. Watch out on the body finish.

1. Switches

A (Gibson): If you have problems with a Gibson-style switch, try to look at it closer. Do you see that springy, thin pieces of metal. Try to carefully push them to the inside of the switch. Sometimes, after years of work, they are pushed out a little bit.

B: Use compressed air (or just blow) to get rid of dust inside the switch. You might be surprised what a little bit of dirt can do.

2. Connections, joints:

Pick some strings and let them play. Then, catch one of wires connected to the jack socket and start moving it a little bit. If it creates some noises or cuts the signal, you can be sure that there is something wrong with it. Probably the solder joint is damaged or was poorly done from the beginning. Re-solder it.

If the connection is okay, pick the second wire, than another one and check everything that way.

3. Wires

Watch out for damaged wires. Sometimes (if you have enough of bad luck) a wire can be broken inside. It will give similar signs like poor quality joints described in the point above. If this is your problem, replace all wires for new, good quality ones.

4. Potentiometers

A: It can be just dust.

When the dust is a problem, pots are working but there are noises when you're turning a knob. Clean them just like a switch (point 1. B).

B: If you've done a lot of soldering you could have overheated your pots. It means that you need to replace them.

Extreme temperatures also can be damaging. To avoid this kind of problems, use a soldering iron when it's hot enough to melt a solder wire quickly. Overheating is caused usually by too slow soldering process.

5. If you're customizing your guitar wiring, use jumper wires before you start soldering anything. This way you will know that your wiring project is well designed and potential further problems will be caused by different things – e.g. poor quality joints. It is so annoying when you don't know where is the error.