Wednesday, November 3, 2010


Presenting Part 16 of my ongoing guitar-building saga. In the last episode we saw things actually happening again after a long hiatus. Here's a pickup wiring diagram I found on the Seymour Duncan website. I really like his easy diagrams. As you can see from this picture, most of the work is going to be soldering all the wires to the the Volume knob.

It's easiest for me to think of this as 3 separate components rather than a whole chunk of spiderwebby wires going everywhere.
First I soldered 22 gage wires to the Volume knob exactly like the diagram showed me. It's messy but.... well, it's messy. The key to soldering is to heat the component rather than the solder. Once the component is hot enough the solder will flow onto it. That makes a better bond.
It's dangerous when soldering electronics because you don't want to fry the component with too much heat. Some guys use a heat-sink, like an alligator clip attached to the wire to suck off some of the heat. In this case, I had to solder directly to the Volume knob's metal housing and there was no way around heating it up. I just had to hope I didn't cook it too much at this point.

Then I soldered wires to the 2 leads on the jack, and since the pickup wires were too short I lengthened those. All of these wires are extra long for now because I really don't know how long they need to be yet. I skinned to opposite tips of all these wires so I could temporarily hand-twist them together and test everything. Later they'll have to come back apart since I need to thread all the individual pieces through the body of the guitar, into their respective places. I'll be able to shorten the wires as well at that point.

Here I've hand-twisted everything together the way it showed in the above diagram, and I plugged it into the amp.

Here's what no signal looks like in the Audacity recording software.

Then when I turned the volume knob and tapped on the Pickup with a metal object I got a good strong signal. It worked! I didn't fry anything internally with that soldering iron! Yay!
The next step will be routing slots in the body to hold these components. That's gonna have to wait a few more weeks until I can go back to work, since I don't have the right tools here at home. I guess I could drill and chisel out the slots. Maybe I'll do that. I'm thinking out loud.

Here's a picture of my dog Lucy standing next to my house for size comparison. Next year I'm gonna have to do something about that porch carpeting. I don't think it's gonna be very fun.

This is a picture Bob took from back when he babysat her for a while. She doesn't look pleased.

Here's Lucy looking at the mail man.


  1. On the contrary, I think Lucy looks quite pleased to be carrying her master the Grey Hulk, like the noble steed she is!

  2. lucy is licking her lips before chomping into the mailman!

  3. Mailmen are well known for their delicious calves

  4. When you're done with your porch carpeting, you can come over and help me with mine. Mine's in about the same shape.

  5. You might want to wait and see what mine looks like before asking me to help with yours.

  6. hey are you done with this guitar yet? i cant wait to hear what it sounds like! when you are done learning all this wiring stuff, i have a couple pinball machines that need some work....

  7. I don't know much about guitars, and even less about schematics,soldering and electrical doohickies... but I know COOL PUP DOGS!!! Love Lucy :)

  8. Brad, I dragged my feet a little but it'll get done. I hate leaving a project unfinished. Then we'll get those pinball machines up and running. Do I get one out of the deal?

    R/E, She's a good daughter to me.


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