Difficulty Level of Soldering Gibson PAF Style Braided Leads...

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by StratStringSlinger, Apr 21, 2015.

  1. StratStringSlinger

    StratStringSlinger Member

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    I was wondering what the difficulty level is/people's experience in trying to solder/wire up PAF Style Braided Lead wires? I've installed my own Strat style pickups with cloth wire, but the ground and hot wires are separate. My soldering skill are decent but the braided leads and fact you have to work in a tight cavity vs. taking out the whole pick guard has me a little worried. If people tell me it's a bear and much more difficult, I might just pay someone else to deal with it. Thoughts?
     
  2. cugel

    cugel Member

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    no its not more difficult at all
    should be plenty of tutorials if you are unsure. i generally make a small cut through the braid but parallel to the core. this allows you to fold some back for the ground.
     
  3. dirk_benedict

    dirk_benedict Supporting Member

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    I would say it's slightly more difficult, but reasonably achievable.
     
  4. HTSMetal

    HTSMetal Member

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    In my experience, it's pretty easy! I clip the pickup wire to the length required to reach where the hot lead needs to be soldered, then just solder the whole braid to the back of the pot as your ground.
     
  5. swiveltung

    swiveltung Member

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    Easy to solder, a bit stiff to position good though.
     
  6. Ron Kirn

    Ron Kirn Gold Supporting Member

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    tin a spot on the pot... tin the braid,, put it on the pot... add heat... it will take at least a 40 watt tool... those little 20 watters aren't gonna do it..

    Ron Kirn
     
  7. StratStringSlinger

    StratStringSlinger Member

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    Ok thanks for the input, sounds encouraging. I got a Hakka soldering station so I'm all set up to do it. I was just worried once I got it all apart that it would be a bear fighting the braided wire, especially knowing how hard it is to solder things to back of pots plus the tight space. Any good YouTube videos you guys recommend that is specific to braided ground leads for Les Paul/50's style wiring? Pics could suffice too. Thanks.
     
  8. GuitarInnovations

    GuitarInnovations Member

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    Here's a trick for grounding the braid to the back of the pot.

    Left hand:Solder Right Hand: Soldering Iron

    Hold the iron down on the braid upon the back of the pot. When it's good and hot feed a bunch of solder till it puddles up. Keep the iron pressing down. Then, put the solder down in the left hand and get a flathead screwdriver. Hold the braid down into the puddle as you take the iron off. Keep holding until it has cooled.
     
  9. Jason_77

    Jason_77 Member

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    If you've got a Harbor Freight around you, I'd suggest picking up one of these. It comes in really handy holding the braided wire against the pot while you have your iron in one hand and solder in the other:

    [​IMG]
     
  10. 73Fender

    73Fender Member

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    As said, pre tin and I'd say to use flux too for an earlier melt point when soldering to the back of a pot..you don't have to apply so much heat and potentially damage the pot.
     
  11. bob-i

    bob-i Member

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    I don't work inside that cavity, I pull the pots out and put a piece of cardboard over the cavity, cut some holes and put the pots in. Far easier to work that way.

    That braided cloth wire is easy to work with.
     
  12. StratStringSlinger

    StratStringSlinger Member

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    Oh, that brings up a good question. Do most people pull out the pots when swapping PAF's or work inside the cavity?
     
  13. GSHARP

    GSHARP Member

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    Exactly. Pretty easy in fact. Keep it simple, you don't need to reinvent soldering techniques.
     
  14. 73Fender

    73Fender Member

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    You could I guess, I have never seen the need..it is an easily accessible area. And pulling the knobs, loosening the nuts etc only adds more potential complications. We are talking about a Gibson style LP type control area?
     
  15. StratStringSlinger

    StratStringSlinger Member

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    Yes, this would be for a Gibson Les Paul style with 50's era wiring.
     
  16. Jason_77

    Jason_77 Member

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    I work in the cavity. There's more than enough room. Pulling everything out is just a lot of unnecessary work.
     
  17. Ron Kirn

    Ron Kirn Gold Supporting Member

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    a side note... You DO NOT have to sand, or otherwise rough up a quality pot, such as alpha, CTS, Cornell Dublier, Alps, etc etc..

    The guys making 'em realize that often a ground contact point will be made by soldering to the case... so they plate 'em with something amiable to soldering.

    It's those squirrelly Asian POS that have the case plated with some kinda yellow looking weirdness that cannot be soldered to... and very high end (which is totally useless in a guitar) pots with stainless cases... also some junk has aluminum cases, you, me, no one is gonna be able to solder to stainless or aluminum... it ain't uh gonna happen... unless you have some kinda very e$oteric $olderig gear...

    if you tried to solder to either and the wire stuck.. it's the rosin acting as a glue... that connection is gonna fail exactly as your eyes lock with the red headed hottie that been trying to get your attention all night, so don't risk it...

    Red Headed Hotties don't like losers with guitars that aren't working... :eeks


    rk
     
  18. ajchance

    ajchance Member

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    +2 on the higher wattage iron. You'll spend half an hour trying to get up to temp on a pot casing with a 15 watt iron only to have it go cold in a second before you can get your wiring to set. I've gotten to the point where I use my high wattage iron for all of my guitar control work. Just don't hold if for an eternity and it won't hurt anything.
     
  19. Mark Robinson

    Mark Robinson Member

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    Go for about 750-755 degrees F on your Hakko, pre-tin at least the pot back.
    I turn the pot to middle of travel, cause someone told me that subjected the interior of the pot to less potential heat damage. I have heard other things though. You don't need a big honking blob on the pot either, just a little daba bout 1/8" or 4mm max.

    I work in the cavity for the most part, but with some nice flannel protection all around the cavity to protect the finish. If the whole guitar is being re-wired, I will do a transfer layout of the pots onto cardboard, punch holes in a cardboard template and wire as much as possible outside and away from the instrument. This is a handy technique for 335 types as well. Ughh on those generally.
     

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