Need wire-guage recommendation for wiring 3-way toggle

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by clay49, Apr 24, 2015.

  1. clay49

    clay49 Silver Supporting Member

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    I just picked up a really nice boutique guitar that I would like to try some different pickups in (humbuckers), but the builder used braided pickup lead wire for all wires coming off the 3-way switch, and did not make the channel through the body wide enough for all of that, plus the braided wire of the two humbuckers, so needless to say, you can get NOTHING through the channel.

    I made the mistake of removing the bridge pickup (to try another one) and should have realized that I was going to be in trouble when I was trying to pull the bridge pickup lead wire back out of the body and I had to REALLY put some muscle behind it to yank it out. I ended up putting it back in (without trying anything new), but in order to do so, I had to insert a very small wire through, then solder the hot portion of the braided lead to that wire, and gingerly, yet forcefully, pull it back through...took me about half-an-hour.

    Needless to say, this has to change in order for me to try some other pickups.

    My question is this, can you guys recommend to me some narrower wire for such a task? By that, I mean, a particular gauge/brand I should procure for this project? Any links to the aforementioned wire would be welcomed as well.

    Thanks for your help!
     
  2. mark norwine

    mark norwine Member

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    In all electronic / electrical applications, the "appropriate wire gauge" to use is based on current flowing through the wire. With larger current, like in house wiring, there are strict, enforced codes about "what size for how many amps".

    That is not the case with guitar wiring. The current in a guitar is so small, that you can use damn near anything.

    Obviously, it can't be so small that it will break as you pull it through the body, but there's no "required minimum gauge" for working on guitars.

    I've used 20...22...24...really, whatever you've got is likely to be just fine.
     
  3. clay49

    clay49 Silver Supporting Member

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  4. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

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    what mark said.

    22AWG stranded is "normal" guitar hookup wire, just because it's small enough to work with but big enough not to break too easily.

    24 is good if you're trying to stuff a lot of complicated wiring in a small space.
     
  5. SamBooka

    SamBooka Member

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  6. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

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    stewmac actually has the same stuff available in 16" lengths for cheap, all you'd need.

    a little thin for my taste as individual hookup wires, but will work fine.
     
  7. SamBooka

    SamBooka Member

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    I didnt see the 16" stuff but definitely better.

    Not my prefered either but given the limitations of the OP it is worth a shot.

    If you dont have a low powered iron it is best to work very very fast with this stuff.
     
  8. halcyon

    halcyon Supporting Member

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    If you're fretting over the gauge of the wire, take the cover off a Strat or Tele pickup sometime. Notice the itty-bitty copper leads coming off the coil and connecting to the hot and ground leads via the base. Weakest link in the chain and all that. :)

    Seriously, just use something that you're comfortable working with and isn't likely to break.

    EDIT: And shielded is better if you're doing long runs through unshielded cavities.
     

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