Hi /diy/. /mu/ /gg/ here.
I tried asking multiple people about this issue, and all of them had different answers:
>1. I need to know about soldering for guitar modifications. /mu/ was not much help on this. I want to replace the neck pickup of my red strat with a Seymour Duncan Hot Rail. However, I also have heard that it may be smart to put it in the blonde strat instead and use the Gold Lace in the red strat neck posistion instead. I have no idea how to solder, and I know that doing it myself would save me money. I've googled some instructions, but I need to have more opinions about specifics (place to do it, all tools needed, what is safe and what is not). Anybody have any opinions on this?
>2. I had put heavy blues gauge strings on my blonde strat. The end result of doing this is the changed tension on my neck and bridge. This has enabled my whammy to move both up and down on the strat. Is this a safe move? It's been fine for the last 4 months and still plays just as good. I'm just hoping that I'm not fucking up the truss rod somehow.
>pic related guitars in question.
you'll need a soldering iron, soldier, flux, and a safe place to do it minimum..
practice soldiering wires of similar size together before you try it on the guitar...
once you can make a nice shiny looking soldier joint reliably then try swapping the expensive pickup out...
also the increased tension pulled your bridge up... it will increase the action towards the higher frets on the neck... probably not fantastic for your neck since it changes the angle the strings pull at slightly...
fwiw if you want that affect without changing strings why not just loosen the spring bracket on the back of the guitar? or go from the standard 3 springs to 2?
+1 to all of this. Congrats on having a go. Put it in whatever guitar YOU want to.
For later, ignore 99.9% of advice about guitar related tone chasing. Just practice more. Can't say that enough.
One day you will remove the duncan pup and either put the stock one or a lowish output pup in.
From what I recall going to 2 springs would destroy the neck. Take a look at Dave's World of Fun Stuff on Youtube, he talks about it in some of his vids. Thank you for the advice kind anon. :)
I will put it where I want. I just wanted other's opinions not a solid answer. I believe your advice as well, I never depend on my equipment to define my talent. I always practice, literally all day.
I do like the bridge like that, I was just wondering if it's causing the neck or truss rod any damage. I'm just being extra cautious because it's a guitar with a lot of family history behind it.
Thanks for all the advice so far guys. I really do appreciate the help. Any place specifically I should look for the iron, solder, and flux? I don't want to skimp out on this.
>also the increased tension pulled your bridge up... it will increase the action towards the higher frets on the neck... probably not fantastic for your neck since it changes the angle the strings pull at slightly...
Luthier here, I own my own customer guitar company. I agree with this.
However, Strat bridges aren't meant to work that way... it won't hurt anything though if you follow this other poster's recommendation.
>However, I also have heard that it may be smart to put it in the blonde strat instead and use the Gold Lace in the red strat neck posistion instead.
Don't do this. The Laces all match and should stay together. They probably sound best that way, and there's no need to make a mismatched mess of 2 guitars. It's also way too much work.
I also wanted to say, Hotrails are seriously hot pickups. I had a Hotrail bridge for a while in my Squier Strat. It was cool, for when I played thrashy metal stuff. The problem was, I didn't like the clean sound at all.
I ended up accidentally hitting the pickup and the pickup itself broke out of the pickups plastic case. When this happened, the windings broke and I just threw it out, bought a new HSS pick guard, and put a 59 Trembucker in the bridge. Sounds amazing distorted and has that classic humbucker clean. It's slightly unbalanced to replicate a PAF pickup from the 50s, so there is a mild amount of hum.
I've never tried the neck Hotrail, it may sound good, but just be sure not to make the pickup too close to the strings.
Ok good. I think I'll keep the bridge like that until I notice any deterioration.
I was kinda thinking that just had to make sure.
I intend to have it lower since it will have a higher output than the stock singles.
Thanks for keeping this alive guys. I'm purchasing the tools tomorrow. Anything simple I should practice on? Patch cables? Hdmi? I will post results during and after installation.
Repair desk at a shop near me. All you need is a decent variable temp iron to last you. I can't identify this specific one in the pic, but maybe someone can. Weller
OP said nothing about squires. What's wrong with op changing pickups and DIYing? A change of pup can help you put a focus on the inherent signature of an instrument. Knowing your instrument is a worthy journey. As long as the neck is stable and the all parts are functioning reliably, any guitar will be a useful music tool. No need to sprout more misinfo.
OP here. A shitty instrument is one that is not easily repaired (I.E. a Rickenbacker, not that it's not awesome sounding, but just try refretting that bullshit. Impossible). That Squier Strat has been with me for 11 years now, and it has never failed me. Even after all of the abuse I put it through, it can still wail better than any of your blues lawyer pomp and circumstance.
Correct. As a percussionist of 20 years, I've played on many types of quality percussion instruments and I made them sound good. They don't sound good or bad on their own. That kind of logic goes against any musicality or theory.
Looks like I'll have to invest in something better to operate on. I don't really have a 'workshop' per say and I don't want to ruin countertops lol. Thank you for the advice though so far.
To everyone else, I've bought the proper solder, looking for the right iron, dont wanna skimp because I'm gonna do future DIY projects with it as well. I've seen tools as well for holding pieces together with clamps. Any thoughts about that? Helpful? Just do it with your hands anon?
Like.... any kind of wire? I'm a bonehead I've never taken apart wire or anything like that before. Sorry for noobywoobyness.
I just looked into that, seems like a quality purchase. I'll consider it.
Keep it alive guys! The operation will commence! I just need to be sure that I'm prepared I don't want to damage something that is this important to me.
>Like.... any kind of wire?
Guitars usually use a vaguely-heavy stranded wire, because that stands up to having the shit kicked out of it, but they have essentially no voltage or current requirements.
You could practice with mains flex, and as you're not going to use it for anything, you could practice with mains flex you find in the street.
You should also practice soldering wires to components; guitars use vaguely big tags, so maybe take apart a bunch of PC power supplies and practice soldering to and from their mains jacks.
Also get some heatshrink and a solder pump.
There's videos on YouTube, especially one from the 70s that's an introductory course to production-line soldering, back when that was a thing.
solder wick is also a good idea, i know a pump was suggested but those can sometimes be cumbersome.
also when buying an iron, consider the following:
temp control - allows you to adjust to different sized component which will help minimize component degradation
iron stand - gives you a place keep the iron when not in use and also a place to allow the iron to cool when finished soldering (keeps you from damaging counter tops and keeps fire potential down). a lot of stands come with sponges to remove excess solder from iron tip prior to soldering.
helping hands - or some sort of work piece holder, typically you will need both hands available when soldering and you can't always rely on the work piece sitting still while trying to solder a joint.
isopropyl alcohol or other flux solvent - fluxes tend to be caustic and over time can cause corrosion in and around the solder joint so you will need to clean the flux from the work area. isopropyl alcohol and a small brush are good because they are cheap and widely available. also the alcohol evaporates fairly quickly so the risk of shorting out you parts is low.