Introduction: Modding and Cleaning an Electric Guitar

In this instructable, you will learn how to deep clean, modify, rewire, and sheild your electric guitar.

Please keep in mind that I am absolutly 100%  NOT responsible for any damage, accidents, or anything else that may happen while doing this.

Please know that my ways of doing things are a little differant, but I am always open for sudgestions.

The mods we are adding are
-lights
-coil cutting
-series/parallel
-sheilding
As well as a cleaning and restoring of all the parts in the guitar.

 

Step 1: Tools and Supplies for the Job

These are all of the tools and supplies we will need for the job

Tools
-Soldering iron
-Needle nose pliers (recomend more than one pair)
-Power Drill
-Wire snips
-Razor
-Hot glue gun
-Multimeter (optional)
-Sharpie, of any color works (optional)
-Screw driver
-Towel, rag, or soft cloth of some kind

Supplies
-Foil wrap
-Ducktape
-Bowl
-Wire
-Glue sticks
-Solder

Electronics
-
DPDT switch (preferably a small one)
-3-position ON-OFF-ON
-LEDs, color of your choice
-680 Ohm resistor
-SPST switch
-9V battery clip
-9V battery

Instrument Supplies
-Electirc Guitar (With a humbucking pickup)
-1/4" male guitar chord
-Working guitar amp
-New strings (optional)

Skill Level and Duration
-Know how to solder
-know basic circuitry
-know basics of a guitar
-know how to use tools
-patience
>Difficulty-6 out of 10
>Duration-1-2 days

 In the picture you will find a CPU heatsink. This is not needed because its what I use to hold my soldering iron

Step 2: Begin Cleaning

Remove the strings first.
I dont mod unless I have new strings to put on.
I always save my strings but you can throw them out

Start at the neck. Remove the nut on each tuning machine, one at a time. then flip the guiitar over to the back and remove the screw holing the tuning machine on.
Put all screws, washers, nuts, small parts, and things like that in a separate bowl.

Remove the machines one by one and lay them out.
Gently clean the machines with a damp cloth.
All of the parts on my guitar were "painted" gold by sharpie in my younger years.
NEVER PAINT METAL WITH A SHARPIE
Trust me, mirror finish looks so much beter than faded uneven gold finish, and its hard to clean off.

The trees need to be cleaned too.
Remove the screw on top and the long washer and metal top will come right off.
Be very gental cleaning these, becasuse they are very small
remember to clean the nuts, screws, and washers too but be very careful not to lose these parts

Step 3: Reassembly of the Headstock

The tuning machines are put on the guitar in the exact oppisite order in which you removed them.
put the machine in the hole and be sure it lines up correctly, then screw on the nut on top, and then screw in the screw in the back.

For the trees put the metal top piece on the screw in the correct position, then slide on the long washer, and screw the whole assembly back in the hole that is drilled in the guitar. Remember that the taller tree goes closer to the fretboard, unless your guitar has it setup differantly.
 

Step 4: Cleaning the Body

The body has the bridge, strap pins, pickgaurd, pickups, rear plate, and output jack.

First remove the rear plate.PLEASE DO NOT USE DUCK TAPE TO PUT A BATTERY ON THE OUT SIDE OF THE GUITAR
DO NOT DRILL A HOLE FOR WIRES THROUGH  TO THE OUTSIDE OF THE GUITAR
I make these mistakes so you dont have to.

Inside you will find the tremalo springs. Losen the clip that holds the springs to the wood of the body. Do this by losening one screw, then the other about one turn each time, to release the tension on the springs evenly.

Next remove the srews that hole the bridge assembly to the body. Next remove the screw that hold the sadles to the bridge, be careful not to lose the springs that are on the screws.
Next remove the screws that hold the top bridge piece to the lower bridge piece.
Clean all of the parts.

If cleaning was all that you wanted to do
-Go to step 8

Step 5: Start Sheilding

Use the tin foil wrap and cover the rear plate. Use the razor to cut out the foil, cut about 1/4 inch smaller than the plate. Cut out the holes in the plate on the foil. tape the edges with a very small line of tape.

Line the tremelo cavity with the foil as well, be careful not to tear it. Tape the edges. Next solder a piece of wire to a screw and drill the screw through the tin foil into the body of the guitar. Make sure it is far enough down so it doesnt get in the way of the springs solder that wire to the the main ground.
Line the bridge cavity and the other caivitys the same way as you did the back and again for the the pickgaurd.  

Step 6: Lights

My guitar already had lights in it before this mod so therefore, I will tell you how to do it but I dont have any pictures.

use a pen to mark the places where you wnat to LEDs and SPST switch to go. Use the power drill to fit the switch. once the switch is in take the red wire from the 9V battery clip and solder it to one lead on the SPST switch on the other end of the wsitch solder the 680Ohm resistor then from the other side of the resistor solder a wire lead. From the wire lead to the positive side of every LED you want to put in. solder a wire to the negative side of the
LEDs then to the battery
Use a 3/16" drill bit for 5mm LEDs and a 1/8" drill bit for 3 mm LEDs. Cut out the marked places on your guitar where you want the LEDS. Insert the LEDs in the holes that they go in, test the circuitry and then if it works use a glue gun to glue the LEDS and switch. Do not use too much glue only just enough that it covers what is needed.
Wait a while (about 5-10 mins) then use a piece of tape to tape over the LEDs so they adhear beter to the foil.

Step 7: Wireing Modding

For the wireing modifications you will need to have a humbucking pickup, and the wireing diagram for it use this link and trace the wires back. It may even help to chang the colors of the wires in my diagram.

Drill the holes where you want your switches to go.

First we will make the series/parallel switch. Solder separate wires to the DPDT switch as the diagram shows. My pickup wireing is the same as DIMARZIO Wire colors so I did not need to change the diagrams to fit my pickup. This switch does exactly what it says; turns the pickup form series to parallel and vice versa. The sound output is a bit more "piggny" and has a deeper more darker tone.

The coil cutiing switch has the same wire colors as the series/parallel switch. NOTE: the pickup MUST be in parallel for this switch to work, otherwise will simply ground out the signal and not work at all.
Solder wires in the same way as the diagram shows to the 3-position switch (on-off-on)
The sound output of this is that of a Stratacaster when the lower coil is in play and a more 70's sound when the upper coil is in play.

Once both of these switches have been created with separate wires soldered to them, fit the switches in the correct holes and  glue them in useing only a little bit of glue. Once the glue has cooled solder each wire of the same color together making the the switches in parallel. Solder the wires from the humbucking pickup to the four wires that were soldered to each other from the switches and then tape them each up.

You should be left with 2 wires; in my case red and white. Those are the negative and positive outputs of the humbucker. Solder those two wires to the place where the hot (positive) and neutral (negative) wires go, weather that be a pickup selector switch or directly to the volume pot.

Step 8: Reassembly

Put all componites back on the pickgaurd and tape everything up so that way your sheilding doesnt short a circuit.
Turn on all of your ciruits and make sure they all work.
Gentally screw the pickgaurd back to the body, so that way you dont rip your sheilding.
Once the assembled pickgaurd is on, flip the guitar over and reassemble the tremalo assembly. Do this but only a very little bit.
Put the bridge back together and screw it to the body as it was before.
Flip the guitar back over and pull the springs back in to the proper holes in the bridge.
Screw the spring clip to the body, but leave about 1/4" inch clearance between the body where the screws are going and the clip itself.
Put the rear plate back on and screw it down as well.
Now restring it, only string one string so you can test the circuits.

-Fist picture shows before
-Second picture shows after
 

Step 9: Troubleshooting

Use an electric guitar amplifier to test the circuits
 

-If you hear nothing
>check if the switch is not cutting while in series
>check the volume on the guitar
>check the volume and power on the amp
>check if the circuit is shorted out
>check if your chord is dead
 

-If you hear sound but is at a very low volume
>check amp volume
>check over your soldering
>check your connections
>check if your chord is breaking
 

-If you hear sound at one position of a switch but not the other(s)
>check if your switch is dead
>check connections
>check if one side of you switch(s) is shorted
 

-Lights dont work
>check if the switch is in the "ON" position
>test the battery
>check your resistor value; too high, not enough power to LEDs, too low, too much power to LEDs
>check for a short circuit
>check all connections
>check if the switch is not dead

-Switches make no effect
>check if the switches are correctly wired
>check if the switches are dead
>check if the volume is up to at least "8"
>check for short circuits

-Other problems
>radio signal interfearance: I'm unsure of what you should do there
>too much/little distortion: check the circuits , check your tone knob
>LEDs worked but now they dont: check the resistor value, check connections, check battery, check switch

Step 10: Rock With Your Finished Axe!

Okay, thats it.
If everything works, You're done.
Plug in and rock out!
Enjoy the new, wider, varity of the sound of your guitar!

Please keep in mind that this is my first instructable, and won't be my last. If you have any questions, comments, or sudgestions for me to make this a beter instructable or ways for me to do my modding beter, feel free to drop me a message

Thanks to
-http://www.1728.com/guitar.htm for the wireing schematics. I had to alter some of them for this.
-https://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Sheild-a-Guitar/ for the sheilding idea

Please note that my browser does not allow me to click and drag therefore there are no picture notes and the difficulty and cost say that is is very low when that is not entirely true.
The cost I really dont know about because all of the parts were bought at separate times, and the difficulty I think is rated at 6 out of 10

Comments

author
wolf1728 (author)2011-06-18

Just thought I'd say that my domain name 1728.com was stolen from me about a month ago. The link you posted should now go to http://www.1728.org/guitar.htm

Thanks

author
fastcar123 (author)wolf17282011-06-20

I'm very sorry to hear that. is the link you posted the link i should replace this with?

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