Introduction: How to Fix And/or Upgrade Guitar Electronics

Hi! In this instructable I will be showing you how to fix and/or upgrade guitar electronics. This is applicable to most electric guitars, but I will be using a Fender Stratocaster. It is easier than most people think, especially if you know how to solder. Before you start, find a wiring diagram for your guitar and purchase the parts that are needed.

Step 1:

Parts list:

Potentiometers (250k if you have single coil pickups, 500k if you have Humbucker pickups). As for the brand, I would recommend CTS for they're quality.

Switch. Since there are many different models of guitars, do research to find out the right one for your guitar.

Pickups. You can either reuse the old ones or buy new ones. 

Jack. I would recommend the 1/4 inch switchcraft #11 mono input jack.

Wire. I would recommend cloth covered guitar wire.

Capacitor. You need this fore the tone control of your guitar. Sprague orange drops are the best bang for your buck. Common values are .022uf for humbucker pickups and .047uf for single coil pickups

I've found that ebay has the cheapest prices for all these parts.

Tool list:

Soldering Iron 



Phillips head screwdriver

Solder sucker 

Helping hands. (Soldering tool which has two alligator clips and a magnifying glass) It's a must have.

Wire stripper

Wiring diagram specific for your guitar

Step 2: Disassembly

The first step is to remove all the electronics from your guitar. This includes the potentiometers (volume and tone knobs), the switch, the pickups, and the jack. For most Fender style guitars, most of the electronics listed are mounted on the pick guard with the exception of the jack which usually has its own plate it resides on. For Gibson style guitars, the pickups are removed from the front and the rest of the electronics through the back. 

Note, You may have to cut the jack wire to get it out. If so, try to cut it as close to one end as possible so if your reusing the wire you will have enough slack.

Step 3: Preparation

The next step is to mount all the electronics to the pickguard and/or the guitar.

Now is a good time to plug in your soldering iron

Step 4: Soldering

Now we will start soldering. First start by heating your soldering iron up and properly tinning the tip. If you dont know how to tin the tip, google it. 

The first thing I did was solder all the colored pickup wires to their correct positions on the switch. You can solder the components on in any order you want. Make sure that all the wires go to their correct places. A lot of times the jack wire goes through a small hole in the body,  so make sure that the jack is mounted in its correct place before soldering it into the circuit. 

Step 5: Review

After everything is soldered into place, review the wiring diagram and make sure everything is in the right place. If you made any mistakes simply heat the joint up with your soldering iron and use your solder sucker to remove the unwanted solder. After you have done this, just simply re solder it where it should go.

Step 6: Finished!

After you have looked over the diagram and made sure everything is in it's proper place, put the pickguard back on the guitar. After the pickguard is screwed in re-string your guitar and enjoy the new and improved sound of your guitar.

I hope this instructable was useful and helped you fix or upgrade your guitar.
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