I wanted a short scale electric and bought a Jagmaster.  When it arrived there was a popping sound especially when playing chords, almost like a faulty ground, or a defective amp.  But using the same cable and different guitars into the same amp I get no popping.  I returned it and bought three more, each had the same annoying popping sound.  I decided that the wiring, etc was faulty and seeing the pickups were junk, replaced the pickups, pots, 3 way toggle switch and all new wiring. That was back in October 2013.  The guitar sounded incredible. Now all of a sudden I can hear the popping sound again, but also I hear when seems to be a loose piece of solder rolling in the cavity beneath the pickguard.  I BELIEVE the problem is that I used a heavy duty 3 way toggle and it barely fit as I had to force the pickguard down or else would have to remove wood from the cavity.  Does this make sense the perhaps the switch turned or jostled and broke a solder connection.  What I am thinking is to buy a standard 3 way toggle that would fit more easily into the body cavity but before I do so am I just dealing with some unknown phenomenon. I checked the main ground from the trem claw and it seems intact.  Besides, I believe if the main ground was faulty the guitar would hum when I touched the strings.  I believe the ground on the 3 way is faulty or compromised or am I way off base.

Tags: electronics, wiring

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Hi Rich.

Any faulty solder connection can wreak havoc with an electric guitar. Re-flow the solder on the connections and make sure there are no open or shorted circuits and see if that helps.

Around 75% of the electronics repair portion of my business is fixing user-induced mistakes with poor soldering techniques leading the pack. The remaining 25% are components that were loose, turned forcefully and broken wires happened.  It's VERY common. VERY.

Soldering is an art and not everyone knows how or has the skill to do it correctly. What kind of solder and soldering iron did you use?

As for the switch, I presume you used a box style toggle switch designed for use in 120V circuits. Yep, those are iffy.  I trust ONLY Switchcraft open frame leaf style switches (your typical LP/SG style switch).  They just came out with a new 'short' version so it can replace switches in cramped guitars. WD MUSIC & ALLPARTS carries them. Absolutely avoid the Asian import versions. The WILL literally fall apart in a short amount of time.

Also, pics of the questionable solder joints would be extremely beneficial. :)

Another aspect to look into is static electricity. The large plastic pick guard on Fender style guitars can develop noisy static charges which can be heard as snap crackle and pop. Properly grounded shielding can minimize this noise.

Also, the static noise can be seasonal.

A few years back I had the Strat that would crackle and opened it up several times to check the wiring and could find no problem.  I was completely baffled so I took shielding tape and lined the control pocket and bottom of the entire cavity and the crackling went away.   I did not know why then, but do now.  Thanks again

Thanks for the response.  The heavy duty switch I used is a Gotoh 3-way toggle.  I use a 30 watt soldering iron and 60/40 rosin core solder.  I was looking at a Proline switch which looks about the same size as the switch that came with the guitar but I have been unable to find out where they are manufactured.  I found a switchcraft at GuitarElectronics where I bought the Gotoh.  I have soldered and modified quite a few guitars and have re-soldered "professional" repairs that were terrible (which is why I learned to solder myself)  As I said after putting the guitar back together it was tight and I turned the switch 90 degrees so it was horizontal instead of vertical because strumming the guitar I would always inadvertently change the switch position (it is in a horrible location)  But for months no problem--but because it was so tight it may have broken the solder joint.  before I take the strings off and tear the guitar apart I want to have a replacement switch so as not to leave the guitar in this state while awaiting delivery of a switch.  What are your thoughts on Proline switches?

Hi again Rich.

You seem to be a qualified soldering tech.

Pro Line? They're the same Asian junk I cautioned you about.  It's a Musician's Friend/GC house brand.  The same stuff is sold by Guitar Fetish for half the price.

Go with the Switchcraft. I'll think you'll get no dissenting opinions on that.

I'd go ahead and open up the guitar & check to see what's going on. If you don't, we're all just guessing and that truly is a waste of time.

Also, when replacing parts, a bit of re-engineering the guitar is an expected task.  If you need to do it for the switch to fit 'comfortably', it's fine to deepen or enlarge the cavity to accommodate it.

Good luck with your work and let us know your results? Thanks :)

Thank you all so much.  I opened the guitar today and discovered that when the switch turned it pinched a small ground wire.  I replaced the broken wire, re-soldered it and modified the opening to add more clearance for the switch.  It works great.  I always learn so much from you guys and in this case needed an incentive to open the thing up as I was discouraged to even try.  Now I am glad I did.

Glad you had a positive result, Rich.

That's happened to me several times over the years on my own guitars until I began tech'ing out the guitars before each gig.  I learned that an "ounce of prevention....".

Good job, man :)!!!!!!


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