Ok I am gonna confess something.............. I suck at soldering. But i wanna get better but even dans book is not enough any tips. also i wanna build pick-ups and amps anyone recommend any books?.
Best tip I ever got, "The wattage of the soldering iron does not equal the amount of heat (that is in the rating of the tip), it is how quick the iron can recover its spent heat."
... the best six words of advice I ever got regarding soldering: "heat the work, not the solder".
I really liked Craig Anderton's advice in "Electronic Projects For Musicians" or one of his other books; Start repairing the broken instrument and speaker cables that most rehearsal spaces have lying around. The most common problem with cables is usually a break in the connection usually within a 6"-12" of the connector. De-solder the connector, snip away a chunk of cable, and re-solder. It's good practice for your soldering skills and saves you $ on new cables! It's a good book too! (even though his main choice of IC-op amp is non-existent......)
For years I have used (and loved!) my Weller Soldering Station.
If you're truly interested in learning how to build amps. I strongly recommend that you find a local course in Basic Electronics. There are some concepts involved in electronics that you should have some practical experience with before you start fingering amplifier circuitry. Safety is a big issue with electrically powered devices and it's important that you learn what not to do. You don't need a degree in electronics but a class on the basics of DC and AC circuits would make things much easier for you and probably teach you about most the safety issue involved.
eh not building amps Ned Pick ups and just wireing in general. amps i leave that to a friend of mine who knows his stuff in it.
Chris thanks i will check that out.
Okay, here goes -
Your soldering iron should be for electronics, not pipes. It should be a pencil style, not a gun.
I would suggest getting some hemostats for your wires. These clamp on and act as a heat sink, preventing resistors and caps from getting overheated.
Turn on the soldering iron, let it get hot for 10, 15 minutes.
Get a rag and soak it. Make sure it has NOTHING flammable on it ever.
When the iron is hot, wipe it clean with the rag, then put some solder on the tip. Watch it spread and bubble. This is called tinning. This is a good time to remember to wear safety glasses.
Now, touch the iron to the wire or surface you want to solder. Let that surface heat up, then touch your solder to the surface so that it melts. You have now tinned that surface.
Do the same for the other wire/surface you want to attach. Tin it as well.
Wrap/combine/twist the items together. Make it so they cannot move. Now heat them up until the solder present melts, perhaps adding a touch more if needed. You don't want any drips or gloppy bits. Take off the iron the moment things are heated up, but DON'T LET THE PARTS MOVE! The resulting joint should be smooth and shiny, not bumpy and matte finish. The bumpy matte finish is a cold joint, and it sucks.
Now, if you are attaching a resistor or cap, put the hemostat between the end you are soldering and the resistor/cap part itself as a heat sink. You really don't want to overheat those parts.
When you are done, clean and tin your iron before unplugging it.
Soldering the (42 or 43 gauge) lead wires onto pickups is the ultra-delicate high-tech brain surgery of guitar electronics.
Soldering is also an art form and should be practiced as such. 90% of my "soldering" jobs are fixing what hacks [with $150 soldering stations and NO knowledge of how to use them] have attempted to do.
They're are several good tutorials on the web. The best usually can be found at the websites of soldering equipment manufacturers. Here's a good page to start. I found it in less than 30 seconds doing a Google search. It has all the basics. Ignore the SMT part. http://www.circuitrework.com/guides/7-1-1.shtml
I was fortunate enough to have been taught to solder by a couple of my friends who are radar & sonar technicians. Here's what they taught me:
A good soldering pencil (not gun!!!!) is essential. I've never had a need for anything hefiter than a 30 watt pencil (or iron) for all my pickup work. A 30 watt iron will serve you well. I use an "American Beauty" 30 watt pencil: http://www.americanbeautytools.com/site/models/si/3 It's small, light & its heat recovery time is excellent. I've had it for over 10 years and it performs flawlessly...and I do a lot of soldering on gear other than guitar electronics.
Don't let the $62 msrp freak you out. There are usually several on e-Bay for less than half of that. Get a few extra tips while you're at it.
Quality solder is essential. I use Kester type 44 in a 63/47 rosin core formula with a diameter of .031. It's a eutectic solder and is preferred because it goes directly from a solid to liquid state when melted. Get a 1 lb. roll & it'll last you for years. Avoid no name brands. Although snobbishly sexy; silver solder has no benefit in guitar work.
A tip cleaning sponge and a stable stand are must have's.
The most important moment in a soldering pencil's life is the first time it's heated-up with a new tip. The tip must be cleaned & tinned as soon as it gets up to temp. If you do it correctly, you're going to have years of good service from that tip. If it's done wrong, well, put in a new tip & try again.
AVOID COLD SOLDER JOINTS!!!!!!!
A clean & wetted tip is a a happy tip.
When you finish soldering, load the tip with melted solder & unplug it to cool. The solidified "glob" of solder will protect the tip from oxidizing.
Ham radio guys are you're best source for a "watch & learn" education. Look some up & ask if you can watch them while they work. You'll get a college education in soldering in about 10 minutes by watching them.
And the most important part: practice, practice, practice.
Best of luck buddy (:
Ian, forgot to mention, BTW; I use 'silver solder'...it allows beter electrical conductivity...and, of course, use some flux with it too. While silver solder does cost a bit more, it does a much better job in making a good connection.
Thanks so much guys.
Chris, I'm with Paul about the silver solder : better conductivity indeed, but conductivity is not an issue on very low power currents flowing in guitars ; don't waste money on that.