Building a Fender Telecaster Guitar – Part 12 – 3-way Switch

Spot the 10.000 differences! Well this is what I was talking about earlier; the 3-way switch is used to toggle from the neck pickup to both pickups to the bridge pickup.

Unfortunately, the pre-wired control plate (pictured partly on the right) came with a cheap chinese 3-way switch (right). But I want the guitar to be as “genuine” as possible, so Custom World Guitar Parts was so kind to give me a

 USA switch (left) for free.

Some of the leads need to be soldered together; these connections are called “jumpers”, some are left on their own and some have (pickup) wires soldered to them. As you can see, the switches are quite different; the chinese one has all the leads together in one row but on the american model they’re fanned out, four on either size of the switch body.

I bench tested the control plate, connecting the pickups by hand and connected the jack to a miniature (smokey) amp to test the pickups, volume, tone and (chinese) switch; it all works fine. Now I have to figure out which lead corresponds to which on the other switch. Note that the screws on the USA model are much longer than the chinese one.

Satan’s little soldering helper.

Saving the best for last; I’m not much of a solderer or electronic wiz, and since the bridge has yet to arrive I’m gathering knowledge and tools to tackle the big job at hand; soldering the pickup wires to the switch and pots.

To help me do this I purchased this “3rd hand” helper device in which you can clamp components and or wires to assist in the soldering pro

cess. As you can see it has a magnifying glass on it which might come in handy.

I own a 20 watt soldering iron with a “accelerator” button with which you can boost it’s power to 130 watts for 30 seconds at a time; I’m wondering if it is capable of heating the pots to proper temperature since most forums mention 40 watt soldering irons. I guess I will find out, if it doesn’t get hot enough I’ll probably borrow a soldering iron or buy another one.

Soldering practise

I don’t solder much, so I thought I should do some test runs before I ruin all my nice hardware.

Using a 20 watt soldering iron with an accelarator button with which you can boost it to 130 watts for 30 seconds a time to speed it up.

Some youtube guy said; you need to heat up the bigger mass (coin) and let the tin / solder move towards the heat.

So I clamped both items in the “third hand” soldering clamp pictured earlier, so that they already touch each other. I held the soldering iron toward the contact point with the wire on the coin for 2 minutes, then I started to also touch the wire to heat it up. In my other hand the rosin core tin dispenser and I managed to get a tiny drop on it.

When I had the impression of a solid droplet that melted itself entirely over the connection, I raised up both tin and soldering iron immediately and let it set.

Guess my old soldering mistake was getting a drop of solder on the iron and try to “smear” it on something, this doesn’t work. When pulled now that it’s set, the connection is so good that I can’t pull it apart at all.

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