Guitar pickup switch replacement

Lemm

Active Member
Just hoping for a few tips. The toggle switch on my Epiphone Les Paul has snapped and a I have bought a replacement which I was going to get fitted, but thought I'd have a crack at it myself.

I've read a number of forum threads and watched a couple of Youtube vids and it seems fairly straightforward. I opened up the back of the guitar to take a look at how the existing one was wired and it looks different to the videos I've seen, mainly becuase the existing output lead (i think), is not soldered to the eyelet, but instead is soldered to the whole side of the switch (see pic).

I'm just looking for some advice on how easy it will be to remove it, and if necessary how best to approach soldering the wire in the same place on the replacement switch.
 

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hyperfish

Distinguished Member
Just hoping for a few tips. The toggle switch on my Epiphone Les Paul has snapped and a I have bought a replacement which I was going to get fitted, but thought I'd have a crack at it myself.

I've read a number of forum threads and watched a couple of Youtube vids and it seems fairly straightforward. I opened up the back of the guitar to take a look at how the existing one was wired and it looks different to the videos I've seen, mainly becuase the existing output lead (i think), is not soldered to the eyelet, but instead is soldered to the whole side of the switch (see pic).

I'm just looking for some advice on how easy it will be to remove it, and if necessary how best to approach soldering the wire in the same place on the replacement switch.
Looks like the last guy didn't strip enough wire to reach the lug? The blue circle in the pic below is usually a lug which the ground is soldered to. Are ok with a soldering iron?
Check that you can pull a bit more loose cable into the cavity and take the switch out. Mark the wires with a pen or tape labels. Plenty of photos as you go for reference then heat the solder to remove the wires. Strip enough wire to connect to all the lugs. Tip - tape cardboard sound the cavity in case you drop solder.

20201114_085416610.jpg
 

Lemm

Active Member
Thanks, that's where I expected the ground to go to based on what i'd read/seen.

I've not really done any soldering before (other than years ago at college), but thought it might a good thing to get a bit of practice in.

The main thing i'm a bit nervous about is that the ground wire seems to be the a combination of wire from each of the 3 seperate wires so I'm not sure if it will reach the lug at the end.
 

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RBZ5416

Distinguished Member
The main thing i'm a bit nervous about is that the ground wire seems to be the a combination of wire from each of the 3 seperate wires so I'm not sure if it will reach the lug at the end.
Yes, it's the screen from each of the three wires. You can just solder another piece of wire to it to extend it. Be careful not to get too much heat on there or you risk burning through the insulation & creating a short. I'd suggest practising with some old bits of wire first to get a feel for how much heat is needed to get solder to flow before jumping in there. If you damage the cables there may not be enough slack to create new terminations, you'd then be looking at running new cables.
 

Lemm

Active Member
Hmm, I think it might be a bit tricky. I'll do a bit of practicing (like you suggest first). My other idea was removing some of the cable covering to see if i could get the shielding to reach.
 

RBZ5416

Distinguished Member
Hmm, I think it might be a bit tricky.
Soldering on an extension would probably be the easiest part of the whole process.
My other idea was removing some of the cable covering to see if i could get the shielding to reach.
That's what should have been done in the first place, as @hyperfish said. As long as you're careful as the wires are quite fine.

Assuming the new switch also has the ground lug exposed in the same way as the old, you could even just solder back in the same place.
 

Lemm

Active Member
The new switch is identical, so soldering in the same place is possible.

I'm just not sure how to get the wire to stick, do I need to put some solder on the ground lug first and then put the wire on top. Or put the wire in place, heat and put solder on top.
 

RBZ5416

Distinguished Member
I'm just not sure how to get the wire to stick, do I need to put some solder on the ground lug first and then put the wire on top.
This. It's called tinning & should be done with all the lugs as it helps solder to flow with less sustained heat. Same if you extend the ground, tin the new wire first before joining to the old.
 

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