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New guitar with lead-free solder = should replace the electronics?

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MentalSharpsMentalSharps Frets: 118
Saw this on a video that was interesting, where a chap took his Epiphone Les Paul 1959 to a luthier to evaluate and fix up with whatever necessary.

The luthier pulled out the CTS Pots and wiring and re-wired the whole thing, and the reasons given were that the Epiphone CTS stuff isn't as good as the high-end CTS stuff (ie custom specced stuff, like Lollar, BKP, @sixstringsupplies etc), but also because it's a production guitar where they are legally bound to use lead-free solder, which should be swapped out for maintainence reasons.

Can anyone elaborate on that point a bit more? 

Starting just after 4 mins in: 

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Comments

  • noisepolluternoisepolluter Frets: 456
    Sounds like the sort of thing to be done *if* the existing pots and/or solder connections fail, unless you’re just itching to spend money. 
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  • DefaultMDefaultM Frets: 4845
    Seems like something you'd do if you were already changing the parts, but not something you'd do just to get rid of the solder.

    Pretty sure I heard the tech says it already had CTS pots in it, and the caps look like they were nice to begin with. He also says "soundwise I leave that up to you as I don't hear a difference".
    Overall I would say this guy wasted his money.
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  • MentalSharpsMentalSharps Frets: 118
    edited May 12
    I believe the brief the customer had was to make the Epiphone "as good as it can possibly be", it's an Epiphone version of a 1959 so I believe the chap wanted it to be as close to a Gibson as possible.

    The luthier said soundwise he doesn't hear a difference when talking about the capacitors and that he swapped out the Mallorys for Orange Drops because they're more robust in terms of the legs, and can withstand multiple repairs / re-soldering over the guitars lifetime (I think this was the luthier's approach to the mods).

    That makes sense then, no problem with the lead-free solder until you have do some mods - but then is it advised to swap everything out?

    Is it because you have to heat up the components a lot more with lead-free solder, so if you are doing repairs/mods over the guitar lifetime the parts will be much more prone to damage?
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  • Danny1969Danny1969 Frets: 7785
    Lead free solder tends to be more of a problem with BGA chips and QFN package chips, basically the joints will crack over time because they are exposed to heat and movement. I always repair these faults with leaded solder but inside a guitar this won't be an issue so no I wouldn't bother. 
    I would leave the pots until they develop a fault, then change them. The life of a pot vastly depends on your playing style. I've swapped mine out 3 times on my main guitar but I constantly use the volume pot. A cheap pot that stays on 10 will last many years. 
    www.2020studios.co.uk 
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  • SporkySporky Frets: 15955
    edited May 13

    Is it because you have to heat up the components a lot more with lead-free solder, so if you are doing repairs/mods over the guitar lifetime the parts will be much more prone to damage?
    I'm probably going to be a bit harsh here, but there are a lot of "pros" who lack the talent to work with lead-free solder, and only get away with sloppy technique because leaded - which they should not be using - is more forgiving. 

    There is no reason to heat the components excessively with lead-free; you use an appropriate iron, the right tip, clean and condition the tip and the components, and make a good mechanical joint. The iron is then applied for under three seconds and it's done.

    Given how crude guitar electronics are, and that enormously more complex stuff is done every day by hand with lead-free, I've little sympathy for luthiers who whinge about lead-free solder.
    "[Sporky] brings a certain vibe and dignity to this place"
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  • maltingsaudiomaltingsaudio Frets: 2120
    There is new legislation about using lead solder in electronics so this probably related to that
    more here https://www.reichelt.com/magazin/en/guide/switch-to-lead-free-solders-when-soldering-by-hand/

    Not so much a problem for guitarists but them what repair church pipe organs are really against it
    www.maltingsaudio.co.uk
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  • Winny_PoohWinny_Pooh Frets: 5939
    Waste of money. Were the pickups replaced or just the wiring? 
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  • rossirossi Frets: 1472
    Unless you are gigging then fix when bust is my motto .Lead free solder is used these days though I hate the stuff  but is your guitar gonna fail? Well they failed with leaded solder  as well so just wait unless broken .Gigging then I fit the best to avoid failures though I have only ever had one pot fail and I just whacked it with a spanner and it fixed it .
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  • PALPAL Frets: 72
    Don't worry about it ! If it's working OK just leave. Any guitar in time may need parts to be replaced it's the nature of the
      beast.
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  • sixstringsuppliessixstringsupplies Frets: 396
    edited May 14 tFB Trader
    You know…we once had a potential customer who didn’t want to order a prewired kit because the solder we used had a silver content of 3.9%, rather than his preferred 4% 
    Modders, Makers, Players

    https://sixstringsupplies.co.uk/

    Our YouTube Channel for handy "How-To" Wiring Tutorials
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  • Musicman20Musicman20 Frets: 1482
    Waste of money. Were the pickups replaced or just the wiring? 
    Agreed. Waste. 
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  • Philly_QPhilly_Q Frets: 13976
    I can understand the dislike of lead-free solder, the few times I encountered it I found it much more unpleasant to work with than leaded.  But I wouldn't replace the electronics because they used lead-free.

    One thing I always wondered, do they mix?  For example if you change a pickup can you use leaded solder if there's lead-free residue on the pot?  Or is it better to replace the pot at the same time?
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  • SporkySporky Frets: 15955
    Philly_Q said:
    if you change a pickup can you use leaded solder if there's lead-free residue on the pot?  Or is it better to replace the pot at the same time?
    It's better to do it all with lead-free. 
    "[Sporky] brings a certain vibe and dignity to this place"
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  • SteveRobinsonSteveRobinson Frets: 5374
    tFB Trader
    You know…we once had a potential customer who didn’t want to order a prewired kit because the solder we used had a silver content of 3.9% rather than his preferred 4%  =)
    You dodged a bullet there @sixstringsupplies ;
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  • Philly_QPhilly_Q Frets: 13976
    Sporky said:
    Philly_Q said:
    if you change a pickup can you use leaded solder if there's lead-free residue on the pot?  Or is it better to replace the pot at the same time?
    It's better to do it all with lead-free. 
    It wasn't my intention to get into the rights and wrongs of one versus the other, I just wondered if they could be mixed, or if they're simply not compatible.
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  • SporkySporky Frets: 15955
    edited May 13
    Philly_Q said:
    Sporky said:
    Philly_Q said:
    if you change a pickup can you use leaded solder if there's lead-free residue on the pot?  Or is it better to replace the pot at the same time?
    It's better to do it all with lead-free. 
    It wasn't my intention to get into the rights and wrongs of one versus the other, I just wondered if they could be mixed, or if they're simply not compatible.
    Sorry - it wasn't meant to be an arsey reply, honest. 

    I think you're fine to mix, except that soldering is usually easiest with everything squeaky clean. 
    "[Sporky] brings a certain vibe and dignity to this place"
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  • Philly_QPhilly_Q Frets: 13976
    Thanks. :)
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  • Devil#20Devil#20 Frets: 816
    I don't think the lead free solder flows very well. You get much better joints with the proper stuff. 

    Ian

    Lowering my expectations has succeeded beyond my wildest dreams.

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  • Danny1969Danny1969 Frets: 7785
    Philly_Q said:
    Sporky said:
    Philly_Q said:
    if you change a pickup can you use leaded solder if there's lead-free residue on the pot?  Or is it better to replace the pot at the same time?
    It's better to do it all with lead-free. 
    It wasn't my intention to get into the rights and wrongs of one versus the other, I just wondered if they could be mixed, or if they're simply not compatible.
    Get some solder braid and use that to mop up whats left of the leaded. Then just use the leaded solder to make the new joints. 
    As i mentioned earlier the trouble with leaded is it tends to crack with heat and movement but in a guitar that's not an issue so you don't need to scrupulously  remove every trace of the leaded, just mop it up with the braid so the pots flat on top and then use leaded. 
     SD00335 is CPC order number for solder wick / braid , D03350 for 60/40 solder 

    www.2020studios.co.uk 
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  • sixstringsuppliessixstringsupplies Frets: 396
    tFB Trader
    You know…we once had a potential customer who didn’t want to order a prewired kit because the solder we used had a silver content of 3.9% rather than his preferred 4%  =)
    You dodged a bullet there @sixstringsupplies ;
    Haha yep - it was an eye roll, beer me moment 
    Modders, Makers, Players

    https://sixstringsupplies.co.uk/

    Our YouTube Channel for handy "How-To" Wiring Tutorials
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