Rewiring a Gibson Les Paul Standard input jack is a procedure every owner should become familiar with. Due to the frequent insertion and removal of the guitar cord, input jacks can become loose, causing one or both of the attached internal wires to twist and break from the solder terminals. The input jack rewiring repair of Les Pauls and similar side-jack guitar models can be accomplished with basic hand tool and soldering skills.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Phillips-head screwdriver
- Wire strippers
- Needle-nose pliers
- Soldering iron (20 to 30 watts)
- Solder (60/40 rosin core)
Remove the four jack-plate screws by turning counter-clockwise with a Phillips-head screwdriver and lift it out with your fingers. The jack is attached to the plate by a nut and washer on the interior and exterior of the jack.
View the solder terminals of the jack to determine the extent of the rewiring repair, using the lack of one or both wires soldered to the terminal as evidence. The loose wires will be immediately visible within the jack wire body cavity when the jack plate is removed.
Separate the wires if they are twisted, and strip about 1/8 inch of insulation with wire strippers from the wires to be resoldered.
Tighten the jack onto the jack plate by turning the exterior nut clockwise with needle-nose pliers or similar nut-tightening tool.
Tin the end of the wires by applying a heated soldering iron and a small amount of solder.
Solder the wires to the jack's solder terminal with the soldering iron and solder. Solder the ground wire (negative, black or green) to the terminal attached to the centre metal ring of the jack. Solder the positive ("hot", red or white) wire to the terminal on the outside edge of the jack.
Push the jack-plate into the cavity and replace the four screws. Tighten them by turning clockwise with the screwdriver.
Tips and warnings
- If one or both of the jack wires have worked themselves up into the jack wire cavity, remove the four screws from the guitar's back plate to gain access to the electronics. Locate the loose wires and push them through the jack wire cavity until they extend to the guitar's exterior.
- If the ground wire has detached from the interior electronics as well as the jack, solder the ground wire to the body of the neck pickup tone control. The hot wire is attached to the middle terminal of the pickup selector switch, and rarely comes undone. If it does, the sector switch may be accessed by removing the three screws anchoring the round back-plate directly beneath the switch. Consult the references for wiring diagrams if you are not sure.
- If replacing old jack wire with new, use wire that is equal or greater than the original diameter for best results. Use the same wire insulation colour if possible for ease of identification during future repairs.
- If your guitar uses a plastic jack-plate, do not over-tighten the jack nut or plate mounting screws as the plate may crack.
- Use eye protection when soldering to guard against solder spattering, and use care when handling the hot iron to avoid skin burns.
- Periodically inspect the input jack for looseness, and tighten if necessary as described in sections 1 and 4 to prevent future soldering repairs. Tightening the jack without removing the jack plate may result in twisting the wires and breaking them from the jack's solder terminals.
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