Durban Guerrilla Part 4: Soldering On

Guitarist’s Dave Durban is a musician on a mission. He is searching for a sonic grail: the ultimate guitar tone and he’ll stop at nothing to get it. During his quest he will encounter all manner of wonders and obstacles: gigs in far flung places, studio sessions, guitar mods, amp tests and sea monsters.

Welcome to the world of a dedicated gearhead, the Durban Guerrilla – and every week he’ll be sharing his candid journal with you. This time he’s got the toolbox out…


I'm a tinkerer.

Never happier than with a screwdriver in one hand and a hot soldering iron in the other. I love to mod guitars.


And I’ve officially begun my new guitar project today…

It’s an electronic and cosmetic upgrade on the lovely and already excellent Squier ‘60s Vintage Vibe (reviewed in the new issue of Guitarist).



Let’s get started…

First things first are to remove the old wiring and electronics attached to the pickguard and jack socket.

Using the components pictured above the first thing to start with is mounting the new Linear taper 250K CTS pots – available from All Parts (www.allparts.com) or your local well-supplied guitar store.



Making sure that everything is secured correctly, the next step is to tin the iron and start on those pot tags.

I’m using old style cloth shielded wire black for ground and white for “hot”. If you need a cap for the tone circuit Callaham make a .1 mfd Orange Drop capacitor (www.callahamguitars.com) , which can be purchased direct (www.guitar-xperience.com/onlinestore) or from Charlie Chandlers shop in Kew.

Next, I replaced the old five-way switch with a better quality Switchcraft CRL five-way selector switch, which has the jack input.

But there was an unforeseen problem:
the Switchcraft input is bigger than the smaller China made unit and touches the shielding paint inside the jack route. This will short the guitar out as I very quickly discovered. Doh. So the old one went back in.

Nevetheless the pots are now wired up.

And here is another upgrade with a Callaham string tree… just because.



Next it’s on with the pickup instalment, which should be quite straightforward part of the job… hypothetically. We’ll get onto that next week.



In other news: tomorrow is the recording of a demo of the new Blackstar HT-5 valve amp for the Guitarist CD. I’ve heard some amazing things about this new amp already so I can’t wait to try it. Look out for more in the next issue.

Cheers for now!

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