Repairing the Wiring in a Guitar With F-Holes

Recently, the bridge pickup on one of my favorite guitars stopped working. The guitar is a Yamaha semi-hollow body electric guitar in the style of a Gibson 335.

Upon visual inspection of the wires through the f-hole, I quickly discovered that a single wire had broken off at the point where it was soldered to the volume pot. Under normal circumstances this would have been a snap to fix, but the difficulty in working on this style of guitar is that the only way to access the wiring is through the f-hole. There is no back access panel that makes it easy to get at the guts of the guitar, like there is on a Les Paul.

I like to do my own guitar repair and set up. I hate paying people to things I can do myself, I like to do them my way, and I get a great deal of satisfaction from a successful guitar repair. So I was determined to work this one out for myself.

So, after grabbing the dental floss from the medicine cabinet, I took the guitar out to my garage workshop and got to work. I laid the guitar on its back on some carpet remnants on my workbench, and removed the strings. It was time for a new set anyhow.

Then I removed the knobs. One by one I loosened the nuts that tighten the pots to the guitar body and tied a piece of dental floss to the posts. I made sure each piece of floss was around 3 feet long. I did the same with the switch and the input jack.

Once this was done, I removed the pick guard, because it covered a large section of the f-hole. Then I completely removed the nuts on the pots, switch and input jack, and very carefully pulled the entire assembly out of the guitar through the f-hole.

Once the harness was removed I grabbed roll of masking tape and taped the floss to the guitar body at the holes. This was to ensure that the ends of the floss would not go into the guitar, making it even more difficult to get the wiring assembly back into the guitar.

Then I fired up my soldering iron and fixed the broken connection. While I was at it I thought it would be a good idea to check all the other connections to make sure they were solid. I did not want to have to do this again.

Then it was time to test my work. I plugged the guitar into the small practice amp I keep on my workbench, and then I checked each pickup and each position of the switch by tapping the pickup pole pieces with a screwdriver.

Satisfied that everything was working right, I unplugged the guitar and very carefully slid the entire assembly back into the guitar through the f-hole. Then I pulled on the floss, starting with the input jack which was the farthest away from the f-hole, to get each component back in place. I put the nut on each component as once it was in place, and once they were tight, I plugged the guitar back into the amp to test again.

I must admit, I held my breath at this point, because I really did not want to take everything out again! But fortunately everything worked right. I removed the floss, put the knobs back on and I was done.

Now I have one of my favorite guitars in working order again, and the next time I have to do a repair on a guitar with f-holes I will have this experience to fall back on


This entry was posted on Thursday, October 21st, 2010 at 12:15 pm and is filed under Fun Guitar Stuff, Guitar Repair. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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