Guestblogger Marc tells all about how to repair the electronics of your electric guitar with your own two hands and get rid of that hum, crackle, or actually get some sound out of it. From the tools you’ll need to get the job done properly, to a run through of what you need to do: Marc lays it all out and makes it clear that it’s much simpler than you think and anyone with the will and the right tools can do it themselves! And if you take the plunge, you get the added benefit of noise free tone, an in-house repair shop and the chance to get to know your guitar a little more intimately.

Repair the Electronics of Your Electric Guitar Yourself? Really?!

Hum, Crackle or No Sound at All

Generally, the three common electronic-based problems you’re likely to come across with your guitar can be fixed without the need of a seasoned expert. The solutions are actually fairly simple and just require a little nerve and patience. Pro repairs are really just unnecessary sometimes!

The three common problems are:

  • Hum: Often the result of poor grounding or wires soldered to the wrong points.
  • Crackle: Often due to old, bad, or just broken potentiometers and switches.
  • No Sound: Often due to incorrectly connected wires (or completely disconnected wires) or broken parts.

I’ll now show you how each of these little annoyances can be fixed. Don’t worry, we’ll start slowly.

What Tools Do You Need?

Even before you think about making a start, you’re going to need the right tools for the job. And there’s absolutely no reason why they have to be expensive. For the particular repairs ahead, here’s a list of everything you’ll need:

  • Safety Glasses: definitely a must (since those little bits and pieces seem to consciously aim for your eyes)
  • A Soldering Iron and Solder (for fairly obvious reasons – you’re likely to be soldering)
  • Small Philips Head Screwdriver (just as self-explantory)
  • String Winder (since it’s not 1863 any more)
  • Wire Strippers and Cutters … for stripping and cutting wire
  • Notebook or Phone with a Camera
  • Multimeter

Passieve elementen vervangen in een elektrische gitaar


Before I start any repairs, I make sure I’ve got a fresh pack of strings ready since the old ones need to come off. So, unless it’s one of your favourite passtimes of old, a string winder is an amazing time saver. It’s also a smart idea to have a search online for some wiring diagrams of the particular guitar you’re working on so that you can check that the current wiring is correct and if there are any alternative diagrams you can use. Then, as soon as you’ve removed the pickguard and opened up the guitar, take a clear photo of where all the wiring goes or make a drawing of it using a notebook so you can refer to it later and make sure to get everything fitted and soldered in the right place.


If I’m getting constant hum out of the guitar whenever it’s plugged in, the first thing to do is try a different guitar lead. If I’m still getting hum, then I know that it’s not the jack cable that’s causing the problem. So, the next thing is to check the wiring of the jack output. When you open it up, you’ll find two wires. Are they touching each other when they shouldn’t? Are they stuck? Is anything else looking out of the ordinary? Also, the jack input itself should be screwed securely into the cover plate – this is worth checking since it tends to loosen through use. Make sure not to screw the securing nut too tight though, just in case the wiring starts to turn with it (and gets stuck). If nothing needs fixing or you’ve cleared up any problems with the output, then you need to check that the bridge is well grounded. Has the grounding wire come loose or has it been secured with a massive blob of solder? Then, check the ground wiring soldered to the potentiometers and pickup switch to check for the same: is it connected or is there too much solder? If everything is fine with all the ground wiring, then you could decide to completey ‘shield’ the interior routing with foil (see image below). I’ve only had one instance where this didn’t fix the hum – so I had to disconnect and re-solder all the wiring. Thankfully that solved it.

Passieve elementen vervangen in een elektrische gitaar

Passieve elementen vervangen in een elektrische gitaar


This is the easiest problem to fix since you know it definitely sits in the potentiometers or pickup switch. Sometimes it can just be that they’re a bit grubby and clogged with dust or they’ve oxidized a little. Spray some contact cleaner on the pots and switch then turn the pots back and forth and flip the switch through a few times to get the fluid through. If this doesn’t clear up the clicking and crackle, then the parts need replacing. De-solder the wiring that’s secured to the switch and pots. You do this by holding the soldering iron against the wire and solder until it gets shiny and starts to melt. With old solder, it can sometimes take a little longer before it melts. Once this is done, you can remove the switch or pot. Then, once you get some fresh pots and a new switch in, you can solder the wiring onto them in the same way as the original wiring (so refer to your photo or drawing). Use new wire and put a little solder on the ends before actually soldering it in – this makes sure that the solder securely sticks.

No Sound

This can be worse than hum or crackle since there’s no way of knowing exactly where the issue is. Does another jack lead solve it? Is the amp actually switched on? Is the guitar volume all the way open? (yeah, all of this can happen). Everything ok? Then the problem lies in the guts of the guitar. If you’ve checked and can see no loose wiring or incorrectly soldered wires, then you need to measure all the parts and wiring using your multimeter. To do this, you need quite a bit of patience and precision. If it turns out that the problem is the pickups, then these need changing. If the pickup switch is the culprit, then you can also replace it. If it’s one of the potentiometers, then you should get sound when you switch to a different pickup position.

Do it Yourself or Not?

These are the most common electrical problems you’re likely to get with electric guitars. So, if you learn to solve them yourself, there’s no need to seek out a guitar tech to fix it, you can simply roll up your sleeves and save yourself a few quid. Of course, if you’re not so technically confident or great at DIY, then I’ll forgive you for using someone else’s expertise.

What electric guitar based issue have you managed to fix? Let us know in the comments!

See Also…

» Set Up Your Electric Guitar
» Guitar Parts & Tools
» Soldering Irons & Accessories

2 responses
  1. Edward says:


  2. Victor Marhoffer says:

    Good Info Thx

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