Repairing my Fender Strat

About a year ago, I bought my second-hand Fender Stratocaster. It’s one of my favourite guitar now.

But a few days ago, the volume knob became loose. I could feel the entire volume control unit (beneath the pick guard; that’s the large white plate you see on the guitar body) move. Not good. And then the sounds was intermittent. Definitely not good.

I loosened the pick guard screws to access the inner workings. Several problems were apparent.

The volume control unit: After some time examining how it was bolted on (at first I thought it was glued to the pick guard from beneath), I discovered a hex nut held it in place. To access the hex nut, I pried off the plastic volume knob with a small flathead screwdriver. Then tightened the nut.

OK, one problem solved.

The other problems was less straight-forward (although to a guitar tech, they are simple problems).

Basically, the wiring and connections was broken and/ or loose. Needed to be re-soldered.

There was a soldering iron at home but I needed soldering tin. Bought some the next day. Then got to work.

Removed all the guitar strings. Loosened the pick guard screws.
DIY guitar repair - Fender Stratocaster

Flipped the pick guard over and this was what I saw:
DIY guitar repair - Fender Stratocaster

Took the chance to examine the pickup wirings.
DIY guitar repair - Fender Stratocaster

The problem areas:
DIY guitar repair - Fender Stratocaster

  • Spot #1: The picture shows the volume control unit. There’s a hard wire that’s soldered to the other two tone controls. The connection was broken. Must have been due to the loose nut.
  • Spot #2: Frayed and loose wirings.
  • Spot #3: Loose connection to one of the soldered points of the pickup selector switch.

DIY guitar repair - Fender Stratocaster

Here’s a closeup of the pick up selector switch:
DIY guitar repair - Fender Stratocaster

Right after I took those pictures, I went to work. I don’t have a lot of practical experience or skill in soldering. Steady hands required, for sure. In the end, I managed to muddle through and not burn up anything.

Re-strung the guitar. Works well now.