How to repair a broken guitar input

Repairing the jack socket on an electric guitar

One of the most vulnerable parts of an electric guitar is the jack socket, or input. This usually comprises a 1/4 inch mono jack socket which is bolted to a plate on the guitar.

They often work loose and sometimes the wiring can become loose and may need to be resoldered.


Step 1

Taking the socket out of the guitar.

The jack socket is usually held into place by two or four screws so all you need to do is remove these and lift the socket away from the body. There should be just enough wire on the back of it to allow it to hang free, you can then inspect the wires and check that they are properly attached to the socket.

If the socket is physically damaged you will need to fit a new one. Visit your local electronics component store and ask for a 1/4 inch mono jack chassis socket. Take the old one with you. If you go to a music store you will end up paying a lot more for what is a level-1 component They cost pennies so it isn’t worth trying to mend the old one.

Step 2

Check the connections

Look at the connections to the Jack socket, if they are loose or frayed heat up the solder with the soldering iron and remove the wire affected.

Trim the end of the wire so that any ragged bits of wire are removed, strip a couple of millimetres of insulation from the end and tin it with fresh solder.

Use your solder sucker to remove the old solder from the terminal and tin with fresh solder. Load the tip of the soldering iron with solder and re-make the connection.

Step 3

Tightening the nuts.

On each side of the jack plate there is a flat hexagonal nut which may have worked loose. Tighten them with either a socket wrench or a flat spanner Loose jack sockets can cause noise and will make the earth connection flakey. You can adjust the amount that the socket protrudes from the jack plate by losening the back nut and tightening the front one. On a recessed plate, like the Stratocaster, a socket wrench is required. Don’t try to tighten the nut without taking the socket out of the guitar body, it will cause the socket to twist round and may wrench the wires from their terminals.

Hold the body of the socket with your fingers and stop it rotating whilst tightening the front nut.

Step 4

Check the sprung terminals.

The sprung terminals are the part of the socket that make contact with the plug of your guitar lead. They can become slack with wear. Push a plug in and look to see how firm the connection is.

If necessary, gently bend the clip inwards to make a more positive connection.

Step 5

Reassemble the socket

Now that the connections are good and the socket is firmly bolted onto the plate it only remains to put it all back together.

Return the socket to its correct position on the guitar and make sure that the wires aren’t trapped or snagged in any way. You will be able to tell easily if all is well. Put the first screw in, taking care not to mark the surface of the guitar. Screw it halfway in and put in the second screw. When it is properly located screw them all the way in. Job done!

note: Guitars like the Fender Stratocaster have a front mounted jack plate with two screws, The Gibson Les Paul has a curved plate mounted on the side of the instrument and has four screws holding it in place. Make sure that all the screws are in place before tightening them al the way in.

Things Needed
• Small Phillips Screwdriver
• Soldering Iron
• Solder
• Solder sucker
• Small spanners or sockets

Tips & Warnings
• Take care when using a soldering iron near your guitar, cover the woodwork with masking tape to avoid burning the finish.
• Make sure you note which wire went to which terminal.
• Always be aware of the tip of your soldering iron; it is very hot and burns hurt.


Add a comment



Text commentary: