Using a terminal strip in control cavity


Junior Member
Is there any issue of using a terminal strip inside the control cavity to make connections instead of soldering directly? So wires would be soldered to the pots, switches, but then route to the terminal for interconnection.

I'm going to do this on my next build, I can't imagine there would be any issues.
I would worry about noise issues.  I would find a way to shield the strip or figure out a way to throw a ground on it.  Sometimes things like this inside a circuit can act as an antenna for stray electrical funny business.....  But I have thought of this idea too on a guitar that I was trying different pickups out with.  Once everything in your setup is nailed down, I don't see the reason for the strips anyway.  What don't you guys like the never ending frustration of getting a pot case hot enough to get the solder to stick.  I remember wiring my first guitar with a radio shack pencil soldering iron, it took me forever to get the solder to stick on the back of the pots.  Now I get out the big old Weller dual heat soldering gun to do the pot grounds.  It takes about 3 seconds to put enough heat into the case to get the shiny stuff to stick.
uh, I'm not sure why you would shield a grounding strip, unless I'm misunderstanding something....if the OP is talking about some extra strip to wire hot connections to / from, then yeah why bother. More wires / more connections = bad.
Hey, Klanch, you can also remove the coating on the pot with a screwdriver to get the solder to stick.
Mully I learned that trick in my guitar fixing experiences, but my first couple well I would hold the soldering iron on there for a good long while, I guess to melt the coating...... A dremel works well too, so does a scrap of sandpaper....

tfarney, I assumed that you guys were talking about hot connections.....  For ground I usually install a piece of copper wire like what is found in the walls of your house (Romex) I strip all the insultion off of one piece of wire and send one end to the bridge then I wrap it around one side of the control cavity and I put a screw into the inside wall of the cavity to end the copper wire on.  I use I think 14 gauge wire, then I run all of my grounds to that wire.  It makes it much easier to change out components if they aren't all soldered to one spot on a pot.  Also when wiring time comes around, it makes my plan of attack much easier to pull off.  I mount all the controls (with ground wires already soldered outside of the guitar) then I make my ground connections to my copper grounding wire..... Then I wire the pickups.  This way the wiring is layered so to speak.  All of the grounds are under the hot and interconnect wiring.  When I open one of my control cavities, they are really easy to navigate around because the ground wires are all below the hots.  I just think it is neater that way.......  50 ways to accomplish one thing I guess.....
Unfortunately guys I was talking about hot wires to this interconnect terminal. It is because I would like to try different PU, passive/active, etc. setups. I'm new and don't know what I want. I also don't like the idea of bring a soldering iron anywhere near the surface of the instrument. I really, really don't like this idea.

I was fearful that the strip would cause capacitance between the contacts or something odd.

At this point I'm considering completely separate metal sheets that will have everything pre-assembled. And then just drop that into the cavity. Attach PUs and done.
Yeah, I use a central ground too. On my rocket science Tele I had 17 ground wires - damn "Superswitch" - so it just made sense. If your pots are grounded to a metal control plate, or a piece of copper foil on the pickguard or in the cavity, there's no reason to even solder anything to the back of the pot. If you follow a Seymour Duncan schematic exactly, you're going to have a lot of redundant grounds and ground loops - everything only needs to be grounded ONCE. I use an eyebolt screwed into the side of the cavity, but there's lots of ways to cure the clutter. The only thing that I would be concerned about with a terminal strip is just how much metal you're planning on a pumping a passive, magnetically-generated signal to - I'm not sure, but it seems like as the amount of grounding metal goes up, the capacitor values should go down? :dontknow:

I'm afraid of the same thing you are. What I do now is put the body in a slightly damp tee shirt and cut out a hole the same as the control cavity. Now if I splash some solder it lands harmlessly on the damp shirt. Have not had a problem doing it like this.
Stew-Mac sells pre-wired Strat pickguards with a terminal strip soldered to the volume pot so you can install the whole rig without a soldering iron.

I use a quick disconnect similar to a molex connector inbetween the pickguard an the battery/ground/signal wires going to my jack.  I can swap pickguards with different pickups and it makes disassembly a snap.  I have a strat-ish guitar with EMG's which don't need a bridge ground.  Eventually, I'll replace the molex connector (bulky...) with a radio control servo extension cable.  Cut the extension in half, plug the ends together, and use the 20AWG leads to wire up the output, power, and ground between the pickguard and the jack.  They're even color-coded... which is quaint.

As a sidenote, I use a 23A 12V garage door opener battery (like a AA, but only about half as long) which fits right inside the jackplate rout.  The battery holder (an N-style holder works... get it at Radio Shark...) sits in there fine and changing batts doesn't require anything more than removing two battery box and no need to find room in the control rout.  The 23A and holder will also fit inbetween the trem springs for Floyd/Fender/Wilkinson style trems, Provided, of course, you aren't using all five springs.