First time working on a crackling guitar

I haven’t played my Washburn for about 5 years. Even then it had a bit of a crackle I could work around, now it’s virtually unusable.
It has 3 pickups and a 5 position selector and only one position seems to produce any output. The volume and tone knob produce a lot of crackle.

I’ve not ever worked on an electric guitar before. I know basic wiring and the theory and am reasonably DIY proficient but am not sure where to start. For instance I guess the knobs need new potentiometers but how do I know which ones.

How do I begin? Thanks for any help. All my electric guitars and basses are in sad condition after years of non use so it’s worth my time getting to grips with it.

get some electronic contact cleaner spray and give all the bits a good spray and wiggle etc.


Yep, Rob’s advice should absolutely be step one. I haven’t worked on guitar electronics yet, but I have worked on various electronic peripherals over the years. Cleaning up contacts and potentiometers can work wonders, as it’s amazing how much crud can get into them over time. A can of spray is significantly cheaper than replacing parts which may well just be dirty, rather than worn or broken. :+1:t2:


Thanks… I haven’t tried that yet but some of the crackles were resistant to it a few years back so I expect to need some repairs.
But you’re quite right I should try this first.

Question stands though. Does Justin or anyone else have a good resource on DIY maintenance?

There’s this:



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Phil McKnight on YouTube ‘Know Your Gear’ will probably answer any question you will ever have on guitar maintenance.

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