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Dirty guitar jack – don’t blame your pickups

Les Paul Jack

What could cause a Dirty guitar jack ?

The season is changing, old guitars are coming out of cupboards, if your electrics are crackly or your guitar keeps cutting out it might just be a Dirty guitar jack – don’t blame your pickups. At least not yet.

 It’s pretty simple really, if you’ve got a crackly guitar the jack may just need cleaning. Don’t blame your pickups straight away. Jack sockets, switches and pots are more likely to cause problems than your pickups.

Of course, when you eliminate all the other possibilities you might be needing a repairer. Here’s a list og repairers in NZ:

Incidentally, it’s an “output” jack, not an “input” jack – just a pet hate of mine.

You can see the jack in this Les Paul is looking a tad fluffy. This one isn’t very bad but it’s worth a clean anyway as part of a set up.

Dirty guitar jack - don't blame your pickups Mr Glyn's Pickups

I use 600 grade wet’n’dry paper used dry.

Mr Glyn's Pickups

I simply tear a piece off, roll it up and clean the jack out with it. A squirt with some contact cleaner can help. It’s good to keep a piece in your guitar case in case your jack goes crackly at a gig.

Dirty Jack  - cleaning

 You can see a fair bit of dirt can come off even this relatively clean jack. Just think what that was doing to your earth connection.

Dirty Jack - how to clean it

If a dirty guitar jackis really bad and you are gigging just replace it. It doesn’t cost much and it’s something you just can’t do without. If your jack stuffs up on stage it’s not a good look. I always have a small piece of 600 grade in my gig bag just in case.

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updated August 2023

Dirty Jack – don’t blame your pickups

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