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FDP Forum / Guitar Mods, Repairs, and Projects / Middle Pickup Problem

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TonyMan
Contributing Member
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Lisle, IL USA

That's what she said!
Jan 25th, 2019 05:00 PM   Edit   Profile  

I got this guitar I bought years ago, a no name that no one has ever been able to identify. It is SSH and had a single volume & tone, and five way switch. I decided to add a second tone control, installed a new 5 way switch, and wired the tone controls to N & B. I've done this to other guitars without an issue. When I tried it out the individual pups sound fine, N & M sound good, but when I use M & B the volume drops big time and it's tinny as hell. I took it apart, verified the wiring and all looked good. I also added the jumper so the first tone control is now on N & M. I put it back together and still have the same issue.

I've never run into something like this before & it's got be confused. The Bridger pickup is the humbucker, but I don't see where that is really an issue.

Any ideas on further testing I can do to correct this?

Thanks

LeftyMeister
Contributing Member
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Buckeye Country, USA

Tone is in the lingers
Jan 25th, 2019 05:02 PM   Edit   Profile  

One of them is out of phase.

Peegoo
Contributing Member
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Just beyond Mars

there's a world of fools
Jan 25th, 2019 08:58 PM   Edit   Profile  

If the bridge pickup has two individual wires, simply reverse them and the problem will be solved.

However, if the bridge humbucker has a single wire with a center conductor and a ground shield, You'll need to leave the bridge hooked up the way it is, and flip the connections on the middle pickup *and* the neck pickup.

SonicBlue

Sunbury-on-Thames

Jan 26th, 2019 03:58 AM   Edit   Profile  

You can prove this with the screwdriver test before taking the lid off.

Beg borrow or steal an analogue meter, and set it to its lowest DC voltage range. It's important to use the DC setting otherwise the test won't work.

Plug a guitar lead into the guitar and connect the meter test leads to sleeve and tip of the free jack. Now, select just the bridge pickup, hold a screwdriver shaft across the strings above the bridge pickup and, watching the meter pointer, quickly lift the screwdriver away from the strings. The needle should kick a little, note the direction it moves, that's your reference for the rest of the test.

Select in turn middle and neck and repeat the test for each, holding the screwdriver over the relevant one. They should both kick the meter the same way as the bridge PU if they're all in phase. As it does indeed sound like your bridge PU is out of phase with the other two, they middle and neck will more than likely kick the other way.

LeftyMeister
Contributing Member
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Buckeye Country, USA

Tone is in the lingers
Jan 26th, 2019 04:10 AM   Edit   Profile  

Sonic, that's a great test. Of course, finding a meter with a dial these days might be a challenge.

Leftee
Contributing Member
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VA

Toxic Humility
Jan 26th, 2019 07:49 AM   Edit   Profile  

What?!?!?! You don’t have a PSM-6 laying around.

In all seriousness, I kinda want one. It was the original meter I was trained to use in the USAF.

wrnchbndr
Contributing Member
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New Jersey

I'm back with the otters again
Jan 26th, 2019 08:29 AM   Edit   Profile  

No analog meter on your bench? Gimme your 341.

Leftee
Contributing Member
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VA

Toxic Humility
Jan 26th, 2019 08:53 AM   Edit   Profile  

Dangit!

This is my first 341 pulled!

Peegoo
Contributing Member
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Just beyond Mars

there's a world of fools
Jan 26th, 2019 09:03 AM   Edit   Profile  

341?

Har!

Haven't heard THAT in 30-something years.

LeftyMeister
Contributing Member
**********
*

Buckeye Country, USA

Tone is in the lingers
Jan 26th, 2019 09:12 AM   Edit   Profile  

"What?!?!?! You don’t have a PSM-6 laying around."

I'm holding out for a Simpson 260.

TonyMan
Contributing Member
**********

Lisle, IL USA

That's what she said!
Jan 26th, 2019 09:18 AM   Edit   Profile  

OMG, PSM-6!!!!

1969, USAF, ICBM Guidance technician. During an evaluation I got confused and failed. The corrective action was 90 day retraining on the PSM-6. Never heard another word till day 89 when I was presented with multiple, dated training sheets to sign. What a life!

Anyway, I’ll have to look for a meter with an analog face. Crazy thing is, I wired the pickups the same way they were before. Will check back once I am done.

Thanks

Leftee
Contributing Member
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VA

Toxic Humility
Jan 26th, 2019 09:26 AM   Edit   Profile  

I trained on the PSM-6 in Tech School in 1980. I don't think the last one left the shop until the mid-80s.

TonyMan
Contributing Member
**********

Lisle, IL USA

That's what she said!
Jan 26th, 2019 10:13 AM   Edit   Profile  

Leftee, ya gotta admit, that was a helluva meter and it could take a beating.

Well, it does look like the humbucker is out of phase, and I believe you can do the test with a digital multi-meter. I saw the humbucker voltage jump negative while the other two jumped positive.

I won't be able to tear this apart till later tonight but am a little confused. As I recall, the humbucker has a single white wire with a shield around it then black plastic around that. I connected the white to the switch and the black to the ground. Reversing the connections sounds backwards, but I will know more when I get to tear it apart.

ejm

usa

Jan 26th, 2019 10:22 AM   Edit   Profile  

It sounds like an out of phase problem, but time out.
Let's go back to the beginning.

"I got this guitar I bought years ago, a no name that no one has ever been able to identify. It is SSH and had a single volume & tone, and five way switch. I decided to add a second tone control, installed a new 5 way switch, and wired the tone controls to N & B."

Question: You've had this guitar for a while.
Did it work right BEFORE you did your new mods?

And....You merely replaced the 5 way switch, correct? Meaning that you had the same 5 combinations before (N, NM,M,MB,B)?


TonyMan
Contributing Member
**********

Lisle, IL USA

That's what she said!
Jan 26th, 2019 11:10 AM   Edit   Profile  

ejm -Correct, all was working fine before and had the typical combinations you stated. All that was added was a new five way switch and 2nd tone control. Once that was done is when the the issue appeared. I want to agree that out of phase/wired backwards is most likely the issue, but my memory says the humbucker is wired exactly like it was before. When I get a chance to open it up tonight we'll see how good my memory is

Cal-Woody

USA/California

Why do I keep fixing things that work?
Jan 26th, 2019 06:09 PM   Edit   Profile  

Maybe the new switch is wired backwards and just reversing the wires to it might fix the problem, because this may have put it out of phase? Especially since you said that the new 5 way switch works well with the pickups, and until you engage the new pickup switch that you added.
It might just be that simple.

(This message was last edited by Cal-Woody at 08:19 PM, Jan 26th, 2019)

TonyMan
Contributing Member
**********

Lisle, IL USA

That's what she said!
Jan 26th, 2019 09:11 PM   Edit   Profile  

Cal-Woody, I’ll take a close look at that and verify with the ohmmeter. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to it tonight and hopefully will tomorrow.

Thanks for the suggestion.

ejm

usa

Jan 27th, 2019 08:30 AM   Edit   Profile  

Just swinging wildly here, but take the two switches and make sure that they work the same way and make the same connections.

Let's assume that merely adding a pot is not the problem, and that it was done with no errors.

I have a "budget" guitar, a Sterling SUB AX3.
It has two HB pups, and a 5 way switch.
That 5 way switch is NOT like a regular 5 way Strat switch, even though it looks like it would be.
I believe that Music Man does something similar with their Axis model (and maybe some others).
It obviously makes connections that are not "normal", and does coil splits and combinations that would take either a Super/Mega switch or more push/pull pot options.

In spite of my normally inquisitive nature, I've yet to ohm it out, out of the guitar, to see what it's actually doing.
However, I did make a wiring diagram of the guitar, FWIW.

If the original switch is not damaged, putting it back in the guitar may solve your problem.

(This message was last edited by ejm at 10:32 AM, Jan 27th, 2019)

TonyMan
Contributing Member
**********

Lisle, IL USA

That's what she said!
Jan 27th, 2019 11:40 AM   Edit   Profile  

I'll check out the switch too. As I recall when I bought it at a local Music store it was either an All Parts or Fender, so I want to believe it was OK. Unfortunately I didn't save the old one.

Edit:
I opened it up and it still looks properly wired which doesn't explain the phase reversal when M B is chosen. From the humbucker in the Bridge is a blue wire that has a shield inside and a white wire insulated inside of that. From everything I am familiar with the shield would be ground. To reverse the phase it seems I would have to connect the shield to the switch and the white wire to ground, but that sounds backwards. Wondering if anyone else has ever had to do that.

Later tonight I guess I will disconnect everything from the switch and ohm it out to see if it is operating properly. If it is I guess I'll have to reverse the humbucker wiring and test that out.

(This message was last edited by TonyMan at 02:38 PM, Jan 27th, 2019)

TonyMan
Contributing Member
**********

Lisle, IL USA

That's what she said!
Jan 27th, 2019 08:33 PM   Edit   Profile  

I unwired the switch and it checked out fine with an ohmmeter in every position.

I guess the next step would be to connect the humbucker shield to the switch and the middle wire to ground, and see what happens. Can't get to that till tomorrow though, will post the results.


Next 20 Messages  

FDP Forum / Guitar Mods, Repairs, and Projects / Middle Pickup Problem




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