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Dead pickup?

#1 User is offline   GEEPEE 

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Posted 08 May 2018 - 08:59 AM

I am trying out a 1974 (I think) ES 355 TD before buying.

The tuners were swapped out and orig Trem appears to have been swapped for a Bigsby, both after purchase.

It has a Varitone system, but the inside sticker only says ES355 TD (not TDSV) so I am not sure if this was added after purchase (although the truss rod cover does say Stereo).

Using a stereo cable split to two mono signals (same cable I use for my Stereo out Music Man) into my DAW, I only get a faint signal from the bridge pickup.

With the Neck pickup position, I get two separate mono signals into the DAW.

With the Middle position, I also get two separate mono signals into the DAW (although slighly less volume).

In the Bridge position, I get two, very faint signals into the DAW.

The gold plating on both pickup covers and the bridge are badly tarnished on the Tortoise shell pick guard side (especially the bridge pickup).

Could this be an indication of a bad pickup, corroded wires or both?

Could this be a deal breaker?

This post has been edited by GEEPEE: 08 May 2018 - 03:58 PM

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#2 User is offline   FZ Fan 

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Posted 08 May 2018 - 08:18 PM

Does it have one jack or 2.
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#3 User is offline   GEEPEE 

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Posted 08 May 2018 - 08:40 PM

View PostFZ Fan, on 08 May 2018 - 08:18 PM, said:

Does it have one jack or 2.


one jack only.
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#4 User is offline   FZ Fan 

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Posted 08 May 2018 - 08:49 PM

View PostGEEPEE, on 08 May 2018 - 08:40 PM, said:

one jack only.


OK. I have a BB King and its stereo but it has 2 jacks. I can use one mono cord for both pups to work or one mono cord in each jack and each pup is on its own output. To me mine is dual mono. If you are positive your stereo cord is good and you are going into a stereo amp you may have a bad pickup. But in the middle positon you get both pups to work is that correct? Bad Jack?
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#5 User is offline   GEEPEE 

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Posted 08 May 2018 - 10:13 PM

View PostFZ Fan, on 08 May 2018 - 08:49 PM, said:

...I can use one mono cord for both pups to work.


Thank you for your replies, FZ Fan - (I too am a long time FZ fan)

A mono cord only gives me one pickup - apparently the Neck pickup based on the waveforms at my DAW.

...which I expected as it is a stereo out jack.

I am going to borrow an amp and split the signal to both it, and the DAW ... as you suggested, it may be the stereo cord issue (although I did check it with a multimeter a couple of weeks ago).

It's a real shame, as the body and neck of this ES are excellent (9/10 other than the filled-in screw holes from the prior Tuners (2/tuner) and Trem-system (2) - not a mark or scratch and the action is low.

I will report the results.

This post has been edited by GEEPEE: 08 May 2018 - 10:31 PM

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#6 User is offline   GEEPEE 

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Posted 10 May 2018 - 08:01 AM

Just as an update: I wasn't able to get any (very weak) signal out of Bridge pickup and based on the excessive corrosion on the gold hardware, especially the Bridge pickup cover, I have passed on the guitar. It really appears that the corrosion has spread to under the pick guard.

Thanks to FZ Fan for the input.
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#7 User is offline   FZ Fan 

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Posted 10 May 2018 - 06:21 PM

View PostGEEPEE, on 10 May 2018 - 08:01 AM, said:

Just as an update: I wasn't able to get any (very weak) signal out of Bridge pickup and based on the excessive corrosion on the gold hardware, especially the Bridge pickup cover, I have passed on the guitar. It really appears that the corrosion has spread to under the pick guard.

Thanks to FZ Fan for the input.


Bummer. Try to find a nice used BB King they are really insane guitars. I have the red one and I will never trade or sell this guitar. I owned a ES-335 and it was a great axe but for my money the BB beat it hands down.
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#8 User is offline   kaicho8888 

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Posted 12 May 2018 - 12:52 AM

Sorry you had to let it go!

Since you can still hear the bridge a little, this sound like some corroded connection and It could just be:
1. Corrosion on the TRS output jack (the Ring part of the output jack). You can roll sandpaper and insert in in the output jack to clean it.
2. The contacts on the selector switch could be cleaned with a little sanding, or
3. The bridge pots could be a little corroded and need a little squirt of deoxit. This could be tricky if the pots are enclosed in a metal shield. I do not know the year when pot shields were not used anymore. I've squirted deoxit from the top of the pot shaft using the thin red plastic tube and a little saran wrap around the shaft to force the cleaner through the shaft.


If you have a multimeter, you can also check the OHM readings by the output jack... both pickups should have similar readings...about 7.5k to 8k OHMs.


Anyways, thought I'd mentioned a few possible remedies for others who might have similar problems.
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