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Neck (rhythm) pick up not working fully


wildkat1
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I've recently noticed that the neck pup on my 01' Limited Edition Epi Les Paul Standard only has a faint output, barely audible through my amp. I looked at the wiring at the switch and the tone/vol knobs but don't see any loose wiring. Anybody experience this problem with their Epi LP that knows what is going on here??? I'll take any and all suggestions.....thanks!!! [confused]

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Not sure this will help BUT...

 

Do you leave the p/u selector switch in the middle position when not played or in the rhythm and/or neck position?

I had a similar problem on one of my guitars and it turned out that leaving the selector switch in anything other than the middle position has a tendency to reduce the possibility of a good contact when switching back/forth (eventually, and slowly, it will form a "memory". Take some pliers and "tighten" if you will, the connections and it may solve your problem. sorry if you're confused, but I don't know any other way to describe it.

 

If this doesn't work, pay no attention to what I've just said LOL

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Not sure this will help BUT...

 

Do you leave the p/u selector switch in the middle position when not played or in the rhythm and/or neck position?

I had a similar problem on one of my guitars and it turned out that leaving the selector switch in anything other than the middle position has a tendency to reduce the possibility of a good contact when switching back/forth (eventually, and slowly, it will form a "memory". Take some pliers and "tighten" if you will, the connections and it may solve your problem. sorry if you're confused, but I don't know any other way to describe it.

 

If this doesn't work, pay no attention to what I've just said LOL

 

 

I know exactly what you mean....I did that with my wildkat and it did help. It isn't helping here, but I thank you for the reply!!!

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Asking the obvious first, is it OK in any switch position?

It sounds like it's developed a break in the winding. The theory for there still being some signal is that the are behind the break develops capacitance which allows some signal to flow. To test if it is the pickup, you will have to desolder the 'hot' wire (preferably both wires) and check the DC resistance with a multimeter. If you don't have one a cheap one will work fine, they are ten-twenty quid on ebay.

 

 

 

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Asking the obvious first, is it OK in any switch position?

It sounds like it's developed a break in the winding. The theory for there still being some signal is that the are behind the break develops capacitance which allows some signal to flow. To test if it is the pickup, you will have to desolder the 'hot' wire (preferably both wires) and check the DC resistance with a multimeter. If you don't have one a cheap one will work fine, they are ten-twenty quid on ebay.

 

To answer a few questions I failed to provide info on from the jump.....I always leave ( and play primarily) in the middle position. The bridge pup and middle work fine but there doesn't seem to be a discernable difference between the 2. So that answers a few questions at one time. I can't imagine how there would be a break in the winding or what could cause that but perhaps that is possible. So I'll invest in a DC multimeter and check the function of the neck pup. I'm waiting on ebay for a new switch to replace the crummy epi switch that came with the guitar. So.....we wait!!! Thanks folks for the help!!!

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Update.....I replaced the stock Epiphone switch with a Switchcraft and that DID NOT solve the problem!!! I did notice how cheesy and flimsy the wire was and can't help wonder if this is a good part of the problem somewhere in the path. I'll check the ground at the input jack (which I doubt has any relationship to the issue) and I'll purchase a digital multimeter to check the pups next. But I think it's time for a Gibby!!! [scared]

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Always a good idea to replace the switch anyway. Yes, you will need to get a reading of that pickup. Keep us updated!

 

Bought a multimeter and checked the pickups!! The bridge read 13.89 and the neck read "nada, nothing, zero, ".....I guess I may need a new pup at the neck unless there is another fix.....still considering a Gibby LP Studio!!! :mellow:

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Yes, that combination of a faint audio signal and an open circuit does indicate a break. It's possible it might be the lead wires to coil wires connection, so if you were feeling adventurous you could open up the tape over the coil and have a look at the join. Or even remove a couple of dozen turns of coil and see if you find an obvious fault.

It's probably not worth getting that pickup re-wired if it's a standard Epi pup. And they do come up on ebay fairly regularly for not much. You might even sell the dead one for a few bucks.

 

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Yes, that combination of a faint audio signal and an open circuit does indicate a break. It's possible it might be the lead wires to coil wires connection, so if you were feeling adventurous you could open up the tape over the coil and have a look at the join. Or even remove a couple of dozen turns of coil and see if you find an obvious fault.

It's probably not worth getting that pickup re-wired if it's a standard Epi pup. And they do come up on ebay fairly regularly for not much. You might even sell the dead one for a few bucks.

 

Thanks so much Vomer!! You've been the steady voice during my adventure with this guitar.....but I'm looking at a replacement on ebay...just seems the easiest solution to pull the old and replace. Thanks for all the suggestions...I learned a lot on the subject!!! The guitar is pretty nice to play and seems a waste to just ignore it totally....

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Thanks so much Vomer!! You've been the steady voice during my adventure with this guitar.....but I'm looking at a replacement on ebay...just seems the easiest solution to pull the old and replace. Thanks for all the suggestions...I learned a lot on the subject!!! The guitar is pretty nice to play and seems a waste to just ignore it totally....

 

You're welcome! Yes, definitely easiest to just replace. I can never resist taking things apart though msp_biggrin.gif.

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You're welcome! Yes, definitely easiest to just replace. I can never resist taking things apart though msp_biggrin.gif.

 

Update......After watching a few youtube vids I decided to try testing the neck pup wires where they are soldered at the pot. So I placed the probes of the multimeter at what looked like bare wire at the volume pot and lo and behold it gave me a reading of 8.89!! So now what??? Is a hot lead making contact with a ground?? The inside of the cavity looks like the L.A.freeway….and I don't know quite enough yet to figure out what's what!!! Wires everywhere and all colors!! I will check connections again....

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Update......After watching a few youtube vids I decided to try testing the neck pup wires where they are soldered at the pot. So I placed the probes of the multimeter at what looked like bare wire at the volume pot and lo and behold it gave me a reading of 8.89!! So now what??? Is a hot lead making contact with a ground?? The inside of the cavity looks like the L.A.freeway….and I don't know quite enough yet to figure out what's what!!! Wires everywhere and all colors!! I will check connections again....

 

Wildkat, did you desolder the hot wire before you tested the pickup the first time? Because if you didn't you could have been reading the fault somewhere downstream of the pickup. And I'm a bit confused now because you're measuring the hot at the pot and getting a typical resistance reading (sorry to state the obvious, but do you have the meter set to the 20K range?)

Can I suggest, desolder the hot from the pot, it should be on the outer lug, and measure between the hot wire and the back of the pot. That way, any fault has to be in the pickup. If it reads OK, then we start the detective work. (Or at least re-flowing all your solder joints.)

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Wildkat, did you desolder the hot wire before you tested the pickup the first time? Because if you didn't you could have been reading the fault somewhere downstream of the pickup. And I'm a bit confused now because you're measuring the hot at the pot and getting a typical resistance reading (sorry to state the obvious, but do you have the meter set to the 20K range?)

Can I suggest, desolder the hot from the pot, it should be on the outer lug, and measure between the hot wire and the back of the pot. That way, any fault has to be in the pickup. If it reads OK, then we start the detective work. (Or at least re-flowing all your solder joints.)

 

 

Hey Vomer.....I'm trying to post a photo of the neck pup volume pot and an overhead shot of all 4 pots but the first few attempts failed as the file was "too big"!! But to answer your questions...I DID NOT desolder the hot wire which I feared may give a false reading, but when it gave a reading similar to what the pup should put out I thought perhaps the pup worked o.k.!! The photo would show that 2 wires are joined together on lug #3 (the hot, and a similar white wire that jumps up to the top of the pot where a red goes to ground).....I don't understand this method!!! Why does the wire, which appears to be spliced together and soldered onto lug #3 exist there??? This technique is done on the bridge pup as well. Stay with me...you're the lone voice in the wilderness so far!! BTW, I've viewed more than a few tutorials for wiring a Les Paul and none look like mine!!! Be back later......Oh yea, I did have the meter on 20 k but nothing is obvious for me...I am a novice at this......

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Hey Vomer.....I'm trying to post a photo of the neck pup volume pot and an overhead shot of all 4 pots but the first few attempts failed as the file was "too big"!! But to answer your questions...I DID NOT desolder the hot wire which I feared may give a false reading, but when it gave a reading similar to what the pup should put out I thought perhaps the pup worked o.k.!! The photo would show that 2 wires are joined together on lug #3 (the hot, and a similar white wire that jumps up to the top of the pot where a red goes to ground).....I don't understand this method!!! Why does the wire, which appears to be spliced together and soldered onto lug #3 exist there??? This technique is done on the bridge pup as well. Stay with me...you're the lone voice in the wilderness so far!! BTW, I've viewed more than a few tutorials for wiring a Les Paul and none look like mine!!! Be back later......Oh yea, I did have the meter on 20 k but nothing is obvious for me...I am a novice at this......

Update 7/21/18.....ordered a Weller 40 watt solder station as my cheapo couldn't desolder the hot lead or the ground wire from the pot!! I'm in a holding pattern for a while....

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Update 7/21/18.....ordered a Weller 40 watt solder station as my cheapo couldn't desolder the hot lead or the ground wire from the pot!! I'm in a holding pattern for a while....

 

 

Update 7/24/18....meter tested pup desoldered from pot and got a reading of 8.64k!! Still don't understand the wiring method of a ground from the neck volume pot that also has a hot lead sharing lug#3 with the pup hot lead....that ground wire goes to the tone pot and grounds on top of pot while hot lead solders at lug #1!!?? What function does that provide??

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Update 7/24/18....meter tested pup desoldered from pot and got a reading of 8.64k!! Still don't understand the wiring method of a ground from the neck volume pot that also has a hot lead sharing lug#3 with the pup hot lead....that ground wire goes to the tone pot and grounds on top of pot while hot lead solders at lug #1!!?? What function does that provide??

 

Two functions. It provides a constant load to the pickup so the control acts as a volume rather than a tone control and it completely kills the output when the control is turned fully down.

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  • 1 month later...

Two functions. It provides a constant load to the pickup so the control acts as a volume rather than a tone control and it completely kills the output when the control is turned fully down.

Update as of 8/31/18....I successfully completed a total rewire on the LP with Switchcraft and CTS parts.....problem solved, although I never figured out why the pup was weak sounding to begin with!!! oh well.....

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