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raf66

Do It Yourself-Help!!

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Ok, I got a little brave last week and decided that I wanted to add the pickguard that came with my LP Classic. With trepidation and shaking hands, I embarked on my first DIY project on my guitar and I'm glad I did. The pickguard looks great. I'm officially an amateur luthier. On to my next project.

 

I've always wanted to cover my humbuckers as that's the look I like. A little more involved of a project. Again, nerves very raw as I started planning it. Bought the covers, did research on great sites like this one, purchased a soldering iron and got the guitar prepared for the surgery. Took the bridge pickup out, put a piece of two sided tape across the top of the pickup (to help "wax" the pot to keep it from squeeling), put the cover on, clamped it tight and soldered two points along the long side of the bottom of the pickup. Had to resolder a couple of time as the solder kept drying and then coming off (even though I used steel wool on the area so it could make good, clean contact), but eventually got it to stay. Reinstalled it and noticed the screws on the pickup did not come up flush with the pickup cover holes so I loosened them with a screwdriver and brought them up flush. On to the neck pickup, which was now a little easier since I had a little experience. Did everything exactly the same and also loosened the screws up on the pickup so they would come up flush with the holes in the pickup cover. Reinstalled the neck pickup, cleaned and polished the guitar and restrung it with Gibson Brite Wires (10s).

 

The guitar now looked EXACTLY the way I had always wanted it to look, and I was very proud of my endeavor. But now for the real test, plugging it into my amp and testing to make sure I didn't break something . . .

 

Plugged it in to my VOX AD30VT, put it on the neck pickup and strummed away. Sounded great! Patted myself on the back and flipped the pickup selector switch to the bridge pickup and . . . nothing. Well, nothing but a really fuzzy electrical sound. What's odd is that when I touch the pickup cover on the bridge pickup, the fuzzy electrical hum stops. Same when I touch ANY metal piece of the guitar.

 

So now I have a one-pickup LP Classic that LOOKS beautiful. Have I killed the bridge pickup? Does it sound from my "fuzzy electrical hum" description that I short-circuited the pickup somehow? Please help. I know my written description, though boring and long, may not give the best information on what could've happened but I'm hoping that you guys may be able to help me out.

 

Thanks.

One-Pickup LP Guy

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It sounds to me like the solder connect may have slopped into the pup.. it could be dead.. it could be shorted somehow and not dead..

does the pup work when you touch the cover.. or does the noise just stop?

 

first be sure to check all wiring.. it could be somewhere else.. and you don't need to mess with the cover again.. be sure the wire run doesn't

snake into something and make connection.. be sure the pots and switches haven't had something pulled loose.. or tiny wires have broken free and reached out to touch something else..

take your time and worry about the cover connect dead last..

 

you've got a short.. somewhere. let's hope the solder didn't leak into the pickup coils.. that would pretty much kill it.. I'm sure you know the pup windings are coated.. otherwise they'd short together in the first place.. and your heating up of that area with solder could have

caused the coating to melt.. enough heat applied and you can even break a winding.

 

but take some heart here. it's possible to carefully unwind enough wire to get past the damage.. but that aint easy.. so.. let's hope it's not that.

there are thousands of turns on the pup windings. a few less isn't going to hurt it.

 

but I'd look at everything else.. then I'd pull that pup and take that cover off..

you should be able to see...

 

it could be as simple as having broken a pup lead.. or shorted the pup lead where they mount on the pup.. so.. taking the cover off may not lead to broken or shorted coils, but just some simple to repair mishap.

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I don't know about you guys... but... I have never been a fan of using solder to attach covers...

 

What I do is use a VERY small amount of gorilla glue on each side.... the covers themselves slip on tight as it is. There is no need to attach with solder

 

Unless there is some grounding issues with covers ??

 

If there is, I am not hearing it with the gorilla glued on covers I have...

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..snip....soldered two points along the long side of the bottom of the pickup. Had to resolder a couple of time as the solder kept drying and then coming off (even though I used steel wool on the area so it could make good' date=' clean contact), but eventually got it to stay. Reinstalled it and noticed the screws on the pickup did not come up flush with the pickup cover holes so I loosened them with a screwdriver and brought them up flush.

 

On to the neck pickup, which was now a little easier since I had a little experience. Did everything exactly the same and also loosened the screws up on the pickup so they would come up flush with the holes in the pickup cover. Reinstalled the neck pickup, cleaned and polished the guitar and restrung it with Gibson Brite Wires (10s).

 

 

Well, nothing but a really fuzzy electrical sound. What's odd is that when I touch the pickup cover on the bridge pickup, the fuzzy electrical hum stops. Same when I touch ANY metal piece of the guitar.

 

So now I have a one-pickup LP Classic that LOOKS beautiful. Have I killed the bridge pickup? Does it sound from my "fuzzy electrical hum" description that I short-circuited the pickup somehow? Please help. I know my written description, though boring and long, may not give the best information on what could've happened but I'm hoping that you guys may be able to help me out.

[/quote']

 

TWANG provided a lot of good information so I won't repeat that in my troubleshooting analysis of your problem..

Thanks TWANG.

 

Here's my .02cents worth without actually seeing your solder job.

 

1) If you did not open the black coil tape, then it's highly unlikely that the twisted/soldered together ends of the

windings are damage. You can apply a "fair amount of heat to the bottom of the metal case and metal hbucker

cover and the winding will survive continuity. The reason the solder didn't stick in the first place is the residual

amount of paraffin wax that was on the magnet plate. Using some solvent/paint thinner and cleaning the

area would have helped the solder to stick. Another thing I have learned from my stain glass is to apply a bit

of flux *ruby fluid which is a non corrosive flux* to the metal that requires soldering..anyway, you got it to stick.

Flux can be cleaned off with rubbing alcohol.

 

As far as the buzz on the dead bridge p_up, if you didn't unsolder/ remove the leads from the volume pot, then

you must have a broken wire, usually the signal wire, or the ground shield. If you removed the wires from

the pot and resoldered again to the vol pot, recheck carefully the solder connections and the wires that

you soldered around the volume pot.

 

Don't overlook an intermittent 3-way switch..as in most wiring cases the output of the bridge volume will

go to one side of the 3 way. You can also check with an ohmeter continuity of the shield to the volume

pot, by putting one lead on the underside of the p_up case and the other to the volume pot case or

output jack..if you have continuity, then the signal wire may be broken somewhere and it can be repaired

but it's tricky at the coil end, but I've done it on mine.

 

As far as the electrical hum stopping when you touch any metal part..you become

part of the ground circuit, so the hum will diminish..that's pretty much normal on

a high impedance guitar circuit.

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I don't know about you guys... but... I have never been a fan of using solder to attach covers...

 

What I do is use a VERY small amount of gorilla glue on each side.... the covers themselves slip on tight as it is. There is no need to attach with solder

 

Unless there is some grounding issues with covers ??

 

If there is' date=' I am not hearing it with the gorilla glued on covers I have...[/quote']

 

Usually hbucker covers are plated brass. The covers fit on pretty tight as it is and the only reason to

tack them in a couple places is to keep the cover from creeping up or worst case falling off somehow.

 

Epoxy glue could be used in place of solder and the shielding of the metal cover should still be intact.

 

The traditional way is to tack solder them on the long sides in the middle. As long as you have prepared

the area properly (dewaxed) and use a soldering iron with a proper size tip and the right type of solder,

it should be ok too.

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Thanks for the helpful replies. The only thing I did to any wires was gently pull the black wire out a little to allow me a little better access to the bridge pickup. By the way, there was only one wire going to each pickup. Is that normal?

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It sounds to me like the solder connect may have slopped into the pup.. it could be dead.. it could be shorted somehow and not dead..

does the pup work when you touch the cover.. or does the noise just stop?

 

first be sure to check all wiring.. it could be somewhere else.. and you don't need to mess with the cover again.. be sure the wire run doesn't

snake into something and make connection.. be sure the pots and switches haven't had something pulled loose.. or tiny wires have broken free and reached out to touch something else..

take your time and worry about the cover connect dead last..

 

you've got a short.. somewhere. let's hope the solder didn't leak into the pickup coils.. that would pretty much kill it.. I'm sure you know the pup windings are coated.. otherwise they'd short together in the first place.. and your heating up of that area with solder could have

caused the coating to melt.. enough heat applied and you can even break a winding.

 

but take some heart here. it's possible to carefully unwind enough wire to get past the damage.. but that aint easy.. so.. let's hope it's not that.

there are thousands of turns on the pup windings. a few less isn't going to hurt it.

 

but I'd look at everything else.. then I'd pull that pup and take that cover off..

you should be able to see...

 

it could be as simple as having broken a pup lead.. or shorted the pup lead where they mount on the pup.. so.. taking the cover off may not lead to broken or shorted coils' date=' but just some simple to repair mishap.

 

[/quote']

 

Twang, shouldn't he be able to check continuity of the pickup with a multimeter? Why don't you walk him through that. That should show him if there is a short in the pickup itself, wouldn't it?

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The last time I switched out pickups... I had the same issue with one of the pickups not responding... It turned out to be a simple fix... My shielded wire was touching on the pickup switch... So sometimes when you start moving things around you can get a wire "out of place"...

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Thanks for the helpful replies. The only thing I did to any wires was gently pull the black wire out a little to allow me a little better access to the bridge pickup. By the way' date=' there was only one wire going to each pickup. Is that normal?[/quote']

 

So you pulled on the pickup wire to allow the pickup to come out more..that would put

a strain on the pickup lead going to the volume pot and maybe cause some connection(s)

to touch or even bend the volume pot taps so that one of the taps is touching the

case, ..or the signal wire from the p_up to the volume tap is broken at the bridge volume

tap . It might be possible, depending on how the wires were bundled that the wire

to the 3-way may be touching ground (shorted out) or broken at the three way.

 

If this is a LP, there should be an access cover to the 3-way, that you can probe with

a multimeter. Connect one end to the tip of a guitar chord plugged in, and the other

to the outer contacts of the 3 way to see if you have continuity (0 ohms), then switch

to bridge position (with all pots fully open) and see if you can get a reading from

the bridge volume (middle tap I believe) to the output jack..this will at least establish that

the bridge p_up signal path is intact from the volume pot to the output jack.

 

Trouble shooting the signal wire from the bridge volume to the P_up is not as easy

because you need to get access to the inside wires (usually a signal and a shield)

and touch the ohmeter there. Tapping the P_up is the easiest way..if you can

hear it tapping it, then the wire from the p_up to the volume is probably ok.

 

Can you hear it by tapping the p_up with a screwdriver tip?

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Thanks for the all the replies. I came home this evening from work and tried it out again and the humming, electrical, crackly sound actually happens when I touch the pickup. When I'm not touching it it hums a little only.

 

I'm going to check the wires in the pots to see if I've done something there. I guess I just take off the back plate? By the way, when I select the bridge pickup, touch the pickup with my finger, and adjust the tone and volume pots they seem to be working as they each substantially effect the sound as I manipulate them.

 

Anyway, thanks again for your assistance.

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Great news! Took the back plate off to check the solder points to the bridge pup volume and tone pots. A wire had wrestled itself loose on the volume pot (must've happened when I pulled the pickup out and pulled the wire out to get some room to work with) and when I tested it by touching it to the potentiometer (spelling?), it came to life. Resoldered it and everything works like a charm now.

 

Thanks again to everyone for their assistance. By the way, the covers seem to really "tame" the edgy attack of the open humbuckers. The covers plus the new Gibson Brite Wires really make the guitar sound good. Now I need to go practice so I can make it sound like it's supposed to.

 

Thanks again.

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Yeah, it was a factory solder. It did seem to come off pretty easy given how gently I pulled on the wire connected to the pup when trying to get a little room to work. Anyway, it's now fixed. Here are some before/after pics.

 

guitarDSCF1114.jpg

 

DSCF1023.jpg

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Ricochet, I agree. I actually have another cable but that happened to be the one I had attached to the amp at the time of the pic. Thanks for the compliment copper and stan. I couldn't be happier with the results of the changes, and I'm very excited the electronics seem to be fixed. Now, back to practicing.

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