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Old January 21st, 2012, 08:51 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Nocaster neck pickup low volume

Hi. I just installed set of Custom shop Nocaster pickups in my Tele. I have noticed that the neck pickup volume is like 2/3 of bridge pickup. I searched forums and found only one thread in which users described similar thing.
In order to get the same volume I will have to lower the bridge pickup down to the body and raise neck to the maximum.
Do you have the same experience, or is there something wrong with my neck pickup?
Thanks

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Old January 21st, 2012, 09:14 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Did you double-check your soldering?
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Old January 21st, 2012, 09:53 PM   #3 (permalink)
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+1 one the solder/wiring


and take a resistance reading, it should be about 7.2-7.3 KΩ
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Old January 22nd, 2012, 06:44 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Thanks, I will check and get back
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Old January 22nd, 2012, 07:44 AM   #5 (permalink)
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The neck pickup /should/ be more powerful then the bridge pickup because string excursion is greatest there.

They may have different DC resistance. It is normal for the bridge pickup to be wound hotter than the neck pickup but this is primarily to compensate for its less efficient position.

To check DC resistance, connect meter at the jack plug with knobs at 10 and go through the selector switch - should approximate the values given for your pickups. (between 4k and 9k depending on model)
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Old January 22nd, 2012, 09:17 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Hi. I solved this. Thanks for your help
I measured DC resistance of neck pickup to 7.13 k. On package it says 7.3 so I guess it is OK. Neck pickup's ground wire broke when I put control plate back to its place so I re-soldered it. This pickup is still weaker than bridge pup, but difference is not that big.
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Old January 22nd, 2012, 10:00 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Ok but the neck pickup should not work at all if its ground was off, unless it is a "3-wire" job.

Was the wire off at the control plate or the pickup?
Use extreme care when soldering at the pickup because those coil wires are a complete pita, they're finer than a hair and break when you so much as look at them, plus they're a bugger to solder through their lacquer insulation.

The neck pickup should still not be less output than the bridge. Have you raised it as high as possible?
An 7.3k is pretty "hot" wind so I'd expect high output [regular tele neck pickup~5k, bridge pickup ~7k]

Do check solder work at selector switch and vol pot. A high-resistance connection or a resistive short/cross connection. Check for solder wetting and stray whiskers. Last resort check wires under the neck pickup.

It is possible to receive a new pickup with a dead alnico pole magnet, I've had one. Low output and very muted on one string. Very unusual. Check magnets with a needle on a thread, pull should be equal, no preference but all present.
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Old January 22nd, 2012, 12:13 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Hi. It was at the control plate. To be exact, neck pickup's ground wire was loosely connected with surface of volume pot. I suppose that was the problem. When I re-soldered it volume increased.
If I raise neck really high, and lower bridge pickup I get the same volume, but both pickups are out of their sweet spots. This is just my impression.
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Old January 22nd, 2012, 01:41 PM   #9 (permalink)
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P/up can work thru inductive coupling (usually w messed up sound) even w just the hot connected.Check out the "Nancy" thread.
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Old January 22nd, 2012, 03:03 PM   #10 (permalink)
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P/up can work thru inductive coupling (usually w messed up sound) even w just the hot connected.Check out the "Nancy" thread.
That one I believe is a break within the pickup coil, and yes that can work, because the remains of the coil past the break runs alongside and around the first part many times.

But if you take the hot or cold wire off, even Nancy would go as dead as a nob.

Electricity can do strange things but it takes 10,000 Volts to jump 1cm in dry air.
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Old January 22nd, 2012, 03:13 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Hi. It was at the control plate. To be exact, neck pickup's ground wire was loosely connected with surface of volume pot. I suppose that was the problem. When I re-soldered it volume increased.
If I raise neck really high, and lower bridge pickup I get the same volume, but both pickups are out of their sweet spots. This is just my impression.
Ok, don't cook the vol pot any more, it is working for the bridge pickup so it is ok.

No, the bridge pickup should be raised to its sweet spot.
The neck pickup generally has to be lowered to prevent it over-powering the bridge pickup. I still do not understand why this one is weak.

Do check the neck pickup hot connection at the selector switch. It is easy to get a bit of stray solder or flux messing things up there. Even a partially open contact can do this. The "jaws" of the switch contacts can get sprung open, especially if the meet an obstruction like a stray wire, this would mean a high-resistance contact and there's your lost noise.
You do understand I am flying kites here? - throwing ideas up in the off chance one will take.

Have you done any soldering to the bottom of the neck pickup?
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Old January 22nd, 2012, 03:27 PM   #12 (permalink)
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That one I believe is a break within the pickup coil, and yes that can work, because the remains of the coil past the break runs alongside and around the first part many times.

But if you take the hot or cold wire off, even Nancy would go as dead as a nob.

Electricity can do strange things but it takes 10,000 Volts to jump 1cm in dry air.
I don't know as to why, but I have had a p/up atatched to just a hot give a signal.At the time the circuit gain was emmence so that might have been why you haven't had that happen..Theres a Buzzby Berkly film where the dancers are holding glowing Neon tubes that have no electrical connections and are just reacting to a field.
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Old January 23rd, 2012, 08:27 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Ok, don't cook the vol pot any more, it is working for the bridge pickup so it is ok.

No, the bridge pickup should be raised to its sweet spot.
The neck pickup generally has to be lowered to prevent it over-powering the bridge pickup. I still do not understand why this one is weak.

Do check the neck pickup hot connection at the selector switch. It is easy to get a bit of stray solder or flux messing things up there. Even a partially open contact can do this. The "jaws" of the switch contacts can get sprung open, especially if the meet an obstruction like a stray wire, this would mean a high-resistance contact and there's your lost noise.
You do understand I am flying kites here? - throwing ideas up in the off chance one will take.

Have you done any soldering to the bottom of the neck pickup?
Thanks. I think I understand you :) I need to buy new wire, and to resolder it again. I'll get back when I do that
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Old January 28th, 2012, 09:50 PM   #14 (permalink)
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I don't know as to why, but I have had a p/up atatched to just a hot give a signal.At the time the circuit gain was emmence so that might have been why you haven't had that happen..Theres a Buzzby Berkly film where the dancers are holding glowing Neon tubes that have no electrical connections and are just reacting to a field.
I have done the trick with the fluorescent tube myself. All you have to do is excite the gas enough that it gives off light. It doesn't come up full bright but with a faint UV type glow, you need to darken the room/stage. Your hand can move the light up and down the tube. Not neon, that requires a discharge to strike before it gets going.

A pickup only generates millivolts and practically no current. Open circuit means no current flows, so I expect you had an earth return somewhere. Was the body shielded or had it a candy coat?
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Old January 28th, 2012, 09:53 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Thanks. I think I understand you :) I need to buy new wire, and to resolder it again. I'll get back when I do that
I use the smallest wire you can get for use on cars - various colours, good quality and cheap.
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Old January 30th, 2012, 09:35 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Funny thing, this. I first started playing Tele in 1980, and for years considered the stock neck pickups to be uselessly weak and microphonic. I would replace them with horrible beasts like Duncan Quarter Pounders to try and compete with that raging bridge pickup.

Well, some are weak. My 52RI came with an utterly wimpy neck PUP that I gave away without regret. But moreover they have a radically different tone than the bridge because they are a very different design - unlike a Strat, where the stock pickups are identical.

My approach is backwards from Jefrs - I raise the neck PUP until it sounds sufficiently aggressive (fairly close, actually) because I like it to "pop" like a Strat. I then adjust the bridge PUP to match, which almost always means lowering it considerably compared to the neck PUP.

The results are great, the whole machine works.
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Old February 3rd, 2012, 08:09 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Funny thing, this. I first started playing Tele in 1980, and for years considered the stock neck pickups to be uselessly weak and microphonic. I would replace them with horrible beasts like Duncan Quarter Pounders to try and compete with that raging bridge pickup.

Well, some are weak. My 52RI came with an utterly wimpy neck PUP that I gave away without regret. But moreover they have a radically different tone than the bridge because they are a very different design - unlike a Strat, where the stock pickups are identical.

My approach is backwards from Jefrs - I raise the neck PUP until it sounds sufficiently aggressive (fairly close, actually) because I like it to "pop" like a Strat. I then adjust the bridge PUP to match, which almost always means lowering it considerably compared to the neck PUP.

The results are great, the whole machine works.
As one gets older one learns that if you give the same job to three different people, they will do it in at least four different ways. And they produce the exact same result.

The reason I raise the bridge pickup first is because I like to get it as close as possible to the strings. This is not too close because I have a "clumsy" palm-mute. The neck pickup is actually the more powerful because string excursion is greater there, and because I want a coolish smooth sound from it but equalling output from the bridge unit. Because the bridge pickup is at max, the output from the neck unit is high, but it can be raised more, which can over-power the bridge. I do not have a problem with that if it is what the job requires.
It is a juggling act - bridge then neck then bridge then neck then bridge ...

If you get, particularly the bridge pickup, too close to the strings, you can get icepick. Imo this nasty noise is caused by magnetic saturation (not to be confused with "too much treble", which is another tele bridge pickup adjustment/load problem). The pickup works by the string interrupting, or distorting, the magnetic field of the pole, which induces a current in the coil. It gets to a point where it cannot cause any more distortion and so the coil cannot generate any more current but produces some nasty sounding over-tone harmonic screeching instead. Fortunately my palm-mute habit of bashing the strings into the pickup prevents me raising the pickup that high.

There are no rules which order to do the pickupses, only your ears. But adjusting them certainly does alter their sound.
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Old February 3rd, 2012, 09:30 PM   #18 (permalink)
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I put Radio Shack rare earth magnets under the poles of a Gibson coil from a Hb.Gnarly harsh sound even far from the strings. I think you are right about the magnetic saturation.Its not just treble, you get harsh upper harmonics that are either reenforced or created.
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Old February 4th, 2012, 08:48 PM   #19 (permalink)
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I put Radio Shack rare earth magnets under the poles of a Gibson coil from a Hb.Gnarly harsh sound even far from the strings. I think you are right about the magnetic saturation.Its not just treble, you get harsh upper harmonics that are either reenforced or created.
That is another form of field saturation where you simply have too much magnet.
There are two factors - magnetic field strength and magnetic flux density.

It is a fluctuation in the field that causes induction of electricity in the coil. It is where the induction reaches a maximum that I was referring to as saturation. You can create a similar effect by having a too powerful magnet, as in your experiment.

Pickups do not require a very powerful magnet (field strength) but the best dynamic response (touch sensitivity) will be had by a high field density.
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Old February 28th, 2012, 02:33 AM   #20 (permalink)
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I too am having issues with the neck pickup sounding weak and the bridge overpowering on my MIJ 69 RI. It's funny because I had the exact opposite issue with my MIM Strat. On the strat, I couldn't get a bridge pickup with enough balls to even out the neck and mid pickups.

On the tele, the neck seems dull and lifeless, no treble at all and the high E sounds muted. I ran a TBX in place of the tone, since I had an extra, and followed the enclosed schematic. I'll go back and check the pickup grounds just in case. I did not run a ground to the control plate but I did run a ground to the 3way switch which seemed like it should accomplish the same task. Any ideas other than solder connections?
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