Bridge pickup sounds same as middle switch position

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by Valhalla, Sep 23, 2020.

  1. Valhalla

    Valhalla TDPRI Member

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    Hello everyone, been lurking here for a couple years and learned a lot, now I have a question about strange behavior on the 3 way pickup selector switch on my '78 Tele.
    I had my tech install a SD Little 59 pickup in the bridge position, but when I got it back, there seems to be little to no change in sound between the bridge and middle positions. There is a Vintage Tele Rhythm in the neck position. Sounds fine in the neck position.
    I had expected the bridge pickup to sound somewhat stronger and brighter, but on that position it sounds about the same as the middle position, which sounds about as I'd expect from the middle, a little brighter than neck position but not much.
    I'm wondering if the tech wired it correctly and if this is a common problem with matching these two pickups.
    I'll try to get a pic of the insides uploaded.
    Any ideas? Much thanks!
     
  2. Gardo

    Gardo Tele-Afflicted

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    Welcome .I’m sure there are some people here that can help sort out the switch issue if you post pics
     
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  3. Valhalla

    Valhalla TDPRI Member

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    Thanks for the welcome fellow PA denizen Gardo.
    Here are a few pics, such as they are. I hope this helps.
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  4. Digital Larry

    Digital Larry Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    I just set up a guitar and the neck pickup was way softer than the bridge. End result being that the middle position sounded way more like the bridge. Not exactly though. I'd suggest lowering the bridge poop and raising the neck poop if possible.

    The other possibility is that the wiring is not correct. If you have an ohm meter, turn the volume all the way up, plug a cable into the jack, and measure DC resistance on the other end of the cable. When the switch is in the middle, if everything is connected correctly, the resistance value should be less than neck or bridge on their own.
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2020
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  5. Valhalla

    Valhalla TDPRI Member

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    Here's another
    [​IMG]
    Thanks for the advice Larry. I do have a Mastech multimeter, but this stuff is a little over my head. I don't know how to measure the resistance, but I'm open to learning. Thanks!
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2020
  6. EsquireBoy

    EsquireBoy Tele-Afflicted

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    It’s very hard to tell from the pics if the wiring is correct.
    But as @Digital Larry said, it’s very possible that the bridge PU is stronger than the neck PU and that it hides the latter in the middle position.
    Start by lowering the bridge PU as much as possible with the switch in the middle position and hear if it changes the tone.

    PS: To be sure if each pickup is connected ok, you can tap on them with a pick with the switch in every position.
     
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  7. Digital Larry

    Digital Larry Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    Assuming this is your multimeter, set the knob to "ohms" which is the greek letter omega, looks like a horse shoe somewhat. Resistance measurements are usually called "ohms" or the "omega" letter or DCR (DC resistance).

    https://www.walmart.com/ip/Mastech-...-Card-3-By-Pocket-Slim-digits-AC-DC/606371521

    On that setting, if you touch the leads together you should get something that says 0.00 or 000. Maybe 1.00 or 001. A very small number in any case.

    When the leads are NOT touching, you might see 1___ where the "1" is on the left. This is an indication of "too high to measure" rather than "1" ohm. Now when you touch one of the leads to the shank of the jack and the other one to the tip, you should get a reading that is, generally speaking, between 5k and 15k. k means "thousands".

    So go and take those 3 measurements with the volume all the way UP, tone doesn't matter most likely, and check the values in each switch position. What are they?
     
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  8. Valhalla

    Valhalla TDPRI Member

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    Okay, I'm out of my depth here. My multimeter is a Mastech MS8268, the older big green one.
    So I plug a TS cable into the guitar. Ohms setting on the meter, check.
    Where do I touch the black and red leads to, the tip of the plug on the other end of the cable? I tried that and the numbers are all over the place. Maybe the range setting on the meter is wrong.
    Edit okay, shank is sleeve correct?
    Larry, I tapped on the pickups and they both work. I raised the bridge pickup and it's louder (duh) but sounds the same in bridge or middle position.
    Maybe these pickups aren't a good match. The sounds coming from all positions is totally great though. Just weird how it's not much difference between middle and bridge. I'm starting to think this is just the way it's gonna be.
    I think I'm on the right track here, but assume I'm an idiot--you won't be far off!
    I appreciate the guidance.
     
  9. Valhalla

    Valhalla TDPRI Member

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    With the black lead on the sleeve and the red lead on the tip, on the bridge pickup with the volume all the way up it reads 8.56.
     
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  10. Digital Larry

    Digital Larry Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    Keep going, get the other two switch positions.
     
  11. El Marin

    El Marin Tele-Afflicted

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    Have you tried rising the neck pickup or deepening the bridge pickup?

    You must play with the pickups level until you find the sound YOU like the most
     
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  12. T Prior

    T Prior Poster Extraordinaire

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    why not just bring it back to whoever wired it and have THEM test it and check it ?
     
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  13. Gaz_

    Gaz_ Tele-Meister

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    Yeah I'm with everyone on height of the pickup. I've had this problem. Especially if you've put a slightly hotter bridge pickup in and not changed the neck. If you can, rope someone in the pluck a string and rock the switch back and forth while you adjust the heights. That way you can get a little of both in the mix.
     
  14. EsquireBoy

    EsquireBoy Tele-Afflicted

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    If you hear both pickups when tapping onto them when in the middle position, then they’re both on, no multimeter needed.
    My guess is your bridge PU is hot and have lots of mids, so it overpowers the neck PU and fills most of the sonic frequency space.
    I remember there was a thread many months ago about choosing the pickups accordingly to how they’ll sound together while both are on. You’ve experienced it the hard way... but if you’re happy with the tones you get, then no worries.
     
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  15. blue metalflake

    blue metalflake Doctor of Teleocity

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    Start by making sure the wiring is OK then do the p/u balancing act. There’s no set answer for this - it’s all in the ears and what you’re after sound wise.
     
  16. radiocaster

    radiocaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    Did you use something metal? If you used a plastic pick it's pointless, as both pickups will pick up the mechanical noise without any obvious difference.
     
  17. Valhalla

    Valhalla TDPRI Member

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    I tapped both pickups with the blunt end of a truss rod wrench. They are both on and the bridge pu is louder.
    Yes I agree this is exactly the situation. So now I have a 3 way switch that provides just two sounds. I thought the Vintage Rhythm and the Little 59 would be a good match but I was wrong.
    Frustrating because honestly, I was preparing this guitar for sale in order to fund my dream Warmoth HH Tele build. My 78 has a maple neck whereas I prefer rosewood, and the 7.25 radius just doesn't work for me. I will price it to move quickly.
    Thanks everyone for all the great suggestions and guidance.
     
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  18. Boreas

    Boreas Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    I don't like the look of the solder joints on the switch. One joint looks like it could be contacting two terminals.

    I am confused - when you have the switch in the bridge position, is ONLY the bridge pickup working, or are both working?? Only the bridge should be working. Sorry if I misunderstood something.
     
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  19. sluglas

    sluglas Tele-Meister

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    Lower the bridge pickup
    ,You can also lower the pole pieces on the bridge pup
     
  20. EsquireBoy

    EsquireBoy Tele-Afflicted

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    Tinkering and switching parts is fun but it can also be very frustrating sometimes. Good news is lots of people do not care much for the middle position, and you should be able to improve things by adjusting the height of both pickups.
    Good luck with the sale!
     
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