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First build, and my pickups sound thin. Help!

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by TheStine, Nov 13, 2020.

  1. TheStine

    TheStine TDPRI Member

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    Workin' on my first Partscaster, and I have a problem that's probably impossible to diagnose over the Internet, but...here we are! :lol:

    Short version: The pickups I popped into this build sound thin and anemic, with no bass or low midrange. The mysterious part is that this bridge pickup was previously in a different guitar, where it sounded like a proper Tele bridge pickup — spanky and twangy for sure, but with its fair share of low-end growl. I pulled it out of that guitar and put it into my new build and suddenly it sounds like crap!

    My question: Is there a chance that I've messed up my wiring in such a way that both pickups would suddenly sound thin and weak? Anything else I should be checking out to troubleshoot this problem?

    Here are the details on what I've installed:

    • - Mojotone Quiet Coil Broadcaster Bridge Pickup
    • - Fralin Noiseless P90 with alnico rods (neck)
    • - 500k pots (Both pickup manufacturers say these pickups do well with 500k pots)
    • - Specifically, I'm using the Mojotone Solderless Telecaster Wiring Harness with 500k pots, because it's my first build, and I thought I might save myself some soldering headaches.
    • - Pickup height looks healthy and normal all around — comparable to the measurements in my Fender Road Worn, which sounds and plays like a dream compared to this new build. :(

    Any random diagnostic thoughts would be hugely appreciated!
     
  2. SixStringSlinger

    SixStringSlinger Friend of Leo's

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    I recently re-wired a Jazzmaster where one pickup sounded anemic not only tonally, but in terms of volume. Turned out the ground wire wasn't properly soldered to where I'd stuck it.

    Is your problem on a single pickup or only when pickups are combined?
     
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  3. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    How close to the strings did you raise the pickups?
    The bridge pickup needs to be very close to the high E and a little further from the low E.
    Then set the neck pickup to heights that volume balance with the bridge.
    The bridge pickup is always a little weaker because the string movement is smaller there, so it needs to be higher than the neck pickup where the strings move further and generate more power.
     
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  4. TheStine

    TheStine TDPRI Member

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    Weirdly for me all three positions sound anemic, both tonally and in terms of volume. The bridge, neck, and middle position all seem to be suffering from the same lack of low end, and they’re all comparatively low output right now.

    I have been wondering if I’ve got a ground problem. The Mojotone Solderless harness is a dream to install and I’ve had success with them on another guitar. But there’s a lot of ambiguity when it comes to grounding with these solderless systems...

    It’s helpful to hear that you solved a similar problem by addressing a grounding issue. I’ll open up the control plate tomorrow and see if I’ve got a ground wire that seems out of place. Thanks!
     
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  5. USian Pie

    USian Pie Tele-Meister

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    Ditto to double-checking wiring. The same pickups in another guitar should not sound dramatically different.

    Ensure you have solid connections everywhere, especially to the output jack. As far as grounding, I believe Teles get a ground wire in contact with the bridge plate, correct? (It's been a while since I built mine).
     
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  6. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I'd guess that somehow your pickups have an out of phase or series / parallel wiring problem.
     
  7. Ghostdriver

    Ghostdriver Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    Sounds like a grounding issue, as others said check all wiring and ground wires, even having wires crunched and touching in the control space can cause problems like this, just separate carefully the wires, make sure all connections are good and go from there.
    It is possible that as ‘guitarbuilder’ said, the pickups have a series parallel wiring problem, check the switch!
     
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  8. tewiq

    tewiq Tele-Meister

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    worth noting, the wires on the output jack ,make sure they are not reversed.
     
  9. crazydave911

    crazydave911 Doctor of Teleocity

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    Yeh one reason the out of phase bullcrap never appealed to me and two switch positions my L6 will NOT get ;)
     
  10. Scotty2Hottie

    Scotty2Hottie TDPRI Member Silver Supporter

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    have you played it through a different amp? Tweak the controls on amp play through now?
     
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  11. schmee

    schmee Doctor of Teleocity

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    make sure that a wire isnt partially grounding on something with the control plate down tight. maybe loosen the plate , pull it out a bit and see if it sounds different.
     
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  12. howardlo

    howardlo Tele-Holic

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    My first guess would be that one of the pickups have the wiring reversed. The Fender ‘62 Jazzmaster pickups that I put in my Jazzmaster had that problem. Evidently the white and black were reversed at the factory. Switched the wiring on one pickup and problem solved.
     
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  13. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Telefied Ad Free Member

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    This is why one needs a Fender and a Gibson. These days with the low price of guitars, it's a no brainer.
     
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  14. crazydave911

    crazydave911 Doctor of Teleocity

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    Well as the ONLY Gibson I've ever owned an my financial situation, a brainer lmao
     
  15. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Telefied Ad Free Member

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    However given your skills, you could whip a clone up in no time and have the Gibson tone....
     
  16. crazydave911

    crazydave911 Doctor of Teleocity

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    Hmmm :rolleyes:
     
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