Kent Armstrong pickups wiring issue

GLosch

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Hi all, I just wired up the electronics for a new build and was met with loud buzzing and no pickup signal coming through the amp. I've quadruple checked all the connections against this diagram (the 2 pickup, master vol/master tone) https://www.stewmac.com/video-and-i...s-and-wiring/switchcraft-3-way-toggle-switch/ but no luck.

The pickups are a Kent Armstrong-designed set that were originally made for the First Act Custom Shop. When they shut down, a friend of mine bought a lot of their remaining parts, including some of these pickups. I think this set is called Lola. Pots are 500K Bourns audio taper.

The only thing I'm still suspicious of is the pickup selector. I bought a 3-way Switchcraft toggle from Antique Electronic Supply and I noticed that it has three terminals for the output signal instead of the typical 2: https://www.tubesandmore.com/products/switch-switchcraft-pickup-selector-toggle-3-way-right-angle
Looking at the diagram they provide, I'm not sure what to trust between this and the Stew Mac diagram: https://www.tubesandmore.com/sites/...d_files/w-sc-w14_connections_black_resize.png

At the moment, I have all 3 output terminals jumpered together and going to the left lug of the volume pot. Photos attached.

Any help would be appreciated. Nothing like spending months building a guitar from scratch, only to be met with no signal when you finally plug it in. :(
 

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nathan5782

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It looks like the shield going to the middle lug might be touching the selector on the left. I circled the area from your second picture. I haven't seen that particular switch before. I have worked on an Explorer and SG they don't have the two rows of lugs but that should still work.
 

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GLosch

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Hey, thanks for the quick reply, @nathan5782! I just trimmed the shielding on both leads to make sure there's no contact. Didn't change the effect unfortunately. When I plug it in, there's tons of noise, even with the amp volume all the way off and the guitar volume all the way off.
 

nathan5782

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Hey, thanks for the quick reply, @nathan5782! I just trimmed the shielding on both leads to make sure there's no contact. Didn't change the effect unfortunately. When I plug it in, there's tons of noise, even with the amp volume all the way off and the guitar volume all the way off.
I can't really see much else from that view, you could disconnect the hot from each pickup one at a time and see if the noise changes but it sound like the hot is touching ground from one of the pickups. I would probably remove the bare shied from the switch because it's already grounded to the pot.
 

GLosch

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Would that cause this kind of signal noise though? I'd think if the hot signal were grounded out somewhere, that it would be [relatively] quiet, but not produce any signal.
 

nathan5782

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Would that cause this kind of signal noise though? I'd think if the hot signal were grounded out somewhere, that it would be [relatively] quiet, but not produce any signal.
It can get loud, I'm trying to look at the wires but when the green from the input of the pot goes to the selector switch is where I'm having a hard time viewing. To confirm the pickup wires it looks like they have a metal shield and there is a black and white wire inside of that. Some pickups mfg will combine the shield and grounds so you only see one internal wire.
 

GLosch

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Ok, some good news: The noise was mostly caused by a missing ground between the two pots. Once I added that, the noise dropped substantially. It's still buzzy, but they're single coils and I haven't shielded the cavity yet, so not terribly surprising.

The pickup toggle switch is still not behaving as I want though. I may have to go find a standard 3-way to replace it. I had a single lead coming out of the three output terminals (jumpered together), going to the volume pot. I removed that, and tried combinations of two terminals instead, leaving one terminal empty. First attempt left me with: neck/neck/kill switch. Second attempt is neck in all positions. I guess this switch is meant for 3-pickup guitars like a Black Beauty or 61 Les Paul Custom.
 

nathan5782

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I put a close up picture of the toggle switch from the tubesandmore page, I put an X over the part that is not needed. You should be able to use the lugs where I marked A and B for each pickup, the other set would be linked together going to the volume pot and the large middle to ground. Hope this helps.
 

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moosie

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It's a good idea to use your meter to figure out how any unfamiliar switch works. Before wiring it up. This way you can ignore all the conflicting pseudo-information...

You do have a meter, right? Else how will you troubleshoot when things don't work the very first time? ;)
 

moosie

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Thanks for the photo, @nathan5782. I just tried that setup again. That gave me: neck/nothing/nothing

I do have a multimeter, @moosie . Although I just realized last night that it doesn't test continuity. So I'll be upgrading. :)
But the meter measures resistance, yes? Ohms? Essentially the continuity test is just very low resistance. If you touch the probe to the two points you want to confirm, and you see 0 ohms, or very close to that, then it's continuous.
 

GLosch

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I just spoke with customer support at Tubes and More to see if I'm missing something with that toggle switch. They couldn't say for sure whether it would work here, but agreed that it's not the correct one for my purposes. So I ordered the typical 2-terminal version to replace it.

Thanks for your help, everyone!
 




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