My neck pickup isn't working!

Discussion in 'Just Pickups' started by Strowbri86, Sep 11, 2019.

  1. Strowbri86

    Strowbri86 Tele-Meister

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    I am installing a pair of 52 Pure Vintage pups in my tele build. I am using a 920D Custom standard 3 way harness. The bridge pickup works as expected, but the neck pickup only makes a low humming noise, no actual sound. I can't see what I might have screwed up. I soldered the pup to the blade switch and the ground to the pot where the other grounds are. So is there something I am overlooking or is this pup just non-operstional?

    Thanks!!
     

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  2. DougM

    DougM Friend of Leo's

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    Your solder on the grounds on the back of that pot don't look very good. The solder should flow onto the metal on the pot, not just be a clump sitting on top of the pot. Those solder joints look suspect and could be your problem. It looks like they weren't hot enough for the solder to make a good connection, where it flows onto the metal on the back of the pot. wgt4j2no1xzhixkp4op9.jpg
     
  3. Strowbri86

    Strowbri86 Tele-Meister

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    They are definitely not great. To be honest, after many many many soldering jobs I don't even get how people get then that clean. It could be that I don't have a great iron. I don't know. But the bridge pickups works great and it is at the same spot. Would that cause the other pickup to just plain not work? I mean I believe you, but what I didn't mention is I used another harness before this and had the same problem. Bridge worked, neck pup didn't. So I'm not sure. Thank you for your feedback!!
     
  4. DougM

    DougM Friend of Leo's

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    You need to hold the tip of the iron on the pot until it heats up, and then flow the solder onto it. If you hold the tip of the iron on the wire, but it's not touching the metal on the pot, it'll never get hot enough. Do you have a multimeter? Check the neck pickup with it, if you have one. I don't know which neck pickup you have, but it should measure somewhere in the 6-8kohm range.
     
  5. Wallaby

    Wallaby Tele-Meister

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    I think I would test the neck pickup alone and make sure it's okay.

    Someone correct me or offer a better method - you should be able to temporarily tape the hot and ground lead to a guitar cable and LIGHTLY tap the pickup cover with something like a jeweler's screwdriver to hear it through the amp. Something with steel or iron in it.

    If it "taps" okay ( you can hear it amplified ) then I'd look at your connection to the switch and make sure that's okay.

    Since the bridge pickup works as expected I'm not sure I'd worry at this point about the solder connections to the back of the pots, although IMO the solder should be more thin and spread out on the pot rather than droplet-like. Flux helps with this, and a big tip that's had enough time to get hot.

    EDIT - I neglected to mention - the hot lead should touch the tip of the guitar cable, and the negative lead should touch the barrel, during the test.
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2019
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  6. Wallaby

    Wallaby Tele-Meister

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    Also, did the neck pickup work previously?
     
  7. dan40

    dan40 Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    Try reflowing the ground joints again. Before heating the pot, melt plenty of fresh solder onto the tip of the iron. You want a small blob of solder hanging from the tip of the iron before you touch it to the pot. This will allow the iron's heat to quickly transfer into the joint. Trying to heat the joint with a dry tip will take way too long and you risk damaging the pot. A little dab of liquid or paste solder will also help to ensure a better finished joint.
     
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  8. Strowbri86

    Strowbri86 Tele-Meister

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    I couldn't tell you. They are going into this build fresh. ‍
     
  9. Wallaby

    Wallaby Tele-Meister

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    I don't know what to make of your description of "hum"...
     
  10. Strowbri86

    Strowbri86 Tele-Meister

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    The typical electronic hum. Like when you are playing almost any tele on a single pickup and turn the amp up loud and there is a pickup hum... kind if like when touching an input cable to your hand but not as loud...
     
  11. Wallaby

    Wallaby Tele-Meister

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    Just picking nits with this - I don't think you need a ground strap between the pots like you do on a Strat. Everything is grounded together through the control plate.
     
  12. Strowbri86

    Strowbri86 Tele-Meister

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    I redid the grounding for both of the pickups. Moved them over to another spot on the pot with a much flatter, cleaner solder. Still the same. Bridge works great and nothing from the neck accept a humming noise.
     
  13. Strowbri86

    Strowbri86 Tele-Meister

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    Since I've tried it on two harnesses and now have regrounded the pups with the same results, I'm going to assume I need to order another neck pickup unless anyone else has a great idea. :/
     
  14. Strato50

    Strato50 Tele-Afflicted

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    If you have a meter test the neck pup first. If it’s not open then go from there. Has to be a bad solder joint.
     
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  15. Strowbri86

    Strowbri86 Tele-Meister

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    I do not
     
  16. Wallaby

    Wallaby Tele-Meister

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    You could wire the switch backwards to see if the bridge and neck positions on the switch are both working.
     
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  17. Strowbri86

    Strowbri86 Tele-Meister

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    That is a very good idea. However it did the same thing on the previous harness. Two bad switch spots on the same spot for two different harnesses in a row? It's unlikely. But I'll probably try it just to see.
    Might even try switching the wires (white for ground and black for hot) just to see if somehow they put the wrong sleeves on? Again doubtful but I guess it couldn't hurt
     
  18. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    Disconnect the pickups leads.. then "hot wire" them directly to the cable to the amp... turn the amp on and see if the pickup works... now you know if it's the pickup, or the wiring...

    If it's the pickup... take your solder tool and remelt the contact points on the pickup where the leads are soldered.. add a little fresh solder, when ya do, leave the solder tool in contact for about 5 seconds... Now, try it again.... if its still dead... get a new pickup...

    Oh. get rid of the dinky 20 watt solder tool. the bare minimum should be a 40 watter, and that's iffy...

    and the way to solder to a pot.... you tin the wire.... touch the wire to the pot and pinch it in place with the tip of the solder tool... apply solder .. it will flow in and around.. leave the tool there until the solder forms a puddle on the pot.... hold the wire in place with something wood... like a toothpick or popsicle stick, something similar.. remove the heat.... wait until the solder hardens...

    Tthe area of the case where you're soldering HAS to get hot enough to melt the solder too... Oh also make certain the solder tool's tip is clean and tinned... if it's cruddy, you get a cruddy contact.

    OH. someone is gonna tell ya to sand scrape or otherwise remove the plating on the pot... NO...don't do it... that is wrong.... the makers of the better pots know the tech will be using it as a ground point, so the case is plated with a coating that has a particular affinity for solder.... scrapping or sanding defeats that feature, making soldering MORE difficult..

    I don't care if Nicola Tesla and Guglielmo Marconi materialize over your bed in the middle of the night murmuring "Scrape the pot". Don't do it... those guys lived a hundred years ago... things were different then... they were a lot older...:p

    and if ya still have a hard time soldering. you-tube it.. there's gotta be videos demonstrating the simple techniques used to achieve a secure sound solder point..

    here.. I did it for ya.. this is a guy soldering a lead to a large switch. same issues.. the large solder tag sucks heat away... requiring longer solder tool time... you will note how the solder first flows into the wire.. and he keeps the tool in contact, adding more solder until the solder tab on the switch gets hot enough for the solder to flow onto it... that's how it's done... https://www.bing.com/videos/search?...C4B9EEE33AD01F2FDCFCC4B9EEE33AD0&&FORM=VRDGAR


    Day.. I just did a search. its amazing how they wanna overcomplicate the process.... here's a pretty good one from RS guitar works.. they're soldering a braid to the pot but the method is the same on a single lead..

    https://www.bing.com/videos/search?...4BA142A6133DEA5072D84BA142A6133D&&FORM=VRDGAR

    hope ya get the point.. the number one mistake guys make is not getting the pot's case hot enough to allow the solder to flow.... but ya gotta do it without heating the whole thing to the point ya melt the plastic parts inside the pots case.... practice....

    rk
     
  19. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    a follow up. because now the argument on what wattage is correct for soldering...

    I'm 73... I've been soldering since I was about 8 when Dad showed me how to make a crystal set... there's been a river of 60/40 that flowed from my Wellers, and Ungars...

    I taught my whole 7th grade shop class at LakeShore Jr High in 1959 how to solder, because the Phis Ed instructor that was "repurposed" into a Shop Teacher didn't have a clue... Like, "Whoa, Mr Lawrence, NO don't grab that end, that's not the handle.." :rolleyes:... I wonder how many of those Crystal Radios are still sitting on shelves radiating memories...

    a 40 watt is the bare minimum for ya to learn on... a skilled tech that knows what they're doing can get away with a 20 watter, but 40 is better and less frustrating for the novice... personally I use a Weller 8200 Solder gun for heavy duty on the pot cases, and two of them on Tele bridge pup baseplates and Strat Spring claws....

    I have a couple of Weller WE1010NA solder stations around for light duty stuff... but the Solder guns get the robust duty..

    r
     
  20. palmerfralick

    palmerfralick TDPRI Member

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    I would say a having meter is mandatory when doing any changes to your wiring. They are not expensive.
     
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