My strat tone is hosed after some maintenance

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by GeorgeG, Feb 17, 2020.

  1. GeorgeG

    GeorgeG TDPRI Member

    Age:
    65
    Posts:
    42
    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2018
    Location:
    Florida
    I have had this MIJ Fender Strat for over 30 years. I recently replaced a scratchy 5 way switch, re-installed the original single coil bridge pick up (I had a mini humbucker in the bridge position for about a year) and put new strings on the guitar. The result is really thin tone and lower output with all pick ups. I was mostly playing the middle pick up lately. I certainly understand new strings sounding brighter but something else is going on here. Its so thin and tinny that I can barely stand playing it. I just took the pick guard back out and double checked the wiring and it all looks good.

    Does anyone have any suggestions on something that I can check to see what changed/went wrong.

    Thanks,

    George
     
  2. TeleTucson

    TeleTucson Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,430
    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2016
    Location:
    Tucson, AZ
    If it seems thin and low output with all pickups, it could easily be a problem with the phase of the pickups - i.e., that you've switched the leads of original pickup when you rewired it.

    Or, you just got used to the humbucker and the single-coil bridge sounds thin now.
     
    Zepfan, bgmacaw and fenderchamp like this.
  3. 24 track

    24 track Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    14,990
    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2014
    Location:
    kamloops bc
    I was never fond of stock strat singles all of them sounded week and wimpy , I built several pickguiards (6 of them) and found Lace alumatone pickups I love then ,I also have lace sensor rainbow pack hot gols 13K in the bridge, silver in the mid and dark blue in the neck . these also sound great and are dead quiet .

    one thing you could try is to take out all of the pick guard screws and see if the sound changes, if it comes to life put the screws back one at a time and check it after each screw , the reason for this is there may be a contact touching ground as you tighten the guard down causing your issues.
     
  4. max_twang

    max_twang Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,452
    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2009
    Location:
    New York
    I think Tele Tucson is onto the problem.

    Get yourself a standard wiring diagram and compare it to your guitar. If there are any differences, fix 'em.
     
    Wildcard_35 and hemingway like this.
  5. Cysquatch

    Cysquatch Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    632
    Joined:
    May 2, 2019
    Location:
    Grovetown, GA
    If you upload a quick snippet of audio from the pickups we could tell you right away if it's a phase issue or just thin pickups. My money is with @TeleTucson, though.
     
  6. dogmeat

    dogmeat Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    69
    Posts:
    1,381
    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2017
    Location:
    Alaska
    that new switch... is a printed circuit board type? I've seen those suck tone big time
     
  7. Don Miller

    Don Miller Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    68
    Posts:
    1,592
    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2003
    Location:
    Anchorage, Alaska

    Any phasing issues from the reinstalled bridge pickup would appear in the 2nd position (Bridge and middle pickups)….the output would be ok for the bridge pickup alone, or for the middle and neck pickups, either alone or together...sounds like you maybe getting the diminished signal with all the pickups....positions 1 thru 5?

    You mentioned the bridge pickup was a fender....are the other two Fender as well? Fender pickups, with the bridge pickup wired correctly, are out of phase with many other aftermarket pickups....Duncan, DiMarzio, No-name, etc....If the output in the 2nd position is markedly different than the others, try swapping the hot and ground leads on the bridge pickup and see if that improves things....

    Did you change any of the pots or tone cap when you put the humbucker in or took it out?

    If its not the phasing, could the pickup have been damaged while it was out of the guitar?

    Check the switch...as Dogmeat suggested, there can be tone sucking components...or...I've messed up a switch during the install....it happens...or its not unheard of to get a bad one....so maybe spray the old one with contact cleaner, put it back in, and see if that improves things....

    Sometimes you need to take a magnifying glass and check everything...all it takes is one errant strand of wire...or bit of solder in the wrong place...and you have a dilemma...

    good luck and keep us posted....
     
    Wildcard_35 and dswo like this.
  8. hopdybob

    hopdybob Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,321
    Joined:
    May 28, 2008
    Location:
    netherlands
    sometimes when tweaking on wiring, wires turn and just behind the soldering they twist en copper wires break so you can have a connection with 1 ore 2 little wires without knowing.
    what you could try is measure the ohm readings at some places.
    direct hot and ground, and move on to the jack.

    but because you removed and placed en pickup the ground connection on the volume pot probably is heated up twice.
    getting the ground loose from the old pup en again for the new on.
    this could damage the pot.
    (that is why i alway use a piece of used desolder braid, solder that onto the pot and make sure it has enough length to connect other ground wires without heating the pot surface again.)
     
    Wildcard_35 and dswo like this.
  9. GeorgeG

    GeorgeG TDPRI Member

    Age:
    65
    Posts:
    42
    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2018
    Location:
    Florida
    Some good ideas, I'll report back.

    George
     
  10. Zepfan

    Zepfan Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    9,389
    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2013
    Location:
    Horn Lake, MS
    If that bridge pickup is volume only like the usual old layout, swich the second tone pot wire from the middle pickup terminal on the switch and put it on the bridge pickup. That will fatten up the bridge pickup a bit and makes the middle pickup less dark in the neck/middle position.

    Also put a series/parallel mini-toggle on the middle pickup for some extra sizzle in the #2 & #4 positions.

    If the Strat Bridge pickup still doesn't do it for you and you want a good single coil pickup, try a Deneb-Tone Neodymium pickup or a Cavalier Fat Lion Tele bridge pickup instead. P90 could be a good choice too.
     
  11. schmee

    schmee Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    9,428
    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2003
    Location:
    northwest
    You probably have a wire touching somewhere it shouldn't or something done wrong. Sometimes the wires are fine until you screw down the pickguard and then one is forced onto a por or switch lightly grounding it.
     
    kookaburra and awasson like this.
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.


  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.