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Strange wiring/pickup issue

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by famous beagle, Feb 28, 2021.

  1. famous beagle

    famous beagle TDPRI Member

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    Hey y'all,

    I recently bought a mint Fender Player Telecaster. It plays great and everything seems good except for one weird issue.

    There seems to be very little difference in sound, if any, between any of the pickup positions. I've never encountered this issue before.

    Normally, the bridge position on a Tele is not subtle, but on this guitar, I can barely tell a difference between it and the neck position (or the middle position, for that matter). To be honest, it's hard to even say if there is a difference or if I might just be imagining it because of confirmation bias.

    I've checked the wiring against the Player Telecaster diagram, and everything seems perfect.

    When I do the screwdriver test, I can clearly hear both pickups on each of the three positions. (The bridge comes through louder than the neck, but I think that's normal because of the cover on the neck pickup, yes?)

    So ... is it maybe a bad three-way switch? Is there anything else it could be?

    Has anyone else ever had this issue before?

    Thanks for any help!
     
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  2. ale.istotle

    ale.istotle Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    Either the switch is bypassed or jumpered somewhere. Post pics if you can.
     
  3. famous beagle

    famous beagle TDPRI Member

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    Thanks. I'll post some pictures later today.
     
  4. Boreas

    Boreas Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Somethin' ain't right...

    First, make sure everything is grounded correctly. AND nothing goes to ground that shouldn't.

    Next, examine the switch for any excess solder or cold solder joints. You could even re-flow the solder joints to see if that helps.

    Do you still notice the problem with the plate removed? I have had issues before on the switch where the switch wires get jammed and shorted because of tight clearance in the cavity.

    As mentioned above, pix will be helpful.
     
  5. famous beagle

    famous beagle TDPRI Member

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    Thanks. I don't think I tried with the plate removed. I can try that today and let you know.
     
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  6. famous beagle

    famous beagle TDPRI Member

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    Ok. I tried it with the control plate out, and I'm still getting the same issue.

    Here are some pics I took from several different angles. Hopefully y'all can see what's going on.

    If the wiring is indeed correct, is the only thing that could be causing this a faulty switch?
     

    Attached Files:

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  7. Danb541

    Danb541 Friend of Leo's

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    The wiring does look correct. Maybe look and see if any solder dropped down in the switch and buggered things up. If there is no sound difference in the pickups, it could be all 3 switch positions have both pickups active?
    Did you try tapping the tops of the pickups with a screwdriver when its plugged in to see which pickups are live in each switch position? I'm guessing both pickups are live in all 3 positions or just one pickup is live in all 3 positions.
     
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  8. famous beagle

    famous beagle TDPRI Member

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    Thanks. Yes I did the screwdriver test, and I'm pretty sure both pickups are active in all three positions. The bridge pickup is definitely is active in all three positions. I think the neck pickup is active too, but it's much quieter when I tap it than the bridge pickup. But this is normal because of the cover on the neck pickup, right? In other words, I'm not tapping the magnet poles directly on the neck pickup like I am on the bridge; I'm tapping the cover. So it shouldn't be as loud as the bridge, correct?

    I don't see any solder down in the switch.

    Also, I'm pretty sure both pickups are active in each position because the tone sounds most like the middle position. It doesn't sound bright enough to just be the bridge by itself.
     
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  9. Danb541

    Danb541 Friend of Leo's

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    See the circled part of this picture. What's going on here? Is it possible there is even a single strand of wire connecting these two posts?

    Tele wiring 4.jpg
     
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  10. famous beagle

    famous beagle TDPRI Member

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    No, that's just the picture angle. Those two posts are not connected at all.

    I just ordered a 3-way Oak Grigsby switch from Amazon. I figure if nothing else, I'll just rewire it from scratch.

    At this point, I don't know what else it could be except a faulty switch.
     
  11. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Tapping a pickup with a screwdriver will yield a result even when the pickup is not in the circuit...the result will not be as loud as an in circuit pickup. Fwiw, you have gone to great lengths to make the wiring of that switch more difficult than necessary, and the results are sloppy, imho. The connection between those four posts...two on each side...should be done first, imho; and one can use an uninsulated piece of wire. That makes things cleaner and simpler, which makes things less likely to be incorrect, ime.
    post number three shows an example...Seymour knows how to wire a guitar.
    https://www.tdpri.com/threads/help-needed-bullet-3-way-2-pickup-wiring.1009291/
     
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  12. famous beagle

    famous beagle TDPRI Member

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    Thanks.

    I did not wire this switch. As I mentioned, I just bought this guitar, and I'm pretty sure it's brand new.

    Thanks for the info about tapping the pickup. The reason I was thinking that the neck pickup is active even though it's quieter than tapping the bridge is because I get a similar result when I do the same thing with my SG (with humbuckers). In other words, if I select the neck pickup on the SG and tap just the cover (not the screws), it's audible but very quiet. And the closer to a screw I tap on the cover, the louder it gets. Of course, if I tap the screws themselves, it's very loud and clear.

    If I select the bridge pickup on my SG and tap the neck pickup, it's pretty much dead quiet. I mean ... it's much different than tapping the cover of the neck pickup when the neck is selected.

    I get a similar result on the Tele neck pickup. If I tap the very edge of the cover, it's not as loud as if I tap the cover directly under a string (where the pole would be located if the cover were removed).

    This is what makes me think the neck pickup is active in each position.
     

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  13. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

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    It can be confusing, but ime one can come to hear the difference between a live pickup and a pickup that is out of the circuit even if one cannot make contact with a pole or a blade because it is covered. Do you have the pickups roughly equal distance from the strings. I fret at the last fret and adjust the pickups so that they are at least 1/8” away from the string. This will yield a fairly balanced response and therefore the middle position will sound different from either single...and the two pickups will exhibit their particular ‘personalities’ so that the difference can be heard. if one has a meter, then one could take resistance readings off the end of a cable. The three positions should yield three different resistances.
     
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  14. Boreas

    Boreas Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Keep us posted.

    While you are waiting for the new switch, I would rewire this one, making sure the leads coming from the pups are correct. If it doesn't help, at least you got in some soldering practice. I think you are going to find the switch is OK and there is something fouled up in the wiring. Don't be afraid to color the wires with marker to help track them. Or change the wire colors.
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2021
  15. Peegoo

    Peegoo Poster Extraordinaire

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    Make sure you hold the tool you're using for the tap test correctly, i.e., do not allow it near the other pickup because it can sense the magnetic field through the steel of the tool and provide an erroneous audible result. Look:

    [​IMG]
     
  16. Boreas

    Boreas Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    I think that is what he said. At least it was my take.
     
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  17. famous beagle

    famous beagle TDPRI Member

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    Thanks for the tip.

    After just having done it this way, I'm 100% certain that both pickups are active in all three switch positions.
     
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  18. famous beagle

    famous beagle TDPRI Member

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    Thanks. When I get the new switch, I'm going to rewire everything from scratch, closely following the diagram. I've got good soldering skills, so I don't need practice. If I still have an issue with the new switch, then I'll know the switch wasn't the issue. But, as Wally said, the wiring in there now is pretty sloppy, so I'd like to start from scratch anyway.

    By the way, does anyone know what this screw is for? I figure it's some kind of grounding thing, but it's not connected to anything else; it's just a screw in wood. ???
     

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  19. Boreas

    Boreas Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    It is to ground the "shielding" (black conductive paint) in the cavity to the main ground. It SHOULD lead to a pot ground. Whether it does anything depends on the quality of the shielding. In your case, I have seen better shielding. But if your guitar is quiet, no need to upgrade it.
     
  20. jfgesquire

    jfgesquire Tele-Afflicted

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    So it looks like the neck pickup has three leads on it, a separate ground wire for the cover, and it looks soldered correctly on the switch and pots, but maybe there is something wrong on the pickup end of those wires?

    And while you're in there, with a pickup that already has three wires, why not get a 4 way switch for Series wiring?
     
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