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Why is my middle switch position weak and hollow sounding?

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by Digiplay, Mar 1, 2021.

  1. Digiplay

    Digiplay Tele-Afflicted

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    I'm putting these pu's in my 2009 AVRI '52:

    1) The bridge pu is a Fender Original Vintage Bridge.
    2) The neck pu is a Fender Vintage Upgrade Neck Part #: 0053780000


    When the 3 way switch is in the bridge only position, it sounds great.

    When the 3 way switch is in the neck only position, it sounds great.

    When the 3 way switch is in the middle position, it sounds hollow, and at a noticeably lower volume that the other two positions.


    I hope you can tell the way I wired it from the photo I just took.

    Thanks,
    Jerry


    3 way switch wiring.jpg
     
  2. kbold

    kbold Friend of Leo's

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    Sounds like they are cancelling each other out. Try switching the wires of the neck pickup and see what happens.
    At a guess one pickup is reverse pole but not reverse polarity to the other (or vice-versa).
     
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  3. EsquireOK

    EsquireOK Poster Extraordinaire

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    That's what parallel pickups sound like...unless it is truly EXTREME, in which case, the pickups are also out of phase with each other.

    Seems like most here swear by that middle Tele position that you get with modern wiring, but personally, I hate the tone. I mod my Teles to give me what an Esquire provides in positions 1 and 2.
     
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  4. Digiplay

    Digiplay Tele-Afflicted

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    That worked, but now if I touch the neck pu, it hums horribly.
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2021
  5. viking

    viking Friend of Leo's

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    You need to split your grounds , one grounds the cover , one is ground wire from the coil.
    You need to separate the connection , typically a solder bridge or similar.
    The same with the bridge pickup , here it is normally the bridge plate under the pickup that gets grounded via a connection.

    Therefore you need to split the ground and give either pickup two ground wires. Most people do it at the neck when out of phase , but its the same situation should you choose to do it at the bridge
     
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  6. DougM

    DougM Poster Extraordinaire

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    You need to cut the small jumper wire connected to the neck pickup cover, because it's now connecting the cover to the output instead of to ground, since you switched the two wire's polarity. Cut that small wire, and then solder a separate wire from the cover to ground. Sep13_PG_FEAT_Power-Play-4-Mods_step1_WEB.jpg
    Tele_Neck_pup_ground.jpg
     
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  7. braveheart

    braveheart Tele-Afflicted

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    there are probably "out of phase"
     
  8. kbold

    kbold Friend of Leo's

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    Or just link it over to the other pad, since the white wire is now the ground.
     
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  9. AJBaker

    AJBaker Friend of Leo's

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    The previous posters have given good advice.
    The problem was that the pickups were out of phase and partially cancelling each other out.

    The solution is to swap the pickup leads (as you did).

    If your pickup has a metal cover, you also need to either 1) move the jumper to the other lead, or (even better) 2) run a third wire so that the metal cover has its own ground, and in the future you can swap the wires again or install a 4 way switch if you so choose.
     
  10. chezdeluxe

    chezdeluxe Poster Extraordinaire

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    On a positive note if the out of phase issue was caused by different polarity of the pickup magnets then after the changes suggested above the middle position will be hum cancelling.
     
  11. jvin248

    jvin248 Doctor of Teleocity

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    .

    Once you get that sorted out ... Find yourself a 4-way Oak-Grigsby switch (around $12) and wire that in. You'll have an additional series humbucking tone for a stealth Les Paul. My favorite Tele mod.

    .
     
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  12. Digiplay

    Digiplay Tele-Afflicted

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    All GREAT input guys!


    As I want to put the control plate back to the way it was originally, I want to get rid of that Sprague Vitamin Q cap.


    I notice that on another Tele I have, that instead of the Sprague there is a jumper with a very tiny cap.


    What is, and where do I buy the original one?
     
  13. schmee

    schmee Doctor of Teleocity

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    By nature the middle position is always that way to some extent because combining the pickups makes a difference electronically. BUT: If your pickups are wired out of phase with each other then it will be much more so though. Thin and hollow.
     
  14. Digiplay

    Digiplay Tele-Afflicted

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    I notice that on another Tele I have, that instead of the Sprague there is a jumper with a very tiny cap.


    What is, and where do I buy that original one?
     
  15. Digiplay

    Digiplay Tele-Afflicted

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    As hopefully my middle pu issue is connected to it, please reply to my new Thread called "Which wiring is correct?".


    Thanks in advance!
    Jerry
     
  16. Digiplay

    Digiplay Tele-Afflicted

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    I switched the neck pu wires back to the way they were originally, and only because these are the Fender pu's that are for the AVRI '52, so if Fender knows what they are designed to fit, it makes no sense (to me :) ), why they would be wired with the wrong polarity.


    IMHO, something is missing from this puzzle as to why I'm having the weak/thin/wah sounding middle switch position ONLY on this Tele.


    I have attached a photo of the neck pu hoping that might shed some light on my issue :)


    Neck pu.jpg
     
  17. DougM

    DougM Poster Extraordinaire

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    Just because you have 2 Fender pickups doesn't necessarily mean they're the same polarity! You started this thread saying that switching the polarity solved your problem with the sound of the middle position, but now it is causing hum, so we told you how to cure the hum, which is a common fix, so much so that there are pics online to show you how to do it, because thousands of other players have done the same fix, yet you still refuse to understand that, and accept the truth about what's going on. I'm done trying to help you.
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2021
  18. Digiplay

    Digiplay Tele-Afflicted

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    Hi Doug!

    True,

    but......................................................................................................................................................

    as my specific pickups are designed for my specific guitar, wouldn't you think Fender would mention to wire them "backwards"? :)


    Here is what my neck pu Fender part # is: 0053780000
     
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  19. Digiplay

    Digiplay Tele-Afflicted

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    C'mon Doug, don't be mad at me :)


    All I'm trying to say/ask is why is the polarity backwards on the neck pu that is specifically made for a 2008 AVRI '52, and why would Fender make anyone have to fix a problem that shouldn't be a problem in the first place?


    IMHO, that makes no sense, but hey Doug, a lot of things in life don't make sense :)


    BTW, my 2008 AVRI '52 has the same pickups, and it's wired the same, non cut wire neck pu way, but for some reason it works perfectly in the middle position.
     
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  20. AJBaker

    AJBaker Friend of Leo's

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    There's no such thing as 'backwards' or 'wrong' polarity, unless it's within the same set bought together. There's no guarantee of pickups being in phase unless they're from the same set.

    Different manufacturers have different standards, and these also change sometimes (Fender had north up and south up at different periods).


    All that matters is that it be in phase with the other pickup, and that metal parts on the pickup are connected to ground instead of hot.

    If you change a pickup, there's a 50% chance of it being out of phase. This is no big deal, and is a quick fix (as described above).
     
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