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Rick Andrews and other experts answers guitar repair questions
For almost one year, guitar luther Rick Andrews answered your guitar repair questions. After recieving over 500 questions we put together the most popular questions and answers. Today, we are involving other great guitar builders and will continue to expand this area in the future. This section will no longer be interactive but you should find most of your guitar building and repair questions have already been answered in this section.

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  •  Question- Pickup soldering Issue
    Hi Rick,
    I recently installed two Seymour Duncan pickups into my Les Paul, and am having trouble with one of them. This was my first time soldering anything, so the problem may lie in my soldering job, although I read up a lot, and it looked ok, although if I was guilty of one thing, it may have been too much heat.

    Anyways, the neck pickup seems to sound fine, but the bridge pup seems very quiet. I can still hear it ok, but with the volume turned up all the way on my guitar, and fairly high on my amp, it sounds very clean, and quiet, instead of loud and distorted. I don't think it's out of phase, because it's only in one pup, and it doesn't sound too nasley, although it doesn't have a normal heavy humbucker sound, more that of a single coil. I would appreciate any help you can give me, thanks very much.
    Sincerely
    Jason Stevens


  • Ricks Answer to - Pickup soldering Issue
    To: jwpc5@hotmail.com
    Sent: Monday, August 09, 2004 8:32 PM

    Well Jason, I would say your pickup is OK. If the pickup is bad then it will not work at all. The fine as a frog hair split 3 ways coil winding once broken will not let the current through and it will not work at all. If it not broke then the current passes all the way through the circuit so it is fine.

    There is a slight possibility the high heat could have melted away the shellac finish on the copper wire coil and the current could be shorting through and killing the power but I tend to think maybe you overheated one of the control pots, or a capacitor, or it is possible when you attached the wires it is not grounded well or some wiring is not soldered in a good connection as it should be therefore making the signal work but not very good, only slightly.

    Sometimes the metal surface is not cleaned well enough so it only partially conducts the signal. It is also possible the heat ruined the wiper inside the tone or vilume pot.

    To trouble shoot I would suggest this: Un-solder the wires and then connrect the pickup direct to the end of your jack cord from the amp bnypassing any controls. This way your amp sends the signal direct through the pickup. Be sure to have a good connection. The pickup should sound full volume and highest treble tone and full strength. If that proves true then you know the pickup is fine.

    Next, add the volume control into the circuit and see if it alone operates the volume properly. Then take loose the vilume control and wire in the tone control only and see what it does. Last check the toggle switch itself.

    Now at this point you have checked each indivivdual part alone and it will prove to you which one is the bad guy. If they all work properly alone then the wiring and soldering was not a good solid connection. I have seen circuits soldered together that I could not pull the wires offyet the glob of solder was heavy and filled with oils and grity and could not get good conuctivity.

    It is like the mtrealic soldering wire is alloyed with non-conductive stuff and inteferes with the signal. You want your soldering to be a good pure metalic through and through to conduct properly. Check out these things in that order and let me know. I think you will find it.
    Rick Andrews
    Andrews Guitar



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