Ooops. I screwed SOMETHING up...

Discussion in 'Pickup Joint' started by TylerN, Oct 13, 2020.

  1. TylerN

    TylerN Squier Talker

    Age:
    41
    21
    Aug 11, 2020
    Connecticut
    Hey guitar friends. Hope someone has some insight for me on a wiring dilemma...

    I ordered a knockoff Twisted Tele neck pickup for my Bullet Tele, and installed it this morning. It's called a "Wicked T" and supposed to be similar to the Twisted Tele, but only 40 bucks.

    I got it wired up, restrung, and plugged it in to find that with the pickup selector set to the neck pickup, it works fine. But in the middle position, all I get is bridge. I literally just soldered the connections to the same spots they were on the original pickup, but I must have done something wrong, because I no longer have the ability to play through both pickups... Instead of giving me NECK, BOTH, BRIDGE, I get NECK, BRIDGE, BRIDGE, with no difference between positions 1 and 2.

    This was my first time swapping pickups, and I don't have a TON of experience with soldering, but not a total newbie, either. I got what I thought was a nice strong connection on both wires...

    Any thoughts?

    Thanks.
    —Tyler
     
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  2. LutherBurger

    LutherBurger Squier-holic

    Sep 2, 2015
    NYC
    I can think of two possibilities:

    1. The pickup's + lead is only connected to one lug on the switch. It needs to be connected to two adjacent lugs, like this:

    [​IMG]

    2. Your Bullet's switch has failed just like mine and others' have.
     
  3. TylerN

    TylerN Squier Talker

    Age:
    41
    21
    Aug 11, 2020
    Connecticut
    Huh. This was very helpful. But I’m not out of the woods yet. I re-soldered the connections to the “hot” lead, and it did indeed seem to help combine both pickups. But now the sound from the middle position is MUCH quieter and crappy sounding.

    I must be in over my head here. Posting a photo of the wiring to the switch in case it means something to someone.

    ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    Thanks!
     

    Attached Files:

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  4. mkgearhead

    mkgearhead Squier-holic

    Age:
    50
    Dec 18, 2009
    Fort Morgan, CO
    It sounds like the pickups are out of phase in the middle position. You'll have to reverse the wires on one of the pickups.
     
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  5. TylerN

    TylerN Squier Talker

    Age:
    41
    21
    Aug 11, 2020
    Connecticut
    Upon further investigation, I think it might in fact be the switch. It never gave me problems before this, but I guess my futzing with it screwed it up. Now when I switch back and forth, it’s noisy and crackly and the volume goes in and out until you jiggle it a bit.

    Would a nicer switch solve this? Or even a pre-wired control plate, since I clearly can’t be trusted with a soldering iron!
     
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  6. Angry Possum

    Angry Possum A Psychopathic 6 String Collector Gold Supporting Member

    Age:
    58
    Oct 30, 2019
    Squier Town NY
    Try another switch, or check the wires make sure there all tight and grounded properly. No loose wires and no cold solder joints.
     
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  7. LutherBurger

    LutherBurger Squier-holic

    Sep 2, 2015
    NYC
    That's exactly what mine did, except it was the bridge pickup that would cut in and out. The cause was a loose lug on the switch. I had another switch lying around, so I replaced it.

    Your soldering looks good enough. Go ahead and replace the switch.
     
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  8. DougMen

    DougMen Squier-holic

    Age:
    66
    Jun 8, 2017
    Honolulu, HI
    Those switches are really much worse than the similar Strat switches, which have never failed on me, but the majority of Tele ones have. Get an Oak Grisby 3 way Tele switch, available on Ebay for around $7-8.
    s-l1600.jpg
     
  9. TylerN

    TylerN Squier Talker

    Age:
    41
    21
    Aug 11, 2020
    Connecticut
    Just ordered one of these, as well as an Orange Drop capacitor just for fun, as long as I'm diving back in there. Thanks for the tips!
     
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  10. TylerN

    TylerN Squier Talker

    Age:
    41
    21
    Aug 11, 2020
    Connecticut
    I'm gonna replace the switch. I googled "cold solder joint" and came across this good guide (not guitar specific, but looks like good info either way.)

    Thanks!
     
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  11. TylerN

    TylerN Squier Talker

    Age:
    41
    21
    Aug 11, 2020
    Connecticut
    Hey, just checking in with an update.

    I replaced the switch with a CRL 3-way, but still had the quiet middle position. Turns out mkgearhead was right... I somehow had my wires reversed. Swapped the leads coming from my new pickup and now it works great and sounds fantastic! I popped in an orange drop while I was at it.

    My only issue now is that there’s some noise on the new pickup when I’m not touching the strings. So I guess there’s a grounding issue somewhere?

    Thanks, all, for your help. This has been a very interesting and enlightening experience so far.
     
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  12. Deepblankspace

    Deepblankspace Squier-Meister

    Age:
    27
    400
    Sep 28, 2018
    Washington state
    If its really excessive noise, then possibly a ground loop, but most likely its the normal amount of hum. Some pickups have more then others. When you arnt touching the strings, the pickups are actually picking up interference from your body, and when you touch the strings the guitar is grounding you through the amp and whatnot.
     
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  13. LutherBurger

    LutherBurger Squier-holic

    Sep 2, 2015
    NYC
    The metal cover (shield) of your neck pickup is connected to the black lead. Did you solder the black lead to ground, or to the switch?
     
  14. TylerN

    TylerN Squier Talker

    Age:
    41
    21
    Aug 11, 2020
    Connecticut
    Ahh, so initially I had the white lead on the new neck pickup soldered to the switch and the black one to ground on the volume knob. But I was having that weird quiet on the middle position, so I swapped them, which fixed it. So now the black lead goes to the switch and the white one goes to the ground. I was assuming the colors were mixed up because it was an el cheapo eBay find. Plus I never disconnected the bridge pickup so I’m pretty sure I couldn’t have reversed that one.
    Hmmm......
     
  15. DougMen

    DougMen Squier-holic

    Age:
    66
    Jun 8, 2017
    Honolulu, HI
    That' pretty common, for different make pickups to have opposite polarity. It's not as big a deal on Strat pickups, 'cause they don't have metal covers or baseplates (Tele bridge pickups) connected to the ground wire. You can cut the bare wire connected to the pickup's cover. That'll help some, 'cause now it's connected to the hot lead on the output, instead of to ground, since you had to reverse the polarity on that pickup. Ideally, you would want to cut that and then run a third wire from the cover to the ground on the back of the pots.
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2020
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  16. Nduro

    Nduro Squier Talker

    Age:
    41
    55
    Oct 17, 2020
    Poland
    [QUOTE = "TylerN, post: 992245, członek: 18691"] Huh. To było bardzo pomocne. Ale jeszcze nie wyszedłem z lasu. Ponownie przylutowałem połączenia do „gorącego” przewodu i rzeczywiście wydawało się, że pomaga to połączyć oba przetworniki. Ale teraz dźwięk ze środkowej pozycji jest DUŻO cichszy i brzydko brzmi.

    Muszę tu być nad głową. Wrzucenie zdjęcia okablowania do przełącznika na wypadek, gdyby to coś dla kogoś znaczyło.

    ¯ \ _ (ツ) _ / ¯

    Dzięki! [/ QUOTE]

    Does the white solder not touch the switch ground?
     
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  17. TylerN

    TylerN Squier Talker

    Age:
    41
    21
    Aug 11, 2020
    Connecticut
    THIS FIXED IT! I've had your comment bookmarked for a week until I could come back to it. This morning I took it apart, and did just what you said: cut the tiny bare wire on the back of the pickup and ran a new wire right to the ground, and now it's quiet as a mouse! I thought I was gonna have to shield the cavity (I even bought some copper tape, but it looks like quite a job to do it properly), but this totally fixed it. Thanks DougMen and everyone for your help.

    I bought this little Bullet over the summer for a quarantine project, and so far I've sanded and Tru-oiled the neck, replaced the pickguard with a mint green one (the original white looked a little TOO clean to me), replaced the neck pickup and replaced the 3-way switch with a CRL (which was definitely a learning experience!), polished the frets, oiled the fretboard, and installed a pair of Graph Tech string trees because my G string was buzzing at the nut. I am SO happy with this thing. The only things I may still want to do is install some locking tuners, and maybe replace the Squier logo, which looks kind of overly bold and gaudy to me. But those are lower priority... the tuners work well enough now, and I'm torn about the logo... On the one hand, I'd love if it were a Fender logo (he says cautiously on the Squier-Talk forum), but I don't know if I want to bother with lacquering in a waterslide. Hell, I'd even be happier with a smaller Squier logo... one with some gold foil in it maybe? I just feel like the big black Squier logo on it advertises CHEAP GUITAR. But anyway.

    Thanks again for the suggestions, all.

    IMG_9270.jpg

    IMG_9271.jpg

    IMG_9272.jpg
     
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