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Thread: Pickup problem

  1. #1
    On Fire Bluto's Avatar
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    Default Pickup problem

    I'm trying to wire my guitar with a Seymour Duncan 59, and when I plug in the guitar to the amp, I get almost no distortion. The distortion knob (it's a small amp) seems to have no effect. I wouldn't say it's a clean signal, but it's just a dry, dull signal. I think everything's wired correctly, but it's the first time I've ever installed a pickup. There's also a lot of hum when I'm not playing any notes. Anyone have any suggestions as to what might be wrong?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bluto View Post
    I'm trying to wire my guitar with a Seymour Duncan 59, and when I plug in the guitar to the amp, I get almost no distortion. The distortion knob (it's a small amp) seems to have no effect. I wouldn't say it's a clean signal, but it's just a dry, dull signal. I think everything's wired correctly, but it's the first time I've ever installed a pickup. There's also a lot of hum when I'm not playing any notes. Anyone have any suggestions as to what might be wrong?
    I'm assuming you're doing a one pickup, one volume install? if so, see below. I'f you're doing a tone multi pickup install let me know, and I'll pull the schematic for your specific needs.
    Is it a four conductor version pickup? The 59 come in both. Also, if it is a four conductor, it should look like this:


    also in the diagram, there's a small windo on the lower left hand side that shows the braided install method.
    If it's a shielded standard single conductor style, then you simply solder the braided jacket of the pickup to the pots back (scuff the pot back with some 220 gr. sandpaper first for easier soldering), and the lead inside the jacket gets soldered to the left terminal of the pot. The middle pot terminal goes to the hot tip of your jack, and the right terminal also gets soldered to the pots back for ground, the same as in the above diagram. The only main difference is that with SD four conductors, is the plain wire, and black wire are in place of the conventional braid for ground, and inner black wire solders up the same. The red and white lead get twisted and soldered together for typical humbucking mode, and insulate the end with electrical tape, or heat shrink tubing.
    Sounds like you've got a bad ground. That results in the low weak output, and wicked hum.
    Good luck!
    Last edited by we die young; 08.04.13 at 06:42 PM.

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    Should also say, once you wire in that 59' properly, you'll love it! One versatile pickup. Sounds great throughout the volume range, and has great pick response.

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    On Fire Bluto's Avatar
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    That is the exact diagram I had used for the install, and yes it's one pickup one volume. It's the four conductor pickup, not the single. Could it just be that I did in fact wire it correctly, and maybe my old 10w Marshall solid state practice amp just doesn't sound good? The only other guitar I play is an Epiphone 1984 Explorer reissue with EMG 81/85 which are very high output. Does the 59 need a high gain amp to perform?

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    Is it possible that I'm accustomed to my active EMGs and that the 59 is just a new experience and I am getting the true sound?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bluto View Post
    That is the exact diagram I had used for the install, and yes it's one pickup one volume. It's the four conductor pickup, not the single. Could it just be that I did in fact wire it correctly, and maybe my old 10w Marshall solid state practice amp just doesn't sound good? The only other guitar I play is an Epiphone 1984 Explorer reissue with EMG 81/85 which are very high output. Does the 59 need a high gain amp to perform?
    well.....Hmmm....That doesn't explain the loud hum when you take your fingers off the strings. The 59' is not a high output, compared to many out there....more like the PAF but you should be able to get some crunch out of it with a mild amp.
    I use 59's with non master Marshall's, a Fender Twin, and a Vox AC30. If you play with a heavy attack, the 59 should give audible crunch without much help.
    I'm a little baffled.....Just throwing this out there...Have you tried a different cord? I'm sure you followed the diagram well, but also just make double sure you have your jack wires correct, or at the very least, you don't have a cold solder joint, or a short. The pickup should be nice and full sounding clean, and you should have very little hum other than the normal amount you would expect from a production 'bucker.

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    No, I haven't tried a different cord. Now that I think of it though, the only one I could find to test was a real cheapy that came with something else I had ordered. Perhaps that is the culprit of the hum and dry signal?

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    Just saw your last post...it's possible I suppose you're just used to the EMG's, but on the other hand, I have used active PU's before, and also have the modern noiseless passive stackers in a Strat which are dead silent.
    I'd say maybe, but the thing that's sticking in my mind is the amount of hum you mentioned. That just screams ground/short to me. The 59 has plenty of fullness, so if it's significantly off in output, even from your EMG's, I think something might not be right. it's so tough to diagnose without hearing it or seeing it. There's always a little 60 cycle hum with an HB...They don't kill it entirely unless they are precision noise cancelling coils, which they aren't.
    Sorry...trying to help here. lol

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bluto View Post
    No, I haven't tried a different cord. Now that I think of it though, the only one I could find to test was a real cheapy that came with something else I had ordered. Perhaps that is the culprit of the hum and dry signal?
    It could be...it's bit me before. I use a 6 footer on my bench usually, and I did a swap once that i couldn't figure out. I had real low output, tons of hum etc....Thought I had a bad pickup or pot, then on a whim, i tried a different cord......problem solved. Sometimes they can fail at the worst possible time!

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    It's really late here right now, so tomorrow I'll check all my connections and try a new cord to see if I can solve the problem.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bluto View Post
    It's really late here right now, so tomorrow I'll check all my connections and try a new cord to see if I can solve the problem.
    Cool man! Yeah, no problem. let me know how you make out. If you think of anything else run it by me. Till tomorrow.

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    Oh wow. I just checked all my connections, and the ground running from the pot to the jack completely broke off on the pot. So I'll resolder that, and try and post some sound clips. I have a separate issue with the Floyd, so it might be late tonight before the guitar's playing again. I didn't drill the holes far enough for the screws that hold the spring claw things, so I have to do that today to.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bluto View Post
    Oh wow. I just checked all my connections, and the ground running from the pot to the jack completely broke off on the pot. So I'll resolder that, and try and post some sound clips. I have a separate issue with the Floyd, so it might be late tonight before the guitar's playing again. I didn't drill the holes far enough for the screws that hold the spring claw things, so I have to do that today to.
    Hey! Great that you found it! I thought that might have happened if you followed the diagram. It definitely sounded like a ground. It's very common for those breaks when wiring in a new pickup, or during the de-soldering of the old one. I'm sure it'll be great sounding.
    I think you'll be real happy with the pickup. It doesn't compress like the modern high output pickups, but the benefit is it's got a great responsiveness to your playing. What you put in is what it puts out. You play hard, it sounds hard....You play soft, it'll sound soft.
    There's a reason it's been one of Seymour's best selling pickups.
    I use it in the bridge position of one of my Franky's, and the same in my SG. Nothing sounds better in those guitars IMO, I use Pearly Gates, and Tone Zones on my other HB loaded guitars for the most part. The Pearly Gates is just a little hotter version of the 59 really. Not a huge difference, just a little more accentuation toward the lows and mids which is better on the guitars I have made of brighter woods like poplar and alder.
    Good luck, and looking forward to hearing it!
    Last edited by we die young; 08.05.13 at 09:02 AM.

 

 

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