I'll start out by saying I am very new to this, so please forgive any ridiculous newbie errors I have made in the setup I describe below. This is also my first post on Guitar Nuts, and the amount of activity on this board has me hopeful that someone might come to my rescue!
I am trying to rebuild an old Fernandes Strat ripoff. It was originally a standard 3-single coil setup, and I ripped all of the original electronics, save for the input jack, and started from scratch. My new, desired setup consists of the following:
Neck - Duncan Hot Rails (mini humbucker) Middle - Duncan Hot Rails (mini humbucker) Bridge - Duncan Distortion (full humbucker) Pots - 1 Volume, 2 Tone (all 500k, 0.047mf cap) Switch - 5 way
Figuring that the Duncan Distortion was just another humbucker like the two Rails I have at neck and middle, i followed the following wiring diagram that came with the Rails pickups, which is intended for use with my exact setup EXCEPT with a Rails in the bridge position as well:
I followed this schematic exactly to a T, and when I first plugged in, all I hear is an extremely faint, tinny sound. I've taken the following steps to troubleshoot:
1: Reversed hot and ground leads going to input jack - no success (don't know why I thought this would work) 2: Tried adding additional grounding wire from volume pot to tremolo spring claw as per standard single coil wiring - no success 3: Bypassed 5-way switch entirely and wired bridge Duncan Distortion bucker straight to the volume pot - same sound as when switch is not bypassed 4: Really 3(a): Wired Duncan Distortion straight to volume pot but reversed ground and lead wires - literally no output
I'll also note that I'm using 60/40 Rosin Core light duty electrical solder.
I'm sort of at a loss at this point. I'm thinking this might have something to do with the polarity of the buckers, but I really don't know. Any help would be MUCH appreciated, and again I apologize if the solution here is blindingly obvious to much, much more experienced builders!
Post by sbgodofmetal on May 31, 2012 16:56:04 GMT -5
Welcome to the nutz house ;D
Am I correct in assuming the humbucker is also a 4 conductor pickup? If so unless you want coil tapping/splitting, connect the red wire to the white wire and tape them off. Run the black as your +hot and the green as your -negative. Not sure if the wire colors are the same as I had metioned but it should do the thick and make it easier for you.
Thanks for the quick reply! Yes, you are correct--four covered wires and a ground. When I had this all wired up like the diagram, i had the green and bare (ground) wires all soldered to the volume pot, with the black wires connected to the 5-way switch. I'll try it this way instead and see what comes of it.
Actually I believe i misread your reply--I did exactly as you had said (black as positive and green as negative) but I just realized that I forgot to actually solder the red & white together! Instead, i just taped them off, unsoldered. I knew this would come back to some dumb newbie mistake...
I'll start out by saying I am very new to this, so please forgive any ridiculous newbie errors I have made in the setup I describe below.
Only one, so far- it's an "output jack", not an "input jack". But, I'm just being picky, that doesn't help solve your problem.
1: Reversed hot and ground leads going to input jack - no success (don't know why I thought this would work)
Your thinking was good there- it's an easy mistake to make and would (or at least could) cause the symptoms. It's the first thing I always check.
You should do as pÉÆŽá´šâŠ¥Çá´š suggested and solder and tape off the HB red/white wires. But while that could be some of your problem, it won't explain a lack of output when the 5-way is set to the neck or middle positions. If the problem affects all switch positions, then we have to look for trouble somewhere between the switch and the output jack.
Understand that it is very difficult to troubleshoot things over the web. If any of us could look at the guitar, we might be able to spot something immediately; to isolate the same problem remotely could take a pile of messages back and forth.
But stick with it, don't get frustrated, and know that you will get to the bottom of it.
Here's a few suggestions to try:
1) Try it with the output jack plate removed from the guitar, so that the jack is just dangling free by the wires. The space in a Strat-type jack cavity is tight, and occasionally the connections will end up touching when the plate is screwed down.
2) A faulty ground between the back of the pot and the "-" jack wire is also a possibility. Double check these by hitting the connections (at both ends) with your soldering iron, this will often correct a faulty solder joint.
3) If the negative side is OK, then move to the positive side; check between the 5-way and the volume, and between the volume and the jack.
With a Strat, it's tough to change something, then reassemble/restring everything to test it. But there is an easier way- when you are getting a low output, you should be able to use the "screwdriver tap test" to tell if you're getting output. This can be done with the pickguard hanging loose.
Plug the guitar into an amp (use a low volume level). Tap a pickup with a screwdriver when you're having the problem, you should hear a low-level "click" or perhaps no sound at all from the amp. After you make your changes, tap test it again. If you've solved the problem, you should hear a good "thunk", the difference should be pretty dramatic.