First post here, but guitarnuts has been a huge help to me for the past 6 or 7 years. I wouldn't consider myself a pro when it comes to wiring guitars but I'm definitely no novice, either. I've been building my own Les Paul, PRS, and Strat replicas for about 3 years now. I'd say I've wired up about twenty or so strats with minor issues that always get corrected quickly. This time however is a different story. My dad had a '94 strat plus with gold lace sensors that I decided to swap out with some bare knuckles and get rid of the factory wiring and go with star grounding. Fairly simple job as I've managed quite a few times.
So I go to give it a test run and the bridge pickup plays fine while I get nothing from the other two. I double check the connections on the five way switch and all looks good. Test it out again and get the same result. So I swap out the 5 way with a new one and its still only the bridge that's functioning. I decide to do a fresh rewiring job, checking for any grounding issues making sure the tabs from the switch on the middle and neck pickups aren't rubbing against the cavity wall, loose blobs of solder, bare wires crossed, double check soldering points, etc... Everything looks good. Could it have something to do with bad pots? Could I have gotten a lemon set of pickups? I love Bare Knuckle brand pickups, but mistakes do happen. Does anyone have any thoughts on what I should try next. Right now my plan is to just try another 5 way switch, some new pots, and maybe even go back to standard wiring. Oh, and if anybody's wondering I'm using a .047 PIO cap. Thanks in advance for any advice.
Don't try a scattershot approach to troubleshooting; be systematic. You'll drive yourself crazy if you start randomly changing out components just to see if it fixes the problem.
First step should be to disconnect both ends of the N and M pups completely and test them with a multimeter to see if there is perhaps a pickup problem. Unlikely that you would get two bad ones, but again, we're starting at the beginning and going down the line. Next would be the 5-way, which you've already replaced, so odds of two bad ones is likewise small- but check it with the meter to be sure. Again, everything needs to be disconnected to check.
A pot problem is also unlikely since the volume pot is also common to the bridge pickup, and so must be functioning OK if you get signal from the bridge. Both tone pots would need to be bad for those to be the issue, again unlikely that two separate failures would occur, but you've already tried the obvious things.
Photos of the guts might help someone spot a problem, but they need to be well- focused closeups.
Thanks for the tips Newie. And you're right, its time I got a multimeter to start checking out individual pieces of the system. I'll see if I can get a pic up in awhile, but its always hard to tell from the crammed and jumbled mess. Can't hurt, though.