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J Bass (EMG) wiring help

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by matttheaxe, Jan 28, 2013.

  1. matttheaxe


    Apr 26, 2009
    Just got a complete active EMG J-set. It was used and came out of another bass (eBay deal:meh:) and something isn't working right.
    I went over all of the instructions to the T and there are no weak spots in the soldering. most of the set was already complete. All I had to do was solder the pup ground wires and connect 4 hot wires. Two from pups, one from acive circuit and one from the + battery lead together.
    Those look like a cluster but is for testing only. I'll re-do it if all works
    I made sure the pup wires did not become detatched

    I get nothing. I can hear the slightest change in some cable hiss when I increase the active treble dial but thats it.
    No noise from tapping on the pups or hot connections on the vol pots.

    The pic isn't the greatest but see if anything looks off. The only thing extra I did was to add a ground wire from the pot ground to the bridge.
  2. 20db pad

    20db pad

    Feb 11, 2003
    I been everywhere, man...
    None. At all.
    First thing I'd do is wire up each pickup to a jack and tap them just to eliminate the possibility that the pickups themselves are faulty.

    Second, as I know older EMG pickups, the pickup leads have a braided section that is soldered to ground, and inside that is the hot wire, which is has white insulation. In the above pic, I don't see the hot from the pickup going to the proper leg of the pot at all. Maybe there's something I'm missing, but going by the picture, that's the major problem I see. I'd also tape over the exposed leads on the red battery wires, to prevent them from touching/shorting something when the wiring is finally packed into the bass body.

    These look like older EMG JJ, which aren't the current solderless system that is documented on the EMG site now. With the older ones, you had to solder the white (hot) to the middle leg of the pot, then when that was done, you'd solder the silver coax to the top of the pot. IIRC, EMG stuff came ready to go, and the leads were trimmed so you could easily install them this way. In your case, unsoldering, removal and wire stripping would have to happen, which can be done with patience and slow going.

    If you don't get what I mean I'll post a little diagram.
  3. matttheaxe


    Apr 26, 2009
    Yes. That could be it!
    The braided wire was cut clean and there probably is the hot wire inside. It just did not look like it. I have never installed active pups, so I'm new at this. I do like learning and want to get it right myself.
    The exposed red wires were just for testing purposes. I'll cover them.

    Thanks a bunch!
  4. 20db pad

    20db pad

    Feb 11, 2003
    I been everywhere, man...
    None. At all.
    Kool beans....looks like the short white wires from the tops of the pots to the middle leg of the pots will have to go, and then reinstall the EMG leads as I described. I can't confidently say for sure that's the only problem, but from the looks of it, it may be the solution.
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