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EMG Pups music store messed up?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by TribalisticBass, Jul 15, 2005.

  1. I have installed EMG's in both my guitar & my bass, my bass sounds fine, currently running HZ's (passive). My guitar on the other hand sounds bad, squelling, feedback, lots of popping, (2-81's.) I was wondering if this could be caused by grounding an active Pup? Also how do I check for a ground? Only one music store in area, and I don't want to take it back to them.
  2. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    I take it you installed them? If you paid to have them installed, it's a no brainer - you bring it back.

    If you installed them, chances are good that there is a loose connection or a spot where it's possible that ground and signal are coming into contact. Active pickups have a third red lead that needs to be connected to a 9/18V source in order to make a sound. Go over your wiring with a fine-tooth comb looking for bad connections.
  3. I've taken it back three, or four times, they have never fixed it. I really would like it fixed but I don't they could do it. I have acctually taken many instrument into them and all they seem capable of doing is intonation and setting the truss rod.
  4. Acctually I didn't install them the music store did. It's been three years since the installation. The problem has been going on since I had it done. I have taken it back every time they get a new tech. I don't understand what it could be.
  5. Fasoldt Basses

    Fasoldt Basses

    Mar 22, 2005
    Stevens Point, WI
    Karl Thompson, Builder (Formerly Fat Karl)
    I'd ask for my money back, or have them try using some new pickups. It might be that the coil windings are broken.:meh:
  6. Techmonkey


    Sep 4, 2004
    Wales, UK
    My friend had a really similar problem before he got his Gibson LP, he used to use an Epi, and to enhance it he bought an EMG H4 passive pickup for the bridge. Even though circumstances are different, he had exactly the same problem. In the end he sold the pickup.
  7. With my last build, I found out that the EMG pots are EXTREMELY delicate and can be pooched with a sideways glance. I would get out the V/O meter and carefully check all of the pots for both continuity and proper resistance. Why continuity? Because I found that even with factory wired EMG pots, the design has a flaw that can result in the wiper going continuous with both the center and right lugs at all sweep settings. This can happen even when normal soldering temperatures have been maintained during installation.
  8. luknfur


    Jan 14, 2004

    3 years - you must not have much need for it.

    EMG discourages connecting the bridge ground to the harness and it's not needed for them. There woud be no adverse affect in tone from doing so but a shock hazard for the player.

    You can use a cheap meter to check grounds for continuity and pots for sweep. I noticed the EMG site recommended a master volume for those pups noteing they're exceptionally hot. Could be the signal is too much for the amp. You could drop the pups down to temper that. The feedback and squeal indicate too hot a singal or your sticking the guitar in the face of the amp/standing in front of it while playing? Those should be 25k pots, what are they? Do solder connections look like shiney silver or like porous grey welding slag? Does the wiring harness look like the diagram on the EMG site?

    Obvious checks include the clip and jack which frequently screw up.

    I seriously doubt there is a problem with the pups if they were knew or don't look like somebody took a hammer to them. I also doubt you've got a problem that couldn't be resolved with less than $20 in parts and about an hour of time - but I've been wrong before.
  9. Not really it's a guitar, I'm a bass player. :) I really only pick up my guitar (Epi LP) maybe once or twice a week, and even then I play it un-plugged, just got tired of hearing that noise.
    I have two vols, I didn't know about the recommended Master Vol. Thanks on that heads up. Signal to much for amp, very poss. playing through Crate GFX-65 I think (can't remember been a few years, our guitarist uses the same amp on his Ibanez Altcore, sounds fine.) Drop the pups down? I take it you mean back the pups away from the strings, I can try that. Not really standing in front of amp, learned that lesson pretty quick. 25k pots? Not sure, not sure how to tell either, they came in the box with pups, except the SPC mid-booster (I think). I will check solder connections when I get home (at work now). Don't have a diagram any more, will have to check the site.
    I acctually haven't checked myself, I would hope the music store had checked into that for $25, everytime I take it in, four times thus far.
    I really don't think/hope it's not the pups, as they have taken no abuse, besides being installed by amatuers. Thanks for a check list.
  10. luknfur


    Jan 14, 2004

    It struck me strange that a music store would turn out such a product to begin with - especially in a place like Monroe. Not that music stores don't do stupid things since after all they're ran by people. But the few people that walk in that door, they don't want walking out dissatisfied. The net has changed that some for some stores. Did the guitar do that in the store when you or they played it?

    If everything was new in terms of function when the installation was done, there probably is nothing wrong with the components themselves. The pots are 25K if they came with the pickups, and the resistance is stated on the sides of the pot. I would definetly verify the volume pots are not more than 25K. Any active control wll boost the signal and add to most any problem where too much output is already an issue. Since you've got an active control, what kind of shape is the battery in? Are you plugging the guitar into a passive input on the amp instead of active. Does the guitar do the same thing through your bass amp or any other amp? Yes by dropping the pups I mean pulling them away from the strings. If professionally installed they should be spring loaded and that you can tell by simply pushing down on the pup. If they don't give any, they're not spring loaded. Another common malfunction is the cord.

    According to the EMG site the SPC was intended to fatten singles to sound like HB's by broading and boosting the mids and cutting the top end and works well for HB's for slide. At any rate, that woud make mids in an HB huge so if you're trying to brighten them up by increasing trebles you may be fighting the way the guitar is designed to function.

    The Ibanez probably does fine because it doesn't have the output.
  11. it could very well be an output issue. I looked at the amp today, and it only has one input, no input for active systems. Also checked the soldering points, all looked fine, except one, and it looked like they melted most of the grey away, and replaced it with new shiney soldering. I guess I should have called them amatuers, but they couldn't figure out how to install all the stuff I wanted, and they did lose a part I payed for and I don't have it even to this day. I originally wanted to install two EMG 81's, SPC, EXG, PA-2, PI-2, with two independent vols. It was doable but I could see how it could be confusing. It took me 4 hrs. to figure out how to wire it. But I never had all the parts.
    Oh well, I've decided to get it re-wired, and I will try to do it myself this time.
    New question, I was thinking of going to a master vol, Can I use the blend knob from my bass to use as the pup selector? I was going to order a new EXG, install master vol, blend control, and run the SPC and EXG in-line direct to the output. I was going to leave the original pup selector installed for asthetic purposes only. Does anyone see a problem with that set-up?
    PS: I couldn't find a VU meter this morning to check the pots.
  12. luknfur


    Jan 14, 2004

    You never did say if the guitar exhibited the malfunctions in the store before you walked out the door with it, if it does it through your bass amp, or if you've tried it through any other amp aside from the crate, or whether it does it no matter where controls on the amp or guitar are set? If the crate only has a single input and no switching for active passive, it probably has compensation internally.

    Assuming the problem is in the guitar. The first thing to do would be to wire a single pup straight to the jack and see if that changes anything. If it doesn't, then there's issue with either the pup, the jack, the connections, or the guitar cord and adding anything between the jack and pup is simply loading cargo into a boat that don't float.
  13. eldave777


    May 24, 2005
    Make sure you have 25K pots.