Fender PJ Bass Pickup Troubleshooting

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by shauryamanga, Feb 21, 2018.

  1. shauryamanga


    May 17, 2009
    Hey guys
    I've been a lurker here for a few years now, never posted anything before. I could really use some help since I'm located in India and there are no authorized service centers in my country (still! crazy right?!)

    The Bass Fender PJ Deluxe (Sea Foam Pearl, a real beauty).
    Purchased from a GC in Houston.

    The Issue & Symptoms
    I am getting no output from the Bridge Pickup ("J" type single coil).
    The split coil ("P" pickup) is working fine.
    There is a very light hum and what sounds like mild electrical disturbance from the J pickup (almost inaudible).
    Basically in tandem or isolated use, the J pickup seems to have gone kaput.

    What I've done so far:

    Connected the pickup to the output jack directly - No output
    Connected the P pickup to the J volume pot - Getting Output; proving that the J volume pot is working fine
    Checked for broken wiring - Nothing Found
    Tried adjusting pickup height - No improvement.
    Checked wire connections on the pickup - They look fine.

    When touching the P pickup with a pick end I'm getting the standard "click" response.
    When doing the same to the J pickup, the sound is more like a distorted buzz and not a crisp "click."

    I have not opened the pickup past the seal. From the outside, all connections and supporting components (jacks, pots) look intact and seem to be working fine.

    Can someone please guide me how to proceed. I'm really stressing out over my baby :(

    Thanks in advance!
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2018
  2. Flippy


    Jun 9, 2017
    Here's your problem sir. Check if the pickup coil wire is properly connected to pickup wires. If all seems fine, I'm afraid you'll need to get a new pickup.
  3. shauryamanga


    May 17, 2009
    Do you mean check the coil wire connection to the terminal from inside the pickup?
  4. Heavy Blue

    Heavy Blue

    Nov 11, 2017
    Prairie Canada
    Hi Shaury. Welcome to TB. I'm pretty new here too.

    If you have an ohmmeter or a DMM put the leads on the pickup's leads & check the pickup's DCR. If it's open it'll read infinite.

    An easy way of doing this without tearing everything apart is to turn the P pickup volume all the way down, the J pickup volume all the way up then and put a lead in the output jack then put one DMM lead on the tip and the other on the sleeve of the other end of the lead. You already know the pot, tone circuit, and output jack are good so it should tell you if the pickup is good. It won't be completely accurate for the pickup's DCR but it will tell you if it has continuity.

    TBH I'm not familiar with the Deluxe but I'm presuming it has one tone control, yes?

    If it does read open it may be just a lead coming off right at the bobbin where it connects to the pickup winding. If this is the case a tech/competent helper or yourself (if you can solder) can just solder the lead back on. I had this exact thing happen to me a month ago.

    Good luck and feel free to keep asking questions!
  5. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY

    Check the coil wire at the eyelets on the bobbin with eyes and meter. If not broken, reflow the solder and recheck with meter.
  6. shauryamanga


    May 17, 2009
    Hello! Thanks for taking the time to reply.

    I opened up the pickguard, flipped over the pickup and tested it for continuity. The two bobbins(?) on the side opposite the terminals (which are visibly shorted) were continuous. When checking across the terminals, I got nothing.

    I'll try resoldering the terminal connections and revert back here.
    Now that you mention it, I'm hoping this works since it's not like there is NO output from the pickup; I am getting a very weak, noisy signal

    Yes, the Deluxe has the VVT config and mines a beautiful sea foam pearl finish :D
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2018
  7. shauryamanga


    May 17, 2009
    Hey 96tbrid
    I checked the connections of the cables to the pickup and they seemed intact. Using a multimeter I checked continuity across the visibly shorted terminals and they seem fine. When using the electrodes across the terminals (where the wires are connected) it was not continuous. I feel there could be a broken winding.

    Not sure if opening the pickup is a good idea since its epoxy filled so I don't think I'll be able to refit it. I'll definitely reflow the solder and revert back here.
    Thanks for your help!
  8. Axstar

    Axstar Inactive

    Jul 8, 2016
    What sort of pickup is it? Did you measure the DC Resistance of the coil?
  9. shauryamanga


    May 17, 2009
    Tried to re-solder the joints. No change.

    Axstar: It's a Fender Noiseless Bridge Pickup (NOT split coil).
    I haven't tried to measure the DC resistance yet. What am I looking for exactly?
  10. Axstar

    Axstar Inactive

    Jul 8, 2016
    Alrighty! Those other noiseless Fender pickups have an upper and lower coil. The lower coil is a dummy coil. The overall DC resistance of the pickup should be about 7.5 k ohms (as per Google). This should be split roughly evenly between each coil of the pickup, so it might be worth checking the resistance of each coil (at 3.75 k ohms per coil). It might be that one coil is intact and the other is broken.

    The pickup should look like this:

  11. ScrewDevil

    ScrewDevil Guest

    Feb 18, 2018
    I say buy a new bass. But that's my answer to everything. Lol Really, I'd say the above posts contain some very sound advice.
  12. shauryamanga


    May 17, 2009

    Tried to re-solder the pickup connections and am finally getting an output.
    Issue is, the volume is so low (and kinda noisy) that I can only hear it if I turn the Gain on my amp to full.
    There is a "pop" when I touch the coil tappings but it's definitely not as loud or defined as when I touch the coil winding on the P style pickup.
    Any advice?
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2018
  13. shauryamanga


    May 17, 2009
    If only my wallet agreed with you :p
  14. shauryamanga


    May 17, 2009
    Hi guys! Decided to go with the DiMarzio P+J Replacement Set. Thanks for the help!
    Will try a DIY rewinding for the blown pickup and post updates here once done.
  15. Flippy


    Jun 9, 2017
    Ooh, I was looking at those lately. Please let us know how you like them once you try them :)
  16. shauryamanga


    May 17, 2009
    Closing the loop here.
    This is a 30 day review of the DiMarzio P+J set and they are amazing. Took a little overall height setting and individual pole setting (great feature BTW) to get them sounding "just right" in terms of even volume across both pickups and all 4 strings but MAN OH MAN. THESE SOUND GREAT. Completely transformed my bass tone (for the better).

    Running these through
    Boss Noise Suppressor > MXR Bass Preamp > MXR Studio Compressor > EHX Bass Big Muff Pi > Boss ODB-3
    and the tone is monstrous. Perfect for my Desert Rock band.

    Thanks everyone for the help and support!
    Cheers =)
    Flippy likes this.
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