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Help please... swapped pickups and now dead tone control (pbass)

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by xed, Feb 5, 2011.

  1. xed


    Dec 8, 2007
    Coastal NC, USA
    Ok existing wiring was exactly like this and both volume and tone worked fine..


    This is Bill's wiring diagram, I've wired for series so no dpdt switch or anything like that.

    Here's exactly what I did...

    - Desolder white and black wires coming from old pickup from the locations where they connected to the volume pot

    - Solder red to green on the new pickup and heatshrink

    - Solder both blue wires and the black wire from new pickup all together and then solder them to the old black wire location (back of vol pot)

    - Solder white wire from new pickup to lug with existing white wire on volume pot (green in first diagram)

    Volume works fine, tone control acts as if it is wide open. I pulled out my ohm meter and checked the connection between white wire volume pot and white wire tone pot (green in first diagram) and it's fine. I also plugged up and tested with the pickguard laying to the side on the off chance that something was grounding out when I had put it back on the bass.

    It's two damn wires. What did I do wrong? For an encore maybe I'll try and fight my way out of a paper bag and fail miserably.
  2. xed


    Dec 8, 2007
    Coastal NC, USA
    any ideas? It's about the simplest pickup circuit and I'm hoping someone is going to pop up and say something like "it has to be A or B, there's nothing else it could be".
  3. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Owner/Builder @Hopkins Guitars
    Have you tried a new pot or capacitor? Could be a bad part
  4. fenderphil


    Sep 1, 2006
    Houston, TX
    maybe its not the wires. Maybe the cap has a bad connection to the pot or the lug?
  5. gjbassist

    gjbassist Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2005
    Kansas City, MO
    Triple check your wiring. I was having a similar issue last weekend with a new pup. Turned out I missed a wire. Check all your soldering and make sure you don't have any cold joints. If all else fails run the pickup straight to the jack to test it out. Could be you have an issue with the new pickup.
  6. xed


    Dec 8, 2007
    Coastal NC, USA
    The soldering I did only involved the volume pot and not the tone pot. Both volume and tone worked fine before I swapped the pickup so I would assume that the tone pot itself would still be fine. I did test the tone pot with my ohm meter and got max reading testing center lug to outer lug so I "think" the tone pot is ok.

    I looked to be sure that I didn't accidentally break the capacitor solder connections and they're fine. I guess there's the chance that I could have damaged the capacitor somehow.

    If the capacitor is toast but still soldered in correctly then would this cause my tone control to behave as if it was full on all the time? (even when I roll it back all the way off?)

    EDIT: ok so if the capacitor is dead then it will pass through charge instead of store charge correct? So if the capacitor is dead then even though the tone pot is good nothing would change since the capacitor would pass through all charge and thus no highs would bleed off? Did I get that right? So dead capacitor?
  7. gaffster787


    Aug 22, 2009
    yep..the cap shunts the higher freq's to ground. sometime too much soldering iron heat can kill a cap..
  8. xed


    Dec 8, 2007
    Coastal NC, USA
    I'm wondering if I had my iron either touching the cap or too near the cap or touching the cap lug while I was reaching around it to solder the white pu wire to volume pot lug.

    I'll pull out my ohm meter and check and see. Thanks.
  9. xed


    Dec 8, 2007
    Coastal NC, USA
    New cap and same problem. I give up. Bass goes back to the luthier tomorrow. I've had it.
  10. xed


    Dec 8, 2007
    Coastal NC, USA
    Here's a follow up in case it may help someone in the future.

    Turns out my wiring and cap were just fine; problem is that one of the pickup coils is shot. The luthier did the same thing I did thinking it was wiring or cap/pot. Finally he just disconnects the pickup and checks it and see's a reading that shows one coil is open. He and I had both assumed the brand new pickup wouldn't be the problem. I asked him how an open coil accounted for the tone not working. He explained it to me but I didn't follow. Anyways it made perfect sense to him so I've sent this brand new pickup back to Bill and Becky.

    I hope this was just a fluke but with the whole pickup being encased in epoxy I am a little concerned how a pickup with a bad coil made it out the door. Again, probably a fluke and just my bad luck.

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