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Need help with a guitar (SSH & 5way), same principles apply so please help!

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by K-Frog, May 21, 2011.


  1. K-Frog

    K-Frog

    Feb 6, 2002
    Camden, AR, USA
    Hey guys, a buddy needed help swapping in an EMG-HZ (H4).

    It's wired in series from the factory, so it swapped in just like his original.
    It initially worked fine, but then it died in positions 4 & 5 on the 5way switch. 4 = middle + bridge. 5 = bridge only.

    It seemed to be an intermittent problem so I opened it up and redid the solder joints just to be sure, though I've never had one of my joints fail.

    It worked great, but then failed again later, so I figure its a bad 5way switch. I swap it and it still doesn't work.
    The middle pickup works fine in position 3 (solo'ed).

    The only thing in common with position 4 & 5 is the bridge pickup.

    Is the new EMG pickup possibly having an intermittent fault, killing both pickups in position 4 and obviously no output in position 5?

    or something else?

    thanks in advance for your input.
     
  2. It sounds like there is a short on the bridge pickup's input.
     
  3. K-Frog

    K-Frog

    Feb 6, 2002
    Camden, AR, USA
    Would you suspect that is something internal to the pickup, or something with the way it may be hooked up? It is a brand new pickup. Should I return it?
     
  4. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    I'd say check your wiring again, and don't over heart solder joints. Also, try pulling the connector off the pickup and then slide it back on. It's possible the contacts are dirty.

    In position 4, you should still hear the middle pickup if the bridge is not working.

    When you say "It's wired in series from the factory, so it swapped in just like his original." do you mean the pickup is wired in series? Was the original also an EMG-HZ? Did you changed pickups because of this same problem?

    Also if the original was an EMG, did you just plug in the new pickup, or did you replace the whole cable?

    PLease give more info!
     
  5. Not if there is a short. The middle pickup cannot be audible with a 0 Ohm load against it. FWIW, I'm guessing this is a wiring issue rather than a pickup issue, though. It's unlikely for a pickup to develop a short. Usually if something happens to a pickup, it develops a break in the coil winding, which is the opposite issue.

    Check all solder joints and make sure there are no shorts, and use an Ohm meter if you have one.
     
  6. K-Frog

    K-Frog

    Feb 6, 2002
    Camden, AR, USA
     
  7. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    Is it old? I've never seen them without the connector.

    [​IMG]

    Next step is to unsolder the pickup from the switch and get a multi meter and check between the green and white, and red and black wires. You can leave the black and white together. If you don't get a reading on one of those pairs, then either the pickup's cable is bad, or a coil is dead.

    The fact that it worked and then stopped sounds like a bad cable. Also, if it does have a connector, make sure it's not connected upside down.
     
  8. K-Frog

    K-Frog

    Feb 6, 2002
    Camden, AR, USA
    You are correct. I was thinking of the set's that have the quick connect on the pot side, but this was just a single pickup with a quick connect harness on the pickup side, bare lead on the other end.

    I just popped it out, unplugged it and tested the coils seperately (they're good), jumpered them and test the series config (good also).

    I'll double check the cable orientation and hook it back up and check the cable tomake sure it's good.

    Thanks for the help, now plugging in the soldering iron.....:ninja:
     
  9. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    OK, then I wold say you have a bad cable. it might just need to be stripped back a few inches and redone, if you have enough wire. It might have been over heated, or bent too much.

    You can get replacement EMG cables:

    EMG Quick Connect Cable - HZ - Cables by GPDUSA.COM
     
  10. K-Frog

    K-Frog

    Feb 6, 2002
    Camden, AR, USA
    before unsoldering anything, I solo'ed each pickup with the swithch and then check the DC resistance from the switch lug to the output jack and got what I expected; ~6K on each single and ~13k on the humbucker.
    I plug it in and it's working.
    So far i've done nothing but plug and unplug the pickup harness. i guess I'll play it a while and see if it craps out again, or I could take the harness out and hook up meter leads and flex it and see if I can get it to fail.
     
  11. K-Frog

    K-Frog

    Feb 6, 2002
    Camden, AR, USA
    frustrating because this is how it worked after retouching a previous solder joint, before replacing the switch. It worked a while, the quit again. Quit at some other point and started working again.

    Intermittent failures can be the worst to figure out
     
  12. That particular pickup, or EMGs in general?
    The LJ5 J pickup that Tubby sent me just has the leads sticking out of the epoxy.
     
  13. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    The old EMGs don't have the quick connector. I still have a 40-J like that from the mid 80s. But they didn't make the HZ pickups back then. All the newer pickups have the quick connector.

    Here's a very old Overlend EMG I have. They used tan colored epoxy back then.

    Overlend_EMG.
     
  14. K-Frog

    K-Frog

    Feb 6, 2002
    Camden, AR, USA
    I talked with Rick at EMG today (helpful, but brief/impatient?) . He also suggested a possible bad cable and asked me to return pickup and cable so he could check it out.
     

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