1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
     
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

Strange pickup volume problem

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by NicJimBass, Jan 9, 2012.


  1. NicJimBass

    NicJimBass Flossin'? I thought your name was Munson!

    Nov 22, 2004
    Lancaster, OH
    64 Audio · DR Strings · Source Audio · Hipshot
    Just picked up a Riverhead Unicorn headless bass for an 80's band I'm in. After playing with it, I noticed the bridge pickup sounds great, nice and beefy, but the neck pickup sounds very thin. Long story short, I investigated and found that if I wire the neck pickup straight to the jack, it sounds like the bridge pickup, which is what I want. If I wire it to a pot (250K), it sounds very thin, and if I turn the tone pot all the way down, there is barely any output from the pickup.

    The bridge pickup doesn't do this- on a volume and tone pot, everything works as it should (volume pot controls volume, tone cuts the highs).

    The fact that I can wire straight to the jack and get a good tone out of the neck pickup, yet any kind of load from a pot and it gets the life sucked out of it really baffles me. Anyone know what I can do?
     
  2. lug

    lug

    Feb 11, 2005
    League City, Tx
    Make sure you have the bridge pup turned all the way down when testing the neck pup, otherwise you could have a phase problem. If it still acts the same and it has 2 volumes and one tone, try switching the volume pots and see if the problem moves.
     
  3. NicJimBass

    NicJimBass Flossin'? I thought your name was Munson!

    Nov 22, 2004
    Lancaster, OH
    64 Audio · DR Strings · Source Audio · Hipshot
    I've turned the bridge pickup down, and I've also taken the bridge pickup out of the equation completely by disconnecting it. At one point, I had the neck pickup wired straight to the jack, but forgot I also had the tone pot wired to the jack... it acted the same with just the tone pot connected.

    I also have a 3-way switch I wired up to see if having only the switch made a difference. When the neck pickup was solo'd, it sounded fine. In the middle position (both pickups) the problem showed up again.

    I PM'd David @ SGD, and he said it may be a short somewhere. I may shorten the wire coming from the pickup and see if that alleviates it at all. I think there is a spot that looks like someone accidentally hit it with a soldering iron, although it doesn't look like it went deep enough to hit any wire.
     
  4. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    OK, now that you say it happens with both pickups on, it sounds like they are out of phase with each other.

    How many wires come out of each pickup?
     
  5. NicJimBass

    NicJimBass Flossin'? I thought your name was Munson!

    Nov 22, 2004
    Lancaster, OH
    64 Audio · DR Strings · Source Audio · Hipshot
    I misspoke- I wired both pickups to the 3 way switch, but did it incorrectly, as the bridge pickup wouldn't pass a signal at all, so the neck pickup was the only one giving me a signal at all. When a pickup is out of phase, is the correct fix to swap the hot and ground wires? I did that but nothing changed.

    There is one wire coming from each pickup. Inside that wire there is an insulated hot wire and ground wire surrounding it. These are single-coil pickups in a soapbar housing.
     

Share This Page