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The pickups only work if I'm touching the pots with my fingers ..help please !!!

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Nixon1995, Dec 9, 2013.

  1. Nixon1995


    Dec 8, 2013
    Recently ,I've been restoring an old bass I had laying around. I've got all the paintjob and parts done . It's when I installed the pickups and pots together , the pickups only works when I'm touching the pots with my fingers ,I got all the wires connected correctly.I just don't know why it won't work ....help me please , I don't wish to bring it to the shop and throw money on something that is easily fixable .Thank you .
  2. GrumpiusMaximus

    GrumpiusMaximus I've Seen Things You People Wouldn't Believe

    Mar 11, 2013
    Kent, United Kingdom
    It sounds like a grounding issue. Make sure all your ground joints are electrically stable.
  3. Doctor J

    Doctor J

    Dec 23, 2005
    Take a decent picture of your wiring and post it here. Sounds like you've got your wires reversed and you're earthing your signal.
  4. smperry

    smperry Administrator Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 3, 2003
    Bay Area, CA
    Endorsing Artist: Martin Keith Guitars
    Moved to pickups and electronics
  5. Nixon1995


    Dec 8, 2013
    the solder on the back of my pots are dull and grey , not shiny and round like you see on other guitars ...does it affect the stability of it ? I cant seem to get it to be shiny and neat looking
  6. Nixon1995


    Dec 8, 2013
    i'd tried to reverse the wires but still no sound ...even when i touch the pots:(
  7. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Owner/Builder @Hopkins Guitars
    Like said before take a clear picture of your wiring. What kind of bass is it, what pickups, do you have a wiring diagram to compare your bass to?
  8. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    if it only works when you're touching the pots, then it is indeed a ground problem; something is not connected to ground, either the pickups, the pots or the jack, and your hand is making enough of a ground connection to get sound.
  9. BAce


    Jul 31, 2012
    Could be a bad pot. Hand pressure pushes on the wafer, making contact. Try running a temporary jumper wire right from the hot wire of the pickup to the "tip" solder lug on the output jack. Might as try the same thing on the cold side if that doesn't shed light on the problem.
  10. Nixon1995


    Dec 8, 2013
  11. Sounds like a cold solder joint to me. Shouldn't affect grounding, though. If anything, I would bet it's not a grounding issue though. I can't see the pic of the wiring as it's not coming up, so I'm just guessing. If it was a ground problem you'd get massive hum. If it's just like flipping a switch, though, I would say check the hot wires hooking to the pots. It's not unheard of to have the wire break inside the plastic coating. See if using fresh 22 guage stranded wire helps. Radioshack sells a 100 ft roll at $0.10/ft. Only $10, plus plenty for other projects. Let us know if that helps.
  12. Reversing the wires only reverses polarity. The hot wire has to be touching the ground wire to actually ground the signal.
  13. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Supporting Member

    That would be my guess as the problem, all joints should be shiny and smooth. I would correct them first and see if the issue persists.