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Problem with strat - my middle pickup stopped working

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  • Problem with strat - my middle pickup stopped working

    Hey everybody.
    I own a clapton strat, and was playing the other day and suddenly the middle pickup just stopped working. I opened it up to check that all the wires were still all connected and the solder joints were all still strong, and everything looked fine, at least to the eye.
    Is there something I can do to try and fix it? I'm not really keen on buying a new vintage noiseless pickup; they're quite expensive and it would be great to avoid that option and hopefully fix it somehow.
    Thanks for any suggestions in advance
    cheers
    Clapton Blackie Strat > Fender Blues Jr.

  • #2
    Did you check the 5-way switch, just in case?

    Also, here's a thread that explains how to check the pickups coils resistance:
    http://www.thegearpage.net/board/showthread.php?t=504706

    Good luck!

    Comment


    • #3
      Agreed. It's either the switch or the pickup.

      Switches don't usually just fail suddenly, unless one of the contacts breaks off. That's something you'd probably be able to see with a close inspection of the switch.

      I don't know the particulars of the pups in the guitar, but if they're typical of Fender pups then they have a solder eyelet on the base plate. If the coils wires aren't firmly bonded to the baseplate then they can vibrate, and eventually break. Take a good look at the coil wires near the solder eyelets.

      Owner/Engineer, Wattson Classic Electronics

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      • #4
        Hey guys thanks for the tips, I should have a chance tomorrow to open my guitar up again and take another look. I'll write back after I do.
        Sharptone: the link didn't work... ?
        cheers
        Clapton Blackie Strat > Fender Blues Jr.

        Comment


        • #5
          Pickups can fail. I have had it happen. Use an ohmeter to check continuity of all of the parts, well, really just the pickup or the switch.

          Comment


          • #6
            Any life in the pup when the switch is in 2 o 4? Put the switch in one of those positions & tap on the middle pup with a coin, pen, etc. If it barks you got a bad switch. If not it could be the pup, but could still be the switch. But that's unlikely. Try both 2 & 4 to make sure. Proper diagnosis will cure the patient.

            Comment


            • #7
              Sharptone: the link didn't work... ?


              I don't know why it doesn't work.

              Try a GOOGLE search with the following:

              Measuring pickups resistance? - The Gear Page

              Comment


              • #8
                Did you check the 5-way switch, just in case?

                Also, here's a thread that explains how to check the pickups coils resistance:
                http://www.thegearpage.net/board/showthread.php?t=504706

                Good luck!

                The link works, but your code for the link has quotes. bbcode doesn't use them, so it should just be

                {url=http://www.thegearpage.net/board/showthread.php?t=504706}http://www.thegearpage.net/board/showthread.php?t=504706{/url}

                Like that, except with brackets [ ] instead of braces { }. ****************ing {code} thing doesn't work for ****************.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Solder connections can crack too, but usually that's associated with an intermittent connection, or crackling. That is, unless a wire has completely come loose, but that's pretty rare. Reflowing the joints will fix bad solder joints.
                  Listen...

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Solder connections can crack too, but usually that's associated with an intermittent connection, or crackling. That is, unless a wire has completely come loose, but that's pretty rare. Reflowing the joints will fix bad solder joints.
                    This is something I like to do if I can't trace a problem down easily. At least you have eliminated the possibility. Process of elimination is still the only way. Don't care if it's a lawnmower or an L1011.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      This is something I like to do if I can't trace a problem down easily. At least you have eliminated the possibility. Process of elimination is still the only way. Don't care if it's a lawnmower or an L1011.


                      Exactly. I like to start with the easy stuff first. A cracked joint isn't aways something you can see with the naked eye, so for me, reflowing is the only way to be sure.

                      If that doesn't lead anywhere, I'd check continuity off all the switch settings.
                      Listen...

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        You can also, as a last resort, hard wire the pup in question to the output jack. Bypass everything. But a continuity check will usually identify the problem before then.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Hi Guys!! Have similar problem whit my American Special,the mid pickup dont work anymore......well after open and desolder try connect direct to jack and.....voila !!! works!!! The bad contact switch is the problem.......after little oil and push contacts work again......

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I wouldn't recommend oiling the switch - at least not the contacts. Contact cleaner, such as Caig DeOxIt, is a far better choice for cleaning the actual switch contacts.

                            As Belva said, a continuity tester (or better yet, a digital multi meter) is a great tool to have when you're troubleshooting switch / dead pickup issues. Between that, some contact cleaner and some solder and a soldering iron, a lot of issues can be figured out and quickly repaired - sometimes you might need a new switch too, but not always... and of course, the issue can sometimes be due to a dead pickup, but that's also easily checked with the use of a DMM...

                            **********

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