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Pickup Fade... Not Good


Hendrxapprentice
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Hey everyone,

I just bought a 1970s Cameo Les Paul copy and after changing the nut, fixing one of the tuners, and adjusting the action, i decided to plug it in. It sounded really nice but when i moved the switch to the neck pickup, no sound came out. I looked at the wiring and nothing was missing or came off. So, after re soldering a few questionable points, the neck pickup started working. But after i switched to the bridge and back to the neck, it turned off again. Now it just phases in and out. Is there any reason why this is happening???

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Hey everyone,

I just bought a 1970s Cameo Les Paul copy and after changing the nut, fixing one of the tuners, and adjusting the action, i decided to plug it in. It sounded really nice but when i moved the switch to the neck pickup, no sound came out. I looked at the wiring and nothing was missing or came off. So, after re soldering a few questionable points, the neck pickup started working. But after i switched to the bridge and back to the neck, it turned off again. Now it just phases in and out. Is there any reason why this is happening???

Sounds like the switch could be faulty. You could try cleaning it with some contact cleaner, but chances are good it really needs to be replaced.

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how come the switch works all the time for the bridge pickup, but not for the neck? Is that just another 8th wonder of the world?

It has to do with the construction of the switch - no magic, just the nature of materials.

The switch has 4 leaves made of spring steel - two on one side and two on the other. At the ends are the contacts, probably brass or copper "studs".

When the switch is in the middle position, those leaves on both sides are relaxed, causing them both to come together and make contact... at the contacts. When the switch is moved to one side or the other, one of the leaves is placed under tension, causing it to separate and break contact. The leaves that break contact is on the opposite side of where the switch is positioned - meaning that when the bridge pickup is selected, the leaves on the "neck" side are separated.

Over time, and depending on use... the actual physical construction of the particular switch and the actual materials used, one side or the other can become weak or what sometimes happens is that those leaves shift position. The result is a lack of adequate contact when the leaves should be together.

Sometimes, it can happen due to a piece of dirt or "dust clogging up the works" - which is why I use contact cleaner first. If that doesn't work, replacing the switch will.

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one other thing to try before buying a new switch is to take a small piece of 600-700 grit sandpaper and put it between the contact points on the blades. draw it out slowly with a little pressure on the blade..do this a couple of times and it will clean any corrosion that may have built up. if that and the contact cleaner don't help then it's probably trashed.

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Just work your way down the circuit with a multimeter. Put all your pots to 10 and see what the resistance is between the 'hot' wire and ground before the volume pot, after the volume pot and before and after the switch. This should highlight any faults.

To be honest it sounds like a dry solder joint. Ya might want to redo all the solder joints and see if that helps. Pickup faults are few and far between.

S

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