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Help With Pickup Wiring

Astod A.

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I have just finished my homemade Hellraiser guitar and i went to install the pickup and it does not work right. The pickup is a new EMG HZ3, everything is new in the wiring. Its a 1 V 1 T setup, and I have wired it the way it said on the EMG webpage to the T. I can hear some ringing come from it, but only from the high e string, but sound dies off really fast. And if I touch the strings i get no sound at all. Like I said, everything is wired the way they said to, and I cant figure it out. Its a 5 wire pickup, is there another way to wire it up other then how they say? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Astod A.

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Unfortunately, with trouble-shooting, more information, pictures, etc. would be needed. Because to just take you at your word "everything is wired exactly correctly" the only answer is the obvious one: well, then, your pickup or another component is broken.

But it's easier to triple-check wiring than it is to go on a hunt for a broken component. More than once I've found myself staring at a diagram and the at my cavity and thinking, "this effing sucks, I KNOW I did it right" only to notice something that I had done wrong. On my last wiring job, it was that I had reversed the wires on the output jack (note, doing that wouldn't result in the symptoms you're describing). If you have access to a multimeter, there are any number of things you could check before pulling it all apart, and I believe you can even check the resistance of the pickups themselves without actually desoldering them. To be honest, I've never had to do exhaustive multimeter checks with wiring that's already in-place, so a more experienced person could better advise.

Pickups aside, you should be able to check the point-to-point wiring of your wiring to make sure you're getting continuity (for example, the wire from the volume lug to the switch, or if it's a more complex switch, the wires from one lug to another). In those cases, you want to make sure your multimeter tips are touching the LUGS, not the wire itself... if you're not getting continuity, THEN you check the wire itself to see if it's a physical problem with the wire, or a problem with your solder joint.

In any event, I'm not an expert, just a hack... my recommendation can and should be commented on by pros, but my steps would be:

1. Triple-and-quadruple check your wiring. You might be overlooking something, the same way a writer can overlook a misspelled word a dozen times because the brain has convinced him it's correct. Orient your knobs and switches either physically (if possible), on paper, or mentally to match the diagram, so that you can be absolutely sure you're wiring to the right lugs, etc.

2. Check the things that can be checked without desoldering (point-to-point, and possibly the pickup resistance which will give you a clue as to whether it's working or not)

3. All else failing, pull'er apart again and begin checking components separately.

Steps 2 and 3 will require a multimeter, so if you don't have one already, borrow one or buy one (you can get a cheap one for little money, and you'll likely use it again in your life, so it's not money wasted!)


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