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Problems With Low Output From Pickups


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i don't know what i am doing wrong, cuz i am wiring just a guitar with one pickup and one pot.

I wired the Kelly i built, it has a GFS crunchy paf pickup, comes with 4 wires and a bare , so, the green one is hot i wire it to the left pin of the pot, the black one is ground, that one goes to the back of the pot.

Red and white taped together, and bare goes to the back of the pot.

From the bridge i ran one cable, which goes to the back of the pot, and from the jack i run one cable which goes to the center pin and the other one that goes to the back of the pot.

And i get really LOW output from the pickup...

Happened the same when i tried wiring a Duncan JB pickup on another guitar, with the same config, one volume, one humbucker...except that on Duncan's the hot is the black cable and the green is ground...

what am i doing wrong??

Thanks guys :D

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Try wiring it straight to the output jack. Also, try measuring the DC resistance with a multimeter.

Also, a diagram would help. Pots are always depicted from the back. So if you're saying "left lug of pot" when looking at the FRONT, you would have the pot wired backwards and that might be a problem.

But try it wired straight to the jack. That will tell you if the pickup is bad.

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well the GFS pickup is brand new, i had used it on a guitar of a friend of mine who needed it for a gig, then we took it off...

The JB is not new, but i had it checked with a multimeter a couple of months ago, and it was working, didn't read the dc resistance though....

how do i wire a pickup straight from the jack?

Hot to the tip and bare and ground cables together to the sleeve of the jack?

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Different pickups have different color codes. Used alone it doesn't really matter about phase so hot and ground can effectively be interchanged in most cases for the same effect. The thing with an HB is that it is effectively 2 coils/pickups and so it sounds as if you might have the two coils in parallel instead of series creating a thinner brighter sound with half the output of the same thing is series, or possibly wired so one coil is shorted so it is only half working.

It is a little difficult to work out without seeing it but often I have found that I have had to play around with which of the 4 wires are joined together correctly.

You can wire direct to the output jack with no control at all but generally a single pot should not be hard and it is not likely to be the problem. A pot full up should have (ideally) no resistance...as you turn it it should run from 0 to full resistance up to the value of the pot. In reality there is usually a bit of resistance still with the pot in circuit. The real tone difference is that in say a 500k pot, there is 500k between the hot and shorting to earth when full up. So, the higher the resistance the more that stands between the hot shorting with ground. Therefore a 1M pot will be much brighter and fender intentionally used lower values like 250K to take the edge off the single coils by shunting some of the treble to ground.

So...perhaps try finding the codes for the actual pickup, use a multimeter to test values and wire it up in various ways till you get the fullest sound (series) where one coil goes through one coil and into the other. It is possible to connect the pickup hot and ground to a jack plug and simply hold the pickup over the strings upside down to here the result and try different combinations till you get it right.

Potentially, there could be some damage to the winding or internal short, but if the pickup has been working before and not handled too roughly, then this is unlikely. One way of damaging it is if you used excessive heat and perhaps melted the insulation within a shielded cable, if this is possible and there is enough length, cut off an inch and carefully strip the wires like new.

hope that helps and your problem is solved...


ps...check your strings are grounded via the bridge ;-)

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