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Guitar with crunchy / distorted sound (in different amps too)


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Hello everyone. I'm David.

I have an ESP LTD with EMG Pickups for about 6 years. Last week it started to get a "crunchy", somewhat distorted sound on the clean channel. 

- I tested it plugging directly to the amp, and the sound was still distorted. 

- Tried to plug in another amp in the clean channel, same result. 

- Tried another guitar (BC Rich Mocking bird with BCRich Pickups), same cables, and the sound came out crystal clear out of their clean channels. 

So it's obviously the guitar.


- Even when the volume knob is at 30% to 50%, the sound remains dirty and distorted.
- The sound seems less distorted when the neck pickup is up, and more distorted if the bridge pickup is selected.
- The pickups are not too close from the strings

What could it be? Something in the electric part of the guitar?

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Could be a dry solder joint. Open up the control cavity and look for any loose wires, fractured solder joints etc. It sounds like it affects both pickup equally, so it's likely that the fault is something that's common to both - the volume pot, tone pot, selector switch or output jack perhaps.

What model EMG pickups are they? Don't mean to state the obvious, but you're quite sure they are passive pickups?

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Yes, They are EMG-HZs, as long as I know, they're passive.

PS: Confirmed: http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/EMGH4BK

But I think you got it right at the first try. I unsolded all wires and tested each one separately, it seems that one of them (at the jack in) is acting up.

I'm gonna resold them and confirm later today after work.

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