Neck pickup intermittently not working

Discussion in 'Epiphone Guitars' started by Beekeeper, Aug 5, 2018.

  1. Beekeeper

    Beekeeper New Member

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    I recently bought a 2013 Epiphone Les Paul Custom Pro TV Silver finish from a pawn shop. Paid $325 with a generic hard case. I am super stoked. When I played it at the shop the neck pickup wasn't working but figured that was something that could be fixed and for the price was worth it.
    It doesn't cut in and out while playing. It'll be total out then I open the back to look at the controls, scratch my head, touch a few wires then it works. Set it down for a few hours and when I come back the neck pickup doesn't work again.
    I put a multimeter on the switch and that seems to work. The volume pots are push/pull for coil splitting and have plug connectors.
    What is really weird is that one time I got no sound with the selector switch in both the neck and combined position. Another time there was no sound from the neck position but when combined I could hear the bridge pickup.
    Can anyone say that's indicative of something specific or do I need to do more testing?
     

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  2. Beekeeper

    Beekeeper New Member

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    Now that I'm looking for parts online (just in case) I am seeing lots of complete sets (Probucker pups with potentiometers and switch for around $70. Should I just buy one of those packs and replace it all?
     
  3. vomer

    vomer Well-Known Member

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    Hi Beekeeper, welcome and HNGD (Happy New Guitar Day)!

    That would be overkill. It should be fairly easily fixed. I can't tell anything from your photo though.

    For a pickup not to work there has to be either a wire broken/not making a good connection, or a wire shorting out.

    Hopefully the problem isn't inside the pickup. It sounds less likely, as you have found fiddling with the wires makes a difference. First thing I would do is check that the switch is making contact. If in doubt see if you can lightly bend the contact legs to make a firmer contact.

    Second thing, very very carefully inspect around the ends of all the wires to see if there are any stray strands which have come loose and are making contact with something they shouldn't. Even a strand to earth can kill your signal.

    Third thing would be to re-flow all the solder joints from the neck pickup's wires.

    See how you get on with those and let us know?
     
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  4. Davis Sharp

    Davis Sharp Well-Known Member

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    Nice and detailed diagnostic process from @vomer. I'm voting for a short somewhere. You could try wrapping the wire ends in electrical tape.
     
  5. DaveInSoCal

    DaveInSoCal Well-Known Member

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    That guitar sounds totally unreliable to me, you should get rid of it as soon as possible.

    I'll give you $50 for it as a public service of course.
    :rofl:

    Seriously though, since I see that your pickups are attached using Molex connectors, I would check for pins backing out of the connector.

    Welcome to Epiphone Talk!!
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2018
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  6. Raiyn

    Raiyn Well-Known Member

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    That's a distinct disadvantage to cheap Molex style connectors. They might be convenient for a quick pickup change, but I don't like the setup here. If it was me, and I HAD to have Molex, I'd have soldered connections on my switches and pots with the Molex connector on a pigtail rather than baked into the components.
     
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  7. vomer

    vomer Well-Known Member

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    Ah, is that what those are, I didn't know what I was looking at. I would probably ditch those on the basis that when it comes to wiring, simpler is better.
     
  8. BGood

    BGood Well-Known Member

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    Yep sounds like a bad contact somewhere in the cavity. Happened to me on my G400. With the amp on and some sound coming out of the guitar, I softly wiggled the wires one by one and found the culprit. A dab of solder then corrected the short.

    Not a bad idea to get some cleaner lubricant in a spray can and clean the pots and toggle, once or twice a year. That toggle will give you years of good service it you take care of it. Like vomer suggested, check the tension on the contacts, by taking it out of the guitar, so you'll be able to tighten the screws and make everything tidy.

    People tend to replace everything when there a little scratching, but 99% of the time, it's because some dirt got in there or something is loose. Of all the Epiphones I've had, I never had to replace a pot or a switch.
     
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  9. Raiyn

    Raiyn Well-Known Member

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    I considered using them on my Killer Frost build, (for the interchangeable pickguard setup) but I accomplished what I wanted with a set of bullet connectors which basically work the same way.
     
  10. Supersonic

    Supersonic Well-Known Member

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    Same here pretty much. My Epi LP toggle switch started making noises when switched and a little bit of contact cleaner eliminated the problem completely. It also works great for amps too. On my old 70's silverface, it made all kinds of crackling awfulness when I got it, but contact cleaner fixed most of it. I did have to replace 2 pots, but that's a lot better than replacing 10. Messing with amps is terrifying to me :ohno:
     

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