McCarty Smokeburst - all of sudden, bridge pickup is lame...

Discussion in 'PTC - PRS Tech Center' started by DaveNJ, May 31, 2019.

  1. DaveNJ

    DaveNJ New Member

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    Maybe lame subject, but something weird happened - not sure where to start...

    It's a 2009 McCarty Smokeburst with the original 57/08s in it.

    I had this guitar in the PTC a while back when there was a grounding issue and Skitchy sorted it and also changed the split resistors to what I think may have been the DGT ones - not sure, but he said it was better - and it was!

    Fast forward to a few days ago - I'm playing and then I pull the tone pot to split the pickups and something's different - here's a rundown of what the current situation is:
    1. With the full humbuckers in use, the bridge pickup's output is a lot less than the neck.
    2. When I pull the tone pot up and split them, the bridge pickup's output is way low and the tone pot doesn't seem to do anything
    3. The neck pickup - in either mode, split or full - just seems to be "more" than what it used to be.
    I have a spare PRS split tone pot and I put it in (without the resistors - just wanted to see if it addressed the main issue with the bridge pickup) but there was no difference.

    I don't have a meter handy to test my bridge pickup (57/08) but what should I be looking at?
     
  2. garrett

    garrett knows just enough to be dangerous

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    You replaced the pot, so that rules out previous equipment failure and bad solder joints there.

    Check the toggle to make sure you are getting a good positive mechanical connection. Make sure the metal contacts are clean. How do things sound in the middle position?

    Check the bridge pickup's ground and hot connections. Reflow the solder joints.

    Completely unscientific: Fiddle with the wires while on the bridge position, controls up, connected to the amp. Sometimes that help identify a bad connection.

    Other than that, you need to get a meter on it. Any decent guitar shop can check it for you without being invasive. Just plug in a cable, turn all controls up, put the meter leads on the jack plug, take measurements in the different switch positions. If the bridge pickup shows unusually low resistance numbers, it might be faulty.
     
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  3. DaveNJ

    DaveNJ New Member

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    Thanks, man - I'll check the switch later on tonight.. . The middle position works but that neck pickup being overbearing is a concern. I'll have my buddy look at it tomorrow and measure the pickup outputs...
     
  4. DaveNJ

    DaveNJ New Member

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    Ok, so I had my buddy take a look at it today and got some measurements...

    Plugging in a 1/4" jack and reading the end I got:

    Humbuckers
    Bridge - 4.95
    Middle - 3.02
    Neck - 7.56

    Coil Split
    Bridge - 2.36
    Middle - 1.58
    Neck - 4.67

    He said it looks like the bridge pickup is only putting out ~1/2 power. He checked the solder joints and measured the pickup directly and the bridge pickup was jumping around - 7.80 up to 9, down lower...

    I think it may need to see the dr...
     
  5. AP515

    AP515 Mostly Normal

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    It looks to me like you neck PU is fine but the bridge has one of the coils missing. It may be shorted to ground. You say it happened when you pulled up on the tone pot to get a split. It could be that the pot is shorting out the coil. Something has half the resistance shorted to ground.
     
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  6. DaveNJ

    DaveNJ New Member

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    Yeah, but I replaced the tone pot with another PRS push pull and got the same results (not with the split, as I didn't install the resistors or split the pickups at all).

    Also, the neck pickup just doesn't "sound right" - maybe it's just because the bridge is anemic, but it seems like it's too woolly now...
     
  7. garrett

    garrett knows just enough to be dangerous

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    You have a short in the bridge pickup. Either needs attention from a good pickup winder or you'll have to replace it.
     
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  8. DaveNJ

    DaveNJ New Member

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    Yeah, gonna call the PTC tomorrow...
     
  9. DaveNJ

    DaveNJ New Member

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    Dropped it off on Wednesday - I’ll wait to see what they come up with...
     
  10. John Beef

    John Beef Opaque

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    I agree that it sounds like the pickup is the problem... it happens. But my real reason for posting is that everyone who works on guitar electronics should have a multimeter. It's an essenital tool for figuring out problems. Also, guitar electronics are about as simple as it gets so you don't need anything fancy. I have this one and it works great for $23.
    https://www.amazon.com/Extech-MN35-Digital-Mini-MultiMeter/dp/B0012VWR20/
     
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  11. DaveNJ

    DaveNJ New Member

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    PTC is fixing me up!
     
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