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Gretsch Country Gentleman pickups

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  • Gretsch Country Gentleman pickups

    Guitar comes to me with dead neck pickup and bridge cutting out after playing for about 45 mins. However, when I opened the case I found no output at all from either pickup. I pulled the bridge pickup and as I pulled it out it started working. I could find no shorts, only that it would come add go as I handled it. Eventually it settled down and stayed working. Then I pulled the neck pickup, and found the same thing, sometimes it would work, and sometimes it would cut out, depending on how I was handling it. I found a spot on the windings that if I pressed on it, it would work. I put both back in the guitar and told the customer that even though both were working, they probably won't be reliable, and he should see about getting them rewound.

    Now my questions, this must be internal shorting, right? From corrosion or the coating breaking down and letting windings short to each other? I realize I could have disconnected and put a meter on them, but given how much a pain these guitars are to work on, I didn't think it was worth the effort. Can these be rewound? They are odd looking, a single coil with a magnet (I think) coming off the side. Anyone know who might know how to deal with these?
    It's weird, because it WAS working fine.....

  • #2
    Can you provide a pic so we can be sure what version you have and or if they are stock? The situation you describe sounds to me like either the coil ground has lifted where soldered to the metal parts and when you move it around it is making temporary contact. I think the pickup could be easily fixed with a little careful "surgery".
    Are you sure it's the pickup and not an issue with the control parts?
    Roadhouse Pickups

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    • #3
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      "The situation you describe sounds to me like either the coil ground has lifted where soldered to the metal parts and when you move it around it is making temporary contact."

      Negative. The grounds are solid. Touching in the middle of the tape makes them work or not.

      "Are you sure it's the pickup and not an issue with the control parts?"

      Positive. All electronics are functioning.
      It's weird, because it WAS working fine.....

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      • #4
        Instead of a short, it sounds more like a broke wire or open circuit.
        When you push on the coil it might be making contact, when you let go, open circuit.
        Just a guess.
        T


        "If Wishes Were Horses, Beggars Would Ride!" Scottish Proverb 1600s
        Terry

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        • #5
          I still don't think so. Same problem with both pickups.
          It's weird, because it WAS working fine.....

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          • #6
            Without the guitar, you're strictly speculating.
            It would have been hard for me to send it back intermittent.
            T


            "If Wishes Were Horses, Beggars Would Ride!" Scottish Proverb 1600s
            Terry

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            • #7
              My immediate suspicion would be the pigtail connections at the ends of the coils. Either they didn't effectively strip the magnet wire or the solder flux is causing problems. I'd have at least pulled the tape off and reheated the joints. I don't have a clue as to how these pickups are constructed so there may be Fender style eyelet terminations or some similar scheme but the fact remains that you have intermittent connections that aren't likely to be within the coil itself. If it were a wire short it would have to short the start to the outside end of the coil which while possible seems unlikely otherwise you'd hear some fraction of the signal coming out.

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              • #8
                I attempted to pull the tape that has been stuck to those windings for ~60 years to inspect the connections, but stopped because it sure looked like it was going to rip some windings out. I don't believe there are eyelets, it looks to be that the hot wire goes under the tape and connects there somehow.
                It's weird, because it WAS working fine.....

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                • #9
                  I think I'd give Tom Jones a call to see what he can tell you about these. A little heat blown on the tape should help it release, perhaps a squirt of naphtha too.

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                  • #10
                    You know, I am mostly an amp shop. I went as far as I am comfortable with this one. I took the guitar apart, reported my findings, got it working for now, and will let the owner shoulder the future. Can't be all things to all people.
                    It's weird, because it WAS working fine.....

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