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Thread: Where to look for a problem with new wiring producing no sound

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    Where to look for a problem with new wiring producing no sound

    Hello:

    I just rewired a knock-off hollow-body Tele. It had gotten wonderful reviews online, but when I got it home, it was just terrible. I have to wonder whether the manufacturer and family and friends were responsible for the wonderful reviews. I plugged it in and got the worst hum I've ever heard from a guitar in my life. The fret ends were so sharp, I could have cut the skin of my left hand playing the thing. I could not produce any musical sound worth listening to on it.

    My response was to decide to rewire it and upgrade it. I got new pickups. I got a wiring kit with a four-way switch. I got heavy brass bridge saddles. I got tools to dress the frets, which were just awful. Anyway, I am confident of my soldering technique, followed the schematic carefully, cautiously checked all connections by gently tugging on them, and all appeared fine, but when I got it all put together and plugged it in, there was no sound through any of the 4 pickup selectors.

    The instructions said that if neither a metal control plate or some kind of shielding plate was being used, the tone pot needed to be grounded to the volume pot. With the horrendous hum when the guitar was new, I painted all of the cavities with conducting paint and used the plastic finger guard, to which the neck pickup is mounted, with a foil shield pasted on the underside, in direct contact with a considerable area of the conducting paint. I was unsure, even though I thought it likely, whether this was what they meant by a shielding plate, so I did ground the tone pot to the volume pot. Is there potential that that is why I am getting no sound, or is that just a redundancy that shouldn't cause an adverse effect? I think I have a half a memory that too many ground connections can cause trouble, and that would certainly be an easy thing to fix if it is the likely cause. If that does not seem a likely explanation, though, how on earth do I sort this out, when everything looked just as it was supposed to be?

    Rob

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    Supporting Member eschertron's Avatar
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    "no sound" can result from a simple wiring mistake at any number of points in the wiring harness. With all the wiring new, then all the wiring becomes suspect. A lot of ground to cover.
    If you can, post pictures that show the entire cavity, and annotate which wires/colors go to which pickups. Four-way switch? Please post what it's supposed to do and how it is supposed to wired up. Maybe help can come that way.

    If there is a ground connection missing, that could kill the sound. But again, lots of choices. If the grounds are not optimal (but present), you'll get a little extra noise in your signal.

    Just thinking out loud. No sound? No crackling when the pots are turned? No hiss, no hum? Start with the jack wiring.

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    Quote Originally Posted by eschertron View Post
    "no sound" can result from a simple wiring mistake at any number of points in the wiring harness. With all the wiring new, then all the wiring becomes suspect. A lot of ground to cover.
    If you can, post pictures that show the entire cavity, and annotate which wires/colors go to which pickups. Four-way switch? Please post what it's supposed to do and how it is supposed to wired up. Maybe help can come that way.

    If there is a ground connection missing, that could kill the sound. But again, lots of choices. If the grounds are not optimal (but present), you'll get a little extra noise in your signal.

    Just thinking out loud. No sound? No crackling when the pots are turned? No hiss, no hum? Start with the jack wiring.
    Thanks for your prompt reply. Boy, did this get me thinking about a lot of stuff. It is really too much for me to include in detail in this context, so I will try to keep somewhat brief and focused.

    I will follow your last recommendation, to start with the output jack. In fact, just before I went to bed last night, I looked that topic up online and came to find that one of the resources I had used mislabeled which terminal was which, so I went to bed hoping all I would have to do is pull out the outlet and switch the wires. Unfortunately, I found another discussion this morning that said, if the lead and ground are switched on the output, you should still get sound, but it will just be muddy, noisy, and ugly. For now, I am going to hope that individual was mistaken, because to have to sort this out otherwise will represent a huge inconvenient mess.

    Part of the problem is that all the wiring is done on the back of the pick guard. There is a cavity for the wiring to fit into, but you can't view it in the cavity. It's just a narrow hole in the front of the body of the guitar for the wiring to fit into. If switching lead and ground on the jack doesn't fix the problem, it will be a mess. I will have to remove the strings and then remove the neck pup from the pick guard, before I can flip it over to assess the problem. Then to test whatever I think might have fixed it, I will have to remount the pickup, then the pick guard, and finally the strings. That is absurd. In fact, if it is not the jack, I can only wonder if damage was done to my correctly done wiring by having to jam it down into the narrow cavity sight unseen. In the end, I've come to the conclusion, that if rewiring the jack doesn't fix the problem, I am going to open the body up from the back to enlarge the wiring cavity and allow testing and examination of the contents without having to take the guitar apart like that. It will be a job, but it will be far less of a nuisance than trying to figure it out as it is. I would then just have to enlarge the cavity, open it up to the back of the guitar, paint the newly exposed surfaces with electrical paint, and create a cover plate for the new opening in the back of the instrument. That would allow me to test my work until it was functional in a sane manner.

    Thanks, again. Rob

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    There's an old technique called the 'disruption test'. Basically. plug the guitar in and use an uninsulated metal probe to check through the main connection points in your guitar. Begin with the hot terminal of the output socket. Loud buzz? move to where that connects. Then back from there through pots and switches. Turn your pots right up. Everywhere you would expect to get a signal, you should hear a buzz through your amp when you touch that point.

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    I'd try a few simple measurements before cutting a hole in the back.
    You can also do simple measurements to check the control plate wiring before final assembly.

    Do you have a digital multimeter? A cheap one will be good enough.
    Connect a cord to the guitar and check for continuity (< 1 ohm) between the sleeve of the jack and the guitar's bridge and control plate. Then connect the meter between the jack tip and sleeve, turn the vol pot fully CW and measure the resistance in each position of the PU switch. For a stock Tele it should measure something like 6k in the bridge and neck positions and 3k in the middle position (I'm not sure what your fourth position does). Now turn the vol to zero and it should measure low resistance (< a few ohms) for all PU selections.

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    ToneOholic! big_teee's Avatar
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    Like Dave H said.
    I start with a guitar cord plugged into jack and start checking ohms continuity from the jack to pots and switch, with a multimeter.
    Like said, some pictures will help on advice on how to proceed.
    GL,
    T

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave H View Post
    I'd try a few simple measurements before cutting a hole in the back.
    You can also do simple measurements to check the control plate wiring before final assembly.

    Do you have a digital multimeter? A cheap one will be good enough.
    Connect a cord to the guitar and check for continuity (< 1 ohm) between the sleeve of the jack and the guitar's bridge and control plate. Then connect the meter between the jack tip and sleeve, turn the vol pot fully CW and measure the resistance in each position of the PU switch. For a stock Tele it should measure something like 6k in the bridge and neck positions and 3k in the middle position (I'm not sure what your fourth position does). Now turn the vol to zero and it should measure low resistance (< a few ohms) for all PU selections.
    I thank all who have responded but am responding to you because you didn't like my idea of cutting into the back of the guitar. I'll put it this way. I am very confident of my soldering and followed the schematic flawlessly. I have done ridiculously more complex projects than this and had no problem whatsoever, and I checked everything carefully before I put this guitar together. The main problem as I assembled it was that it required a somewhat uncomfortable push to make the wiring fit in the existing cavity, and I must wonder if, with the four-way switch that came with the wiring kit I got, it is just a bit too large to fit in the existing cavity with the wiring, and pushing it into place either pulled a connection loose or resulted in a ground to the conductive paint I coated the cavity with at a point in the wiring where a ground connection is, let's say, inconvenient.

    This is not a collectible instrument that I will be diminishing the value of by cutting into it. It is a knock-off hollow-bodied Tele by a brand that turned out to be much junkier than the reviews suggested (which is exactly why I rewired the thing in the first place). It will be a bit of a nuisance to do the work, but I am a woodworker, and I have done similar work on guitars before. One of my complex projects was to take an Ibanez solid-body that I found cheap at a flea market, put some much better pickups on it, insulate the cavities, and rewire it to have four pots and 6 mini switches. The fourth pot is a tone control I built that uses a rotary selector switch to choose among 6 capacitors. It's huge. The mini switches allow me to select among the two single coils in neck and mid positions and either pole of the bridge humbucker and then have them running in parallel or series and in and out of phase. You have to know I was compelled to enlarge the wiring cavity dramatically to fit all that stuff in there, but it worked fine. I got a sheet of cover plate material and made plates for front and back that look like they could have been original to the instrument. And again, as complicated as that project was, it works fine. I am very careful with electronic work.

    I have a good quality multi-meter by Fluke, but the problem is, I already know without question that something is not right, and the only way I can really determine what it is is to disassemble the instrument. That is not a small or insignificant trick. It means removing a perfectly good, brand new set of strings that will not go back on this guitar and may be wasted (with the bend in the end of the strings from having been wound on the tuners, they get caught up on the back of the pick guard coming through the instrument and will not push through). It means the nuisance of disconnecting the neck pup from the pick guard. Neither of those is a life altering event, but the potential of having to do them repeatedly turns me off.
    Then I could determine what got fouled up when I forced the electronics into the tiny, narrow cavity, and fix whatever it is, and just mess it up again and potentially go through the whole thing repeatedly, by having something fouled up when I again try to make things fit where they really don't quite fit.

    If I open up the cavity from the back, it will offer two major benefits that will put this to rest. First, it will make it so things fit better and I don't have to worry about damaging the wiring or creating a short by trying to make it fit together. It will be deeper, so the switch should not come close to reaching the back of the cavity, and I can make it wider, too, to leave more room for the wires. Second, if in spite of that I put it together and still have a problem, I'll be able to do exhaustive analysis and find and potentially repair the problem without taking the instrument apart yet again. It is a junk guitar that I hope to make work better than it was designed to work, and it won't bother me at all to have access to the electronics through the back of the instrument, even though it was not an intended part of the design. It's not the dire error I would make if I cut open the back of a true Tele.

    Thanks, again. Rob

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    Thanks, Mick. That is the basis of the whole problem, as I have outlined it in my detailed response to Dave H. I can't test anything on this other than the pups, the bridge block, and the output jack, unless I disassemble the guitar, and that was the basis for my putting the question up. Basically, I couldn't figure out how to assess the problem and reassemble the guitar without potentially recreating the damage and having to go through the whole thing all over again, and I just didn't want to go through that. I have decided, since this is a nothing special knock-off guitar, to open the wiring cavity right through to the back of the instrument and enlarge it. Then there will be less likelihood of damage on reassembling it once I've corrected the wiring, and if there is a problem, I may be able to deal with it without taking the guitar apart yet again, just by working through the open back of the cavity. Thanks for your suggestion. I will apply that when I do disassemble the guitar and try to figure out what went wrong. Rob

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    Thanks, Terry. I will apply your recommendation when I get to that point. I don't think putting pictures up will help. The schematics are straightforward and certainly not part of the problem, and the wiring is tight enough that it would be really hard to tell looking at the photos I took what's what or to hope to find a problem from looking at the photos. Thanks, again. Rob

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    Quote Originally Posted by RobRed View Post
    responding to you because you didn't like my idea of cutting into the back of the guitar.
    Of course, it's your guitar and who cares if you turn it into swiss cheese. BUT, plenty of other folks (including me) have wired up teles of all sorts, put in and taken out 4 way switches, added middle pickups, then 5-way switches, added extra controls, turned the whole control plate backwards, piezo bridges, all sorts of things, but never had to carve a hole in the back of the instrument. Without going on for 4 long paragraphs, you CAN solve your problem without doing that. AND, even if you do add a rear access plate, I doubt it's going to make the solution to your problem any easier.

    I'll leave finding the solution to you and those other MEFsters who have been brave enough to answer so far.

    What does intrigue us, is who made the dam' thing, so we and others can avoid them. Naming the half ass builder would be a public service we all could appreciate.

    I wish you the best of luck. And don't forget, making mistakes is the way we learn. I'm no better than anyone else - I've made plenty. When you get your Tele working the way you want, you will have learned something, that's for sure.

    Over 'n out.

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    Hello, Leo:

    As I tried to explain in a response to another helpful soul, I think the problem may be that in this make-believe tele, the cavity is not quite large enough for the wiring and the four-way switch to fit comfortably, as the switch is bigger and bulkier than the original, and the cavity is markedly narrow and shallow. I don't think allowing the wiring more space and giving myself direct access to avoid this becoming an ongoing, repetitive nuisance can legitimately be compared to making Swiss cheese, although I recognize you meant that humorously. This thing is more of a nuisance to me than I want to know about, though, so I am going to do what strikes me as giving the greatest likelihood of putting it to rest promptly. It was not a complicated wiring problem, I have done much more complicated wiring without issue (I've never had a problem with wiring a guitar and in response to another soul, I described one absurd guitar project I did that had all sorts of room for errors, and it came out just fine), and I was confident with good reason that I had wired it up appropriately. I really think I'm going to find either that on my having to force the wiring and the four-way switch into a cavity too small for it (remember, this is not a Fender--the cavity is tiny), that either something got torn loose or it got pushed up against something it should not be in contact with. It's as simple as that. I am not looking for a tremendous learning experience here. I won't go into detail, but my life is very complex and distracted, and I just don't have the time to make this a long-term learning endeavor. It's three years since I bought the thing, I bought the pups not long after that, and it took me this long to even be able to think about trying to fix it. I just want it to play, and I actually like the idea of having a cavity that can be accessed without taking the guitar apart. I'm not trying to prove anything to anybody, I'm not going to be showing it off to anyone (it's unlikely another soul will ever see the back of it), and it is nothing I would ever hope to sell to anyone, never mind a person who might be critical that I had put a cover plate where it didn't belong.

    The brand is Xaviere. It got all these tremendous reviews. I always liked playing blues on hollow-bodied Teles in shops, but I own 22 other guitars already, and I just couldn't afford the Fender, so I thought if this was as great as they described it, for the cost it went for (which I no longer recall), it would be great. Well, the guitar had the worst hum I've ever heard (it allowed for no appreciation of musical sound at all), which is what led me to rewire it. On top of that, the frets were a joke. They hadn't been dressed at all and stuck out sharp on either side of the fretboard. That is how I came to the conclusion that the bulk of the reviews must have come from the manufacturer and friends or family members thereof, but maybe I just got a clinker. Thanks for your input. Rob

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    Old Timer Leo_Gnardo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RobRed View Post
    I really think I'm going to find either that on my having to force the wiring and the four-way switch into a cavity too small for it (remember, this is not a Fender--the cavity is tiny), that either something got torn loose or it got pushed up against something it should not be in contact with. It's as simple as that.
    Well I had that thought too. I doesn't solve the hum/buzz but sure, if circuit points carrying signal are crammed up against conductive paint sure you can expect the signal to be diminished or missing. How about routing the control cavity to standard size at least, or a little bit larger if you can. Even "back-routing" to create extra space below decks but still have enough wood on the surface so you can mount the control plate and not have any telltale gap into which picks, dimes, set lists, love notes, crumbs & other objects can fall.

    I'm glad you're taking this project with a sense of humor. You need that to see your way thru an otherwise miserable experience. Hope you wind up with a terrific guitar after all is said & done.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RobRed View Post
    I have a good quality multi-meter by Fluke, but the problem is, I already know without question that something is not right, and the only way I can really determine what it is is to disassemble the instrument. That is not a small or insignificant trick. It means removing a perfectly good, brand new set of strings that will not go back on this guitar and may be wasted (with the bend in the end of the strings from having been wound on the tuners, they get caught up on the back of the pick guard coming through the instrument and will not push through). It means the nuisance of disconnecting the neck pup from the pick guard. Neither of those is a life altering event, but the potential of having to do them repeatedly turns me off.
    There's no need to completely remove the strings, just slacken them off, pull the end out of the hole, pull the loose wraps off the peg, tape them together then fold them back out of the way. They can be refitted in minutes.

    But it's not usually necessary to remove strings on a Tele. With the control plate out most faults can be found by inspection/DMM. If you are worried about shorts to the conductive paint check it's working OK before and after refitting the control plate.

    We all make mistakes and as our good friend Enzo likes to remind us -

    “Never look for an excuse not to check something”

    Good luck.

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    ToneOholic! big_teee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RobRed View Post
    Thanks, Terry. I will apphly your recommendation when I get to that point. I don't think putting pictures up will help. The schematics are straightforward and certainly not part of the problem, and the wiring is tight enough that it would be really hard to tell looking at the photos I took what's what or to hope to find a problem from looking at the photos. Thanks, again. Rob
    The pictures were for us, so we could see what you have, and what your working on.
    Pictures also cut down on the amount of questions we ask you to know what you're doing.
    GL,
    T

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    Tackling the re-wiring of your hollow body Tele look-alike

    Quote Originally Posted by RobRed View Post
    Thanks, Terry. I will apply your recommendation when I get to that point. I don't think putting pictures up will help. The schematics are straightforward and certainly not part of the problem, and the wiring is tight enough that it would be really hard to tell looking at the photos I took what's what or to hope to find a problem from looking at the photos. Thanks, again. Rob
    It's often the simplest circuits that those of us who are involved in very complex amplifier circuits and such make the most mistakes. And, when the build is so space-constrained as yours sounds, I feel your frustration.

    A couple years ago, I came back to a bass guitar project I had first tackled back in 1968...modifying a stock Gretsch 6070 Tennessian Hollow Body bass, adding a Gibson Humbucker as a neck pickup. I had disconnected the stock Gretsch pickup, but this time around, decided to rewire the instrument from scratch. Now, the back of the Gretsch has a huge opening underneath the body pad and plastic cover, though where I was going to place the controls would still be a major fitting problem with my large adult hands.

    So, after deciding upon the mechanical orientation of the two volume knobs, two tone knobs and selector switch, along with the mute switch and output jack, I cut a piece of cardboard and transferred the mounting centers from the body to this, and mounted the pots, switches and jack to it to wire up.

    With where you are on your project, and not knowing where you've made the mistake(s), I'd suggest pulling the wiring back out and starting over in a similar fashion, so you can verify everything IS wired correctly first, then do the tedious fitting operation.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    I had then wired the two pickups, using fresh cable from what had been installed before, and connected the two cables (single conductor shielded) to the two volume controls while the wiring was still on the cardboard form, so I could verify the wiring before the tedious operation of fishing in the controls & switches without breaking anything. I did have to revise the tone control wiring, having wired the controls backwards the first time.

    It was a tedious operation, but, the end result, having first verified everything was wired correctly, there weren't any surprises once assembled.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Leo_Gnardo View Post
    Even "back-routing" to create extra space below decks but still have enough wood on the surface so you can mount the control plate and not have any telltale gap into which picks, dimes, set lists, love notes, crumbs & other objects can fall.
    That's a truly wonderful idea. The problem is, that as I mentioned, I have a lot of distracting stuff going on, and I am far more readily set up to cut through the guitar than to do a decent job of guided routing at this time. You may cringe to read this sorry remark, but as things are, I intend to open it up with large diameter drill bits, careful hand sawing, and hand sanding. I have all sorts of wonderful tools with which I could do a much better job along the lines of what you suggested, but I have become physically handicapped, the necessary tools are not organized for use, and to try to find them and get them set up would be a project that I don't have time for and I don't find this guitar to be worth.

    I suspect that most of the people on this site make rewiring guitars a major hobby or perhaps work, and while there have been times when I could and did look at it that way, right now I'm doing it only because I can and must, if this guitar is going to do anything other than sit around collecting dust. I'm not shooting for any ideal. I just want it to play. I feel no need whatsoever to protect the integrity of the body of this instrument, being what it is. It's not a learning experience. I am comfortable with my understanding of guitar electronics and my capabilities of following a simple schematic and soldering stuff together. This is just a nuisance to me.

    Enlarging the cavity by opening through the back will do nothing harmful to the sound, I can't imagine, and it will be the easiest and quickest way for me to reliably get this thing playable. I just want to get that done, so I can have some fun with it and get about the other bullshit I'm dealing with in life at the moment. Playing the guitar keeps me sane, but with some of the stuff I'm up against, to take the time to set up for controlled guided routing would just be more time and effort than it is worth at the moment, by far, and it would be a distraction from the time I have to play, which is my primary interest--I didn't buy this thing hoping to have to do all this work on it! From the amazed wording of the reviews, it never occurred to me that I would find myself where I am, and I am not happy to be here.

    In fact, this whole thing is a sorry mistake that I'm just trying to put behind me as efficiently as possible. I have too much other stuff I have to deal with, and I'm far more interested in playing the guitar than rewiring and reworking it. You have to know if I was dealing with a worthier instrument, I would be doing exactly what you've recommended and enlarge the cavity by guided routing, but I'd have to add even then, when I can get around to it. It could be years.

    Being what it is, I just want to get it done, and I'm just thinking of the quickest way to get it playable. I don't care the least how it compares to a Fender tele, in terms of the issue of the cavity opening to the back (plenty of other guitars do that, and no one is troubled by it), just as long as I can get a reasonable sound out of it and have some fun playing the damned thing! In any event, whatever I do, it will end up a better instrument than it started, even if it has a peculiar cover plate screwed to the back where it doesn't belong! That's the way I see it. I'm missing something in the persistent suggestion that I'm somehow mistreating this piece of junk by just opening it up and being done with it. I stripped and refinished the neck with tung oil. I dressed the frets that were a ridiculous mess. I've put on some nice pickups and shielded against interference (of course, I'll have to redo some of that). I put on some heavy brass bridge saddles. I put on better tuning machines. For all its faults, the intonation is fine, and I think it will be a fun and nice sounding guitar to play, considering how it started out. When I'm playing it, that cover plate and the fact that I cut away a bit of the body wood to expand the wiring cavity will not bother me in the least!

    Thanks again (sincerely). Rob

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    Alright, now this is something that could save me a bunch of time. It never occurred to me that I could slacken the strings enough to slide the pick guard with all its attachments out (in fact, I hope I can, but I tend to keep strings on the short side--from an old article in Guitar Player, I wind the three bass strings so they only wrap around the string post one to two times, so it doesn't allow for a lot of slack), but if I can do that, of course I can assess the problem, correct any problem that I might find, and only go through the trouble of cutting through the thing if I put it back together and find myself in the same place. I'm not exactly "worried" about shorts to the conductive paint, but the cavity is small enough that I think it most likely, when I pushed the wiring into the cavity, something tore loose, one wire got pushed into another (I even insulate the legs on the capacitors before I solder them in, so I think this the least likely), or there is a short against the conductive paint. I don't mean to sound overconfident, but this was about the simplest job I've done on a guitar in terms of the wiring, and although I didn't check it beforehand, it all looked perfect. Maybe I will find a mistake when I test it, but it's good to know this won't turn into a game of throwing away multiple sets of strings and spending hours disassembling and reassembling the thing.

    That was my whole problem with this. I really think it most likely that the damage was done by having to force the works into the undersized cavity, and it made me cringe to picture having that happen over and over, losing multiple sets of strings, and going through the time and effort of disassembling it repeatedly, when I don't have a lot of free time to invest in this in the first place. If I can slacken the strings enough to free the pick guard and the electronics and am fortunate to find a correctable problem that does not recur when I reassemble it, this idea will have saved me a bunch of time and effort compared to starting by enlarging the cavity. If in the end, though, it looks like the problem is simply that the cavity is too small, I will be enlarging the cavity in the way that represents the least time and effort to me right now and just get this done with.

    I feel really stupid. I just read through what I wrote, to do a final edit before I sent it, and I realized how stupid I have been to be worrying about strings. Even if there is not enough length to simply slacken them adequately, there is no reason I have to take them right off the instrument! I can certainly reinsert them in the tuning machine posts after I've done any work, as long as I haven't pulled them right out of through the body. I have to laugh at myself. Hahaha! Anyway, this discussion has simplified the problem tremendously.

    Thanks for that very workable idea. Rob

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    Quote Originally Posted by nevetslab View Post
    It's often the simplest circuits that those of us who are involved in very complex amplifier circuits and such make the most mistakes. And, when the build is so space-constrained as yours sounds, I feel your frustration.

    A couple years ago, I came back to a bass guitar project I had first tackled back in 1968...modifying a stock Gretsch 6070 Tennessian Hollow Body bass, adding a Gibson Humbucker as a neck pickup. I had disconnected the stock Gretsch pickup, but this time around, decided to rewire the instrument from scratch. Now, the back of the Gretsch has a huge opening underneath the body pad and plastic cover, though where I was going to place the controls would still be a major fitting problem with my large adult hands.

    With where you are on your project, and not knowing where you've made the mistake(s), I'd suggest pulling the wiring back out and starting over in a similar fashion, so you can verify everything IS wired correctly first, then do the tedious fitting operation.
    Thanks for expressing the understanding. The one ironic issue that also comes from your discussion offered, though, is the question of what I'm dealing with. That Gretsch is a beautiful and presumably valuable instrument. On the other hand, I am dealing with trying to make something pleasantly playable out of a piece of junk that was misrepresented in reviews. As such, I am looking not for the most ideal way to accomplish it but the quickest and easiest. I just got a message from Dave H that led me to realize that I don't have to worry after all at all about wasting buckets of strings, so I will be disassembling it, testing the connections, and reassembling it, but if it proves to be entirely a problem with the cavity being so tiny, and after assuring everything is wired correctly, it doesn't work again after I reassemble it, I have no qualms whatsoever about cutting right through the body to enlarge the cavity in the quickest, easiest way.

    Thanks, again. Rob

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  19. #19
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    I'm not sure if you've already routed out the back, but if you just need a bit more room in the cavity, here is an easy way to enlarge it from the top. Take a 3/4" straight router bit- preferably 1" or less cutting length- and slip a 1/2" bearing over the shank before you put it in the collet. Set the depth so the top of the cutter is 1/4 to 3/8" below the guitar top and then when you run the bearing around the top edge of the cavity the router will undercut the sides by 1/8" all around, adding a useful amount of space. Of course going through the back will work, but making a rear-access cavity with a recess for the lid (and making a matching cover plate) is quite a bit of effort if you don't already have the templates made up.

    Also, with regard to the strings, sometimes it is less bother just to capo (or tape-o) the strings near the nut and just take the bridge off. Not an option for string-through-body though if that is the case.

    good luck,

    Andy

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    It's a good thing I can laugh at myself

    Quote Originally Posted by big_teee View Post
    The pictures were for us, so we could see what you have, and what your working on.
    Pictures also cut down on the amount of questions we ask you to know what you're doing.
    GL,
    T
    I took pictures at every point along the way, but the scale was such, especially given the crowded nature of the work (there are three jumpers plus five wires soldered to the switch alone--even looking directly at it, it takes work to see what's what), that I am sure the pictures would not help anyone. I offered a link to the primary schematic I used for anyone who wanted to take a look at that in a prior response.

    The main issue, though, is that I finally figured it out, and I have to laugh at myself. I actually enjoy doing that. At least I love to laugh! It just finally clicked about 5 minutes ago.

    It turned out, despite my being so convinced that it was all due to the tight cavity for the wiring, that that had absolutely nothing to do with it. The guitar came apart easily and there was no evidence whatsoever of any damage to the wiring tied to it being too tightly forced into the cavity. I will not be carving a hole through the instrument after all.

    I got it open and looked everything over. The connections were all where they were supposed to be. I took my Fluke to it, and practically everything demonstrated good connections and continuity of signal.

    I'm laughing at myself because I found the problem then and missed the fact that it was the problem. I mean, even though I knew it was a problem, I didn't think it was the main problem that caused my hearing absolutely nothing when I plugged the guitar in, until it just finally occurred to me this morning that it was the exact problem. Fortunately, I already have at hand what I need to fix it.

    When I wired it up and realized there was little room for things to fit, and I didn't want uninsulated wires to be pressed up against each other, I did something my father used to do and coiled the legs on the volume and tone caps and then covered them with rubber tubing as insulation. Well, as it turned out, even though I was aware I needed to be cautious and soldered the joints rapidly, the coiling brought the body of the caps close enough to the heat that I cooked both of the caps. There was neither continuity or capacitance across either one. The problem was, I said to myself, "Well, that's a problem, and they should be replaced, but they both only affect tone, so that still doesn't explain the entire lack of sound."

    I distracted myself while waiting for arrival of the replacement caps by building a computer, but in the back of my mind I was still belly aching over why there was absolutely no sound being produced. I was like, "Where on earth else can I look?"
    Then it just clicked before I started typing up this note. Surely the volume "kit" cap is meant to keep tone consistent while you change the volume of the instrument, but it is also the only connection between the two active terminals of the volume pot. There was no continuity across the cap that connected the terminals, so there was no continuity across the pot, and it broke the circuit involving every pickup selection. Of course I heard nothing!

    I had another reason to get a good laugh out of this. I ordered the replacement parts through Amazon Prime, just to hasten getting this done. I had to order two 0.47 uf caps for the tone, as they only sold a minimum of two. The kit I got through StewMac included only a single smaller cap for the volume "kit", but through Amazon I was able to get the more typical volume kit that contains a small cap and a low resistance resistor. The thing that got me laughing, though, was when they arrived, I knew immediately what they were, without even opening them, but they put each of the tiny items--the set of two 0.47 uf caps and the volume kit--in its own 9" x 12" envelope!

    Anyway, thanks all for all the input, but I'm confident this is over. I will just solder in the new tone cap and volume kit leaving the legs full length and covered with longer narrower rubber tubing as insulation, and I trust all will be fine.

    Rob

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    Quote Originally Posted by RobRed View Post
    Anyway, thanks all for all the input, but I'm confident this is over. I will just solder in the new tone cap and volume kit leaving the legs full length and covered with longer narrower rubber tubing as insulation, and I trust all will be fine. Rob
    Sure hope that does it! After you have it all working, hows about a photo of your prize?

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    Enjoy. Every. Sandwich.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Leo_Gnardo View Post
    Sure hope that does it! After you have it all working, hows about a photo of your prize?
    I'm just tuning the strings and will go plug it in once they're tuned. The one thing I can tell you is that there is capacitance across both caps now, so I have good reason to suspect it will be fine, thanks.

    I'd be happy to put up photos, but I don't see how I would go about doing that. If you could give me a little explanation in that regard, I'd be happy to do so. I can include some before and after shots of the caps the first time and the second, as well.

    Rob

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  23. #23
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    1) Do you have a bridge ground?
    2) Wire one pickup directly to the jack.
    Do you still have hum?

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    Quote Originally Posted by olddawg View Post
    1) Do you have a bridge ground?
    2) Wire one pickup directly to the jack.
    Do you still have hum?
    1) Yes
    2) No. Thanks for the idea, but I am well beyond that now. I initially had a terrible hum that left the instrument incapable of producing a pleasant musical tone, which was my reason for rewiring it in the first place, but now that it is wired correctly with beautiful pickups, and the cavities are covered in conductive paint, it produces a clear and wonderfully musical tone. On top of the dramatically improved sound, with the frets appropriately dressed and the neck refinished in tung oil, this piece of junk is now a real pleasure to play!

    Rob

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