Bridge Pickup intermittently Not Working

Discussion in 'Technical Side of Things' started by Viking Power, Feb 24, 2021.

  1. Viking Power

    Viking Power Gretschie

    284
    Jun 11, 2018
    Mountlake Terrace, WA
    Hey all-

    I recently had a set of TV Jones pickups installed in my G5622T. While I had it in the shop, I had the pickup selector switch replaced as I had previously had the stock bridge pickup cutout a time or two.

    Got the guitar back and the bridge pickup would not work at times. Not cutting out while in use though. What happens is- Works fine, I play for a while with no problems. I hang it back on the rack and next time I take it down or the time after, the bridge pickup does not work at all.

    So, took it back to the shop. Tech checks everything out, says maybe something was shorting out. Fine, I bring it home. Seems fine first time I play it but next time or time after, the damn bridge pup won’t work again.

    So, took it back to the shop. Tech replaces the switch. I bring it home and for a few DAYS, everything works just fine. Took it off the wall a few hours ago, plugged in...no bridge pickup. What the heck!?

    Any advice? I’m pretty clueless. I know the parts of the guitar but am no technician.
     
  2. MrWookiee

    MrWookiee Gretschie

    484
    Jun 17, 2020
    SoCal, USA
    It's easy to suspect the switch and perhaps foget to look "big picture". Could be a short or bad solder joint somewhere else (bridge tone control or ??) that was made worse by tugging on something during the swap(s).
     
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  3. rockinforJesus

    rockinforJesus Synchromatic

    981
    Nov 7, 2014
    Upstate New York
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  4. Henry

    Henry I Bleed Orange

    Apr 9, 2014
    Petaluma
    Since this was a problem from the start, there is an issue with the bridge loom. Replace the whole thing.
     
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  5. Mr. Lumbergh

    Mr. Lumbergh Country Gent

    May 14, 2013
    Initech, Inc.
    What else is going on? Are the volume pots scratchy or does it seem to happen after turning up/down?
    Does its volume control feel particularly loose/sloppy/wobbly?
    My 5622 was doing this as well and it turned out to be a bad switch, has the tech tried swapping that out again?
     
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  6. Viking Power

    Viking Power Gretschie

    284
    Jun 11, 2018
    Mountlake Terrace, WA
    Thanks all...

    this has become quite the expensive middle of the road Gretsch! Hahaha.
     
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  7. Viking Power

    Viking Power Gretschie

    284
    Jun 11, 2018
    Mountlake Terrace, WA
    No other issues. Nothing noisy in any way at all. So weird.
    The tech has swapped the switch out twice.
     
  8. wabash slim

    wabash slim Gretschified

    Age:
    71
    Feb 10, 2010
    lafayette in
  9. calebaaron666

    calebaaron666 Friend of Fred

    Aug 15, 2018
    Portland, Maine
    The pickups are wired to the individual vol pots and those pots are wired to the switch. The switch then goes to the master volume.
    My guess would be that there’s something funky with the connection to the bridge volume pot, either the connection from the pickup wires or to the switch.
    The switch should be fine since it’s been fixed more than once.
     
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  10. Mr. Lumbergh

    Mr. Lumbergh Country Gent

    May 14, 2013
    Initech, Inc.
    Hmm.
    Take off knob gently loosen the nut holding the bridge volume in enough that you can rotate the pot, not so much that it drops down into the guitar, and physically rotate the pot 90 degrees and retighten. So if for example the solder legs of the pot are pointing straight down before, rotate the pot in the hole such that they now point to the neck of the guitar. If it's what I'm starting to suspect it'll either go away or cut out completely but you'll know where the issue is.
     
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  11. Mr. Lumbergh

    Mr. Lumbergh Country Gent

    May 14, 2013
    Initech, Inc.
    You posted while I was writing but that's exactly what I'm thinking. Hopefully my bit of troubleshooting advice susses this out.
     
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  12. Viking Power

    Viking Power Gretschie

    284
    Jun 11, 2018
    Mountlake Terrace, WA
    I gotta dig through my tools and see if I have the right size allen wrench to get the set screw loose for the knob. Will report back once I do.
     
  13. Jelly Roll Horton

    Jelly Roll Horton Country Gent

    Nov 10, 2017
    Portland, OR
    Be aware that it might be metric.
     
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  14. tartanphantom

    tartanphantom Friend of Fred

    Age:
    57
    Jul 30, 2008
    Murfreesboro, TN
    One last thought--

    When you are done playing for the day, be sure all switches are set to their center position.

    I know this sounds somewhat silly, but the spring steel leaves in the switches can sometimes develop a "memory" of their own-- especially the cheaper Asian-made switches. When you leave the switch in either the neck or bridge position, you are putting stress on one side of the switch leaves. By returning the switch to center after each use, you are removing the toggle pressure from all switch contact leaves.
     
  15. Jelly Roll Horton

    Jelly Roll Horton Country Gent

    Nov 10, 2017
    Portland, OR
    That’s a great tip. I just changed all mine. Thanks!
     
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  16. Ricochet

    Ricochet I Bleed Orange

    Nov 13, 2009
    Monkey Island
    Only two constants in this story, the wiring and the tech...
     
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  17. michelb

    michelb Synchromatic

    Age:
    30
    662
    Mar 27, 2020
    Belgium
    Might it be something wrong with the bridge volume pot? I guess you've played around with it to see if the volume was open or not.
    Yank it out, replace the wiring at a different tech.
     
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  18. Viking Power

    Viking Power Gretschie

    284
    Jun 11, 2018
    Mountlake Terrace, WA
    Thank you for the root cause analysis. No sarcasm intended. Yes, these are the two things to focus on for sure.

    Started looking for a different tech last night online. There are other shops so I'm sure I'll find somebody. Are semi-hollowbody guitars some sort of unsolved mystery? I mean why is it that I can take my strat or jazzmaster in to techs and get a great setup but can't get a good one on my Gretsch? My two fenders don't rattle or buzz, have solid intonation, all the things you'd want from your guitar (and expect).

    So disappointed that I spent over $300 getting the setup done, switchcraft switch installed (bought from the tech), pickups installed (I provided), and roller bridge installed (also purchased at the shop). With that and the $300 or so for the TV Js, I've almost doubled what I have into the guitar (bought new in 2018 for $799 IIRC). I'm whining here but damn, thought I'd invest a little cash in this guitar and have exactly what I wanted. Really hate to spend $100s more on wiring and labor to get the guitar just up to expected working order.

    Pay me now or pay me later. Should've just bought a pro level Gretsch to begin with. Hahaha.
     
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  19. tartanphantom

    tartanphantom Friend of Fred

    Age:
    57
    Jul 30, 2008
    Murfreesboro, TN
    The geometry relationships on a hollowbody or a semi-hollow are very different from the more common solidbody or slab guitars, and also different from common flat-top acoustics. A lot of techs have tons of experience setting up Teles, LP's and the like, but know very little about how a hollowbody guitar should be set up.

    If you're not going to do the work yourself, it's always a good idea to vet the tech on their experience with different guitar types.
     
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  20. hcsterg

    hcsterg Friend of Fred

    Feb 13, 2012
    France
    This is a somewhat intermittent issue - and the tech may not have discovered it until he can trap it "in the act".

    All the Art of the troubleshooting repairman is by himself to cause the problem and make it stop, so he could trap it !

    For your case, I see 3 possibilities.

    1 - Cut. Somewhere in the circuit there's a hidden bad contact on signal path, sometimes on, sometimes off, by himself.

    Next time you take your guitar fro the rack, plug it, no sound, then shake it in multiple positions in order to wobble the wiring, then test : is the sound coming back or not ?

    2 - Short. Somewhere in the circuit there's a hidden short to GND, sometimes on, sometimes off, by himself.

    Perform the same test as in 1.

    3 - I would suspect the switch that sometimes makes no contact because of slight oxydation (and poor quality of the contact metals) : flip it several times back and farth, and sound must come out. But since has it has been replaced by a SwitchCraft one (supposed to be a quality one), it can't be the culprit.

    If 1 and 2 gives no results, then there's nothing else to do than removing the wiring and inspect it with a DMM and a magnifier... Inspect solder joints, end of shielded wires, search for cut or near to cut wires... You may have one advantage : the fault may have become permanent, and then easier to trap !

    Since there is no hum when the muting arises, I'd be tempted to say that it is a short... But only a careful inspection can tell ! it's always a pain to do... o_O

    A+!
     
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