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Is my volume pot fried?
Old 6 days ago
  #1
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Is my volume pot fried?

Hello, new member looking for an answer:

I put in my own pickups for the first time, and now my volume pot makes noise. I used CRC cleaner and I know everything is grounded via multimeter.

I did solder the grounds to the pot 2 or 3 times as I was trying to figure out a few things. The pot works for volume, but it and the selector make sound (it dissipates when tone knobs are turned down). The solder has amber around it from the heat moreso than the original solder points, so I'm wondering if I should just replace the pot.
Old 5 days ago
  #2
Yep. Replace the pot. They aren't expensive or hard to replace.
Old 5 days ago
  #3
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Right, I was probably going to give it a shot anyway, but wanted to get input from others. I'll give a better solder in the first go to limit heat and hopefully all will be solved. Thanks.
Old 5 days ago
  #4
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enorbet2's Avatar
Hello nedlobster
Since you apparently consider the pot wasted why not just for gits and shiggles learn how to take it apart and see what's going on? The only tools needed are a pry tool and pliers. You would possibly learn something useful about pot quality and also gauge your soldering skills. FWIW and just in case, solder isn't exactly conductive glue, though many beginners use it as if it were. Ideally one should make a solid mechanical connection and apply heat to the joint, not the solder, and apply just enough solder to solidify the connection. Most beginners use far too much.
Old 5 days ago
  #5
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I definitely plan to take it apart. I don't think I used too much solder, moreso that I soldered too many times and might've caused heat damage. I even spoke with Lindy Fralin (whose pickups I was installing) and we talked about some basic wiring stuff. So as long as this new pot fixes my issue, I know I did everything else correctly.
Old 5 days ago
  #6
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enorbet2's Avatar
Hello again nedlobster
Kudos for doing the first thing right - research with pros. Given that mindset, the rest will surely follow properly.

Incidentally if you intend to work on your gear involving soldering and if you don't already have one, it is possible to buy fairly decent temp controlled soldering stations these days for ~40 bux. Setting a hard temp limit should alleviate any thermal damage. If you're presently using a gun instead of an iron damage to small parts is an issue. I still use them for serious ground connections though since the increased power works faster on what amounts to a heat sink reducing the time for thermals to spread to any other components.
Old 5 days ago
  #7
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So I installed a new pot and the same problem exists. I have no idea what could be causing it.
Old 5 days ago
  #8
What brand of pot and what did you pay for it?

Many different companies make pots and quality varies a lot.

Also the "amber" around your solder points is excess flux from the solder. If there's a lot of it it may indicate you're using too much solder. You definitely do not want melted flux working its way int the pot.
Old 5 days ago
  #9
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The old one was a Nash, the new one is from Allparts. It was $7. But both pots are making the same noise from the same thing. This didn't exist before I changed pickups, and it's not an old guitar.
Old 4 days ago | Show parent
  #10
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Rick Dalton's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by nedlobster View Post
The old one was a Nash, the new one is from Allparts. It was $7. But both pots are making the same noise from the same thing. This didn't exist before I changed pickups, and it's not an old guitar.
nedlobster, If you don't figure it out. Post a couple pictures for use, you most likely have something wires wrong.
Old 4 days ago | Show parent
  #11
Quote:
Originally Posted by nedlobster View Post
The old one was a Nash, the new one is from Allparts. It was $7. But both pots are making the same noise from the same thing. This didn't exist before I changed pickups, and it's not an old guitar.
I've never heard of Nash as an electronic parts source. Allparts has usually been decent - most of their pots are, I believe, CTS, which are pretty much industry standard - not the best, but good enough. This may vary with exact replacement parts for Asian instruments. Which brings me to a question that probably should have been asked earlier - What kind of guitar is it? Do you know where it was made?

If it has Asian electronics you should probably change to USA (or Brit) controls on general principle. Asian pots generally take a slightly smaller mounting hole that US pots, so you might need to do a little reaming. (A tapered hand reamer should cost you around $10-15 and is a handy guitar tool to have.)

Also, can you post a clip of the noise?
Old 4 days ago
  #12
My instinct is that you have an earthing problem. If you have a multimeter set it to a low ohms reading and check that the bridge, strings, pick-up ground wires, pot bodies, switch ground and cavity shielding all read zero ohms to the ring of the output jack. Oh, and touch and wiggle stuff while doing it to see if anything goes haywire.

But that's just a guess. If that all reads zero ohms from earth to earth everywhere you next need to be systematic and check the whole signal path from pikcups to jack.

I made a device which is a 1/4 TS jack connected to a couple of leads that end in alligator clips. It lets me check pickups in guitars and stuff. You might want to use something like this at this point. Desolder the pickups and check them without any additional electronics - clip the alligator clips direct to them and play them into your amp. Now add the switch and do this from the switch output. Then add a volume pot and test again. Etc etc until something goes badly - then you know that the last thing you added to the signal chain is the culprit.
Old 4 days ago | Show parent
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Eppstein View Post
What kind of guitar is it? Do you know where it was made?
It's a Nash S57. I guess I don't know with 100% certainty what brand the original pots are, but I said it's a Nash pot because it's actually stamped with Nash. So I don't know if the just had pots stamped, or if he actually makes/has them made specially for him. He makes them in...Washington state I think?

As for multimeter testing, I have tested all the parts for continuity many times. I used a setting for a reading and for noise. I get the ground beep with every part, and every reading is 0.002 (or is it 0.0002, I can't remember how many zeroes, but you get the picture).

Finally, I just replaced pickups, so everything but them were grounded and therefore I had no need to touch them. Everything was fine until I swapped pickups. Tone knobs don't make noise, the selector does, but my assumption is because the physical switch is just registering noise in the volume pot and it isn't a switch issue.

I will try to post pics/sound when I get home.
Old 4 days ago | Show parent
  #14
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Rick Dalton's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by nedlobster View Post
It's a Nash S57. I guess I don't know with 100% certainty what brand the original pots are, but I said it's a Nash pot because it's actually stamped with Nash. So I don't know if the just had pots stamped, or if he actually makes/has them made specially for him. He makes them in...Washington state I think?

As for multimeter testing, I have tested all the parts for continuity many times. I used a setting for a reading and for noise. I get the ground beep with every part, and every reading is 0.002 (or is it 0.0002, I can't remember how many zeroes, but you get the picture).

Finally, I just replaced pickups, so everything but them were grounded and therefore I had no need to touch them. Everything was fine until I swapped pickups. Tone knobs don't make noise, the selector does, but my assumption is because the physical switch is just registering noise in the volume pot and it isn't a switch issue.

I will try to post pics/sound when I get home.
If you don't have an ground wire on the new pickups, you have an open circuit, or really No circuit.....which will cause your issue.
Old 4 days ago
  #15
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There's a ground wire on all three pickups, connecting to the volume pot along with the bridge claw and output jack.
Old 4 days ago
  #16
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Rick Dalton's Avatar
Heres an example... Notice the ground wire on each pickup. All of those must be grounded, otherwise its the same as having no pickups. post some pics.
Old 4 days ago
  #17
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Rick Dalton's Avatar
Heres the diagram for that guitar...from what I could find. What pickups did you just put in? Also notice the ground wire shows white but is labeled black, same with your hot/signal...it show up white and is labeled white. Not a good practice to show this that way,,, why show the ground as white and label it black. That may have thrown you and others..

Old 4 days ago
  #18
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As I said, all the pickups are grounded to the volume pot. I put in Lindy Fralins and referred to their diagrams before putting them in. That wasn't even necessary though, since it was a straight replacement. I put the hot wires on their respective selector spots, and then ground all three ground wires together on the volume.
Old 4 days ago | Show parent
  #19
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Rick Dalton's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by nedlobster View Post
There's a ground wire on all three pickups, connecting to the volume pot along with the bridge claw and output jack.
I'm just going off this below that you just posted. Whats the new pickups? maybe they are active....and you don't know what you have. Sorry, no reason to be difficult. Plus, you have to admit...you dont know What you are doing, or you'd know how to test a Pot and wouldnt be asking any of this. If you'd tell what pickups and post a pic of whats up in the cavity, it sure would help....Yourself.

"Finally, I just replaced pickups,
((((((so everything but them were grounded))))))
and therefore I had no need to touch them. Everything was fine until I swapped pickups. Tone knobs don't make noise, the selector does, but my assumption is because the physical switch is just registering noise in the volume pot and it isn't a switch issue."
Old 4 days ago
  #20
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Also, these are split blade strats, which are their hum cancelling single coils. This is the first time I've installed pickups, that doesn't mean I don't know what pickups I got ffs.

I did record a few other single coil guitars' noise, then cranked the volume in my DAW to get a reading. These are quieter than my PRS and Kiesel, so they seem to be working properly. I tested the pickup sounds as well trying to dial in their heights before I realized the volume pot issue.

There is no ground noise, it is purely staticy sound when turning the volume knob. There is no other noise other than your standard electrical noise from an unshielded guitar surrounded by lights, computers, other gear, etc.
Old 4 days ago
  #21
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My wording was weird there, I meant I grounded the pickups to the volume pot, as well as grounded the bridge and jack to the volume pot. Like anyone would.
Old 4 days ago
  #22
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When I said "so everything but them were grounded" I meant after taking the old pickups out, everything else was already in place, ergo were already grounded. So all I had to do was solder the new pickups, including the grounds. So this shouldnt be a ground issue.

I'm not trying to be rude, but reading comprehension seems to be lacking.
Old 4 days ago | Show parent
  #23
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Rick Dalton's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by nedlobster View Post
Also, these are split blade strats, which are their hum cancelling single coils. I did record a few single coil guitars noise, then cranked the volume in my DAW to get a reading. These are quieter than my PRS and Kiesel, so they seem to be working properly (I tested the pickups as well trying to dial in their heights before I realized the volume pot issue).

There is no ground noise, it is purely staticy sound when turning the volume knob. There is no other noise other than your standard electrical noise from an unshielded guitar surrounded by lights, computers, other gear, etc.
The old pot and new pot, both doing the same static sound? How does that new one feel...smooth? or have you sprayed it? And with the new pickups being quieter... How low do you have them setting...from the strings.
Old 4 days ago
  #24
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Yes, both pots making the same sound. It feels fine, but no I haven't sprayed it with anything.

As for the pickup height, I don't measure them, I go by sound to just find what I like. I have them pretty low though since they have good output, particularly the bridge which is a high output version.
Old 4 days ago | Show parent
  #25
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Rick Dalton's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by nedlobster View Post
Yes, both pots making the same sound. It feels fine, but no I haven't sprayed it with anything.

As for the pickup height, I don't measure them, I go by sound to just find what I like. I have them pretty low though since they have good output, particularly the bridge which is a high output version.
exercise that pot both ways for a minute or two, and see if that polishes the wipers...you'll hear When or IF it improves.
Old 4 days ago
  #26
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I feel like I did that, but at this point it's all a blur for all the repetition I've done working on it. I'll give it a go when I get home. I just really didn't want to bite the bullet on bringing it to a shop because it would have to quarantine for 4 days and then sit in the repair queue. I'm impatient.

I can still try to post pics/sound when I get home as well.
Old 4 days ago | Show parent
  #27
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Rick Dalton's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by nedlobster View Post
I feel like I did that, but at this point it's all a blur for all the repetition I've done working on it. I'll give it a go when I get home. I just really didn't want to bite the bullet on bringing it to a shop because it would have to quarantine for 4 days and then sit in the repair queue. I'm impatient.

I can still try to post pics/sound when I get home as well.
Something else you can try is, bypass the tone pot to narrow it down, could be carbon build-up there. Just odd both pots....Know what I mean?

Also clean that switch.
Old 4 days ago
  #28
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enorbet2's Avatar
If your selector switch is the typical Strat style design, the work via a rotating "plate" that gets pinched between two tensioned "fingers" at each station. Those fingers often need retensioning even on classic 3 position vintage Strats. It's really worth your time to make sure that switch is working like it is supposed to. One set of "fingers" is always in contact with the rotating plate, or should be. I've also seen plenty of Strat style switches cracked or even separated and only held anywhere near proper contact by the wiring. Some of those actually worked some of the time. Point is, check it.
Old 4 days ago | Show parent
  #29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick Dalton View Post
I'm just going off this below that you just posted. Whats the new pickups? maybe they are active....and you don't know what you have. Sorry, no reason to be difficult. Plus, you have to admit...you dont know What you are doing, or you'd know how to test a Pot and wouldnt be asking any of this. If you'd tell what pickups and post a pic of whats up in the cavity, it sure would help....Yourself.

"Finally, I just replaced pickups,
((((((so everything but them were grounded))))))
and therefore I had no need to touch them. Everything was fine until I swapped pickups. Tone knobs don't make noise, the selector does, but my assumption is because the physical switch is just registering noise in the volume pot and it isn't a switch issue."
AFAIK, Lindy Fralin doesn't bother with active pickups.

What I'm wondering is if he simply replaced the pickups with ones that are sufficiently hotter to pickup up a noticeably greater amount of environmental noise.
Old 4 days ago | Show parent
  #30
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Rick Dalton's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Eppstein View Post
AFAIK, Lindy Fralin doesn't bother with active pickups.

What I'm wondering is if he simply replaced the pickups with ones that are sufficiently hotter to pickup up a noticeably greater amount of environmental noise.
If he would lift the signal/wire coming off the switch to the volume pot and wire the bridge hot in its place, that would tell him if it is a scratchy pot or not...unless its an screwy jack, but two pots old/new both/same issue, but things were fine before he did the pickup swap. Looks like those are Strat split rail. he allows they are quieter than his PRS. Surely he's the 2 coil taps on each pickup wired together.... Does Fender have a pickup branded/named that?
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