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 Post subject: Can a pickup go bad?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 11, 2017 12:05 am 
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Kramer Maniac

Joined: Fri Jul 21, 2017 10:49 pm
Posts: 12
Location: Leicester, NC
Hello, I've got a late '80s Aerostar that's been giving me problems lately. The guitar had a hum for a while and the 5-way switch was pretty scratchy so I put a new one in it. The new switch worked fine but the hum was still there. Figuring I'd done something wrong I took it to the shop where the guy replaced the 5-way switch again and changed the volume pot at a cost of $90 and the hum is still there. It only hums when the switch is in the full bridge position, the other 4 positions are quiet as a mouse. I've plugged into 5 different amps so it's definitely the guitar. Touching metal on the guitar makes no difference like if it was a ground problem. Mine has the H-S-S setup with the Select by EMG pickups. I've had it for 20 years and it's never been thrown around or anything. So can a pickup go bad? I've heard those weren't the best quality pickups when they were new. Any help would be greatly appreciated.


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 Post subject: Can a pickup go bad?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 11, 2017 6:53 am 
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Kramer Kingpin
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Joined: Thu Jul 07, 2016 8:34 pm
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Try another pick up. See if it makes a difference. Then you’ll know.

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But let's face it, someone buys a Kramer b/c it has a Floyd.


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 Post subject: Can a pickup go bad?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 11, 2017 7:31 am 
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Kramer Kommander
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Sure pickups can go bad, for example a part of the windings on one of the coils or the whole coil being shorted due to insulation going bad.

If it was wired for splitting, could also be that some wires got switched while re-wiring, so it runs out of phase now. If you have an ohm-meter, you can check the impedance of the coils (should be about the same for both coils) and if some wires got swapped accidentally on the switch side.


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 Post subject: Can a pickup go bad?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 11, 2017 7:59 am 
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Kramer Maniac

Joined: Fri Jul 21, 2017 10:49 pm
Posts: 12
Location: Leicester, NC
I have a wiring diagram for an Ibanez with the same setup and mine is wired the same. I assume the wiring is alike? Does anyone know if they make new passive pickups that can give distortion but you can still clearly here the strings and chords you're playing? I've lately been more into '50s-'60s rock and I'd like to get closer to that sound out of the Kramer, if possible. My guitar has a noticeable '80s vibe no matter how my amp is setup.


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 Post subject: Can a pickup go bad?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 11, 2017 9:26 am 
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Kramer Kommander
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Location: Germany
Buttload of different pickups with different sounds, hard to tell what exactly you're after. If you want a rather clear sound, I'd go with some sort of PAF or my favorite, Duncan Pearly Gates - those are not too strong and will give you a nice lively clean/crunch sound, even more so when you wire the switch for splitting them to single-coil mode. Look for the "autosplit" wiring on the duncan website, it can be done with a normal 5-way switch. Or you can use a push-pull pot for that, whichever suits you better. I prefer a push-push pot for splitting. Dunno what you have now, but a 500k pot is needed for a regular humbucker.


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 Post subject: Can a pickup go bad?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 11, 2017 9:29 am 
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Kramer Kingpin
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DLB1985 NC wrote:
Does anyone know if they make new passive pickups that can give distortion but you can still clearly here the strings and chords you're playing?


The manufacturers never stopped doing so. You could try something PAF-like (Seymour Duncan has the SH-1 or "59" or a PG like _XXX_ said) for example. Though that won´t help much if you crank the gain on your amp to the max and have a distortion pedal in front of it. Besides the pickup it´s the attack on the strings that gives you the tone and the distortion. You can get a very heavy sound with half the gain and a harder attack. A lot of the 80s glam or hair band´s guitarists weren´t gain-heavy anyways (besides Mick Mars).

But if you´re more into 50s/60s rock your Kramer might not be the best weapon of choice and you might look into a Tele or Strat or something like a Les Paul Junior/Melody Maker/ES.

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 Post subject: Can a pickup go bad?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 11, 2017 10:42 am 
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Kramer Maniac
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Joined: Fri Jul 08, 2016 9:00 am
Posts: 616
Location: Springfield, OH
DLB1985 NC wrote:
I have a wiring diagram for an Ibanez with the same setup and mine is wired the same. I assume the wiring is alike? Does anyone know if they make new passive pickups that can give distortion but you can still clearly here the strings and chords you're playing? I've lately been more into '50s-'60s rock and I'd like to get closer to that sound out of the Kramer, if possible. My guitar has a noticeable '80s vibe no matter how my amp is setup.


Red should be hot and green to ground. Black and white need to be tied together and soldered and insulated (electrical tape) ....that is if you don't have the humbucker split for any reason.
Is that how you have it wired?

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 Post subject: Can a pickup go bad?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 11, 2017 8:05 pm 
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Kramer Maniac

Joined: Fri Jul 21, 2017 10:49 pm
Posts: 12
Location: Leicester, NC
My two single pickups just have a white wire to the 5-way switch and a bare ground wire to the volume pot. The humbucker has a white wire to the 5-way, the bare ground wire and a red wire that goes to nothing. It wasn't hooked to anything when I changed the switch and now that I have it tore back apart, the guy at the shop didn't hook it up either. The guitar has always worked and still does other than the hum. I figured the red wire was for other types of guitars since these pickups were widely used. As for the Kramer not being best for '50s style music, I agree. I even bought the first brand new guitar I ever have, a Silvertone SSL3 lp copy. It definitely has the sound I want but I hate it. It plays awful and after 20 minutes it feels like it weighs 50 lbs. I don't know why I got it looking back. I just love playing my Kramer. I wonder if I could put the bridge pickup from the Silvertone in the Kramer. That would have to sound a little better.


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 Post subject: Can a pickup go bad?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 11, 2017 8:24 pm 
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Kramer Maniac
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Joined: Mon Jul 25, 2016 11:24 pm
Posts: 799
Location: British Columbia
I think on my Westone the white wire was the "hot" and the red was for coil tap (connected to earth for single coil operation), so it wouldn't need to be connected to anything usually.


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 Post subject: Can a pickup go bad?
PostPosted: Tue Dec 12, 2017 2:47 am 
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Kramer Kommander
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Joined: Sat Jul 09, 2016 4:37 am
Posts: 2315
Location: Germany
Yep, the third wire should be for coil tapping. Not sure about the colors with that pickup, it is possible that the guy switched white and red, at least that would explain the hum. The EMG HZ have the red wire as hot, but dunno if those are similar to the "select" types.

Should be easy to find out, just measure the impedance between white and naked wire vs. between red and naked. The one with the higher value is the hot wire, the other is middle contact for coil tapping.


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