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Post new topic Pickup issues (Fender Stringmaster and 400MkII)
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Author Topic:  Pickup issues (Fender Stringmaster and 400MkII)
Nic Neufeld

Kansas City, Missouri
Post  Posted 22 Mar 2018 6:25 am    
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Hi all, technically this involves both a non-pedal steel and a pedal but since they are both Fender I figured I'd put this into one thread, since their issues are similar...

Let's start with the Stringmaster. It's a 1957 medium scale T-8 that has seen some heavy wear over the years. It has the blend pots and the three-way tele like switch, with a single throw switch I still don't quite understand (I get that it puts all necks on at once, but it really seems to affect output/tone, too...ie., some necks are louder when that is off...some sort of issue with wiring, or perhaps nature of the beast?).

The middle neck that I've got wired up for B11...I noted with the blend pot full on, it sounded thinner and weaker. The blend pot seemed to have no effect at either direction. I jostled one of the pickups slightly (I assume neck based upon observed behavior and my understanding of the blend pot, but I'm not sure I recall) and it came on at higher volume, fuller tone. But it seems transient. I had originally thought it was the bridge pickup that I jostled but I suppose its also possible they could have reversed the wiring on the blend pot, theoretically (neck on, bridge blended in) as this guitar has seen some modification over the years. Any suggestions on a good next step? Resolder the leads to the pickup perhaps?

The 400 is much the same...but whereas I think the Stringmaster pickup is a straight up connection fault for one pickup, the single pickup 400 oddly shows degrees of output. It came to me with a pickup mounting screw missing (the one closest to the player). Often times output will seem low, dull, and weak...slightly moving the pickup then results in that full, bright, loud tone that is the norm. If it moves around again, same problem. I put a "similar" screw in to lock the pickup down but as I recall this seemed to actually exacerbate the problem so I removed it. Also, I thought I had pinpointed the issue when I noticed the Jaguar-like "teeth" around the pickup were making contact with the bridge plate, and when separated (I used segments of a flatpick...whatever's on hand!) it was back to normal. But I think it has recurred so I'm not certain that's the issue (some sort of grounding issue?). The oddity with this one is that it never shorts out completely, it just goes very soft and weak, like (eek) some kind of unwanted coil tapping? A short within the pickup itself? Any ideas or recommendations?

Many thanks!!
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I hear the rolling surf calling
Calling and calling to me</i>
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Stephen Cowell

Round Rock, Texas, USA
Post  Posted 22 Mar 2018 11:34 am    
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The toggle is for all 3... yes, it gets weaker when they're all on, the unused necks load down the one you're playing on.

You're going to have to get inside and wiggle wires... either the pickup is bad, the wiring is bad, or the switch is bad... probably the pickup itself. Not often you can solder on a pickup and fix it.

Good luck!
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