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EMG's?

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case211  
2 Nov 2009 20:47 | Quote
Joined: 26 Feb 2009
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hey again, i've traded some stuff for a couple pickups, one of which is a new EMG 81. problem is it isn't the easy non soldering hookups, and after soldering and de-soldering, re-soldering, throwing things, and becoming quietly enraged, I still get very low signal coming out, though the volume and tone knobs work.
I'm using a new battery, and my amp is set at max gain and volume on the channel I'm using.
please help

thanks
Case
apollos  
2 Nov 2009 23:21 | Quote
Joined: 09 Oct 2009
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idk man try googleing it cuz me and my friend where gonna instal some on my guitar but never did
Guitarslinger124  
3 Nov 2009 01:09 | Quote
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Has to be a soldering problem...EMG's are high output pickups...pretty much the only pickups I use. There is no way you aren't getting sound with your amp cranked.
Mici  
3 Nov 2009 06:44 | Quote
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I strongly advise you pay a pro at some shop to solder them for you! You can probably f... up things really bad if you keep re-soldering and trying to fix it all by yourself, ESPECIALLY (but not only) if it's the first time you're doing that.
case211  
3 Nov 2009 07:17 | Quote
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I would pay someone to do it, but there lies the problem, paying someone to do it. I have no money otherwise i would have someone do it and ask if I could watch them, but a guy i traded with last night took a look at it and said everything pretty much looked normal, so I'm guessing it was my bad soldering work.
I emailed EMG about the problem and have been looking up the same type of problem online since then, and i haven't found too much out of the ordinary.
I'll keep you guys posted once I get home and am able to keep working on it.
fender_bender  
3 Nov 2009 07:40 | Quote
Joined: 09 Oct 2009
United States
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Soldering is almost always a 3 handed job. lol. You may have to cut the wire back, strip it again and start with some fresh coppper. Sometimes wires break off and it doesn't make full contact. It could be three things. Bad soldering (no offence), Bad wiring (again, no offence) or a bad pickup (but that means someone ripped you off). Hopefully you didn't get ripped off. Maybe youtube a soldering class for a refresher? Or even youtube how to install an EMG 81. They are popular enough that it is most likely on there.
case211  
3 Nov 2009 07:48 | Quote
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Yeah, I found out the 3 handed part last night, I ended up going through the electronics again about 3 times following all possible connections... when i followed the diagram, i got no sound when I plugged all the way in, but when I swapped two of the connections on the input I could plug all the way in, but the signal was so weak I couldn't do anything with it. I found that when I touched the pickups they hummed and buzzed like crazy, so I'm guessing that it needs to be grounded(which is what EMG told what NOT to do). So when I get home today, I'm going to get back to work on this thing, then I've got another pickup to install on my strat(an old Jackson J-80), which hopefully will be easier than this.

and no offense taken on the soldering, it is literally the second time I've soldered in my life, so I definitely checked and rechecked all the connections.
fender_bender  
3 Nov 2009 08:28 | Quote
Joined: 09 Oct 2009
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My first soldering job was on my American Std Strat. I gunked that thing up with so much solder the pickup selector would hardly move! lol. Memories. I was installing vintage noiseless SCs and a...duncan distortion HB. They don't play well together.

I don't know if you have a Harbor Freight Tools were you are (radio shack may have them too). I got this thing which really helps with soldering. Its a magnifying glass mounted on a heavy base with two arms with alligator clips on the ends. The clips can hold the wire you want to solder and it leaves your other two hands free to work the iron and the solder. It can't reach down into a guitar sometimes, but it makes soldering so much easier. It maybe something to check into.
case211  
3 Nov 2009 12:00 | Quote
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yeah, I wish I could go find a radio shack here, I don't know my way around Omaha yet(I've been here for just about a year). I've burned myself with the soldering iron 3 different times in one night lol So I would love to have something else hold the wires and such for me.

and I've e mailed EMG's tech support team 2 times now,still waiting for a response back...
case211  
3 Nov 2009 18:42 | Quote
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Now I'm starting to think I'm just not one with installing pickups... I've put an old Jackson J-80 into my squier and now it's the same result as the EMG, very little output, and I'm not running through a tone pot, just humbucker->volume->jack.

If anyone has any diagrams or troubleshooting techniques, please don't hesitate to post them, I need some help.

Thanks,
Case
fender_bender  
3 Nov 2009 23:17 | Quote
Joined: 09 Oct 2009
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As some say here in wv...goggle it. (google it) Thats the best answer I can give, sorry.
case211  
3 Nov 2009 23:24 | Quote
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yeah I've been doing that a lot lately, especially in Spanish class lol My dad is going to help me out with some of the connections and see if he can see if my connections match those given in the diagram on emg's site.

From what I can see though, I've got the connections right on the J-80, but its got very low signal, thought volume works, which is already better than the EMG.
The EMG is giving me migraines left and right, I get the pickup to go to what sounds like full output, but the volume knob doesn't work, then I get the volume knob to work and then the EMG doesn't go full output with the volume up all the way but it will go quiet...

I've never looked at my guitars in disgust before now...
JoshJones  
4 Nov 2009 07:07 | Quote
Joined: 30 Sep 2009
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ok case apologies but i was outta town. So you are getting low output out of which humbucker? The fact that its out of two different pickups throws out your wiring and your bad pickup theory. The EMG will be a entirely different beast because its active and has a power source.

Check to see if you have grounded your output jack. Even though no ground there would give a zero signal. Is there anyway you can get a picture and send it to me?

I can get it fixed asap with a picture, but my first read through of the posts is that its probably a ground issue. Go through all your connections and make sure you have a "common" ground.

PM me if you need more help.
fender_bender  
4 Nov 2009 07:26 | Quote
Joined: 09 Oct 2009
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I just had a thought. When I installed my vintage noiseless pickups in my strat I had to change out some of the volume/tone pots. I can't remember which ones. Do EMGs require a 'bigger' volume pot?
case211  
4 Nov 2009 08:10 | Quote
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@fender
I actually did get the pots in the trade, and they actually are only 25K not the strat 250K or the gibby 500K, but 25K, i think because it's active....
@Josh

Its cool man, i do have some pics that i took and sent to EMG's tech support team but they are really slow to respond(4 hours per message).
My dad is going to help me go through it today when i get home from school, but he's never worked on a guitar before, and the last time he played it was something like Van Halen had just released their "Fair Warning" album(lol)

Here's some pics, and thanks for the help guys






Sorry for the blurry pictures, I didn't think that they would be so blurry, but I think that you can make out the connections
JoshJones  
4 Nov 2009 08:40 | Quote
Joined: 30 Sep 2009
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ok, i've got a couple things to do, but I should be able to take a look after lunch.

Pot size won't matter, in fact the larger the pot than it would die out, but being active the pot's should be lower so that it will have a louder sound. Smaller R value = louder output.

Case, I need to know exactly where your gray tube wire is going.

Just for future info... the volume pot does control the volume, but larger values (250k, 500k) dampen the overall sound, lower values (25k, 50k) make the overall volume much louder.

Tone pots move your filter to create more or less brightness (250k = less treble, 500k = more treble)

Cap is similar but acts in a different way in the filter.

Your pickup is not the issue, as one cannot be bad unless you stick a magnet on top of it and even then its fixable.

Overall, make sure that you have a wire going from each pot casing(should be 3 total), with your cap grounded on one end of the tone pot. You should have both pickups grounded to all of these as well. You stereo output jack should also have a grounded wire (the gray one). All of these should be attached to a metal point on the guitar that has no connection at all. See my paint drawing.




case211  
4 Nov 2009 09:35 | Quote
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I am trying to set up a single volume and pickup configuration. And EMG said that the pickup doesn't need to be grounded because it is internally.
The 3 connections on the input jack are like this: Battery(black w/ shrink tubing), Hot(white), Ground?(black)

and whenever I'm not touching(grounding) the input jack it buzzes and actually cuts out some of the signal...
and the volume doesn't work when I wire it a certain way... confusion confusion...

and then on the other guitar I have the same low output problem, but not extremely buzzy.

I'm pretty lost on this stuff
fender_bender  
4 Nov 2009 09:40 | Quote
Joined: 09 Oct 2009
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Oops...got it backwards.

It looks like a lot of solder on there. I'd clean that up and make sure you aren't making other connections with the excess solder.
JoshJones  
4 Nov 2009 10:05 | Quote
Joined: 30 Sep 2009
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Even though the EMG's are "internally" grounded you have to have a common ground with the rest of the electronics that's what the buzz is being caused by. Its called a ground loop and they get very complicated very fast.

http://i118.photobucket.com/albums/o99/Mk239/EMGWiringDiagram.jpg

This link shows the grounding, I can walk you through it, but over text it could be difficult.
case211  
4 Nov 2009 13:03 | Quote
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@josh

We should try it though, thanks for the link. I'm going to try with just a single volume and single pickup config now though.

@fender

yeah, me and my dad are going to go through them today and clean it up some and check out the connections vs. the diagram.
JoshJones  
4 Nov 2009 16:56 | Quote
Joined: 30 Sep 2009
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yeah sure, for removing the solder, go buy a simple solder pump. If you have used de-solder braid, its a thousand times better but you can kill a pot so fast.

If after removing the solder and grounding the pickup, let me know if it works otherwise I'll have you completely clean everything and walk you through the entire process. Installing pickups is a 5-10 minutes tops once you understand the circuit process.
JoshJones  
4 Nov 2009 17:01 | Quote
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Here is the official wiring diagram

http://www.emginc.com/content/wiringdiagrams/EMG-H-60-81-85_r0230-0014a.pdf
case211  
4 Nov 2009 21:45 | Quote
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@josh

I know I'd probably be risking a fire or some burns by attempting this, but, I'm thinking about using a cloth or a paper towel and wiping the hot solder off quickly.
JoshJones  
5 Nov 2009 06:06 | Quote
Joined: 30 Sep 2009
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Burns would be the issue, depending on the lead content, you may have to heat to above 600 F. I would recommend:

http://www.amazon.com/Parts-Express-DESOLDERING-PUMP/dp/B0002KRAAG

super quick and easy and its what I use for all my solder jobs. Plus prevents burns. That iron burns skin like butter, trust me I know
fender_bender  
5 Nov 2009 07:14 | Quote
Joined: 09 Oct 2009
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Get a regular paper towel and fold it up into a small square. Run water over it and then ring it out. It just needs to be damp. Just lay it on the table next to you. Wipe the solder off of the iron that way. Don't pick it up. That's the way my dad taught me to do it. I use a pump to remove solder, but I always have a wet paper towel to wipe residue off the iron.
case211  
5 Nov 2009 07:38 | Quote
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I got my senior pictures done last night, and then I had some comp work to do so I really didn't get to do anything with the guitars last night... though I did put a "Tone" knob for the volume knob. anyways, I'm going to clean up most of the solder off the top of the pot(you know the big globs lol).
So after I can clean up most of the pot and ground connections I'll either post on here, or I'll PM you Josh.

Thanks again for the help guys :D
JoshJones  
5 Nov 2009 10:18 | Quote
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fender, try a sponge, much easier and prevents any possible burning. Plus it will keep your tips alive, as most people don't tin their tips so they quit flowing the solder smoothly
fender_bender  
5 Nov 2009 14:20 | Quote
Joined: 09 Oct 2009
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I tried a sponge for a while. Then it got all nasty and I threw it away. I didn't notice much of a difference in using it, but then again, I don't solder everyday! Sponges I loose. Paper towels I always have...and I'm lazy. lol.
case211  
5 Nov 2009 16:41 | Quote
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well, I got one of my guitars to work, it was may squier strat with the old jackson bucker in it. Though it sounds kind of thin and single coil like... I'm going to recheck it.

And I got the emg to work with the volume knob and there isn't any buzzing, I grounded everything that needed to be grounded, again with new wire. Only problem is the output is very very low... sounds clean on my gain channel at 10...
case211  
5 Nov 2009 19:08 | Quote
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I haven't been able to fix anything in either guitar... I've tried two different pickups in my strat with the same result, so I know that they work, because one was the one that came out of the ibanez, but I don't know what I am doing wrong in my wiring, they sound very weak and squwaky
JoshJones  
5 Nov 2009 20:46 | Quote
Joined: 30 Sep 2009
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do you have access to a new volume pot? Sounds like you got the EMG working but your volume pot could be shot. One problem with learning to solder is that if you put too much heat on the electrical components you will kill them.
case211  
5 Nov 2009 21:07 | Quote
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is it possible to use a "tone" pot for a volume pot, just remove the capacitor?
if no, it'll have to wait, because I don't know if my local music store sells 25K pots at all

and the emg sounds clean, and my amp is again maxed on the gain channel.

as for the other guitar, they sound almost like bad single coils, there's nothing worthy to the tone they give, its just weak and bad.
I think it's my soldering maybe, I'm not sure though, because I've used two diff. humbuckers, with the same results.
JoshJones  
5 Nov 2009 22:08 | Quote
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you can test your other guitar with a tone pot, if you test with the EMG's the sound will be super low decibel wise. Did you get my PM?
case211  
5 Nov 2009 22:41 | Quote
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well, I have the EMG tone pot, which I'm guessing is a volume pot wired up with a capacitor and given a different wiring job to achieve that function.
So if I'm correct on that, I have 2 tones that are rated at 500K for my Strat, and one tone for my EMG, that I could use as volumes.
and I didn't get your PM

EDIT: nevermind, I did get your PM it just didn't show up at first
JoshJones  
6 Nov 2009 07:04 | Quote
Joined: 30 Sep 2009
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you are correct, i'd give it a go with the EMG tone pot as your volume pot
case211  
6 Nov 2009 09:02 | Quote
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alrighty then, I'll try that tonight ::) hopefully it works
keniemn  
6 Nov 2009 14:30 | Quote
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red wire= power feed
white inner core= signel
braided sheild= ground
every thing has to be grounded,back of pots,bridge every thing

i built my first guitar almost two years ago started with emg85 and an overwound singelcoil i pulled the 85 and put another of the over wound singels in its place
case211  
6 Nov 2009 21:05 | Quote
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hmmmm, I've given the 81 a rest since I managed to figure out what went wrong on the other guitar(I did fry the volume knob), but I'm still lost with the 81 and I know I shouldn't be.
JoshJones  
6 Nov 2009 21:21 | Quote
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so it was the volume pot?? I thought it would be.

Active's change a couple of things because of the pre-amp that is involved and the stereo output jack. If you can give me info on exactly what you want and your exact switch I'll draw up a schematic sometime this weekend and get it to you. (pending my workload)
case211  
6 Nov 2009 22:45 | Quote
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Thanks man, really all I want for my EMG is to work, and I just need to have a single volume with no tone. No switches needed.
And I swapped out the volume pots on the EMG, but after I rewired it, it didn't work :(

I think I'm just going to go back to square one and recheck everything tomorrow before practice.
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