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I installed a new bridge pickup on my Telecaster. It worked briefly, but then no sound came out of it. The neck pickup still works. I tried installing the old pickup back into the bridge as well, but it also does not work now.

The setup is a 3-way selector, 1 Volume and no tone. In place of the Tone is a switch that reversed polarity. (This is a Ritchie Kotzen Telephone)

What I have done so far with my multimeter on 20K Ohm.

  • Desoldered the pickup and tested wires. It reads 12.37, which is correct.
  • Resoldered and tested the wires this way, it reads the same 12.37
  • Tested the output jack by touching the tip and sleeve. The results in 0L.
  • Switched to the neck pickup on the selector and tested output jack the same way. It reads 6.4, which is about right for the neck pickup.
  • Still on the neck pickup, I tested by putting the black needle from the multimeter on the grounded lug and the red needle on the hot wire. It reads - 0.00.
  • Still on the neck pickup, I change the red needle to the hot wire of the bridge pickup, it reads 12.37.
  • Switched selector back to bridge. Needles on neck pickup, reads 0L. Bridge pickup reads 12.37

There are some weird inconsistencies going on here. The neck pickup works great, the bridge isn't making and output.

Any tips on what I should look for?

3

If you are getting zero ohms across the bridge pickup then that's your problem: there is a short circuit somewhere.

Your testing indicates it isn't in the pickup, as you still get an appropriate resistance across it when not installed, so the most likely causes are:

  • a short you caused when soldering: check for accidental shorts between adjacent wires and connectors at the pickup and switch.

  • you soldered the wires incorrectly, probably at the switch, but also possible at the pickup. Check wiring diagrams. This pickup may have different connections or colours to your other one.

An example Fender wiring diagram (from David Allen)

enter image description here

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This ended up being a bad switch. Somehow, the post that connected the bridge pickup failed during the last time I desoldered the wire. When testing it with a multimeter, I would get the correct readout on every post except the bridge post. I bought a new switch, wired it up and it worked as expected.

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