Hi guys - looking for a little help on some guitar wiring.

Putting together my first build from parts. It's a simple conversion from a strat 3-single style to a double fat strat. Nothing fancy in the wiring - just 1 vol, 1 tone and a 3-way switch.

Everything seemed fine, was happy with the wiring and put everything together but I am having some problems. The neck pickup works fine, but when the switch is in the middle and bridge position I get no sound at all.

I re-checked my wiring and even re-soldered the bridge pickup wires to ensure they were connected. Nothing changed.

At first I thought it was the bridge pickup that might be faulty but after thinking about it, I reckon it might be the switch. If it was the pickup I would still expect to get sound when the switch was in the middle position (as it should still have the neck output). My understanding might be a little simplistic on how the switch works though so I thought I'd pick the brains of people with a bit more experience. there might be something I am not aware that I could check (could some kind of short in the bridge pickup connections short the entire ouput?)

I don't have another 3-way switch to test the circuit with. I could try another pickup (single coil) in the bridge position which might be simpler. I don't have a potentimeter (is that right?) to check the existing switch with.

Does anyone have any ideas?

Stupid question (probably) but have you checked the solder joints on the switch?
If your Bridge pickup is shorted then you'd get no sound from it and when you put it in circuit with the neck (middle position) then you would be sending the neck to ground as well (no sound).

So my first guess would be a short in the bridge wiring.

Have you tried reversing the switch positions (put neck where bridge is on switch and vice versa) to rule out a dodgy switch (ie if you swap them and get sound on the bridge and none in mid or neck then its the switch)?
Quote by WobblyGoblin
Faulty switch or my poor handiwork?

really dude, there's no way a question like that can be answered from something as vague as a description. maybe with pics, but even then it can be difficult.

not a potentiometer, an volt-ohmmeter. and they're damned cheap. buy one if you intend to do any wiring work. you can often get them for less than $5 and they'll save your ass when trying to get to the source of a problem.
Quote by Jackal58
I release my inner liberal every morning when I take a shit.
Quote by SK8RDUDE411
I wont be like those jerks who dedicate their beliefs to logic and reaosn.
Cheers guys.

Zhilla: Checked the wiring joints where attached to the switch and resoldered all of them so I don't think it is that.

Bellerophon: Cheers for that - good call. I'll try swapping the pickup positions and that should rule out the switch (or confirm it). I've looked around for a possible short but couldn't see anything.

Someoneyouknew: Not looking for a definitive answer - just suggestions from people a bit more in the know. Not planning on doing any wiring after this. If I can't sort it through a process of elimination then I'll need to look into buying/borrowing one.
Sometimes the short happens when a component/wire is grounded when fully assembled (ie casings etc touching conductive material when pickguard/control plate is screwed down).

Make sure there's enough clearance or wrap non conductive material around possible ground problems (I had to tape off a switch once that was shorting on my copper shielded cavity, took me a while to figure out that problem )
Cheers, that sounds like a possibility too. I'll try switching the pickups and then use insulation tape on any potential shorts.
Last edited by WobblyGoblin at Feb 11, 2009,
UPDATE: thought I'd post the resolution in case anyone else has similar problems.

Problem sorted. Took your advice Belerophon and moved the pickups to the opposite switch position. That reversed the problem so not the switch, as you suggested. De-soldered the hot wire and tried touching that to the other switch position - no sound from anything so the pickup was obviously grounded in some way.

Checked all possible connections and areas where grounding could take place and there were none so narrowed it down to the pickup itself.

De-soldered all wires and tried swapping the hot and ground wires. Hey presto! Looks like the switch was set up with the wrong wires colours. The colour scheme didn't match the scheme for the other pickup (and the wiring diagram).

Anyway, all sorted. Once I've polished it up again (grubby fingerprints all over my shiny scratchplate and pickup covers) I'll take some pictures and post on the customizing gallery. Really pleased with the pickups (Irongear pickups - get good reviews on Harmony Central and nice and cheap for a first build/mod)...

...apart from the incorrectly coloured wires.