Hello all,

I have a Gibson-style Aria Double-Neck guitar (Bass/6) and I am having trouble with the Rhythm pup on the Bass. I received this guitar as a wedding gift from a good friend. I had the opportunity to mess with it before I was the owner and I noticed some obvious problems with the electronics; mainly static-filled pots. When the guitar was given to me, I decided to replace all of the electronics, other than the pups, as a project.

When I first disassembled it I used my multimeter to test each component, and I could have sworn I tested all of my pickups and got some value for resistance. I didn't take note of the values, nor did I have any real spec to compare it to. I also gator clipped each pickup to my amp input and tapped each pole with a precision screwdriver and got some reasonable response. With this, I concluded all were working.

Well, I don't know if somehow I overlooked this particular pickup, or if I have since broken it, but I am now getting no reading for resistance (infinite) and no response from amp input. I took the pup out of its casing and now have just the wrapped bobbin and the two leads. I get no resistance or response from these two leads. I bypassed the leads and went straight to the ends of the copper. Nothing. I probe the coil in arbitrary locations. Nothing.

Here's what really gets me - I don't even get a reading if I probe a single end of the copper an inch or so apart. Is the enamel really fully insulating? Obviously the copper is conductive. I've heard use sandpaper to get a good connection but is it really so well insulated that wrapping it around a probe is still not making contact?

Really, I just said a lot more than I needed to, but here are the real questions.

1) Do you think there's any chance I'm just not getting a good connection, but that the coil is fine?

2) As long as each pole grabs a screwdriver, can I assume there is enough magnetization without the need for a magnetometer?

3) If 1 and 2 weren't a problem, is the ONLY possible problem left break(s) in the wire?

I would really like to fix this myself. Any advice would be much appreciated.
For the electronics you replaced if there is scratchiness use WD40 inside the potentiometers or canned air and it'll fix that issue. Everyone usually runs to CTS when they hear the slightest scratch I find but it's such an easy fix.

for the pickup question I'd highly recommend checking out the seymour duncan forum as there is some pickup makers on there sharing knowledge about the best kind of winding gauge, magnet materials and all. I've taken a bunch of pickups apart but putting one back together I've never been successful so this is a good point in the right direction.
The enamel is fully insulating. It would be pointless to run so much wire if it weren't insulated, since it would act like one solid chunk of copper. The insulation is vital to the function of the pickup, which is why shorts or breaks are such a problem.
Since you are getting no continuity at all, you have a break somewhere in the winding. If there were a short you would at least get continuity. If you really wanted to, you could slowly unwind the wire until you found the break, but that is tedious and it would be far easier to just rewind or replace the pickup.
I suppose it's possible that the copper used in the pickup wiring was very poor quality (or a bad batch) and has simply degraded so badly it won't pass a signal at all, but I think it's more likely that you simply have a break somewhere in the winding.

The magnetization should be fine unless the magnets are physically broken, and you'd most likely notice that, they chip/shatter noticeably. There just aren't that many parts to a pickup, and your tests certainly point to a break in the coil wiring. I think you've done what you could, it might be time to replace the pickup now unless you really want to re-wind it.
Thank you both. I actually do think one of my magnets may be slightly damaged. There is a pin sized hole/chip on the underside of the pup on one pole, and while that is probably going to be an issue, I don't think it's the problem I'm looking for. I'm going to try to shave the copper ends down a bit and see if I just wasn't connecting properly, but most likely I will be fighting this thing until the bitter end - replacement.

Thanks again. I'll let ya know how it goes.