#1
Hi, Newbie on this forum. I considered posting in the "Ultimate Guitar Wiring" thread (or whatever it was called) but it's had (i think) 6,000 replies, and is probably way more diverse than this peculiar question.

Here's my boggle:

Found an Ibanez ART100 electric for a student - cool axe for $100 on C-list, a transparent cherry finish (circa 2009-2011) 2 humbuckers, 2 vol. 1 tone with a 3 way switch.

It has an odd problem, at least I think it does. With the 3-way in center, for both p-ups, when you turn down either of the pick-up volumes all the way, it kills the signal completely. Logic would think that the volume still up would continue to pass that pickup's signal, but it doesn't.

Regardless of which volume you zero, and which one is left up, once the one volume is down, it over-rides and kills all output from the guitar.

This only happens in the middle both p-ups position.

I have checked all the wiring traces and everything seems as it should in comparison to assorted wiring diagrams I have cross-checked for 2 buckers/2 vols/1 tone/3-way toggle.

It does look like it might've been rewired by a previous owner, since the wire doesn't seem to match any pics I've found of factory Ibanez control cavity wiring.

OK, now the question, aimed at guitar wiring experts -

The one thing that I think could be the culprit is the 3 way toggle wiring. The toggle is a 4 contact "Made In Korea" JA Electronics with 3 leads on one side and a 4th on the opposite side center (opposite from the center lead of the 3).

I've seen diagrams of 2 types of 4 lead 3-way toggles, on one, the ground is in the center of the 3 lead side (pin 2), on others, it's on the single lead on the opposite side.

As an experienced guitar tech (which I'm not) would know, pin 1 is for the neck p-up, pin 3 is for the bridge p-up with another pin for both p-ups as common for both on, and with the remaining pin for ground. (note: I know that toggle switched left connects to the lead pin on the right, and vice versa for toggle switched right and center hits both.)

My goofy question, which I hope answers my boggle is ---

If the toggle is accidentally wired with the common both-pick-ups leads accidentally swapped with the ground - in other words: common hot neck and bridge pick-ups soldered to the ground lead, and the 2 pick-up's ground wires soldered to the hot common (pin 2 of the 3 or the lone pin opposite the 3, depending on manufacturer's design) on the toggle, would this or would it not, shunt the output signal to ground (off) when either volume is turned down?

A tad confusing, I know - unless someone is a better abstract thinker than I, and a far far more experienced guitar wiring tech - it's quite new to me.

This is my hunch, anyway. After troubleshooting, I didn't want to keep my student's guitar, since it works fine if you keep your volumes maxed. Fine while practicing. But I would like to fix it if it's really wired incorrectly. It seems in my week of internet searching, this possible goof isn't addressed anywhere that I've searched. Short of rewiring the toggle, which I'd rather not do in tying up his guitar just to experiment, I figured SOMEONE out there who has lots of guitar wiring experience has probably run into this and can render some wisdom.

Seems like an easy error to make, since toggles as single pole double throw switches like this were originally designed to be OFF in the center, from what I understand.

Anyhooo, nuff said, I hope someone gets my drift. Groovy Website
#2
Not all 3 way switches are designed to be off in the middle position, or the 3 way pickup switch couldn't exist. The pickup switch is an On - On - On switch...not On - Off - On

Some guitars are actually intentionally wired so shutting either volume knob off cuts the signal from everything, so no matter which pickup is used you can shut it down without having to turn both knobs. Good to have onstage when you want to kill your last note quick. When you're only using one pickup it shout do the same by turning the knob for that pickup. The switch rules out any signal from the other pickup. With the switch set to use either pickup, cut the signal with the knob for that pickup, set to both either knob will do the trick.

The guitar might actually be working right, the way it's wired to work. With the switch in any position, you have the ability to shut everything down using one knob. I wouldn't worry about it, most of the time if you're set to use both pickups you won't be turning one completely off, just partially if you want to blend more of one and less of the other.
Hmmm...I wonder what this button does...
#3
There's nothing wrong with the switch or guitar, it's just how the wiring works. If you really don't like it, swap the wires going to lugs 2 and 1 of each volume pot (looking at it from the back). That should fix it.
#5
The logic of the combo middle position is to use the pots to blend the two pickups to your choice tone. As the both volume pots are common to the middle position turning either one down where it grounds the output kills the signal entirely. This is normal.

But if you're wanting to kill the volume of one pickup so you can only hear the one you want, well.... that's what the pickup selector switch is for.
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#6
Wow, thanks for all the great and speedy answers.
So the consensus is, this is normal and not uncommon. And, indeed, as Phoenix put it,

"...if you're wanting to kill the volume of one pickup so you can only hear the one you want, well.... that's what the pickup selector switch is for."

True dat!

Strangely enough, however, as I've been flirting with guitars for decades, this is the first I've ever noticed such a configuration - that said, it is easy to miss since just switching the switch is the first thought one has in nixing one p-up or the other.

My Gretsch '61 Firebird Jet's one 3-way is an On-Off-On kill switch, two other 3-ways, one for p-up select, (with no middle "kill it" action,regardless of the two volume's positions), or the master volume. The other 3-way is for 3 tone variations. So three 3-ways, all different.

The Rickenbacker bass I use, is a 2 vol, 2 tone setup, and the middle toggle position lets you blend both p-ups as well. Also have an old '70 Harmony H802, with individual switches for pick-up off/on per each, no toggle. A few other axes that also don't have that effect. Nor can I recall running into any friend's guitars that I've noticed it on, but, as stated, it's easy to miss.

I only mention all that to say that it's new to me; and since I hadn't experienced one before, it made me think it was problematic. But all of you make great points and I'm now the wiser for it. Dig that

Very Much Appreciated ~ The UG Community has spoken! You all rock!
#7
OK you're welcome.

I never use the knobs, I use a volume pedal, and right now my only two pickup guitars have single volume and tone controls, so it's been a while since I used them, but I've seen others that do the same, I think my old Lotus Les Paul copy, which I shouldn't have sold, did the same thing, I was already a volume pedal fan so I never used it, the volume pedal shuts everything down no matter where the knobs are. Including buzz from effects...
Hmmm...I wonder what this button does...