#1
The neck humbucker on my les paul sounds weak, almost like a strat pickup. It sounds like it's half as loud and half as much gain as the bridge pickup.

To be fair these are PAF style humbuckers so maybe that's how the neck is supposed to sound?

What could be causing this? Cold solder joint, bad coil wire, weak magnet? I can record and post some sound examples if it helps.

- Thanks
#2
your neck pickup is usually not as loud as the bridge. your pickup could be adjusted down farther from the strings than it should be so look at that. your tone settings may also play a role in this. what sounds awesome for the bridge at times isn't that great for the neck. of course it could be one of the problems you mentioned as well.
#3
Raise it up and get it closer to the strings. My neck pickups are usually louder than the bridge so I will lower it a bit and raise the bridge. If raising doesn't work it could be a broken wire, dirty volume pot or dirty selector switch.
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#4
With the pickup selected, touch something metal like a screw driver to the front of the pickup over both coils. If you hear it feed into the amp, that coil is active. If it does it on one side of the pick up and not the other, it may have been coil tapped. See if you have any push-pull knobs. If you do, push or pull it and see if it changes. If you don't, then you might have a break in the coil on the dead half or someone wired it wrong. That should address the single coil sound.

A neck pickup will have less gain. The closer proximity to the bridge will give it a brighter tone (better gain sound). As for volume, check the action between the strings and the pickup face. The closer, the louder. With the volume knobs full tilt, adjust the heights of the pickup until you get the desired volume split. Make sure to not adjust the pickup higher then where the string will be when you fret it at on the high frets of the neck. You should have at least the width of a pick between the string and the pickup face.
#5
You should have at least the width of a pick between the string and the pickup face.


If you set a humbucker that close the magnets will probably decay the vibration of the strings and cause it to lose sustain. Mine are almost 1/4 inch below the strings. You can get a little closer than that, I wouldn't go less than 1/8 inch at most. At the thickness of a pick, it might actually be close enough to affect tuning...

Visually set the neck pickup the same height as the bridge pickup, then go from there. Some have to be closer to the strings, every humbucker guitar I've had I had to put the neck pickup slightly lower than the bridge to get even volume levels.

Also check the other things suggested, spray some contact cleaner into the pickup switch and work it about a dozen times, if you have any noise in the volume or tone controls, do the same with them, do the tap test described above, it could be any of those things.
Hmmm...I wonder what this button does...
#6
Quote by ColonelRimfire
The neck humbucker on my les paul sounds weak, almost like a strat pickup. It sounds like it's half as loud and half as much gain as the bridge pickup.

To be fair these are PAF style humbuckers so maybe that's how the neck is supposed to sound?


Do you have a coil tap on your Les Paul activated? Some folks don't even know they have the things.
#7
Do you know if the pickup was ever replaced, or if any of the pots or selector was replaced? Because it could have been re-wired out of phase, which can sound like what you're describing.

I installed a pickup a month or so ago and had the hot and ground wires switched on my first attempt and it sounded like what you're describing -- thin, weak, and well, just weird. When I swapped the wires it sounded great.
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#8
Does it sound something like this?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S1nWqEACfdg

If yes, it could be the pickup selector. This happened to my Epiphone Les Paul.
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#9
Quote by KailM
Do you know if the pickup was ever replaced, or if any of the pots or selector was replaced? Because it could have been re-wired out of phase, which can sound like what you're describing.

I installed a pickup a month or so ago and had the hot and ground wires switched on my first attempt and it sounded like what you're describing -- thin, weak, and well, just weird. When I swapped the wires it sounded great.


Out-of-phase wiring will generally give you a thin, nasal midrangy sound when both pickups are selected. While that sounds like something you'd never use, it's actually pretty useful if you do a bit more wiring. For example, I have one guitar that has a miniswitch that throws the two pickups out of phase and a blend knob instead of a second tone knob. It maintains the volume of the guitar overall, but when both pickups are selected and thrown out of phase, you can pick up some interesting tones by rolling the blend knob back and forth. The old Gibson L6-S had four total positions that involved both pickups selected, and two of them were out of phase (one used out-of-phase, parallel modes).