I've noticed recently that whenever I switch to my neck pickup it sounds quite faint, the volume is noticeably lower than the neck pickup (which it didn't use to be), at least at first, and eventually it goes back to normal. It's a 3-way selector, two humbuckers LTD EC401. Is the pickup selector going bad? Maybe needs some contact cleaner? But does this stuff actually work?

Why mess around with contact cleaner? You can buy a new 3 way toggle for less than a can of the stuff.
My gastronomic rapacity knows no satiety.
Quote by crackerjack123
Why mess around with contact cleaner? You can buy a new 3 way toggle for less than a can of the stuff.

ok, contact cleaner will last you forever.

it can also be used for a fuck-ton of things, and will save your ass for a long time for other uses.

decent switches cost the same, and its easier to clean a switch than it is to solder a switch. i don't have a problem with soldering, but we don't know about the OP.

worst case scenario the contact cleaner doesn't work. then he buys a switch. he will have contact cleaner for next time something goes down.
happens to me occasionally, i just toggle the swtich back and forth a couple hundred times and it usually clears out enough of whatever is preventing the contact. getting a new switch or contact cleaner would probably be better in the long run though
i have salvaged two gibson switches by contact cleaner, and an LTD too.
I'm comfortable soldering, made my own tube amp a couple years ago, replaced several pickups too. That being said I hate soldering guitar parts, cavities are usually cramped, wires too short, often looped in the components lugs so removal's a pain... I just don't enjoy it! But going back and forth with the switch dozens of times to make it work isn't right either, something's obviously wrong if you're having to do that.

Think I'll just start with contact cleaner. Thanks!
I wouldn't. The contact cleaner is non-conductive. It's worth every penny - switches, tube sockets, input jacks, salt water boat light connectors, automotive wiring assemblies, etc.

And it lasts forever. . . .
Ibanez RG1570 Prestige
Jackson Kelly KE3 - MIJ (Distortion/Jazz)
Jackson DKMGT Dinky (EMG 81/85)
ESP E-II Eclipse Custom (JB/'59)
ESP LTD EC-1001FR (EMG 81/60)
Fender MIM Strat

Mesa/Boogie Dual Rectifier Roadster 212
Laney IronHeart IRT-Studio
Peavey Vypyr 30
Peavey ReValver Amp Sims
TOOOO many T.C. Electronic Pedals. . .
I'd opt for contact cleaner, it's the better tool for the job. If you have any brake cleaner or any sort of denatured alcohol type thing that usually works well. I used to work out a mechanic shop and I used brake cleaner for all my guitar needs, worked very well.
I'm just a kickin' and a gougin' in the mud and the blood and the beer.
It could need contact cleaner (which you should get anyway). But it could also be the solder joints on the switch need to be touched up. Could be the switch itself, and could be the pickup. Start with the cheapest option first, then work your way though. My lead guitarist's Les Paul started this. I swapped out the pickup and it worked for a while, but the problem started again. Which means it is his switch. He has other LP's that he uses more now so that one is just sitting. But its most likely isolated in the switch. Start with contact cleaner. If that doesn't work, look at the solder joints. If they look fine, then try a new switch. If that works, great! If not, swap out the pickup.
\m/ RNR \m/ \m/ RNR \m/
Well it seems weird but it seems fixed. Tonight I played and while last night it was the neck pickup that wouldn't make a sound, today it was the bridge pickup. Well, fait sound for both. Then I noticed that by pushing on the switch perpendicular to its normal motion it would kick in the bridge pickup. So I figured OK it's going bad. I removed it (without disconnecting the wire), then started testing it with an ohm-meter and started looking at it and it seemed OK... tested it out of the guitar body. Worked just fine. I put it back in and now it's working like a charm. :-\ I may need to eventually replace it but now it sounds OK...

Anyway, on a Les Paul, how is the pickup selector typically angled? Not parallel to the neck but not perpendicular either, right?
I would also tighten the two screws on the back of the switch. That was the solution to my troubles with my pickup selector switch.
OK, that's a good idea, thanks, I'll try it if it starts getting wonky again...
I've had this problem before. When I checked the switch's metal contacts, they weren't touching. A little disassembling and a little bending of the contacts got the switch in working order again.
When you finish playing, always put the switch in the middle position; this allows the contacts to rest in a neutral, unbent state - if you leave it on the bridge or neck position for too long it will (sometimes) permanently bend the contacts out of place, and you'll end up with no sound, a weak sound, or an intermittent sound.
Last edited by J-E-M at Sep 22, 2015,