#1
Model is the Washburn W166PROG.

A customer came in the store a while ago very interested in the guitar but the middle and bridge positions were not working. After a lot of time and frustration, I could not figure out what was going on.

I had been corresponding with a technician on Washburn's side of things but did not get too much progress. I looked at a schematic (both a full one and a pickup-pot section) but did not get too much of a lead.

Today, I went to go test the guitar once more just to be sure it wasn't working still and today I noticed that, well, it was working. I do not know exactly what happened. There was a pinched wire under the tone pot of the bridge side, I did move that earlier but did not think much of it. That may have been the trick, although I know electricity does not work exactly like a water hose so I am not ruling out other possibilities.

The guitar is terribly noisy, though. On a clean channel of course I do not notice it much, but on a dirty channel it hums. Not buzzing like a ground issue, or 60 cycle, or gain hiss, but just low humming. Also, when I am not touching a metal part of the guitar (strings) which is normal at the levels of gain I was using I think. But the guitar just seems to be really noisy, with a noise cancellation in the middle pickup position. I think the pickups are just picking up EMI really easily.

I am not sure if this is due to their design (P-90 Style Humbuckers) or if there is still something wrong with the wiring.

Any tips? I have checked most if not all of the ground points. All seemed fine.
#2
I know you said you checked but you're 100 percent sure you checked all the ground points and wiring to make sure everything is attached properly?
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#3
Yes. I do not remember sitting down with it to specifically check each ground, but I have poked and tugged and inspected each one somewhere along the way. Nothing loose or obtuse. I am not going to re-solder each one just to try to find a wild goose, that is above my pay grade.

Also, the inside of the cavity (bare wood and paint I guess)? is conductive- when I touch it the buzz goes away. Is that normal? Maybe it's conductive paint.
Last edited by Will Lane at Feb 19, 2016,
#4
Is it just a regular 4-pot Les Paul wiring? Can you get us a picture of the control cavity?
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#6
i assume its probably dirty pots, if there is scratchy noise or lose of sound... some spray of good contact cleaner (bought some from RadioShack), spray on the potentiometers and turn a few times clockwise and counter clockwise then wipe away excess. since i don't see the electronic cavity i do not know whether it has shielding paint or not, could be you touched the string or metal part to remedy the ground issue. The Washburn your referring to is Idol Series WI66Prog, I own a Idol WI64 which has Washburn VCC (Voice Contour Control) system and Buzz Feiten tuning (don't ask me how it affects the guitar - not sure how or what effect it has), turning the knob dials down humbucker to approximate single coil pickups.
I have Washburn guitars 'Maverick Series' and bass 'Bantam Series' and a few pedals and amps, but man I wish to have more patience and drive practicing my playing, if it's equal to the modding itch, then I'm golden.
Last edited by psp742 at Feb 21, 2016,
#7
If you touch the inside of the cavity and the noise goes away, yes, it's conductive shielding paint, and you have a ground problem. Any time you can touch the guitar and the buzz or hum gets softer, it's most likely a ground problem somewhere.

Check every ground connection again, and make sure the ground has a solid connection to both the shielding paint and the bridge. If it were me I'd drag out the soldering rig and sniff some solder...if one solder joint is a "cold" joint, that could be the problem and it might not be easy to see. Solder joints should be silver and shiny, anything dull and grey is suspect, most likely a cold joint.

Also check continuity of all the wires with a multimeter, especially the one that was pinched. If one is broken in the middle, you lose your ground right there.

If it has a pick guard, I'd get some spray glue and aluminum foil and cover the back side of it, and make sure that gets grounded too. I've done all my guitars, it may not make a huge difference, but it does cut down the noise from electromagnetic interference. Especially things like florescent or neon lights...
Hmmm...I wonder what this button does...
#8
how old is it? i think the older ones (talking 10 years ago here) had no tone pot and what would usually be the tone rolled them off to parallel wiring for the pickups (I think). or maybe splits. but i think parallel iirc (which i probably don't )
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#9
Check that your bridge is grounded. You can test this by taking a knob off and touching one of the pots to see if it goes away. Reflow your solder joints coming from the pickups sounds liek you have a cold solder joint that looses connection.