Hey guys, finally decided to join the community and begin posting. I'm beginning a long journey towards being able to repair everything guitar related and eventually building from bare materials.

I am working on an Ibanez S series, electrics have never been touched since leaving the factory. The bridge pickup has now temporarily died (I hope). The other two pickups work fine, so I'll presume that the issue lies within the guitars wiring - short circuit, bad earth, broken wires. 5-way switch with no sound in the final bridge pup only position.

Strangely, if I raise the pickup to touch the strings, viola we have sound, obviously it's not a nice sound, but this would lead me to think that the pup itself is doing okay, and we have an issue with the wiring.

I can solder okay and have been tinkering with my multimeter trying to eliminate certain wires. With an instrument cable plugged in and the switch set to the bridge pup, using a multimeter I get a reading of 330 using the continuity function, which I'm assuming is OK. Anything less than 30 and the multimeter will beep, meaning there is a break in the circuit, is this correct?

When I set the multimeter to 20kohms I get a reading of 0.32 with a lot of flickering up and down before resting on .32. This is still done through the instrument cable with red probe on the tip and the black probe on the earthing sleeve below the black ring which is towards the tip of the cable. I also get the same reading when I touch the probes to the earth and white wires which are connected from the pup to the switch. I also have a red wire connected to the switch but to a different lug than the white wire. To remind you, this is all still factory wiring.

So with the info I've provided so far, could anybody suggest where to check now? All soldering looks fine, can't see any breakage in any wiring and the other 2 pups work fine.

Oh and hi, I'm Dreadnotic, nice to meet yall




Links to images of multimeter connections and readings.
Last edited by Dreadnotic at Sep 29, 2016,
This is where I'm really confused. Seem to be getting the right readings, but I still get no sound through an amp unless the strings are touching the pup, even if there's 1mm spacing between pup and strings, it won't work!

As I'm learning, I'm open to any suggestions that could eliminate any possible issues, as it will be good practice even if it does not provide a solution to the issue. I've exhausted my search efforts online which led me to using the multimeter, checking for cold solder joints, bad wiring, earthing issues. I'm just stumped for now!
A little extra info which I've just discovered whilst tinkering. If I set the guitars volume to around half way I can get a constant note reading on the tuner, which is A1. No volume or full volume gives me no tuner reading, around half way is A1 and it will settle at that, deviating the volume up or down slightly will cause the tuner to read the A1 note on and off, so the tuners needle flickers from nothing to A1. It won't detect the note of a string though, at all.
Last edited by Dreadnotic at Sep 26, 2016,
Quote by Dreadnotic
Hey guys, finally decided to join the community and begin posting. I'm beginning a long journey towards being able to repair everything guitar related and eventually building from bare materials.

welcome aboard!
Thanks for moving the thread and the welcome zapp! Posted in the Sandbox as I am new to the forums, still trying to figure this frustrating issue!
Have you tried resoldering all the joints having to do with that pickup? It's unlikely, but there's still the possibility.

I'm not positive, but I think the red wire is the "hot" wire, the bare one is the ground, and the white one is for coil tapping (I may have the red and white wires mixed up). So if you want to really make sure the pickup itself is fine you could solder it directly to the jack and bypass all the wiring and see if you get sound. Red wire to the tip, ground to sleeve, white not connected to anything, or connect white to sleeve as well for coil splitting (possibly swap red and white around if I've got that backwards). If it works like that then something's wrong in the rest of the wiring. At that point I'd guess that the switch isn't making good contact for some reason. You could try squirting some electrical contact cleaner in there and working the switch back and forth. Hell, do the volume/tone pots as well.

A1 is 55 hz. Mains hum (electricity in your house) is either 50 hz or 60 hz depending on what country you live in, so I'm guessing it's picking that up somehow.

Thanks bud, I did end up resoldering the wires connected to the lugs on the switch. Whilst disconnected I found a little tear in the wire shielding which I'd missed before, so I'm assuming this was the culprit! Managed to get it working again now after using some electrical tape to cover the tear, so it's the end of a frustrating few days scratching my head about it all
So this is somewhat solved, after taping up the tear in the shielding, the pup works but doesn't give a full sound. I can tune up and play the bridge pup now but the other pickups have more bass and a fuller sound to them in comparison.

Still tinkering around with it to see what's happening, and I'll try some more soldering, but any suggestions would be appreciated!
This is a strange problem. I would at first guess the switch is the problem because, how would anything change inside the guitar? Now that you have fixed it, does the pickup still change it's sound when you touch it to the strings? To me, that sounds like a grounding issue. maybe you fixed that with the electrical tape.
It wasn't the cleanest of guitars, with a fair amount of sweat built up on the fretboard and somehow inside the pots, mixed in with a bit of dust. Gonna give the electrics a clean, get some fresh solder on, and if the problem persists I'll begin swapping out components one at a time, starting with the switch, to eliminate each one individually.

I'll post updates over the weekend