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Old 02-11-2014, 07:56 PM   #1
martin6string
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How To Measure Pickup DC Resistance

Here's a quick and easy pictorial of how to measure pickup DC resistance using your multi-meter.

For illustration purposes, I'm using my test rig that I use to test wiring harnesses after they are built, so there are ALOT of wires that you don't need to concern yourself with for this exercise. The bridge pickup we'll test is 4 conductor, and I've marked all the appropriate leads in the picture.

** If you want to test single conductor braided pickups, all you need to do is put on lead of your meter on the inner hot wire, and the other lead on the outer braid which acts as the ground. Make sure that none of the outer braid comes in contact with the hot or you won't get a reading. **

The testing rig:



Note we have (4) leads - Hot, Series Links (combined into 1), Ground (Covered), and Bare Ground Wire.

If you don't have an auto-sensing meter like this one, set the range to 20K.



As depicted, I took the HOT from the pickup and connected to one lead on the meter. I then took the Bare AND Covered Ground wires and connected those to the other lead on the meter.

Now if you wanted to test just the coil split (1/2 the pickup), substitute the hot lead from the pickup with the series link wires (Ex. Seymour Duncan uses Red+White as the series links, so you'd test those wires - Mine is already presoldered into one "series link" lead for simplicity purposes).



Notice the output is roughly 1/2 of the full pickup output of 8.05K. Everything works fine!

Lastly, if your wanting to test DC resistance of pickups that are already installed in your guitar, its as easy as plugging a guitar cable into the input jack of the guitar, and connecting a multi-meter to the other side of the cable as follows:



You may get a *slightly* different value using the above testing method because of the caps and pots being connected to the circuit. It should not deviate by much.

Here's another way too, assuming the pickup is already wired up:





One leg of the meter gets clipped to the volume pot lug where the pickup is connect, the other leg clipped to the outer braid of the pickup. Make sure your volume is all the way up

Hope this helps!
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Old 02-11-2014, 09:58 PM   #2
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Re: How To Measure Pickup DC Resistance

Good stuff Matt . Should be a Sticky . Those who need this should have it available easily .
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Old 02-11-2014, 11:31 PM   #3
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Re: How To Measure Pickup DC Resistance

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Good stuff Matt . Should be a Sticky . Those who need this should have it available easily .
Thanks, Jeff!
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Old 02-12-2014, 02:22 AM   #4
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Re: How To Measure Pickup DC Resistance

OK how about on braided shield wiring?
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Old 02-12-2014, 02:26 AM   #5
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Re: How To Measure Pickup DC Resistance

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OK how about on braided shield wiring?
the braided shiled itself the ground, the wire coming out of the shielded cloth is the hot wire
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Old 02-12-2014, 02:49 AM   #6
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Re: How To Measure Pickup DC Resistance

what if my pickup reads 22k but my meter is only at 20k smart guy????? LOL
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Old 02-12-2014, 08:50 AM   #7
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Re: How To Measure Pickup DC Resistance

Quote:
Originally Posted by tazzboy View Post
OK how about on braided shield wiring?
Quote:
Originally Posted by martin6string View Post
** If you want to test single conductor braided pickups, all you need to do is put on lead of your meter on the inner hot wire, and the other lead on the outer braid which acts as the ground. Make sure that none of the outer braid comes in contact with the hot or you won't get a reading. **
This.
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Old 02-12-2014, 08:50 AM   #8
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Re: How To Measure Pickup DC Resistance

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what if my pickup reads 22k but my meter is only at 20k smart guy????? LOL
Idiot!!!
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Old 02-12-2014, 10:03 AM   #9
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Re: How To Measure Pickup DC Resistance

Will a shorter output cable for the installed pickup method give a more accurate reading?

I usually use a solid offset pedal jack just because...

Visual aid.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 20140212_100503.jpg (90.3 KB, 1228 views)
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Old 02-12-2014, 03:15 PM   #10
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Re: How To Measure Pickup DC Resistance

^i think you should plug into your amp like that. better tone. less signal path so you get more tone to your amp.


play live like that too axe.
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Old 02-12-2014, 03:50 PM   #11
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Re: How To Measure Pickup DC Resistance

okay.
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Old 02-12-2014, 04:17 PM   #12
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Re: How To Measure Pickup DC Resistance

Quote:
Originally Posted by AXE View Post
Will a shorter output cable for the installed pickup method give a more accurate reading?

I usually use a solid offset pedal jack just because...

Visual aid.
Maybe, maybe not, Rick. If there is a deviation, I would think it could be slight. The pickup winding folks could probably shed more light on that.
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Old 02-12-2014, 08:19 PM   #13
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Re: How To Measure Pickup DC Resistance

Thanks Matt.

That's a badass V huh?

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Old 02-14-2014, 09:04 AM   #14
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Re: How To Measure Pickup DC Resistance




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Old 02-14-2014, 06:24 PM   #15
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Re: How To Measure Pickup DC Resistance

Here's another way too, assuming the pickup is already wired up:





One leg of the meter gets clipped to the volume pot lug where the pickup is connect, the other leg clipped to the outer braid of the pickup. Make sure your volume is all the way up
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Old 02-21-2014, 04:59 AM   #16
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Re: How To Measure Pickup DC Resistance

Thank you guy, great post!
Anyone may help me doing the same test with the PCB of my Gibson LP Studio?

https://www.google.com/search?q=Gibs...et%3B816%3B612
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Old 02-22-2014, 09:02 AM   #17
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Re: How To Measure Pickup DC Resistance

Thanks for this great post Matt. This is very helpful. Even to members who have done this its great to see how you would do it. I also think it would be a good sticky (I see it already is).

Last edited by ghost driver; 02-23-2014 at 08:16 AM.
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Old 03-29-2015, 07:11 AM   #18
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Re: How To Measure Pickup DC Resistance

here's a question, I did mine using the cable end/multimeter method on a Les Paul w/ 57's in it & 50's wiring.-

Bridge-13.25
Neck-8.85
but when in the middle position it reads 5.08

I'm not sure if that's normal but when playing it sounds like full output.
I do know there is an open ground or cold solder joint somewhere @ the moment but I haven't found it yet.
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Old 03-29-2015, 07:30 AM   #19
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Re: How To Measure Pickup DC Resistance

Quote:
Originally Posted by blues_n_cues View Post
here's a question, I did mine using the cable end/multimeter method on a Les Paul w/ 57's in it & 50's wiring.-

Bridge-13.25
Neck-8.85
but when in the middle position it reads 5.08

I'm not sure if that's normal but when playing it sounds like full output.
I do know there is an open ground or cold solder joint somewhere @ the moment but I haven't found it yet.
It's totally normal: two pickups in parallel measure the sum of their DCR's divided by 4. And you have 4 pots in the circuit instead of two, whose DCR drags down the whole DCR too.
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Old 07-06-2015, 11:02 PM   #20
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Re: How To Measure Pickup DC Resistance

Don't forget about the temperature of the coil.
When ever possible measure DC resistance at 68*F (20*C) .
I use an IR temp gun to read the temp of the coil when I measure DC resistance
For every 5 degrees under or over 68*F add or subtract 1%

Ex: 7.57k ohms measured at 73*F = 7.494k ohms.
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Old 07-12-2015, 05:53 AM   #21
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Re: How To Measure Pickup DC Resistance

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Originally Posted by AXE View Post
Will a shorter output cable for the installed pickup method give a more accurate reading?
Compared to the 8 or more kOhm of the pickup, the resistance of the wire is very, very small. The wire is probably below 1 Ohm resistance, so you can ignore that.
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Old 07-19-2015, 01:30 PM   #22
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Re: How To Measure Pickup DC Resistance

I just installed new pots and pickups. The neck sounds full output, but the SD SH-5 in the bridge sounds like it's not getting the full output. I measure 13.5k for the SH-5 (duncan states Bridge: 14.1 k). Could there be a short somewhere, or does this seem normal? Could there be a grounding issue somewhere and still get the correct resistance reading?
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Old 07-19-2015, 02:04 PM   #23
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Re: How To Measure Pickup DC Resistance

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Originally Posted by oildrops View Post
I just installed new pots and pickups. The neck sounds full output, but the SD SH-5 in the bridge sounds like it's not getting the full output. I measure 13.5k for the SH-5 (duncan states Bridge: 14.1 k). Could there be a short somewhere, or does this seem normal? Could there be a grounding issue somewhere and still get the correct resistance reading?
Could be an issue with the switch, but if possible, post a pic of the electronics cavity so we can see if anything looks suspect.

Also, the difference from 13.5K to 14.1K could be the temperature at the time of metering. That doesn't raise any flags with me at all.
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Old 07-19-2015, 03:37 PM   #24
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Re: How To Measure Pickup DC Resistance

Quote:
Originally Posted by martin6string View Post
Could be an issue with the switch, but if possible, post a pic of the electronics cavity so we can see if anything looks suspect.

Also, the difference from 13.5K to 14.1K could be the temperature at the time of metering. That doesn't raise any flags with me at all.
I posted a pic in this thread http://www.mylespaul.com/forums/luth...me-advice.html, but posted in the luthier forum by accident. I just checked through all the wiring and tugged on every wire to check to cold joints. I unhooked the tone pot from the bridge pickup, which made no difference. I checked the lugs on the switch, and made sure they weren't touching. I re-soldered the pickup hot and ground, and the bent lugs on the pots. The only thing I can think of that I didn't check is where I grounded all the shielding together for the switch. I can't access it unless I de-solder everything because I didn't leave myself enough slack, so I was leaving that as a last resort.
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Old 07-19-2015, 05:02 PM   #25
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Re: How To Measure Pickup DC Resistance

Quote:
Originally Posted by oildrops View Post
I just installed new pots and pickups. The neck sounds full output, but the SD SH-5 in the bridge sounds like it's not getting the full output. I measure 13.5k for the SH-5 (duncan states Bridge: 14.1 k). Could there be a short somewhere, or does this seem normal? Could there be a grounding issue somewhere and still get the correct resistance reading?
14.1k in parallel with two 500k pots (volume and tone) is supposed to become 13.347k.

Here is a useful tool to check it if necessary: PARALLEL RESISTOR CALCULATOR

So, if the SH5 has a problem of output, it's apparently not a question of grounding.
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Old 08-08-2015, 01:36 PM   #26
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Re: How To Measure Pickup DC Resistance

I've updated the tutorial to make it a bit easier to understand. Content can be found in my technical blog:

Measuring Pickup DC Resistance
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Old 04-19-2016, 01:44 PM   #27
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Re: How To Measure Pickup DC Resistance

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Originally Posted by freefrog View Post
It's totally normal: two pickups in parallel measure the sum of their DCR's divided by 4. And you have 4 pots in the circuit instead of two, whose DCR drags down the whole DCR too.
Great point that isn't mentioned often.
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Old 09-21-2016, 07:18 AM   #28
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Re: How To Measure Pickup DC Resistance

Quote:
Originally Posted by martin6string View Post
Here's another way too, assuming the pickup is already wired up:





One leg of the meter gets clipped to the volume pot lug where the pickup is connect, the other leg clipped to the outer braid of the pickup. Make sure your volume is all the way up
I just did my cc les paul bridge only using the already wired method..it read 7.77.

Then I did my benchmark ro using the same method...it read 4.04. I realize the benchmark runs have the lower output E buckers but that is a substantial difference to me. The funny thing is the E buckers are just as loud and more articulate.....Any input on this one guys? thanks

edit...never mind..someone suggested putting my cable in the guitar input...solved the problem and the pickups read 7.34.

Last edited by peanutavalon; 09-21-2016 at 06:41 PM.
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