Pickup or Pot Problem?

northernguitarguy

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I'm having a problem with the bridge pup or potentiometer on my Kasuga Northern. The bridge pickup is a Vineham 6070, which is a T-Top clone, just wound to be a hair hotter. When I play my rig with in-ear monitors, I can run amps, pedals and guitars on full settings and get no feedback (I don't think this sounds great, just sayin').

However, when playing the Northern, if I have the pot volume up full and crank the gain, I just go to a squeal if I take my hands off the strings. If I were to then kick in an OD pedal, it goes to uncontrollable squeal. I can do this with other guitars and just let them hang from me without the squeal. If I back off the pot, even just a hair to say '9.5', the squeal goes completely away and the guitar behaves.

Easy solution is to just back off on the pot, but I don't like crappy fixes. Any suggestions are welcome.
 

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larryguitar

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Easy test would be wire it directly to the jack, bypassing the pot, and see if it stops.

Larry
 

cooljuk

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A good place to start would be swapping pickups between that guitar and another and see if the problem follows the guitar or the pickup. If it's the pickup, contact Craig and see what he suggests. If it's the guitar, try bypassing the harness to further isolate the problem.
 

northernguitarguy

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@cooljuk Dude, you are a fuckin RAWK STAR. Thanks for chiming in. I’m taking the guitar on a road trip Saturday morning to let the legendary @Freddy G lay his sorcerers hands upon this here broken axe. After his holiness blesses my Northern, I will be rocking, I know it!
 

Freddy G

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jeebus....the pressure!

James, I hear you regarding the "loose hardware" in the pickup theory. But NGG tells me this problem happens with NO pysical acoustic relationship between guitar and speaker. This happens with in ear monitors.....no amplifier! So I'm leaning away from that theory....
 

cooljuk

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In-ears only, with feedback? Oh. I see.

How many Metal Zones in series? lol!

The loose fitting parts thing would be typical of an original T-Top, especially by the 70's, but shouldn't apply to a modern replica made with good stuff.
 

northernguitarguy

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In-ears only, with feedback? Oh. I see.

How many Metal Zones in series? lol!

The loose fitting parts thing would be typical of an original T-Top, especially by the 70's, but shouldn't apply to a modern replica made with good stuff.
Yes sir, I take your word for it. Thankfully, the real T-Top in the neck is lovely and squeal free. But the bridge goes haywire when the volume pot is full. Back off a slight hair and it goes away.

Freddy thinks it might be a problem in the track of the pot. If that’s all it is, then we’re gold as I have a Bournes pair I hope he will install, if necessary. I just need his hands on it, get summa that Freddy juju into it. All will be wonderful with the world and I will rock. :)
 

CB91710

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Ya know... I was thinking microphonic pickup...
But is there a chance a no-load pot got put into the volume circuit instead of tone?
The pot going from 500k to open might add enough treble to cause feedback... though I'd think you'd notice the tonal difference through the in-ears.
Or could that be part of why the in-ears sound so bad?

Or the no-load could be intentional... instead of adding a "blow switch", just use no-load pots and "10" is "blow"
 

cooljuk

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Shouldn't be. A pickup should be able to run wide open to the jack with no pots or electronics in any variety of rigs.

I have some ideas, but without seeing it I'd only be speculating.

Freddy will figure it out. :thumb:
 

northernguitarguy

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Ya know... I was thinking microphonic pickup...
But is there a chance a no-load pot got put into the volume circuit instead of tone?
The pot going from 500k to open might add enough treble to cause feedback... though I'd think you'd notice the tonal difference through the in-ears.
Or could that be part of why the in-ears sound so bad?

Or the no-load could be intentional... instead of adding a "blow switch", just use no-load pots and "10" is "blow"
Pot was replaced about five years ago. I can't remember what I put in there, but it's a premium brand (not Bournes). It replaced a push/pull pot that I think I used once and found split coils to be a drag. It is most certainly a volume pot and it was installed by a great tech (not Freddy) when I had the axe refretted.

It completely puzzles me. My two other guitars are my P90 Gibson and my 498/490 installed Yamaha Revstar. With in-ear monitors, I can let both hang on me with my with amp and a high gain pedal, both CRANKED. Yes, there is a bit of hum, but no noise resembling feedback Indeed, I miss some feedback. I'm not much of a lead guitarist and sometimes dissonance is my best effect. :rofl:
 

northernguitarguy

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Testify! Brother @Freddy G has resurrected my favourite guitar, my first electric and a gift from my dear Aunt Jane. If he wishes, I will let him chime in on his juju and exactly what he did.

Here's what I saw. First he inspected my wiring. I realize now he was witness to a couple decades worth of experimenting and wiring and rewiring. I recall myself doing some, my father, and a number of techs. In short, it was a cormorant's nest and apparently, the bridge pup wasn't grounded.

Freddy's solution was to take it all out and rewire the guitar with PIO Russian caps. Once he was done, I couldn't believe how neat everything looked. Spiffy. He checked everything and it was aok.

Next came the custom Freddy G bone nut. My pervious tech appeared to have a hard-on for superglue and when he refretted the guitar, he used the old TUSQ nut and a shim. Freddy cleaned up what looked to me to be a couple mm of hardened epoxy using a razor sharp chisel with precision. Once cleaned up, I could help but to keep looking at it and touching the top of rosewood (I know I should have been photographing this, but Mr. G was kind enough to let me inhale a little legal sativa, so I was too into what he was up to and his shop to remember to take pics).

Ten minutes later, it had a new custom nut, nicely shaped and perfect in every way. I could tell immediately as he played it that acoustically the strings sounded more stable. This is super important to me as I play a lot of basic chords to help me co-ordinate singing and playing.

Three hours had passed (he also inspected and gave his opinion on a mate's woefully kept Gibson Explorer) and I went on my way.

What was the final playing result? Heavenly!!

I plugged into my in-ear rig (as explained) and I am a little overwhelmed by the outcome. I immediately tested to find the squeal that nearly deafened me in one ear*. With my Orange Rocker 15 Terror on full gain and output volume at half, it was perfect. Like my other guitars, I could let the Northern hang and even with this high gain, it was relatively quiet and not feeding back. I never play at this gain level.

I kicked in my Bad Monkey OD (set moderately so as to 'sharpen' up the sound, so to speak) and I was rocking some very heavy and unusable gain. I let go of the strings and my squeal came back, but at a much, much lower level, certainly not painful, but perhaps annoying to some. I laid my fingers on the strings, and the squeal/hum went away. I let go, it started up again but I noticed it was staying constant and not growing uncontrollably like before.

I backed off the Orange to my normal constant level and everything was right in the world. Kicked in two different fuzz pedals at this amp setting and it was gloriously over the top-but no squealing, so my squeal problem (reduced to a totally controllable or I would say, eliminated bother) only happens with the Bad Monkey and unusable high gain.

Once again, Freddy has put a spell on one of my axes. It sounds and plays better than it ever has. I have fought with this guitar as I grew as a player. Perhaps, I've overvalued it because it was a present. But because of the pickups installed (a real T-Top in the neck and a Vineham 6070 hot T-Top clone), it's a favourite gain monster.

Additionally, something has happened to the T-Top neck pup. Before, I was wondering if it was 'dying' on me and would need to be rewound or 'remagnitized' or whatever. It was quieter than the bridge pup when it should have been balanced. Now, it is! I played some cowboy chords with tremolo and reverb and it's crisper, more present and full sounding. And it plays perfectly with the Vineham. Outstanding!!


I was able to turn this trip into a visit with some other mates, so it was fun as well. So happy Mr. G is a top-notch host and patiently let me stare at him while he worked (I would go NUTS!!), answer my non-stop questions, and regale me with stories of his journey to be the guru we know and love. Three cheers!





*Note to the newbie (like me), in-ear monitors are great, but always have a plan if the volume spikes or feedback squeals. It should happen less in most cases but shit, when it does, it directly channels into some part of your inner ear and immediately starts to damage. Amazing tech, but learn how to use it.
 
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northernguitarguy

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Well...my problem came back, but this time I tracked down the real problem and I think I've fixed it.

Before I explain, let me say that the trip to Freddy's Frets was worth every penny...and then some (I don't think he charged me enough, I know he forgot to include the cost of the PIO caps, which he wont let me send to him). I've been wanting to get the nut replaced for some time and as mentioned, something happened to the neck pup to make it more full and vibrant sounding (or maybe I'm nutz and hearing things). Anybody within a two hour drive is nuts to not take advantage of his services and charm.

So.....my problem.

When I made the above post, everything was working, but as mentioned, the noise was there, albeit more faint and only when using levels of gain I don't use. Well, I went back to play yesterday and my squeal noise was right there and as annoying as ever.

I should mention that after messing around for a while (with the volume at 1%), what I've been hearing is a steady mid-range drone, kind of like the one they used to have on tv when testing the 'emergency broadcast system'. I can't tell you what note is playing, just that it could make one go insane (ask me how I know). And chasing this down using IEMs made it more maddening than ever with a speaker!

Here's my signal path:

Kasuga Northern (given the Freddy G treatment)--->Enormo-Pedalboard (too big to list them all) --->Orange Rocker 15 Terror (MV set at 11:00, gain up at 2:00/ clean channel at 11:00)--->Two Notes Torpedo Captor (16ohms) using balanced XLR out to TRS--->Mooer Radar using headphone out to Mackie in-ear monitors.

Short version:

Humbucker Guitar--->Pedalboard--->Amp--->loadbox--->cab/power amp simulator pedal (headphone out)--->IEMs

I start to check everything in the path and begin backwards. I touched the Mooer Radar and the hum grew as my hand drew closer to the pedal. Released the pedal, the drone went down, but not away. Pick up the Mooer and the hum gets worse and gets louder if I move it around.

I think it's gotta be the Mooer Radar. So I reset my rig, changing out the Radar for a Presonus interface and my MacBook with Garageband with the Two Notes Wall of Sound. I fire it all up and use the same cab sim as I've been using with the Mooer. It all sounds heavenly. NO drone to speak of. I figure it's gotta be the Mooer cab sim pedal.

I reset my rig with the Mooer and the laptop as such:

Humbucker Guitar--->Pedalboard--->Amp--->loadbox--->cab/power amp simulator pedal out via TRS cable--->MacBook with interface/Wall of Sound OFF/dry, no effects--->IEMs into laptop

I fire it all up and the Mooer sounds great! I crank the gain and engage the Bad Monkey and it's gloriously over the top with no noise (except my atrocious playing). I go to switch cabs on the Mooer, touch the control and it's dead quiet. No drone to speak of, so I think I have the problem solved. Relieved that this setup works when patched into another mixer, knowing I'm good for our live/jamroom rig.

Here's the head-scratcher: For kicks, I unplug the IEM's from the Mac and plug them directly into the Mooer headphone out (still connected to the interface). I'm fully expecting for my drone to return, and the damn thing is working like a charm. No noise and it sounds as great as it does when plugged into the Mac.

WTF?

There is a ghost in the machine that does not like my Mooer Radar when setup in a certain way and using this particular guitar. However, I seem to have found a solution in using my rig through my Mac for listening during home practice. I also believe it will work at practice tomorrow evening where I will test it.

Other than that, I'm stumped. If you've read this far, good on ya! Ideas? Maybe I can rope @DarrellV into this one, he likes a good puzzle! :)
 
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cooljuk

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What's your amp and load box?

Just because things are quiet doesn't mean there's not absolute chaos of electrical and magnetic bombardment of everything within 50 feet of a dimmed 100W amp dumping all that power into a quiet load.

I can play a dimmed Plexi or Twin into an attenuator and my wife can talk on the phone in the next room. ....but the lights dim and the neighborhood dogs bark when I hit an A chord. All that noise is still there, just not in the form of mechanical speaker movement pushing air.
 

northernguitarguy

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What's your amp and load box?
Hey James, thanks for chiming in....my amp is a 15W Orange Rocker 15 Terror and the loadbox is a Two Notes Torpedo Captor @ 16ohms. This is the older model Captor, not to be confused with the new Captor X.



 

cooljuk

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Gotcha. Still a bunch of EMI RFI from 15W, but not nearly as much as 100W+. Enough to disturb nearby computers and digital things, for sure. Just an idea.

Drifting a bit off topic, but the UA OX is really nice if you like an attenuator with built in speaker/cab/mic/room options and a nice software interface. I use a Fryette Power Station, but I run it into actual speakers. WFIW
 

northernguitarguy

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Gotcha. Still a bunch of EMI RFI from 15W, but not nearly as much as 100W+. Enough to disturb nearby computers and digital things, for sure. Just an idea.

Drifting a bit off topic, but the UA OX is really nice if you like an attenuator with built in speaker/cab/mic/room options and a nice software interface. I use a Fryette Power Station, but I run it into actual speakers. WFIW
Actually, IF I buy another loadbox/attenuator/DI, the new Two Notes Torpedo Captor X looks to be an amazing piece of kit!. All the things they should have put on the first model (mine). It looks to be direct competition for the OX, which looks amazing, BTW. The Captor X looks more stage friendly.

I just can't afford either, definitely not the UA. But check out the look on the new Captor:


 




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