My strat wiring problems (tone/volume crackle)

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My strat wiring problems (tone/volume crackle)

Postby Mufftastic » 13 May 2013, 20:01

I have a strat with single coils. Tone on the neck and bridge pickups (middle is wide open). The volume control always works, although sometimes with a slight crackle. The tone controls work, but sometimes they don't seem to be in the circuit. I can roll them both down and nothing happens. Here's the thing, though. The volume works the entire time, and if I "jiggle" the volume knob there will be a crackle and then the tone controls are in the circuit again...for a while.

It's the standard strat wiring setup, except for the tone control moved to the bridge. The guitar was assembled by me in 2010 and worked perfectly until a few months again. The mystery crack seems to happen when the volume is on 9-10, but it is intermittent. I can return the tone controls to the circuit by wiggling the volume around 10. It could be a bad volume pot but I am not sure.

Thanks!
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Re: My strat wiring problems (tone/volume crackle)

Postby CHEEZOR » 13 May 2013, 22:11

Anything intermittent on a guitar is usually a bad connection somewhere or a bad switch. In your case, it sounds like a bad connection. I won't rule out that it's a bad pot, but, in my experience, that's somewhat rare. More than likely, you have a bad solder, an open connection somewhere, or ghosts in your wiring. If you want more specifics, it might help to take a picture of your wiring and post it so others can see what you have. Good luck! :)

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Mufftastic (14 May 2013, 05:01)
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Re: My strat wiring problems (tone/volume crackle)

Postby GuitarlCarl » 14 May 2013, 02:16

What quality of pots did you use? Always use the best you can afford, this instrument is where it all starts. If your wiggling the vol pot shaft, and it moves in the pot, it's time for a new one.
I want it to sound like bees buzzing around in a 55 gallon drum...

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Mufftastic (15 May 2013, 03:50)
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Re: My strat wiring problems (tone/volume crackle)

Postby Mufftastic » 14 May 2013, 03:24

I used CTS pots and they worked for 2.5 years no problems. I am guessing a bad solder connection since I can turn it to 10, keeping pressure in that same direction (clockwise) on the knob and then the tone circuit is back.

I need to open it up and take a look, but I wanted to some advice first because when I do open it I want any replacement parts on hand.
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Re: My strat wiring problems (tone/volume crackle)

Postby GuitarlCarl » 15 May 2013, 02:08

yep sounds like bad solder... forcing the pot to turn is probably letting the wires make contact... a cold solder joint will do that.
this is another place that quality materials help. I use silver solder, tin my wires and flux my joints prior to soldering. Quality solder joints shine.
I want it to sound like bees buzzing around in a 55 gallon drum...
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Re: My strat wiring problems (tone/volume crackle)

Postby Mufftastic » 15 May 2013, 03:49

GuitarlCarl wrote:yep sounds like bad solder... forcing the pot to turn is probably letting the wires make contact... a cold solder joint will do that.
this is another place that quality materials help. I use silver solder, tin my wires and flux my joints prior to soldering. Quality solder joints shine.


Thanks Carl! Next string change I'll crack her open and reflow the joints.
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Re: My strat wiring problems (tone/volume crackle)

Postby DrNomis » 15 May 2013, 04:06

You could also try spraying the pots with electrical contact cleaner too.... :thumbsup
Genius is not all about 99% perspiration, and 1% inspiration - sometimes the solution is staring you right in the face.-Frequencycentral.
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