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Simple Tele Question

I have a mexican standard Telecaster (Fender), I bought this guitar new and the pots have always worked perfectly. I decided to change out these mexican pickups to noiseless vintage pickups. I checked both pickups for continuity before I installed the pickups. both were good. You only have to deal with four connections, it's basically a no brainer right? I wired the pickups EXACTLY as they came out. I mean, black goes to black and the other wire is pretty obvious where it goes. Now my 3-way switch only works in two positions. The third position, the switch all the way back to the volume knob, has no sound at all. I took it apart and now the bridge pickup NOW has no continuity and of course can't possibly function. What in the hell am I doing wrong. This has happened two times in a row. Can you point me in the right direction?
Thanks, Gordon

The only thing that I can think of is that you might be wrecking the treble pickup with excessive soldering heat. You start with a good pickup, and wind up with a dead pickup and the only thing you have done to it is solder it. That has to be the source of its demise. The 3 way switch gives you either pickup or both pickups. If one pickup is dead it will give you the good pickup or both pickups or the dead pickup, functioning in two of the three positions. Pickups are not fragile. They are just fine wire wound around magnets. Even if you put it in backwards, the level of electricity flowing in a Tele wouldn't damage the windings. Get a good, hot soldering gun. Preheat (I count out 10 seconds and see it smoke a bit) until it melts solder instantly. Touch the tip to the joint and the solder at the same time and get out of there. One second with a good hot gun does the trick. If the solder is not shiny, touch it again. A low heat gun held against the joint too long can toast the fine wire innards of electronic stuff (to put it in scientific terms). If you have a good high power gun, try tightening the nuts that hold the copper tip on. The hot and cold swelling and contracting of the copper loosens these nuts and diminishes the electronic contact. Soldering is an art, you should practice on scraps of wire.

The only other possibility is if you somehow broke a wire, between the soldier joint and the windings of the pickup, through rough handling or maybe some anomaly in the mount. Get a bright light and stare at the mounting mechanism. Good luck.

Steve Mason

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