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How do you test electric guitar electronics?

Discussion in 'Electronic Basics' started by mark, Nov 30, 2004.

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  1. mark

    mark Guest

    Hi everyone,
    My electric guitar was working several weeks ago but since I opened it and
    removed the pickguard and touched the toggle switch and jack it's completely
    dead. I get no sound from the guitar now. I didn't solder anything or remove
    anything or change anything at all. I bought myself a multimeter from radio
    shack. How do I go about troubleshooting or testing the electronics of the
    guitar to find out what's wrong or if any of the parts (jack, 3-way toggle
    switch, volume and tone pots) need to be replaced? I checked the wiring and
    there doesn't seem to be any loose connections or shorts.

    Any help will be greatly appreciated,
    Thank-You,
    Mark
     
  2. mark

    mark Guest

    I've never done any electronics before so I don't know how to use a
    multimeter. I bought one today from radio shack: This one:
    http://www.radioshack.ca/estore/Pro...og=RadioShack&category=Analog&product=2218200

    However, I have no clue how to operate it. I put a battery in it. I took the
    pickguard off the guitar . To test the electric guitar do I need to plug
    the guitar to an amp? (I plug my guitar into my computer subwoofer/speakers
    and effects box)
    What range do I set the multimeter to ? I don't even know what the numbers
    mean on the multimeter? Which terminals of which components do I have to
    touch? Does it matter if I use the red or black needles of the multimeter
    when testing ? What do I look for? I tried touching some of the terminals
    but I get nothing on the multimeter I tried several ranges on the multimeter
    and tried touching several different combinations of terminals and I get
    nothing on the multimeter. I know it works cause I tested a new battery: I
    put the multimeter range on battery test and it says the batteries good.

    Thanks,
    Mark
     
  3. tempus fugit

    tempus fugit Guest

    Don't plug the guitar into anything to test it.

    Set the meter to test continuity, or resistance. Touch one probe (either
    colour) to one end of the output jack. Folloe the wire to see where it
    connects to. Touch the other probe there. If the meter beeps, or if the
    resistance shows close to 0, then the connection is OK. Keep following the
    wires and testing at various points to ensure continuity.

    That should get you started. You should Google for how to use a multimeter
    or buy the book that RS sells to help you out too, so you know how to use
    the meter.

    http://www.proaxis.com/~iguanalabs/multimet.htm
    http://www.kaitousa.com/usingamultimeter.htm
    http://www.shadetreemg.com/multimeter.htm
     
  4. Unfortunately, this is not a good buy. You can get modern digital
    multimeters for even lower prices than that. If you cannot change that
    buy you will be restricted in what measurements you can do.
    If you had bought a modern multimeter I would have said that you can put
    the multimeter in AC mode, voltage range 2 Volt or 200mV, and you should
    see the response of plucking a string on the multimeter.

    Now, with this old type voltmeter you will probably not see any response
    from the pickups.

    But you can put a patch cord in the guitar and measure for resistance
    between the two contacts on the free plug. It should show half a million
    ohms or less. If it shows infinite resistance you have broken a wire to
    the output jack or somewhere around it.
     
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