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Old 05-21-2006, 06:20 AM   #1
LypsLynch55
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HOW TO: Check a Pickup's DC Resistance


This is a basic tutorial that I am posting because a few weeks ago, I had no idea how to do it myself and posted this up as a question. So now, I am learned the answer and want to add to the board and share knowledge with the hopes of helping others....so all that aside, here goes:

You will need:

1) A Multimeter that measures DC Resistance, in Ohms, with a sensitivity level/setting that will test between 1k and 20k (this should be a good range for almost ALL pickups)

2) A Pickup with the sheilding wire pulled back so that the hot lead wire is exposed - Depending on the type of pickup and wether or not it is a 4 wire for splitting, the hot could be several different colors. Below is a chart of what I have found is the HOT for different makes/models:

A) Vintage Dimarzio (without 4 Wiring): WHITE is the hot lead
B) Vintage Dimarzio (with 4 Wiring): RED is the hot lead
C) Vintage Ibanez (without 4 Wiring), ie Super 70s or V-2: WHITE (although, I had one rare one that BLACK was the Hot lead)
D) Seymour Duncan: BLACK = Hot
E) 80's Kramer Pickups: WHITE = Hot
F) New Dimarzios: RED = Hot

I have never used active p/ups ie EMGs, so I cant really answer on those.

3) Your leads should ideally have alligator clamps rather than the needle test leads so that you can get a steady reading (See PICTURE 1)

NOW:

A) Connect the test leads to the meter FIRST BEFORE connecting them to the pickup (circuit) being tested. Check your manual for where the black (ground) lead is inserted in your multimeter and where your Red (positive or "Hot") goes in the meter.

B) Set your meter to the 200 Ohm (NOT 200K!) range and touch the Red & Black Leads together to make sure you have a good connection; it should typically read between 0.2 Ohms and 1.5 Ohms; if it reads MORE than 1.5 Ohms, you have a bad connection and need to check:
1) if your leads are inserted properly
2) if your leads have a short in them; if they do, you need to replace them (SEE Picture 2)

C) Set your multimeter at the 20K setting for resistance (look for the Ohms symbol, the upside down "U" looking symbol which is used for measuring the resistance of a component in an electrical circuit); it is best to start at the highest and work down, although since most multimeters go from 20K to 2000, 20k setting should work. IF A "1" APPEARS ON THE LEFT SIDE OF THE MULTIMETER, THEN THE METER IS SET TO A RANGE THAT IS TOO SMALL FOR PRESENT MEASUREMENT BEING TAKEN; INCREASE THE SETTING ON THE METER UNTIL IT DISAPPEARS! (if it doesnt disappear after all settings are tried, either try re-attaching your test leads or perhaps your meter doesnt have the proper range to measure the resistance; it is most likely the former when checking pickups, so fiddle around with your test leads)
(See PICTURE 3)

D) Now, connect your black or ground lead to the brass base plate of the pickup (you can also connect it to the ground lead coming out of the pickup, but for simplicity we will connect it to the base plate (See PICTURE 4) so that you dont confuse the color leads coming out of the pickup, although if you really want to go for broke, on a four conductor pickup, it will be the one that is NOT soldered/fused together and is most likely paired up with the BARE wire (See PICTURE 5).

E) Connect your red lead to the pickup "Hot" (see #2 above for a list of colors for hot leads for several types of pickups) (See PICTURE 6) and VOILA! Your pickups resistance should appear on the meter!

F) IT IS A GOOD IDEA TO USE A PICKUP THAT YOU ALREADY KNOW THE RESISTANCE OF FOR THE FIRST TIME YOU TRY DOING THIS SO THAT YOU KNOW YOU HAVE THE METER AND LEADS RIGGED RIGHT! For example, if you have a new Seymour Duncan '59 BRIDGE P/UP, from the S/D website, that pickup should read at about 8.13 k.

Note that the final shot is an old DiMarzio "Super Distortion" Pickup from the 70s; I think that it is actually a "Dual Sound" model b/c of the 3 conductor wiring ala Al DiMeola; average DC resistance for these models was between 13.13 and 13.70 - Not a "HOT" pickup by today's standards where some of the hotter ones top 16k!

I hope this helps and shoot me a line if you need more help.

Pauley
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Old 05-21-2006, 06:21 AM   #2
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Picture 1


Picture_1 : Alligator Clamps
Picture_2 : Testing Lead Connectivity or for shorts in Lead Wires
Picture_3 : 20K Ohms (Ω) Setting on Multimeter (Note: 'Multimeter' and 'Meter' are used interchangeably throughout this thread)

See next post for Pics 4,5, and 6.

Pauley

Last edited by LypsLynch55; 11-06-2006 at 07:10 PM.
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Old 05-21-2006, 06:55 AM   #3
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Pictures 4,5, and 6


Picture_4 : Connecting Negative/Ground Lead to P/Up Baseplate

Picture_5 : Shot of Ground Wire, Bare Wire, Splitting or coil tapping wires/series/phase wiring, and the HOT Wire/Lead of Pickup

Picture_6: Shot of Final DC Resistance Test; Super Distortion (Dual Sound) Dimarzio at 13.74k

I hope this helps all!

Please let me know if I botched something up here but I really wish that this was up a few weeks ago, so I figured that instead of "taking" from G101, I would give back b/c I have received copious amounts of help that have saved me alot of wasted time here, so I want to pay back.

NEXT UP in "Pauley's How-To" Section: How to Wire a HB Pickup with a Master Volume and Coil Tap Setup!

Pauley

Last edited by LypsLynch55; 11-06-2006 at 07:10 PM.
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Old 05-21-2006, 07:12 AM   #4
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Very nice post m8
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Old 05-21-2006, 08:31 AM   #5
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Informative. Thanks!
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Old 04-15-2007, 05:46 PM   #6
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No Pix


Sorry, but I cannot see any of the pictures. Is it my internet settings? Thanks!
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Old 04-15-2007, 06:10 PM   #7
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?????


Can this test be performed with the pickup completely pulled out of the guitar? Or does the pickup need to be in the circuit?
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Old 04-15-2007, 08:35 PM   #8
trent van halen
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Quote:
Originally Posted by path09en
Can this test be performed with the pickup completely pulled out of the guitar? Or does the pickup need to be in the circuit?

It needs to be out of the circut for an acurate reading. You can measure your pickups resistance while its in the guitar by conecting a cable to it and touching the red wire to the tip and the black wire to the shaft but it will measure everything between your meter and your pickups and therfore you will get a lower number especially if your guitar has alot of pots and switches in it
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Old 04-16-2007, 12:21 AM   #9
path09en
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trent van halen
It needs to be out of the circut for an acurate reading. You can measure your pickups resistance while its in the guitar by conecting a cable to it and touching the red wire to the tip and the black wire to the shaft but it will measure everything between your meter and your pickups and therfore you will get a lower number especially if your guitar has alot of pots and switches in it
Thanks!
The pickups I'm trying to get reading for are a GIBSON 496R and 500T Humbuckers. Single conductor with a shield. They are both completely separated from the guitar. What is the correct procedure in using a multimeter to obtain DC Resistance? I need photos as I am a very visual learner.

Basically I need a photo of the entire set up and how to hook it up. I'm not sure where on the pickup I need to attach the black and red multimeter probes.

Thanks for your patience!
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1973 GIBSON SG Standard
1985 GIBSON Les Paul Standard
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2004 GIBSON Les Paul Classic '60 Re-issue
2005 GIBSON Blues Hawk
1992 PAUL REED SMITH Custom 24
2006 FENDER 60th Anniversary Telecaster

1985 MESA/BOOGIE Mark III - No Stripe
2001 TRAYNOR YCV-40
2003 VHT Pittbull 50/12 2x12

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Old 04-16-2007, 12:25 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LypsLynch55
Picture_4 : Connecting Negative/Ground Lead to P/Up Baseplate

Picture_5 : Shot of Ground Wire, Bare Wire, Splitting or coil tapping wires/series/phase wiring, and the HOT Wire/Lead of Pickup

Picture_6: Shot of Final DC Resistance Test; Super Distortion (Dual Sound) Dimarzio at 13.74k

I hope this helps all!

Please let me know if I botched something up here but I really wish that this was up a few weeks ago, so I figured that instead of "taking" from G101, I would give back b/c I have received copious amounts of help that have saved me alot of wasted time here, so I want to pay back.

NEXT UP in "Pauley's How-To" Section: How to Wire a HB Pickup with a Master Volume and Coil Tap Setup!

Pauley
Hi! Would you mind adding the photos back to your "HOW TO: Check a Pickup's DC Resistance"? At your convenience of course! Thanks!
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1973 GIBSON SG Standard
1985 GIBSON Les Paul Standard
2003 GIBSON Les Paul Classic DC
2004 GIBSON Les Paul Classic '60 Re-issue
2005 GIBSON Blues Hawk
1992 PAUL REED SMITH Custom 24
2006 FENDER 60th Anniversary Telecaster

1985 MESA/BOOGIE Mark III - No Stripe
2001 TRAYNOR YCV-40
2003 VHT Pittbull 50/12 2x12

"Within every problem you face, there is the seed of an equal or greater benefit or advantage."
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