Lollar Firebird pickup hums

Stookie

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48
Hi guys,

I've bought a set of Firebird pickups at Lollar — three of them and the bridge one hums like a single coil. The only difference is that I have to turn the guitar 90 degrees to the right from the usual direction where singles become quiet at my place to find a spot without hum.

As soon as I'd discovered the problem I sent a message to Lollar and they immediately sent me another bridge pickup and... It hums too. The same way.

The guitar is Reverend Warhawk II 390. But I don't think it is the guitar shielding or grounding, because we've tested it and my luthier reassembled the scheme even without the guitar and though it is of course noisy outside the guitar body, we could hear the hum appearing and disappearing respectively when we switched on and off the bridge pickup. We tried it with different switches and even without them.

My luthier had even made a video for guys at Lollar showing the problem. We'd changed the pickup switch and soldered it directly to the guitar output and even outside the guitar as I mentioned earlier. We've measured the output impedance of the whole pickup and it was 7.4 kOhm as it should. We measured each coil output and they were perfectly the same (just in case the coils were unbalanced).

Again I had sent another message to Lollar proposing to send all four pickups back and their answer was:

"Unfortunately it’s unlikely at this point that the issue is with the pickup. There is an inductance plate on the back of the bridge position pickup that raises the output, but can also add some hum to the signal. That’s similar to our Regal set of pickups. The bridge position will have some hum in the signal due to the inductance plate. Depending on where folks are plugged in, that hum can be better or worse.

You could also try the other pickup to see if the luthier simply made a mistake in which pickup to install. Seems unlikely based on the soldering job I saw in his video, but you never know. And we aren’t trying to pass blame either, we would just hate to have you pay to send both back to determine that the pickups are working within spec."


In the end I was so upset that I even quit playing this guitar for almost 9 months and bought two more guitars that became my main instruments instead of the Rev. But I took it out of the case yesterday and thought that despite the dead strings and bridge pickup noise I loved playing it again and the tone was nice. I even think I like the bridge pickup tone the best.

So does somebody have an idea what could go wrong here and how to fix it?

P.S. Many propose to check what I've already tried and what I've written in this initial post. :( So I reformat my initial post a bit to make it more readable, because maybe I've written it badly. Sorry, English is not my first language.

I'm looking for possible repair ideas, because for now I have two Firebird bridge pickups with the same problem.
 
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RayBarbeeMusic

Silver Supporting Member
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3,765
My lollar firebirds don't hum like single coils. They are as quiet as any humbucker. Something is amiss. Check the dc resistance first to be sure its wired correctly in series.
 

Stookie

Member
Messages
48
My lollar firebirds don't hum like single coils. They are as quiet as any humbucker. Something is amiss. Check the dc resistance first to be sure its wired correctly in series.
It is wired correctly and guys from Lollar said that it was wired correctly and dc resistance is fine.
That's why I'm asking :dunno
 

Stookie

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Messages
48
I have a set. The bridge is a lot noisier than the neck, but not as noisy as single coils.
Does the noise change when you move and turn the pickup?
The neck and the middle pickups are completely quiet on my guitar.
 

timibucktwo

Supporting Member
Messages
833
Have you tried to play it somewhere else?
Reason I ask is I had a similar problem that was only present with a certain guitar in my own home, some gremlins in the wiring seemed to be the cause and sometimes it’s worse than others, very frustrating!
I have several Lollar pickups & one FB but it’s a neck position & no unusual noise from any of them.
Are these 2 wire or 4 for split wiring?
I know it’s obvious that if it’s 4 wire switched then of course it would sound like a single coil noise-wise, but I’m guessing that’s not the case.
 

Stookie

Member
Messages
48
Have you tried to play it somewhere else?
Reason I ask is I had a similar problem that was only present with a certain guitar in my own home, some gremlins in the wiring seemed to be the cause and sometimes it’s worse than others, very frustrating!
I have several Lollar pickups & one FB but it’s a neck position & no unusual noise from any of them.
Are these 2 wire or 4 for split wiring?
I know it’s obvious that if it’s 4 wire switched then of course it would sound like a single coil noise-wise, but I’m guessing that’s not the case.
Yes I played it in the luthier's shop and all the tests we did were in his place. And it is the same at my place.
Pickups are 4 wires. And it is in a full humbucking mode. Yet there is some hum. Not that much as usual single coil, but VERY noticeable especially comparing with completely quiet neck and middle pickups.
Also isn't it strange that it becomes quiet in the other direction than single coils? There is a particular direction, let's say North, where all single coils at my place become silent. At any other direction they are noisy. But this Firebird pickup becomes silent when I face East, not North.
 

timibucktwo

Supporting Member
Messages
833
Yes I played it in the luthier's shop and all the tests we did were in his place. And it is the same at my place.
Pickups are 4 wires. And it is in a full humbucking mode. Yet there is some hum. Not that much as usual single coil, but VERY noticeable especially comparing with completely quiet neck and middle pickups.
Also isn't it strange that it becomes quiet in the other direction than single coils? There is a particular direction, let's say North, where all single coils at my place become silent. At any other direction they are noisy. But this Firebird pickup becomes silent when I face East, not North.
I see, and definitely understand the frustration and you’ve already ruled out the wiring in the house, etc.
A few years back I had a humbucker in the bridge position that made a ground noise whenever I touched the screws that adjust the height with springs, checked all other grounds & shielded cavity with voltmeter, never figured it out other than changing pickups, my wife leaves the house when I have wiring issues, not a pretty sight. Hope you get it straightened out, let us know when you find out what causes the problem.
 
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Stookie

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Messages
48
I probably would've asked if I could get one without the plate.
I don't know why I didn't ask them about anything. I just stopped sending messages, though I had a desire to send all the pickups back to them, because honestly I don't know what to do with them. It wouldn't be nice to sell them to another person who probably also wants humbuckers to be humbuckers.
So it looks like that I'm stuck with those pickups because guys at Lollar said that.
 

dewey decibel

Member
Messages
10,314
I don't know why I didn't ask them about anything. I just stopped sending messages, though I had a desire to send all the pickups back to them, because honestly I don't know what to do with them. It wouldn't be nice to sell them to another person who probably also wants humbuckers to be humbuckers.
So it looks like that I'm stuck with those pickups because guys at Lollar said that.

I feel for you, I do. But I also feel for Lollar. Just because it's a humbucker doesn't mean it's impervious to all kinds of interference. Any, I would've thought your tech would want to ask Lollar those questions, so I don't think it's entirely on you.
 

Dave Weir

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
1,202
I probably would've asked if I could get one without the plate.
Me too. It seems like they care and want to help. Just ask if you can put a middle position in the bridge location. If not, try a $15.00 Artec mini humbucker. It will look the same but not have this problem. It won’t sound exactly the same, but you may like it better.
 

Stookie

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48
Interesting idea. I was thinking about some replacement: Duncans, Mojotone or something else. I'm not a big fan of minihumbuckers in the bridge, I prefer Firebirds there. I like minihumbuckers in the neck.
Maybe it's not a big problem, having a bit of hum, but that was the idea of the mod - to make it kind of a noiseless strat/tele like hardtail. The guitar was already noisy when it had P90s in it. :)
 

K-Line

Vendor
Messages
7,978
Make sure black is hot, green and plain are ground, and red/white are soldered and taped off.
 

RayBarbeeMusic

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,765
Well if it doesn't hum like a single, just "a little more" than totally silent neck, I wouldn't worry. Some humbuckers make more noise than others, depending on how much the coils are mismatched. I assume you've checked for proper grounding?
 

Stookie

Member
Messages
48
Make sure black is hot, green and plain are ground, and red/white are soldered and taped off.
It is soldered properly and guys at Lollar saw the video and approved it

Well if it doesn't hum like a single, just "a little more" than totally silent neck, I wouldn't worry. Some humbuckers make more noise than others, depending on how much the coils are mismatched. I assume you've checked for proper grounding?
These coils are not mismatched at all. We measured it. Still the pickup hums like a single coil. Less than usually single coils do, but it is noticeable and the noise behaves like a single coil noise. Yet to make single coils quiet in my place I have to face, say, North, but with this pickup I have to face East.
Unshielded cavities and grounding noises don't become louder or quieter when you face different directions with the guitar. If I'm wrong, it would be nice. But I'm afraid the problem is in the pickup.

Are the cavities of the guitar shielded? Is the guitar shielded in any way?
All the cavities are properly shielded
 

RayBarbeeMusic

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,765
These coils are not mismatched at all. We measured it. Still the pickup hums like a single coil. Less than usually single coils do, but it is noticeable and the noise behaves like a single coil noise. Yet to make single coils quiet in my place I have to face, say, North, but with this pickup I have to face East.
Unshielded cavities and grounding noises don't become louder or quieter when you face different directions with the guitar. If I'm wrong, it would be nice. But I'm afraid the problem is in the pickup.
I see the pickups are 4 wire.... I just had a guitar in the shop with a duncan lil '59 that was mis-wired at the factory. The wire codes were all jacked up, I had to figure it out with a VOM, a magnet polarity tester, and some thought process. Could be they screwed that up, or installed two magnets with the same polarity in the coils (see vintage firebird construction; the magnets go through the coils). Test magnet polarity; one should be N, one should be S. At that point if your tech can't figure it out, send back to Lollar.
 




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