• Leo Vannucci

    Low gain on my brand new LTD MH-417 with EMG's...

    Hi again! Today I had band practice and the other guitarist has the exact same guitar as mine, an LTD MH-417 7 string with an EMG 81-7 at the bridge and an EMG 707 at the neck.

    My guitar (in general) sounds as if it had less gain, actually, it's was noticeable by both him and me. We decided to go further and A/B both our guitars and even record them; my guitar has less gain. I bought a brand new 9 volt and nothing still, his guitar sounds fuller and has again, more gain... We opened the control plates and found out that we both have the same components, but, the main difference was that on his guitar, everything was zip-tied neatly, while mine wasn't.

    One thing that was also noticeable was the fact that the joint end of the power cables had shrink tubing on his, while mine was wrapped in the usual black tape. Is there something I could do to make sure the pickups are working fine and it's maybe a wiring problem?

    The guitar was sold to me brand new, but it looks (inside the plate) a bit B-stockish... Should I check the power lines? Maybe the 3 way selector? Output jack? Help!

    • Leo Vannucci


      I've ordered the solderless kit EMG sells so I will be replacing the guts of the guitar very soon, just as I did last week with my ESP Standard.

      Last night I went through the wires and it's all wired very differently from the diagrams EMG has on their websites, although it seems to make sense I guess; 

      I did open the power wire "junction" (neck,bridge and battery) and re-joined the wires in case it was a bad connection.

      I also noticed the 3 way toggle doesn't work very well, meaning it sucks! Lol, I'm afraid of switching between pups because it just doesn't work about 50% of the time, meaning the switch will mute the guitar randomly at any of the 3 selections, you just have to be lucky... I'm going to spray it with some contact cleaner to see if that works with it, I've never had this problem with my ESP or my Gibson, but I do know a few friends that have either LTDs or Schecters who often complain about bad switches - I hope it works or I will have to buy a new switch.

      Anyway, here's the deal. I played the guitar again and basically nothing has changed. The 81-7 is as close to the strings as it can be while the 707 is as far as it can be and it still sounds a little louder.

      I'm hoping the EMG wiring kit will help fix any problems with the pickups and the pots, it should be here next week.

    • jt76

      A bad connection at the jack is a possibility,  with passives a bad connection will usually yeild no sound or a lot of crackling, 

      with EMG's a bad connection can sometimes just sound like a weak battery.  

    • Pushead

      I find the 3-way switch is often the culprit.  Try re-soldering the connections on the 3-way and see if that changes anything.

    • Leo Vannucci

      Yeah, in fact, the switch is probably the reason, it's the one thing you can tell that it's very bad in the simple sense that it doesn't even catch on to the selections and it mutes the guitar 50% of the time. I'm getting a new one today hopefully it fixes the problem. 

    • Leo Vannucci

      I am getting the solderless kit in a could days, I'm gust doing this out of boredom and maybe an acquired taste...

    • Josh in NY

      Rare occasion is that the pickup itself is either bad, or has a bad connection at the back of the pickup  or the switch. If your saying that yojr switch is messed up anyway, i would start with replacing the switch and still do the solderless wiring kit. That should do it between those two things.


      If it don't still, message me and I will try and help you thru it. I specialize in custom EMG wirings, including using the older hard-wired parts with the new solderless system.