Les Paul Switches... arrrggghhhh

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impmannimpmann Frets: 7252
I'm having another sense of humour failure with my Les Paul. This will be the third switch its had since I bought it in 2010 - the original was shonky from the box.

Its got a Switchcraft one in there (that replaced another Switchcraft one) and its cutting out when you flip to the neck pickup. Multiple flicking brings it back only for it to crackle/crap out - its usual modus operandi. I've tried rebending the leaves - the issue returns. I also leave it in the middle position when not in use (I think that was advice from here) and I'm not exactly heavy handed with it, plus I don't use it as a kill switch etc...

My SG doesn't do this. So why the fuck is the Les Paul such a PITA? And can anyone recommend a replacement switch that won't crap out, please?
Never Ever Bloody Anything Ever.

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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 31545
    Switchcraft :).

    It sounds like yours may have a bit of dirt or corrosion in the contact points - try cleaning between them with a piece of very fine sandpaper, some Servisol (you've probably tried that), or (you'll love me for this ;) )...



    WD-40 ;).

    I haven't ever come across a Switchcraft that needs replacing for this reason. A few where the toggle has broken off, and one or two because the leaves are so mangled by repeated attempts to get them to press together harder that it's just too difficult to get them to work right again, but not one that has ever had an incurable contact problem when it's otherwise sound.
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone."
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  • impmannimpmann Frets: 7252
    ICBM said:
    Switchcraft :).

    It sounds like yours may have a bit of dirt or corrosion in the contact points - try cleaning between them with a piece of very fine sandpaper, some Servisol (you've probably tried that), or (you'll love me for this ;) )...



    WD-40 ;).

    I haven't ever come across a Switchcraft that needs replacing for this reason. A few where the toggle has broken off, and one or two because the leaves are so mangled by repeated attempts to get them to press together harder that it's just too difficult to get them to work right again, but not one that has ever had an incurable contact problem when it's otherwise sound.
    Thanks chap.

    I'm just fed up with having to do this and wondered if there were any better quality switches out there that I hadn't heard of...
    Never Ever Bloody Anything Ever.

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  • Musicman20Musicman20 Frets: 397

    Oh, someone might be able to help on this one! Sorry to jump on the thread!

    My Les Paul Tribute 2017 is almost perfect, the only thing that annoys me is that the middle position has to be selected VERY carefully...slightly towards to bridge pickup and it will select that, even though it is is actually still in the middle.

    It is not a big deal, but anything I can do to deal with it simply?

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  • May I ask - is it the classic Switchcraft (long switch used by Gibson) or the popular short frame version? 

    In in my experience - the long frame switch is better quality. The short frame switch generally feels looser whereas the long frame is more rigid. The leaves bend easier and go out of position easily too.
    Wiring Kits, Prewired harnesses and quality electronic components: https://www.sixstringsupplies.co.uk/
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  • impmannimpmann Frets: 7252
    May I ask - is it the classic Switchcraft (long switch used by Gibson) or the popular short frame version? 

    In in my experience - the long frame switch is better quality. The short frame switch generally feels looser whereas the long frame is more rigid. The leaves bend easier and go out of position easily too.
    Proper long frame job.

    In fact, I think the one that's in there was even supplied in Gibson branded packaging... maybe that's the problem! ;-)
    Never Ever Bloody Anything Ever.

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  • meltedbuzzboxmeltedbuzzbox Frets: 7263
    impmann said:
    I'm having another sense of humour failure with my Les Paul. This will be the third switch its had since I bought it in 2010 - the original was shonky from the box.

    Its got a Switchcraft one in there (that replaced another Switchcraft one) and its cutting out when you flip to the neck pickup. Multiple flicking brings it back only for it to crackle/crap out - its usual modus operandi. I've tried rebending the leaves - the issue returns. I also leave it in the middle position when not in use (I think that was advice from here) and I'm not exactly heavy handed with it, plus I don't use it as a kill switch etc...

    My SG doesn't do this. So why the fuck is the Les Paul such a PITA? And can anyone recommend a replacement switch that won't crap out, please?
    Buy a PRS :-P
    The Bigsby was the first successful design of what is now called a whammy bar or tremolo arm, although vibrato is the technically correct term for the musical effect it produces. In standard usage, tremolo is a rapid fluctuation of the volume of a note, while vibrato is a fluctuation in pitch. The origin of this nonstandard usage of the term by electric guitarists is attributed to Leo Fender, who also used the term “vibrato” to refer to what is really a tremolo effect.
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  • zepp76zepp76 Frets: 406
    I have the same problem with my 70's tribute Les Paul and it also happened to my 50's tribute. The switch has become very temperamental and takes a bit of jiggling to get it to select a pickup. I'm going to give it a blast with contact cleaner and if that doesn't help it'll be a new switch so I'll watch this thread with interest.
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  • impmannimpmann Frets: 7252
    impmann said:
    I'm having another sense of humour failure with my Les Paul. This will be the third switch its had since I bought it in 2010 - the original was shonky from the box.

    Its got a Switchcraft one in there (that replaced another Switchcraft one) and its cutting out when you flip to the neck pickup. Multiple flicking brings it back only for it to crackle/crap out - its usual modus operandi. I've tried rebending the leaves - the issue returns. I also leave it in the middle position when not in use (I think that was advice from here) and I'm not exactly heavy handed with it, plus I don't use it as a kill switch etc...

    My SG doesn't do this. So why the fuck is the Les Paul such a PITA? And can anyone recommend a replacement switch that won't crap out, please?
    Buy a PRS :-P
    Once the funds improve, I shall search out a Standard 22. ;-) And you can take the piss with more dentist jokes... ;-)
    Never Ever Bloody Anything Ever.

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  • guitars4youguitars4you Frets: 4161
    ICBM said:
    Switchcraft :).

    It sounds like yours may have a bit of dirt or corrosion in the contact points - try cleaning between them with a piece of very fine sandpaper, some Servisol (you've probably tried that), or (you'll love me for this ;) )...



    WD-40 ;).

    I haven't ever come across a Switchcraft that needs replacing for this reason. A few where the toggle has broken off, and one or two because the leaves are so mangled by repeated attempts to get them to press together harder that it's just too difficult to get them to work right again, but not one that has ever had an incurable contact problem when it's otherwise sound.
    agree with above - and/or get some fine wet'n'dry - fold it over so both sides rub the contact points on the switch - Only needs 2/3 rubs to cure
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  • meltedbuzzboxmeltedbuzzbox Frets: 7263
    impmann said:
    impmann said:
    I'm having another sense of humour failure with my Les Paul. This will be the third switch its had since I bought it in 2010 - the original was shonky from the box.

    Its got a Switchcraft one in there (that replaced another Switchcraft one) and its cutting out when you flip to the neck pickup. Multiple flicking brings it back only for it to crackle/crap out - its usual modus operandi. I've tried rebending the leaves - the issue returns. I also leave it in the middle position when not in use (I think that was advice from here) and I'm not exactly heavy handed with it, plus I don't use it as a kill switch etc...

    My SG doesn't do this. So why the fuck is the Les Paul such a PITA? And can anyone recommend a replacement switch that won't crap out, please?
    Buy a PRS :-P
    Once the funds improve, I shall search out a Standard 22. ;-) And you can take the piss with more dentist jokes... ;-)
    Tooth be fair the dentist jokes haven't really been pulled out
    The Bigsby was the first successful design of what is now called a whammy bar or tremolo arm, although vibrato is the technically correct term for the musical effect it produces. In standard usage, tremolo is a rapid fluctuation of the volume of a note, while vibrato is a fluctuation in pitch. The origin of this nonstandard usage of the term by electric guitarists is attributed to Leo Fender, who also used the term “vibrato” to refer to what is really a tremolo effect.
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  • JerkMoansJerkMoans Frets: 1357
    One simple fix I’ve found for wonky switchcraft switches is to make sure the little black plastic/rubber tip on the internal ?rod is pushed up tight. They can work loose over time which seems to affect the ability of the contacts to connect. Worth a try.
    Self-confessed Blues Lawyer
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  • FunkfingersFunkfingers Frets: 3086
    edited May 18
    The Switchcraft three-way toggle switch is military specification and combat tested. If it can not withstand the rigours of a touring rock 'n' roll band, nothing can.

    Intermittent functionality is almost invariably due to contamination, corrosion or condensation. As ICBM says, clean the contacting faces of the sprung leaf contacts.

    Flip the switch to part one pair of contacts. Spray into the gap. Flip the switch to part the other pair of contacts. Spray into the other gap. Waggle the switch to spread the contact cleaner lubricant where it needs to go.

    In extremis, it is possible to dismantle the switch entirely. 
    "It's no wonder the Pacific Ocean is blue."
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  • impmannimpmann Frets: 7252
    edited May 18
    Thanks for the all the cleaning suggestions... thing is, I've done all this... many times. To the point that I've previously replaced the switch - TWICE. I don't really want to go down that route again.

    On the other hand, my SG (which is six years older, has been gigged far more and has had a much harder life) has never needed *ANY* maintenance on the switch. I guarantee that I can pick it off the wall (it hangs next to the Les Paul) and it'll be perfect. I can almost guarantee that the Les Paul will be intermittent - it has been since moment one.

    Why?


    Never Ever Bloody Anything Ever.

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  • fandangofandango Frets: 1021
    impmann said:
    impmann said:
    I'm having another sense of humour failure with my Les Paul. This will be the third switch its had since I bought it in 2010 - the original was shonky from the box.

    Its got a Switchcraft one in there (that replaced another Switchcraft one) and its cutting out when you flip to the neck pickup. Multiple flicking brings it back only for it to crackle/crap out - its usual modus operandi. I've tried rebending the leaves - the issue returns. I also leave it in the middle position when not in use (I think that was advice from here) and I'm not exactly heavy handed with it, plus I don't use it as a kill switch etc...

    My SG doesn't do this. So why the fuck is the Les Paul such a PITA? And can anyone recommend a replacement switch that won't crap out, please?
    Buy a PRS :-P
    Once the funds improve, I shall search out a Standard 22. ;-) And you can take the piss with more dentist jokes... ;-)
    Tooth be fair the dentist jokes haven't really been pulled out
    That’s because you have yet to drill down through the threads.
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  • meltedbuzzboxmeltedbuzzbox Frets: 7263
    edited May 18
    impmann said:
    Thanks for the all the cleaning suggestions... thing is, I've done all this... many times. To the point that I've previously replaced the switch - TWICE. I don't really want to go down that route again.

    On the other hand, my SG (which is six years older, has been gigged far more and has had a much harder life) has never needed *ANY* maintenance on the switch. I guarantee that I can pick it off the wall (it hangs next to the Les Paul) and it'll be perfect. I can almost guarantee that the Les Paul will be intermittent - it has been since moment one.

    Why?


    Have you tried cleaning it? With these?

    https://imagesvc.timeincapp.com/v3/mm/image?url=http://cdn-img.health.com/sites/default/files/styles/large_16_9/public/styles/main/public/gettyimages-90039187.jpg
    The Bigsby was the first successful design of what is now called a whammy bar or tremolo arm, although vibrato is the technically correct term for the musical effect it produces. In standard usage, tremolo is a rapid fluctuation of the volume of a note, while vibrato is a fluctuation in pitch. The origin of this nonstandard usage of the term by electric guitarists is attributed to Leo Fender, who also used the term “vibrato” to refer to what is really a tremolo effect.
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  • thermionicthermionic Frets: 4697
    Never had this problem with my Epiphone.
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  • WezVWezV Frets: 8554
    I have had this issue with at least 2 switchcraft switches in the last few years.   It may have just been a bad batch, but the quality  was not the usual standard. 
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  • NiallseroreillyNiallseroreilly Frets: 358
    Had this exact same problem with my 2013 les paul. Melt
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  • richardhomerrichardhomer Frets: 18370
    May be vintage Switchcraft switches were better.

    The original in my not-to-be-mine-for-much-longer 54 year old 335 still works perfectly....
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  • WezVWezV Frets: 8554
    May be vintage Switchcraft switches were better.

    The original in my not-to-be-mine-for-much-longer 54 year old 335 still works perfectly....
    To be fair, they have been fairly consistent up until the last decade.  
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