I'm new here. I have applied "quieting the beast" with no change. Hum and tick noises are still there. I have a Fernandez Stratocaster "The Revival" made in Japan. I changed bridge pickup for a DiMarzio Fast Track 2. The other 2 pickups are the original ones. I'm not using it with an amp. I use it with a Tascam MP-GT1 to practice and with a E-MU Tracker Pre to make some records on my notebook. I decided to apply "quieting the beast" because of hum noise, specially with distortion, and tick noise when I touch the strings, the bridge, the output jack, specially without distortion.
Unfortunately, I don't have any easy answers. The shielding procedures are not a cure for every noise situation, but you should see some reduction in noise.
The "ticking" you describe when you touch the strings/bridge sounds like a poor bridge ground. You indicate that you had this before you made the changes. Did you change the bridge ground at all?
Also, can you try the guitar through an amp? Maybe borrow a friend's amp for a few minutes if you don't own one. Just check to see that you have the same hum and ticking noise through an amp, that way you are sure it's just the guitar and not some other element in your set-up.
It is interesting that you play sort of "virtually" without an amp, because - as newey has hinted at - that opens the possibility of introducing any number of culprits.
His advice to borrow an amp is very good advice.
Does the ticking and hum occur in all five positions?
Does any ticking, hum or static occur when you rub your hand across the pickguard itself, without touching anything metal?
Do you have a wire running from the first tone pot case to the second tone pot case, and from the second tone pot case to the volume pot case?
P.S. How close are the pickups to the strings - you aren't accidentally touching the strings to the pickup are you (I am 99.6762% sure this is not the case - just asking because it's better to be safe than sorry)
newey - Did you change the bridge ground at all? I did what is directed in steps 2 and 19.
D2o - Does the ticking and hum occur in all five positions? Yes, but less in 2 (bridge/middle) and 4 (middle/neck) I can hear two different hum noises: - one is audible in all five positions (same noise in 2, 3, 4 and 5 but different in 1, where the Fast Track 2 is installed) - the other is not audible in 4 (middle/neck) position and is the same in all other positions.
D2o - Does any ticking, hum or static occur when you rub your hand across the pickguard itself, without touching anything metal? No, only when touching metal parts
D2o - Do you have a wire running from the first tone pot case to the second tone pot case, and from the second tone pot case to the volume pot case? No, according to step 17 I removed these wires
D2o - P.S. How close are the pickups to the strings - you aren't accidentally touching the strings to the pickup are you (I am 99.6762% sure this is not the case - just asking because it's better to be safe than sorry) No. I'm asking for help so all your suggestions and questions are welcome.
The Fast Track 2 pickup has 4 wires: black, white, red and green. - Black and White together and insulated It was: - Red to ground - Green to volume pot I changed it to: - Green to ground - Red to volume pot Now it sounds better but nothing changed about hum and static.
I didn't check the aluminum foil for continuity. I'll do that soon.
The wire(s) from the left-most terminal of the pickup are going to the same two points that we expect - the "high" side or the "hot" terminal of the two controls (volume and tone). This means that the artist could just as easily drawn a single wire from the pickup to the volume control, and then another wire from that same terminal on the volume control over the the tone control.... which is how it's normally shown, as you can see from any number of schematics aboonding aboot our own Nutz forums. It was strictly his choice of artistic expression, there aren't any "requirements" according to some esoteric electronics rulebook or anything like that.
BTW, nice find on that link, I'm afraid that I'll have to +1 ya for it. I'm sure that newey will be dropping that nice little reference into our Links page RSN. ;D Thanks!
Rule #1: All Lives Are Final. Make sure that the life you have just been issued is appropriate for your needs, before departing the womb.
Rule #2: In case you don't like the life you have, see Rule #1.
D2o - I have read the post that you have recomended me. So I have bought a multimeter and I have made some readings. These are the results: - B = 16.15 (Fast Track 2) - B + M = 3.63 - M = 4.60 - M + N = 2.35 - N = 4.72 I don't know how to interpret it. Could you please help me?
D2o - If your shield is not continuous, you may have ineffectively grounded the bridge ... it's sorta working. I checked for continuity and it is ok: - between the bridge and the pickup cavity (after removing the pickguard) - between the bridge and the pickguard screws
Your multimeter will come in handy many times over the coming years, and will see more use than you may have thought.
B (Fast Track) is about as it should be ... 16.15K M is "typical" at 4.6K B+M is fine at 3.63K ... 1 / ( 1 / 4.6K + 1 / 16.15K ) N is "typical" at 4.72K ... I do not know exactly what M or N should be, but 4K - 6K is normal for single coils M+N is fine at 2.35K ... 1 / ( 1 / 4.6K + 1 / 4.72K )
So, your pickups themselves seem to be fine.
When you measure shielding continuity, you are looking for a meter reading of 0 (zero) - or close to it. If that is what you are getting, it seems like the continuity may be fine as well (unless the pickguard screws are contacting the cavity foil) ... I suspect it's fine.
This is good, and helps to eliminate possible culprits.
I would still like to see your wiring - maybe you can draw up a schematic on MS Paint and post it to Photobucket?
Barring that, I still don't know what is causing the "tick" noises when you touch the strings (it's not a regular tick, i.e. it couldn't be the pickups picking up a nearby wristwatch or clock, could it?) ... but I would be interested to find out what happens with the hum when you solder wires between the tone1 pot case & tone2 pot case ; and the tone2 pot case & volume pot case.
D2o - When you measure shielding continuity, you are looking for a meter reading of 0 (zero) - or close to it. If that is what you are getting, it seems like the continuity may be fine as well (unless the pickguard screws are contacting the cavity foil) ... I suspect it's fine. The meter reading between bridge and all pickguard screws, all pickups screws and all switch screws is around 30 (22 best, 48 worst) Is this ok? The pickguard screws, as recomended, are contacting the cavity foil. Is this ok?
Thank you sumgai
I hope I have time to upload some photos and mp3 next weekend.
If we are in agreement that you have readings of 30 to 48 ohms, I would argue that the continuity is fine.
Those readings seem pretty high to me. My Strat shielding gives readings across the various strips of shielding either at 0Ω or at most .1 to .3Ω. Measuring from the bridge to the shielding (which incorporates the length of wire from the bridge) is only slightly higher, still less than 2 Ohms no matter where I touch the shielding.
Now, of course, you are measuring to the pickguard screws. I assume you are doing so because the guitar is still assembled. But the screws' only role in the shielding is to ensure that the shielding on the underside of the guard contacts the cavity shielding (which should have been run "up and over" the sides of the cavity a bit so as to contact the underside of the guard when screwed down).
It is irrelevant to your shielding whether or not the screws themselves make contact. And they may be doing so poorly, since, by screwing them in, you probably twisted the shielding aside around the screws. But that shouldn't matter so long as the underside of the guard is held down well against the cavity shielding.
Also, if you shielded the cavity using long strips of foil along the floor of the cavity, and separate strips along the sides (and if the bridge ground is screwed into the side of the cavity), your method doesn't really check the continuity across the entire shielding- you may just be checking the continuity of the strips along the sides of the cavity.
I'm afraid that solving your issues here may require disassembly.
Also, to put a first thing last . . .check your meter. Touching the 2 probes together should give 0&Omega, or at most a tenth of an Ohm.
Pablo may well have continuity, though, as laid out in his scenario. The numbers could be rather large, and all over the place, by the time he gets from the bridge to a screw on the pickguard that is contact with the shielding (perhaps one of the screws holding the 5 way switch).
I just tried it and got as low as 10 ohms between the bridge and one of the screws holding the 5 way switch (which I know to be in some sort of contact with the shield - at least via contact via with the 5 way that touches the shield).
Having said that, this is not a good way to measure continuity.
Also, with respect to attaching the bridge ground to the cavity shield: is there anywhere / anyway to connect the bridge ground so that a more "reliable" connection is assured?
If you measure all of the adjoining pieces of the cavity and there is continuity there, and you measure all of the adjoining pieces of the pickguard and there is continuity there, and you know that some of the continuous cavity shield will make solid contact with some of the continuous pickguard shield, it is likely that you will have achieved continuity.
The bottom line is this is best done with pickguard off so you can get in there and really see what's going on.
Post by gitpiddler on Aug 13, 2009 23:08:23 GMT -5
Pablo, Welcome to the Nutzhouse. The main volume pot often has a connecting tab between the casing and the signal return (GND) lug. CUT IT FIRST if not already according to the QTB instructions. That is all my Tele with the output jack on the metal control plate needed to be whisper quiet. I immediately became a follower of John Atchley and wound up here. I repeat-the signal path should not touch the shielding anywhere inside the bubble, only at the jack. Good luck, Marc.
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I hope I have time to make all modifications suggested here next weekend. Perhaps I desolder everything and start from zero, replacing some wires. - ground bridge wire to volume pot - ground pickups wires to volume pot (neck and middle has two separated uninsulated wires, I will replace them with one insulated two conductors wire) - volume to tone 1, and tone 1 to tone 2
The pickupguard has excellent continuity (always 0). I use a single piece of aluminum foil on it. But the pickup cavity seems to has poor or no continuity at all. I use many pieces of aluminum foil on it and may be too much glue. I tried to improve continuity putting a layer of aluminum tape and it gets better but not better enough (again using many pieces). May be I'll put another layer (or remove it all and start again) of aluminum foil trying to use only 2 or 3 pieces for all the surface. If I can find copper tape I'll use it (it looks easier with it)
It is not a problem for me to disassembly the pickupguard. This week I did it almost everyday.
sydsbluesky - Is this computer near you when you're playing? Yes, very close.
D2o Measure unit is ohms (meter beeps)
newey - Also, to put a first thing last . . .check your meter Meter is ok.
gitpiddler - The main volume pot often has a connecting tab between the casing and the signal return (GND) lug. CUT IT FIRST if not already according to the QTB instructions. As directed, I have done it. I desoldered it.
But the pickup cavity seems to has poor or no continuity at all. I use many pieces of aluminum foil on it and may be too much glue. I tried to improve continuity putting a layer of aluminum tape and it gets better but not better enough (again using many pieces). May be I'll put another layer (or remove it all and start again) of aluminum foil trying to use only 2 or 3 pieces for all the surface. If I can find copper tape I'll use it (it looks easier with it)
This could well be the cause of your problem. If you're using foil, did you overlap and fold over at the seams, and use electrical tape to hold the overlaps down? And fewer pieces means fewer seams, which in turn means less likelihood of poor contact.
If you used aluminum foil on the pickguard, stick with aluminum for the cavity as well. We've discussed here before that mixing aluminum and copper may not be wise since the 2 metals will, over time, react galvanically with each other, which could cause the shielding to degrade over time.
Good luck in your project and please report back your results.
It gets better but I want more. Static noise has disappeared but hum noise is still there, less, but not acceptable for me.
What I did: - wire from volume pot case to tone pot 1 case - wire from tone pot 1 case to tone pot 2 case - all pickups ground to volume pot case - wire from volume pot case to pickup cavity (the wire that were from bridge to pickup cavity) - wire from volume pot case to bridge - .047 uf capacitor shared by tone pots replaced by two .033 uf capacitor, one for each tone pot (for each capacitor, one end to tab and the other to case) - ring terminal out (the one recommended in QTB)
One thing that I almost always do with single coils is shield them directly, HOWEVER - be careful!
I've done it enough to know what works and what doesn't:
What doesn't work:
Shielding over-wound coils that have little difference in the circumference of the bobbin and the coil (i.e. no room to shield). If it's a snug fit as it is, don't even try this. If there is some room between the coil windings and the cover, you may be okay.
Also, estimating sizes and generally rushing is a no-no, which may result in improper placement of the shielding material - subsequent adjustment of shielding material may result is damage to the coil wire surrounding the bobbin.
Now, if you have a pickup that seems like a good candidate (you could dry fit some tape to sort of see if you are comfortable with the space between the cover and coil windings):
Remove the pickups from the pickguard
Regarding the pickup covers:
Take a 6" long piece of aluminum duct tape - LEAVE THE BACKING ON, so that it won't stick to anything - and hold the tape over the top bottom of the pickup cover, in such a way that neither the tape nor the cover move (try to stay close to one edge/side of the tape, because - depending on the width of the tape - you may be able to repeat the following procedure using the remainder of the tape
What you will do next is create a gentle outline of the cover, by gently applying pressure where the tape meets the inside edge of the pickup cover. Don't press down so hard that you push the tape in or deform it - you want a nice outline of the cover on a nice flat piece of tape
Cut out the tape, as outlined.
Repeat for other single coils (we won't normally bother doing this with humbuckers, as they are inherently hum ... "bucking")
Regarding the coils/bobbins:
Measure the width between the inside edges of the single coil bobbin
Take a 12" long piece of aluminum duct tape - again, LEAVE THE BACKING ON, so that it won't stick to anything - and mark a line that is the width as measured above.
Cut out the tape, as outlined.
Repeat for other single coils.
Check what you have just cut out - again, LEAVE THE BACKING ON, so it won't stick to anything - we want it to cover the coil, but not be so snug against the edge of the bobbin that it may cause difficulty when trying to put the cover back on
Check the length of the tape, making sure that the piece of tape shield is not quite long enough for the ends to meet (i.e. do not entirely surround the coil - leave a 1/4" to 1/2" gap, somewhere ... it doesn't really matter where, but the end of the bobbin is where I leave it)
Okay, so far you can still bail on the whole idea, right?
If you want to proceed:
Remove the backing from one of your rounded cut-outs for the pickup cover and, as carefully as you can, place the adhesive backed face against the inside top of the cover. Position is important, but don't beat yourself up after you realize that despite your best efforts it's not centered and is a rather embarrassing effort (this is fairly successful, as far as this procedure goes)
Push and smush the hell out of it until it's securely fastened and any bubbles and such have been pushed out. If it is straddling a vertex, makes sure that it's well pressed down - even if you tear the foil in the process
You will now clearly see the indentations where the holes for the poles are - take an exacto knife and cut the foil away so that the poles have clear passage through the holes (don't cut away too much, just enough so that the poles won't touch the shield ... and I'm not convinced it matters if they do).
There, that part's done. Never ever think about the covers again.
Regarding the bobbins, you have two options:
Leave the backing on, wrap the shield around the coil, and fasten the two ends with a 1" piece of electrical tape.
You will want the ends to meet on the side of the coil if you choose this method
- or -
I prefer to take the backing off of your "coil wrapping bobbin strips" (coincidentally, a fine name for doggie meaty-treats) and CAREFULLY begin to wrap the coil (I prefer this way because the shield is more securely installed and you don't need to add the thickness of the electrical tape)
Be gentle as you are lining it up, applying pressure only when you are sure it is lined up as desired. You may not have the luxury of making adjustments after it's stuck.
Either way, replace the cover, and re-install the pickups on the pickguard.
Or you can completely ignore this post.
I may amend this if I read it and find that it makes my head hurt, but I think that's about it.
P.S. Edited to include: I know that there is empirical data proving that shielding pickups with a solid shielding material results in tone loss, but my own perception is that there is no readily apparent tone loss, if shielded as directed (YMMV)
Good news. The main source of noise was the guitar cable. Now with an overbraided cable with gold plugs it sounds much better. No hum in bridge pickup (DiMarzio Fast Track 2) even with huge distortion but still some hum in the other two pickups (original single coil pickups) except when neck + middle are selected. I shielded the neck pickup cover with no audible improvement. May be I change these pickups but before that I will use my guitar for some time to test it.
So, should I make any modification? (i.e. remove the ground loop between volume and tone pots)
Position 5 - bridge (DiMarzio FastTrack 2) and position 2 - neck + middle (original single coil): - totally quite while touching strings or any metal part (bridge, pickguard screws) and also blocking holes (the ones for inserting strings) of the tremolo back cover - almost quite while touching strings or any metal part (bridge, pickguard screws) - hum when not touching strings or any metal part Related to the holes of the tremolo back cover, I'm a right handed player and playing while sited with the guitar on my left leg no hum at all, but with the guitar on my right leg little hum. When the guitar is on my left leg holes are blocked by my belly :-)
All other positions: hum always but less when touching strings or any metal part.
Also static "ticks" when I touch strings or any metal part and hum increases if I rub my hand over active pickup while not touching string or any metal part.
I applied QTB and then made some modifications: - ring connectors and 400V capacitor removed - pickups ground wires soldered to volume pot case - wire soldered between volume pot case and tone pot 1 case - wire soldered between tone pot 1 case and tone pot 2 case - wire soldered between volume pot ground tab and volume pot case - wire soldered between volume pot case and tremolo - wire soldered to volume pot case and attached to pickup cavity with a wood screw - replace tone pots capacitor by two .033uf capacitor, one for each tone pot - neck pickup cover shielded - tremolo back cover shielded
I am sorry that I have not been around much to follow up on this.
The humbucker should, inherently, reduce hum. Similarly, the Neck and Middle position essentially creates a humbucker and should also reduce hum. On the other hand, single coils are noisey.
I once had a cool guitar that had some slight issues that I just couldn't get past. I tried everything ... rewired it three different ways, shielded the pups two different ways, replaced everything electronic except the pups, and finally gave up and sold it.
The point is that I only realized afterwards that the guitar was what it was, issues and all. I should have recognized that and I would still have a cool guitar.
It sounds like you've done about all you can do. I have a strat with pickups that have a relatively high resistance and happen to be a bit noisey. I've done what I can, and I realize that there is nothing much else I can do about it that I haven't already tried. It is what it is, and I'm done.
However, you did indicate that some of the things you had done included
- wire soldered between volume pot case and tremolo - wire soldered to volume pot case and attached to pickup cavity with a wood screw
If you have hard-wired the bridge ground directly to the volume pot case, you don't need the pickup cavity shield involved in that task. I don't know if removing the screw/wire attached to the cavity will cause any change, one way or another ... you have nothing to lose in trying it to see if it helps, and on the slim chance that it makes things worse you can screw it back in.
Similarly, you can try removing the wires between the backs of the pots, but I do not see that resulting in an improvement and I suspect that it may cause additional hum, since your shield may not be the most reliable of conductors. But who knows? Hopefully I am wrong and maybe your hum will totally disappear.
You are a Nut now and you have modified your guitar. It is no longer the guitar it was, so enjoy your guitar for what it now is.