I've just got a set of single-coil Tele pickups made by Bill Lawrence, and hooked them up in a very basic fashion (separately, straight to jack, and unshielded) to check them out. Unfortunately, I'm finding a lot of buzzing from both pickups. This cuts to almost nothing when I touch the metal cover of my cable's jack plug (both pickups) or the polepieces, screws or baseplate (bridge pickup only - something to do with the extra ground wire from the baseplate I imagine).
Whilst touching any of those places, the noise level is perfect, and just what I'd expect from these pickups based on all the reviews I've read. What I'd like to know is what I can try to get this low noise level without touching something. Since the buzz goes away when I touch the right place, am I correct in thinking that it would indicate a grounding problem rather than a shielding one?
But what would be left to ground....myself? At the moment it has passed the limits of my knowledge - The amp and cable are used with other (humbucker equipped) guitars without issue, and I've tried a couple of different jack sockets in case something was amiss there.
Any advice or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Nothing wrong with hooking them up to see if they are functional, but if you have hooked them up as basically as you say (literally, signal and ground straight to jack?), they just aren't grounded yet and the hum should go away upon proper installation (i.e. with pots, with wires running between pots, with wire to tremolo, etc.).
... or am I taking what you are saying too literally?
Nothing wrong with hooking them up to see if they are functional, but if you have hooked them up as basically as you say (literally, signal and ground straight to jack?),
... or am I taking what you are saying too literally?
No, you've got it, it was just ground and signal to the jack. I have since added a ground from the bridge to jack, which had a very slight noise reduction, but barely audible. Certainly not the night and day difference of putting my finger on the right spot.
they just aren't grounded yet and the hum should go away upon proper installation (i.e. with pots, with wires running between pots, with wire to tremolo, etc.).
Do I really need to add more components to the circuit to make an effective ground?
However, you asked if this might be a grounding problem, or a shielding problem ... reading between the lines, does that mean you have shielded your Tele? I'm not suggesting you do, I'm just asking (on the other hand, if your in there anyway ... ).
But if you haven't shielded, and you just want to keep things nice and simple, you should be able to just use the standard wiring to wire it up - making sure that you make good solder connections.
At the moment, the guitar isn't shielded. It's certainly something I'll have to look into if the problem persists.
After looking high and low for a switch that I know is around here somewhere (grr!), I gave up and wired my bridge pickup up as an esquire, with just a volume control - no switch, no tone. I've butchered the Seymour Duncan diagram to show you what I have:
It's pretty hard to make music without touching the strings, so I imagine that while you're playing the hum is pretty much down to nothing, or near enough, right?
But the question is, why would you worry about the humming when you're not playing, unless it's loud enough to make people in the front row cringe whenever you take your hand off the strings, presumably to reach over and grab your beer? To me, if you're gonna do that, then it's easy to just turn down the volume control (or hit the kill switch, if it's not spring-loaded).
But yes, in the long run, you're bound to hit a venue someday where your axe will buzz/hum like mad, no matter what you do or how you hold/play your guitar. If you took ash's advice and shielded your rig, you'll never know you're in such a place. ;D
Am I 'ally'? I'll pretend I am, so I can answer your question.
The buzz is still there when touching the strings. Of course, it's masked while actually playing, but if I hit a chord and let it ring, then grab and release the shell of the jack plug I can clearly hear the noise level drop and rise again. The solution at the moment is to knock the gain up and pretend it's the amp's fault, but that's far from ideal.
I'll try removing the volume pot (which does function) from the equation today in case I'm making a poor solder joint on the back of the pot. It should be within the realms of possibility to make a properly grounded circuit just going to the jack, right? hopefully it'll work and I can put this whole thing down to sloppy soldering.
Post by gitpiddler on Jan 14, 2010 10:48:23 GMT -5
Welcome bobbo, that same problem led me to the original Gnutz site's (re: links above) Quieting The Beast articles.
The connection between the vol. pot shell and the signal ground (return) terminal on your diagram is a common flaw. Cut that connection, and run a separate insulated wire from the terminal to the jack ground. This is now your signal return.
The entire signal path from jack to pickups should be separate from any chassis grounds. Control plate/bridge/pickup grounding and any future shielding need to form a bubble 'around' the signal path, joining only at the jack.
Since my cheap Tele clone has the jack mounted to the control plate, the one extra wire solved my 24-yr. noise problem ;D, dramatically improving signal-to-noise ratio with my simple EVH inspired bridge HB-volume pot circuit. Recommend testing this mod. first, then extra cavity shielding if desired.
Last Edit: Jan 14, 2010 10:56:19 GMT -5 by gitpiddler
Wanna hear God laugh? Talk about your plans! Silence is when God speaks. Anything else is just a poor translation. -Rumi
bobbo, I just remembered this is a Tele. Does it have the chrome knobs? Noise should be reduced when you touch these. If not, it helps us identify the issue.
I (and some others aboard) have abandoned altogether the idea of gathering grounds on the back of a pot. If nothing else, it's sometimes a pain just getting it to stick! Also, some of my guitars have no pots. There's no good reason you can't combine all of your ground points at the "grounded" lug of the volume pot or the jack itself.
You do generally want the pot cases (and switch frame) grounded, but the metal control plate should take care of that for you.
I'll get around to shielding eventually, but until such time as I get hold of the materials I'm solving the problem by using an anti-static wrist strap clipped to one of the tuners.
Holy Jeebus, man, that's just not kosher - DON'T DO THAT!
One of things we're most concerned about here in the NutzHouse is safety. And I'm here to tell you, no matter how low the risk seems to be, what you're contemplating (actually doing?), well, that's a safety hazard of the highest order. It's about the equivalent of taking a knife into a gun fight, you know what I mean? Using anything even remotely capable of conducting any kind of current in this manner is frowned upon by all parties concerned, and that's the bottom line.
JUST DON'T DO IT!
Different perspective: you're using something for which it wasn't intended, and isn't rated for. That's abuse of purpose, and again, it leads to something undesirable happening, usually at either the most inopportune time, or the most embarrasing... often both at the same time. In short, bad ju-ju.
I am saying something here, I'm not just saying, ya know.....
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.
Thanks for the warning. Can you explain how connecting a wire between me and a metallic part of the guitar is any more dangerous than physically touching that part? If I'm in that much danger from making that connection shouldn't I just put the guitar away?
I'm not doubting your expertise, I'd just like to understand what's going on.
It's kind of the opposite of why it's better to wear a safety harness and lanyard when you're working on a roof ... in that case, it's nice to be permanently connected and unable to let go - that could save your life.
When your vintage tube amp goes to heaven, or when the wiring in your next venue is faulty, and you end up on the receiving end - with your faculties unavailable for regular duty - well ... it would be nice to be able to let go - that could save your life.
I did almost ROFL when I saw that you tied yourself to ground (also, not sayin' anything). I keep threatening to do this to my bassist if he doesn't get around to fixing his buzz. And since there's always plenty beer on the floor...
Glad to see somebody caught you before it was too late
...course, we never woulda known...
What an interesting last post that would be!
Okay, it's not a joke. And don't be suckered into the false sense of security offered by the "safety capacitor".
Keep in mind, though, that it's never going to be silent. Probably not as good even as when you're grounded through the metal parts. You'll drive yourself nuts (not Nutz, I think you're already there) trying to get it perfect. Learn to be happy with good enough. Also, like sg said, we have ways of getting near silence when you're not expecting sound to come out of the guitar.
Last Edit: Jan 15, 2010 20:13:23 GMT -5 by ashcatlt
I dunno about all this, really - between the shielding on my Strat and a very very subtle noise suppressor, thoughtfully included in my amp by the nice people over at Vox, I've got pretty close to silent on the noise front... bear in mind that they're old single coils, too.
Slap on a killswitch to a) use between songs if you're REALLY cranking the distortion and b) make cool noises, and you're all set. It shouldn't be that hard to get right