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Old December 23rd, 2013, 07:40 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Baja Tele + Hot Rails = Terrible hum

Hi all,

I love the feel of my tele but wanted a dirtier sound so I popped in an SD hot rails bridge pickup. I followed the schematic very carefully (red and white soldered and taped together, green and bare soldered to ground, black to switch).

However there is now a very loud hum from my guitar. When the neck pickup is selected the hum is minimal but when bridge is selected (hot rails) its very loud. When I touch the control plate with my finger it dissipates.

Is this fixable? I so how?

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Old December 23rd, 2013, 07:45 AM   #2 (permalink)
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You have a grounding problem. The bridge > pickup aren't grounded naymore so you need to connect the bridge plate to the back of one of the pots somehow, either through the pickup or directly. My guess is the SD hot rails doesn't have the plate on the bottom so now it's not grounded to the bridge and the rest of the circuit.
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Old December 23rd, 2013, 11:16 AM   #3 (permalink)
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The SD hot rails has both a green and bare wire which go to the ground of the tone pot. Would it be best if i connected a wire from the bridge plate (soldered?) to the green or bare of the pickup?

Just to add - the buzzing does not go away when touching the strings or bridge. It only goes away when touching the control plate. Does this change things?

Thanks
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Old December 23rd, 2013, 12:33 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Just run a wire from the back of a pot to the bridge plate. Strand the wires into a fan and just cram it in under the bridge plate.

Before you do this, connect the bridge to the control plate outside of the guitar and listen if the hm goes away when touching strings. It should
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Old December 23rd, 2013, 12:37 PM   #5 (permalink)
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LIke the doc says, use short piece of wire to connect any two parts to see if it goes away, and then solder it on them. Without seeing the guitar it's not clear where the ground problem is. Could also be a bad solder joint on the ground wires from the bridge pickup.
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Old December 23rd, 2013, 07:47 PM   #6 (permalink)
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When you removed the bridge, there was probably a small hole underneath it that had a few strands of bare wire poking out of it. If so, that's your bridge plate ground that the folks above are talking about. Sometimes the wire falls back into the body when the bridge is removed. Once you know what you're looking for it should be easy to spot.

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Old December 24th, 2013, 08:16 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Thanks for the help guys. I took it all apart and there was no ground wire beneath the bridge. I got a piece of stranded cable and put it under the bridge and soldered it to the ground of the tone pot. I metered it through and there was continuity between the strings and the ground on the tone pot.

Unfortunately it is still buzzing. When I touch the control plate it goes away and if I touch the bridge it mostly goes away but not 100%.

Any further ideas?

Also may I just say a big thank you for taking the time to help me so far.
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Old December 24th, 2013, 08:22 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I put a hotrails in a strat clone and have now got heaps of buzzing too. Keen to hear if you get a fix for this one!
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Old December 27th, 2013, 11:07 AM   #9 (permalink)
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It seems the problem isn't as bad with the neck pickup selected. If the hot rails is selected the noise sounds a lot stronger. Is this just due to the higher output of the pickup?

Or is it possible that the pickup is faulty? If so, how would you confirm such a thing?
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Old December 27th, 2013, 07:18 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hazzagg View Post
It seems the problem isn't as bad with the neck pickup selected. If the hot rails is selected the noise sounds a lot stronger. Is this just due to the higher output of the pickup? Or is it possible that the pickup is faulty? If so, how would you confirm such a thing?
I thought they would have been hum canceling but I don't know
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Old December 27th, 2013, 11:01 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Quote:
I thought they would have been hum canceling but I don't know
They are, but if you've got wiring errors anything will hum. The Hot Rails pickups are quiet, I've got a set in one guitar and they don't hum at all.


Quote:
Or is it possible that the pickup is faulty?
Not likely. Your description of what you did (red and white together and taped, etc.) sounds right. You're either mistaken about where something went, you've got a bad solder joint, or you've knocked a wire off that you haven't found yet, maybe the ground wire or signal wire to the output jack or something like that.

All you did was replace the bridge pickup, right? No new jack, cap, pots, or the like?

Not all hum comes from grounding issues, open circuits will also hum like mad. Be sure to scrutinize the signal path wiring too.

Can you post some clear photos of what the control plate looks like?
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Old December 27th, 2013, 11:34 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Quote:
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I thought they would have been hum canceling but I don't know
The reason your SD pick up is humming is that youv probably bought the northern hemispere model, you need the southern model
Living that far below the equator you will always get hum and noise if your pick ups are not in alinment with the earth magnetic fields
You have to install the sphereically correct pick up because if you dont all the electrons go in the wrong direction. Its simple.

Well, maybe.... did I make that up? Yeah I did.
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Old December 28th, 2013, 09:36 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Thanks for the help guys. I will open it up later and have another poke around. Unfortunately its the Baja model with 4-way switch and S1 system so it is not the most friendly thing to work on.

I don't know if this makes much difference but when I changed the pickup I cut the two wires from the original then soldered the new pickup leads to these wires and taped the solder joint. I did this as there were 5 cores, one unsheathed and it minimised the wire stripping of the new pickup.
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Old December 28th, 2013, 09:49 AM   #14 (permalink)
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The gauges of the wires may be different and may be an issue. Solder the wires direct to the pot to avoid any issues. Quality pictures of your wiring (Pickup & Pot) while in there posted here would help answer a lot.
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Old December 28th, 2013, 10:20 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by slippin slider View Post
The reason your SD pick up is humming is that youv probably bought the northern hemispere model, you need the southern model Living that far below the equator you will always get hum and noise if your pick ups are not in alinment with the earth magnetic fields You have to install the sphereically correct pick up because if you dont all the electrons go in the wrong direction. Its simple. Well, maybe.... did I make that up? Yeah I did.
But the poles will eventually switch so I should be all good for when that happens, right?? lol

Top work SS. I love a good bit of banter. The funny thing is that I bought the p'up when I was in Hawaii earlier this year.....
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Old December 28th, 2013, 11:37 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Her are some pics of the control plate. Thee extra black lead on the tone pot is the one I installed to the bridge for grounding (didn't make a difference).

As you can see from the pictures it would seem difficult to seperate the 5 cores from the pickup cable to the appropriate places on the switch and tone pot ground.

Anyway let me know your thoughts. To be fair I may have to swallow my pride and get the local tech to have a look.
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Old December 28th, 2013, 01:19 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Sorry to say but your solder job on the pot doesn't look that good. Would also assume the joining of the wires you've soldered together is suspect as well.
Best to swallow your pride and take to a tech and have them install it for you. This will ensure it works and you get enjoyment out if it.

While the tech is in there you could have him take out the S1 and install a 4 way switch if you don't care for the phasing options and have him split the coils on the hot rails.
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Old December 28th, 2013, 01:34 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Yeah thought it would be something like that. Good idea with the s1, that would be far more useful than it is now!

Cheers
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