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Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups Warmoth.com

Little wiring questions...

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by beninma, Sep 25, 2017.

  1. beninma

    beninma Tele-Meister

    Age:
    40
    419
    Mar 17, 2017
    Massachusetts
    I'm in the middle of redoing my MIM Telecaster's wiring and swapping the pickups. Unfortunately my soldering iron died in the middle or I might have finished it over the weekend.

    Anyway.. my guitar has the "shielding paint" in it. It has a grounding screw in each of the cavities, and the original wiring has several wires attached to it.

    Bridge cavity:
    - Bridge screw to cavity screw
    - Bridge pickup ground to cavity screw (pickup is plastic with no metal plate)
    - Cavity Screw back to the volume pot

    Neck cavity:
    - Pickup ground to cavity screw (can't really tell if the neck pickup is metal/plastic but my understanding is grounding this doesn't matter as much as it's not providing string ground)
    - Cavity Screw to volume pot

    Control cavity:
    - Cavity to Volume pot

    My new pickups are metal.. instructions say (and it makes sense) that the metal plate will ground the bridge through the mounting screw + the pickup ground wire. (The plate is jumped)

    Do I actually need the cavities grounded (particularly bridge cavity) if I've got the metal plate? I'm trying to clean stuff up but if connecting the paint to ground provides a useful benefit (shielding?) I'll keep it. It's just a bunch of extra wires that are kind of messy and are not included on most of the wiring diagrams.
     

  2. BorderRadio

    BorderRadio Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Apr 2, 2014
    Phoenix, AZ
    Since the cavities are probably not continuously coated in conductive paint, it's best for shielding that you connect each cavity lead to ground. I'd run all cavity leads back to the volume pot but that might not be a big deal in a guitar. You could forgo the bridge cavity lead and still retain some shielding through the metal pickup and bridge plates. Does your neck pickup have a metal plate too? If so, yeah it probably means you can skip the neck cavity ground.
     

  3. beninma

    beninma Tele-Meister

    Age:
    40
    419
    Mar 17, 2017
    Massachusetts
    If it does actually matter I'll keep it.

    The stuff I bought is all the cloth vintage wire, and I might not have enough of it to do all these cavity wires so maybe I end up keeping the original wires.

    I think I'm definitely merging all these wires together so I can only solder one ground wire to the volume pot though... it had 5 joints on it including the bent over lug and it was a huge mess, the entire bottom face of the pot was covered in solder.
     

  4. tessting1two

    tessting1two Tele-Meister

    265
    Apr 13, 2014
    Southern California
    If this is a standard tele with a pickguard then individual wires from the pickup cavities may be redundant. Yes, all the shielding needs to tie to ground or it becomes an antenna but this does not mean every cavity needs a wire soldered to the back of a pot.

    For example, if you shield the back of your pickguard and leave a small tab of shielding tape sticking out of the neck pickup cavity and the control cavity, all three will be grounded because the pots touch the control plate, the control plate touches the foil tab which touches the shielded pickguard which touches the neck pickup cavity shielding.

    This article has some useful info and pics: http://www.stewmac.com/How-To/Onlin...hy_and_how_of_electric_guitar_shielding_.html
     

  5. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Age:
    60
    Jul 18, 2010
    Western Connecticut
    Two things...

    All shielding must be grounded. If not, it'll create it's own noise issues, sometimes intermittent, and notoriously difficult to track down if you're not looking for it.

    Also, even though it might work now, I'd avoid running any signal commons through the shield ground. If the shielding continuity ever fails, you get noise. If the signal common continuity fails, you get nothing. Silence.


    Finally, there's no issue with ground loops in a guitar. It's all low voltage, and it all connects back to the same source at the amp.
     
    awasson likes this.

  6. screamin eagle

    screamin eagle Friend of Leo's

    Oct 9, 2008
    S. CA
    If you're satisfied with the level of noise you have then keep the wiring the same.
     

  7. awasson

    awasson Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

    Age:
    53
    Nov 18, 2010
    Vancouver
    This ^ ^ ^

    If you're rewiring it, forget how it was when it came to you and do it 100% right. All signal wiring from pickups to the control panel and all grounds centralized and taken to the back of the volume or tone pot (the pot cases should be joined by a wire).

    I shielded my Tele body with aluminum tape and brought the grounds from each location back to the control cavity where I have a central point that they are screwed to. I take a lead from that point to the back of the controls. My pickguard is also shielded and joins the cavities to make a cage around the electronics.

    I try to be conservative with the amount of solder I use on the back of the vol/tone pots and aim to have a couple of small connection points. The problem with a potentiometer that has a lot of solder on it is that it has been heated to extremes during the process and harmed along the way. I had a pot in my Strat that was overheated and damaged. It did some very odd things to the tone of the guitar. Now I keep a stock of CTS or Bourn pots so I can swap them out when I'm in doubt.
     
    dougstrum likes this.

  8. beninma

    beninma Tele-Meister

    Age:
    40
    419
    Mar 17, 2017
    Massachusetts
    Okay so sounds like maybe I should have the pickups can be one common ground to the volume pot and all the cavities can be another ground to the volume pot but I shouldn't make it all one?

    That would at least get me to 2 solder joints on the pot instead of 4-5.
     

  9. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Age:
    60
    Jul 18, 2010
    Western Connecticut
    To the OP: since your iron died, now's your chance to get a soldering station. I like the Aoyue I got on Amazon for $80. Had it for four years now, and I use it frequently. IMO, that's the only way to get a clean solder joint on the back of a pot shell. The 40W plain irons won't do it (nicely).

    The trick is to use MORE heat, for LESS time. Ideally, have the iron contact the pot for no more than a few seconds.
     
    Nickfl and awasson like this.

  10. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Age:
    60
    Jul 18, 2010
    Western Connecticut
    How you arrange connections on the pots is irrelevant. All grounds ultimately connect to the output jack. Just make the connections explicit, not relying on the shield for continuity.
     
    awasson likes this.

  11. awasson

    awasson Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

    Age:
    53
    Nov 18, 2010
    Vancouver
    The goal with grounding as far as noise reduction is concerned, is to make sure all of your grounds are connected to the same point with the least chance of resistance between them. That's why I find a common point to connect them all to in the control cavity.

    As I mentioned, I'll take all of my cavity ground leads to the central point. The ground for the signal also needs to join there as well but I want to keep it clean and organized, so I'll wire my controls and pickups to the output jack separately and then run a connection from the back of the potentiometer to my central ground point.
     

  12. beninma

    beninma Tele-Meister

    Age:
    40
    419
    Mar 17, 2017
    Massachusetts
    That does look like a lot for the money. I had already ordered a $40 weller 40w station that is just watt controlled with no ESD protection. I'm not really familiar with these brands at all.

    My pen that died was 20w it was really horrible for getting stuff off the old pot but was OK for fixing a ground wire that came off a while ago. Hopefully the 40w will be enough.
     

  13. Asmith

    Asmith Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

    Age:
    21
    Nov 27, 2014
    Morley, England
    It's probably late now but if I were doing a pickup swap on a MIM I would have just swapped the pickup leads, cloth wire is cool but it costs more and doesn't have any real benefits. To my understanding, the only thing that is new is the baseplate on the bridge pickup and the metal neck cover which are both grounded to the pickup ground wires anyway so just put it back to how it was and you should be what you're after.
     

  14. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Age:
    60
    Jul 18, 2010
    Western Connecticut
    You don't need the ESD, just a lot of watts.
     

  15. beninma

    beninma Tele-Meister

    Age:
    40
    419
    Mar 17, 2017
    Massachusetts
    I had some other things going on.. my selector switch was shot and I had a scratchy pot. The switch on mine was a really cheap one with no spring.. it basically wouldn't stay in position.
     

  16. Asmith

    Asmith Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

    Age:
    21
    Nov 27, 2014
    Morley, England
    Oak Grigsby switch then I wouldn't say there cheap, I don't have an issue with them personally. They're a standard for most, found in the American made fenders and are the only quality switches you can get with more than 2 poles but with that said I do prefer CRL.
     

  17. beninma

    beninma Tele-Meister

    Age:
    40
    419
    Mar 17, 2017
    Massachusetts
    Something just happened to mine. Not sure what, I bought the guitar used, maybe the switch got hit or abused because AFAICT my guitar was bought by the original owner and put up on consignment very quickly inside it's first year. I had heard from the dealer that whoever was the original owner suddenly put 20+ guitars up on consignment all it once so I suspect my guitar was never really played much and something just happened to it, maybe even in the store.

    The way the O-G switch works by sandwiching the lever between the little nubs of solder or whatever on the twin boards/wafers/whatever just wore out so there was next to no resistance holding the switch in place and it was very hard to play without it moving, particularly in the middle position.

    Stewmac included the CRL in their prepackaged wiring kit so I just got that one. I wasn't really aware of the difference.

    The replacement CRL is way more firm/positive so it's what I was looking for. If the Oak Grisby switch is also normally firm/positive that would have been fine too.

    I don't know what is usually in which Fender guitars but most of the Teles I've touched had a much more firm switch than the one I just replaced.
     

  18. Asmith

    Asmith Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

    Age:
    21
    Nov 27, 2014
    Morley, England
    Not sure if you're describing an import switch or an oak Grigsby one now, if it wore out it must have been a really abused switch or got solder on it somewhere he shouldn't have


    Did it look like this?
    [​IMG]
     

  19. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Age:
    60
    Jul 18, 2010
    Western Connecticut
    StewMac has pots on sale at the moment. FYI
     

  20. beninma

    beninma Tele-Meister

    Age:
    40
    419
    Mar 17, 2017
    Massachusetts
    I just got this done, the new soldering station is a joy to use. I used the StewMac premium Tele Kit, that is how I ended up with all CRL gear. (I was NOT trying to start a debate on the merits of O-G vs CRL.) I did use the vintage cloth wiring. That was kind of weird but it all worked fine. I also had debated not replacing the output jack, but since I bought it, I did replace it while I was at it. The new output jack is a bit more firm than the old one.

    The Switch is *rock* solid now and will definitely not be moving unless I want to move it.

    I put Lollar pickups in, Vintage T neck + Special T bridge. Lollar seems to be pretty against putting a treble bleed in, but I did. It seems fine. I'm going to need time to play with it to see how I like it, and it's always easy to clip it out if needed.

    I ran into a couple snags other than the soldering iron:

    - The Lollar Hardware required opening up the holes in the pick guard for the neck pickup adjusting screws. No big deal, 1-2 seconds with the dremel. They use larger screws than fender, they do thread through the pickguard but don't slide smoothly. The fender screws I had don't thread into the Lollar pickup. There was a note in the box with the pickups that said anyone else hardware voided the warranty so the pickguard got modified. I'm happy I have metal springs for the pickups now instead of the plastic grommets.

    - I kept the stock cavity wiring. I didn't wire the bridge to the cavity. I basically linked all the cavities together and then attached that to the volume pot. In the end I just did what everyone else does and attached all the grounds to that volume pot.

    - PITA that the 6-saddle bridge requires taking pretty much all the saddles off and then having to reset the intonation to remove/replace the pickup. On the plus side I got my intonation basically perfect, better than it was before.

    I was pretty careful checking everything with the multimeter as I went. Seems like everything went perfect.

    Either the stock pickups were picking up *everything* or there was something wonky in the wiring because the guitar is damn near 100% noiseless in my house now. To the point I could probably take my EHX Hum Debugger off my pedal board. It is an absolutely huge difference in the noise level. Before I could hear noise even when playing clean, but it wasn't hugely annoying. Playing the dirty channel of the amp or using an OD it was annoying. Now I can barely hear any noise with the Gain at 50% on my amp on the dirty channel.

    The volume and tone pots are also a lot more responsive now. That'll take some playing with to get used to but the tone pot in particular is actually useful now and you can hear it take the edge of the treble strings. Very nice.

    Oh and major face palm. I have been playing since about mid July with a tortoise pickguard and I never took the protective coating off. Numerous other players + my teacher have seen it, none of us could tell there was a plastic protective layer on it. I posted it here too and no one noticed, although it'd be really hard to tell in a picture. The protective layer peeled a little when I was opening up the holes and I finally realized something was on there. I had kind of wondered when I installed it but it was stuck on so well I thought I was going to damage it if I dug at it. It looks a lot better without the plastic.

    This was actually a really fun project... computer stuff (what I do for a living) has all pretty much become sealed and unfixable, it was really fun to work on something like this again.
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2017
    awasson likes this.

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