Clicky sounds on a Jazzmaster?

Discussion in 'Other Guitars, other instruments' started by SixStringSlinger, Sep 15, 2019.

  1. SixStringSlinger

    SixStringSlinger Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    2,860
    Joined:
    May 21, 2006
    Location:
    Space
    I have a Squier VM JM that I upgraded all the electronics on. Whenever I play it plugged in, and especially in the bridge position, I get this weird clicky sound. It seems as though the sound of the pick hitting the string is coming through louder than on my other guitars, and I'm hearing that just before the note I play.

    Could this have to do with the pots? I went down to 500k because 1meg was way too bright, though 500k is still brighter than "normal" for single coils. Could the relatively emphasized high frequencies be to blame? I also hear more "string squeak" when I move my fret hand than I do on my other guitars.

    Anyway, is this normal for JM's? In other pickup positions I don't notice it as much, but in the bridge position it drives me nuts on particularly "picky" parts.
     
  2. Guitarteach

    Guitarteach Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    8,375
    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2014
    Location:
    UK
    String touching pickup?
     
  3. SixStringSlinger

    SixStringSlinger Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    2,860
    Joined:
    May 21, 2006
    Location:
    Space
    No, I'm still playing with my pickup heights, but they're nowhere near close enough for that. It really does sound like the pick hitting the string.
     
  4. kbold

    kbold Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    647
    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2015
    Location:
    Australia
    Could it be electrostatic crackle from a finger swiping the pickguard?
    I had this problem once, and took me a while to figure it out, because the crackle coincided with the pickwork.
    Try playing and keeping the stray pinkie away from the pickguard, and see what happens.
     
    Digital Larry, scelestus and howardlo like this.
  5. fasteddie42

    fasteddie42 Tele-Holic

    Age:
    30
    Posts:
    747
    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2016
    Location:
    Tip of the Mitt
    Microphonic pickup?
     
  6. POS Guitars

    POS Guitars Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    123
    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2019
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Did you change the pick ups as well? When did this problem start?
     
  7. SixStringSlinger

    SixStringSlinger Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    2,860
    Joined:
    May 21, 2006
    Location:
    Space
    I don't think so, just because the noise tracks my picking so exactly. Like, note-for-note, rather than vaguely starting when my hand is on the guitar and stopping when it's off.

    I suppose that's possible. I do also notice that my watch's tick-tick comes through way louder than on my other guitars, even though these pickups are not very hot. They're Fender Pure Vintage '65's, which are supposed to be wax-potted, but I guess something could have happened there.

    I never really got to know the Duncan Designed pickups. I played them enough to know they weren't what I wanted, then I changed them, along with the rest of the electronics.
     
  8. howardlo

    howardlo Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    630
    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2011
    Location:
    Hobart, IN
    I have the Fender '62s in my VM Jazzmaster and the Fender '65s in my VM Jaguar, neither are microphonic.

    Both sound great. I did have some problems with static on the Jazzmaster, pickguard but cured that.
     
  9. davenumber2

    davenumber2 Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,314
    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2010
    Location:
    Columbia, MO
    Sounds like a microphonic pickup to me. I have the same issue with some filtertron style pickups. Lots of string noise and you can hear every little knock on the body. I don't think it would matter much in a band setting but can become annoying when playing alone.
     
  10. Telecaster88

    Telecaster88 Tele-Meister

    Age:
    51
    Posts:
    223
    Joined:
    May 9, 2019
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    Just some thoughts, as I'm no expert... My new SG had this problem, so I lowered the pickups a bit and that seemed to help. Then, I had the same thing happen on my Tele after a setup. So I tried lowering the pickups a bit, but still had the percussive picking noise. Turned out my cat had turned up the compression knob on my practice amp during the night. I brought it back down to normal range and the pickups were fine, even after I raised them back up. So... do you have a cat?? :)
     
    howardlo likes this.
  11. SixStringSlinger

    SixStringSlinger Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    2,860
    Joined:
    May 21, 2006
    Location:
    Space
    This is what I'm thinking. The pickup switch is loud as hell, too. Like, the mechanical noise of it. My amp doesn't have reverb but you wouldn't know it when I switch pickups on my JM.

    Is there any other way to determine whether this is the case? I'm not afraid of potting the pickups myself, but I'd like to be sure before I go about that project.
     
  12. SixStringSlinger

    SixStringSlinger Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    2,860
    Joined:
    May 21, 2006
    Location:
    Space
    Ha, no cats, though I was setting up to play a bit before work this morning, went to hit the first chord and was greeted by silence. I'd left the amp on stand-by :rolleyes:

    I tried lowering the pickups, but that had hardly any effect on the problem. Eventually the pickups got so low that the tone changed in a way I didn't like, so back up they came. The fact that lowering them had essentially no effect makes me doubt that's the problem.
     
  13. Zepfan

    Zepfan Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    8,676
    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2013
    Location:
    Horn Lake, MS
    Large pickguards will have static electricity problems and pickups with high levels of microphonics will react to all sorts of things.
    I would line the entire underside around the pots,switch and pickups with shielding tape(copper or aluminum). As for the microphonic problem, you can try the old trick of wrapping the bottom of the pickup with foam liek guys did in the old days with hollow and semi-hollow body guitars. Your guitar has a large route under that guard. Or wax pot it. Just make sure your potting material is non-conductive first.
     
  14. schmee

    schmee Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    7,200
    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2003
    Location:
    northwest
    Pick touching the top of microphonic or sensitive pickup. I'm experiencing this with a Firebird style mini bucker right now. I didn't think I was hitting it but when I hit it purposely to test it's an identical sound.
     
  15. SixStringSlinger

    SixStringSlinger Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    2,860
    Joined:
    May 21, 2006
    Location:
    Space
    The entire underside of the pickguard is copper-taped, as is the body routing, which comes up over the edge of the routing to contact the pickguard. I'm also already using foam under the pickups to lift them. It looks like I'll have to try my hand at wax potting.
     
    Zepfan likes this.
  16. Guitarteach

    Guitarteach Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    8,375
    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2014
    Location:
    UK
    Tap the pickup top with a pencil or the pick. If it clicks and rings loudly it’s microphonic. If you turn up the amp loud it will screech or ring loudly.

    It could be the pickup itself or the way it is mounted. If you press and hold the pickup with one hand and tap it, is it the same?
     
  17. SixStringSlinger

    SixStringSlinger Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    2,860
    Joined:
    May 21, 2006
    Location:
    Space
    I tapped the pickups with the pick, and I do hear a small tap through the amp. I hear a similar tap on my Tele. However, my Tele's pickups are hotter than the JM's, so it's curious that the pickup taps sound similar. Occasionally I'll hear something louder come through. I did my best to make sure I wasn't touching the guitar any other way, but I couldn't consistently reproduce the louder sound. It would only occur when tapping the pickup with the pick, but not every time.

    Pressing down on the pickup didn't seem to make a difference. They are sandwiched between the pickup covers and pretty fat pads of stiff foam.

    When I crank the amp and hold the guitar in front of it, the bridge pickup gets really screechy. Not like sexy feedback. More piercing. Less so on the neck pickup.
     
  18. SixStringSlinger

    SixStringSlinger Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    2,860
    Joined:
    May 21, 2006
    Location:
    Space
    So I potted (or re-potted?) the pickups. That went swimmingly. The next morning I put the pickups back in the guitar.

    Honestly, I think there may be some improvement, but the issue is still there. I thought it may be that the pots (500k) are too bright, but typical stock JM pots are 1meg, and I really doubt most JM players are dealing with even worse clicking than this.

    The only other thing I can think of is that it's something to do with the pickups themselves. Maybe this is just a thing they do that I either don't like or will have to get used to.
     
  19. SixStringSlinger

    SixStringSlinger Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    2,860
    Joined:
    May 21, 2006
    Location:
    Space
    I THINK I GOT IT.

    So I used StewMac shims to raise the neck angle on my JM. It took a few to get things relatively rattle-free (probably because I'm using 10's - pretty light for a JM). I decided to throw another .25-degree shim in there just to be safe and not have to worry about it again.

    When I tuned up and noodled a bit (unplugged), I noticed a very intermittent rattle from the bridge neighborhood. A bit of trial and error showed that this happened most when the bridge posts were centered in their thimbles. This was odd, since centered is their ideal position. You want the bridge to sit in the middle and rock back and forth as you use the trem.

    It came to be that perhaps the height-adjustment screws are a little loose and causing the rattle. So I dropped a drop of blue Loctite into each hole and gave each screws a few back-and-forth turns to make sure it got into the threads. Give them a few minutes to dry and voila! No more rattle!

    After playing a bit more I decided to plug in and see if that made any difference to my clicky problem. It would make sense since the bridge posts are so close to the bridge pickup; perhaps the loose bridge screws kind of "translated" my pick hitting the strings into the click I heard from the amp.

    Anyway, I plugged in and NO MORE FREAKIN' CLICKIN'. String noise is still accentuated compared to my other guitars, but I attribute that to the 500k pots and the fact that, given that I haven't played the guitar much because of the click, the strings are still pretty new.

    Taming my Jazzmaster while still allowing it to be a Jazzmaster has been an education, to say the least.
     
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.


  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.