Fixing excessive noise on a new tele build

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by newuser1, Jun 8, 2017.

  1. MM73

    MM73 Tele-Afflicted

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    I like the one with digital display, but just because I'm lazy that way. I probably can't read a real clock dial anymore.

    Set to resistance (the capital omega symbol). Touch one probe to the hot lead (at pickup to switch connection, or switch to jack connection). Touch the other probe to a ground wire, or back of pot...any part of the circuit that is grounded. If the reading is zero, or near zero, then this is a short. You want to see "1", which is infinite resistance as there is no connection between your hot connection and ground.

    I recently had to disassemble a circuit because of a short. I checked for shorts as I reconnected all the pieces. As soon as I wired in my volume pot, it shorted. I found the problem soon after. Because it seems like your short is intermittent, tho, the multimeter may not catch it.
     
  2. RickyRicardo

    RickyRicardo Friend of Leo's

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  3. richa

    richa Tele-Afflicted

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    Having the option of probes that can clip on is handy for this. Leaves your hands free to wiggle things.
     
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  4. Silverface

    Silverface Poster Extraordinaire Platinum Supporter

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    The first one looks like what many of those just starting out buy, and most of them work fine for both guitars and amps. The tolerances are not overly tight but good enough, and unlike some that one will handle any voltages you encounter in an amp as well (but don't mess with amps unless you understand basic electronics and safety!!). Digital is much better for most uses than an analog (needle) type.

    I agree that a multimeter may not find an intermittent problem, but if clipped on while you move wires (when there's a buzz that goes away when you move something) the meter will jump up or down in value if you move the shorted or loose part.
     
  5. newuser1

    newuser1 Tele-Meister

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    Finally I think I know what's going on :)

    I borrowed a multimeter from a friend and when I tested the black ground wire that goes from the volume pot to under the bridge (one prod to the the bridge and the other to the volume pot) the reading was 1, so the immediate conclusion was that the black ground wire was faulty. Then I removed the bridge and tested the between the 2 ends of the black ground wire and to my surprise the reading immediately went lower, and it looked the wire was conducting just fine. Then finally it dawned on me that was the stupid black paint on the bridge that wasn't conducting and impeding the grounding. See the 2 pics below - one with the reading of end-to-end ground wire, and the other with the reading of 2 close points on the bridge itself.

    How the heck do I fix this issue, short of peeling the bridge's paint?

    IMG_1031.JPG IMG_1032.JPG
     
  6. tewiq

    tewiq Tele-Meister

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    just scrape a spot under the bridge where the wire can touch it ,might want to make sure all the strings are actually contacting metal and not just paint .
     
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  7. awasson

    awasson Poster Extraordinaire Gold Supporter

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    I've got a black Wilkinson bridge on mine. It's not conducive to soldering so I sanded the bottom as suggested and the used aluminum tape to tape my ground wire to the bridge. Mine is about as quiet as you're going to get with single coils.
     
  8. double_a

    double_a TDPRI Member

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    I thought it was a ground issue. Glad you solved the problem. Sand a small area under the bridge just large enough to make a connection.
     
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  9. newuser1

    newuser1 Tele-Meister

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    The saddles are also painted, do I need to sand the string grooves on the saddles as well?
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2017
  10. mudimba

    mudimba Tele-Meister Ad Free Member

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    While good to know about and fix, I'd be surprised if it is your only problem. An ungrounded bridge would not be fixed by wiggling the yellow wire. The bridge might have even been grounded by the screws going to the pickup (though you couldn't tell because your multimeter was touching paint). When you get the bridge back on (after sanding the contact points), make sure you test it by touching your meter to a spot with no paint like the inside of a screw hole, string, etc.
     
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  11. newuser1

    newuser1 Tele-Meister

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    Yes, this didn't fix the problem. I of course made it worse by trying to re-solder everything and burnt the 2 switch contacts for the neck pickup and now I have a single pickup working and I still have the noise :(. I was so hoping that I'll finish the guitar today, but I'll have to play it unplugged until I get the replacement control plate from China in 30 days or so. It's been a ****ty day.

    The guitar came out great though - the action is low, intonation is great, and it feels really nice :). I'll post pictures later.
     
  12. awasson

    awasson Poster Extraordinaire Gold Supporter

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    Rather than depend on ****ty parts from China, grab an Oak/Grigsby 3-way switch, a pair of decent CTS or alpha potentiometers and a .033 MFD capacitor and wire it up right.

    The switch is $12-$15, pots are a few dollars each and the cap should be maybe 50 cents.

    Wiring is easy but get a soldering iron in the 30watt to 40watt range. Most people destroy guitar electronics because the soldering iron is substandard and instead of quickly heating and soldering, they sit the low powered iron on the parts for too long, trying to get the solder to flow.

    Tele wiring is simple, get the parts and I'll walk you through it.
     
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  13. mrblanche

    mrblanche TDPRI Member

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    I'm no expert...but I don't see a single good solder joint on that.
     
  14. mudimba

    mudimba Tele-Meister Ad Free Member

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    I agree, life is too short to waste on questionable parts to save literally a couple of dollars. A bad pot can make an otherwise nice guitar feel like junk.

    If I were you, I'd order decent parts and while you are waiting for them to arrive just solder wires on and off the broken ones over and over until the joints look right. Put some alligator clips and long wires on an output jack and add one piece at a time (just pickups, switch, volume, tone), checking the sound after each step. If you don't know why a capacitor is there, for instance, put alligator clips on three different value caps and hear how the sound changes. The current coming out of your guitar is so small, you can tinker all you want and it is safe (don't use the same approach with your amp!) At the end you will understand the wiring perfectly, be able to diagnose any problems on future builds, and be able to make tweaks to get the sound you like.
     
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  15. R. Stratenstein

    R. Stratenstein Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Great job. It may not feel like it now, but to have nailed the action, intonation, and playability from the get-go is damned impressive. The rest is relatively straightforward. Use the meter to ensure continuity from the underside of the bridge to the string-contact points on the saddles. Telescope normally don't need a separate ground wire on the bridge, but it won't hurt. Practice soldering on your trashed components while waiting for your new components. Get a good soldering iron or station, it is unbelievable how much easier it is to do good soldering with good equipment. Also you might try a flux pen to prepare your solder joints, give yourself every advantage.
     
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  16. PJ55

    PJ55 Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    Fender now grounds the pickup to the shieling-painted cavity using a ring-lug and another lug to the bridge-bottom. Nice idea. It does help. You can run a 22AWG black wire with a ring terminal on one end, from one of the pickup mounting screws to the pot where all the other grounds are terminated. Accomplishes the same thing, except you're actually grounding the bridge, not just the pickup. Fender does the same thing in the photo below. You're treating the pickup and the bridge as one part and grounding both. Seems to work well. I'm not sure how good a ground into the shielding-paint alone is. Doesn't seem to be enough alone to quiet a Tele.

    Bridge-Ground.jpg
     
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  17. tewiq

    tewiq Tele-Meister

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    Your bridge looks like a top loader so at the back of the bridge where the strings go though just run a drill through the holes to clean out the paint. No need to do the saddles.
     
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  18. Meteorman

    Meteorman Tele-Holic

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    Very wise advice & philosophy.
    I struggled for a year before i invested in a good station & bought a flux pen.
    The clouds immediately parted & life was fun again.
     
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