Help! How do I properly ground my Tele from scratch?

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by jlem3, Sep 18, 2019.

  1. jlem3

    jlem3 TDPRI Member

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    Help , how do i properly ground the new tex mex pups i installed in my non fender tele? there is no grounding wires i can see anywhere and I need advice on how to ground guitar from scratch, having a new buzzing now that the pups are in..new to this...Thanks for helping the nub in advance
     
  2. CalebAaron666

    CalebAaron666 Tele-Meister

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    You need a ground wire from the body to the pot, and a wire from the pot to something that touches the strings, like under the bridge plate.
     
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  3. sothoth

    sothoth Tele-Holic

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  4. jlem3

    jlem3 TDPRI Member

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    @CalebAaron666 thanks buddy
     
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  5. jlem3

    jlem3 TDPRI Member

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  6. LKB3rd

    LKB3rd Friend of Leo's

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    So I always chime in on these threads, to make sure you know that standard Telecaster pickups, being "single coil" type of pickups, will hum. It is inherent in their design. You can lessen it by spinning in a circle and finding the "sweet spot". Depending where you are, it may be barely noticable, or very loud.
    Grounding will not get rid of this. There is also an extra buzzing if you aren't touching the strings. This is normal too.
    Electric guitars are raucous noisey things, so don't be disappointed if/when you can't get it perfectly quiet.
     
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  7. jlem3

    jlem3 TDPRI Member

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    @LKB3rd Yes I def know about the buzz of single coils ... First guitar I ever bought was a strat copy 35 years ago...So when I was younger when I got enough money to buy a real quality guitar ... naturally I went right for a slick shredding dual humbucking slayer... BUT... as I "Matured" in my playing could not get a great single coil sound out of my mind, so right back to strats and now for the first time teles...Learning the ins and outs of a great guitar setup and "How to" properly do mods... I want really want this first one to buzz the least as possible... Thanks 4 the input though, most new guys don't realize that about the single coil
     
  8. Telecentric

    Telecentric Tele-Meister

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    Completely disagree. Hum and buzz indicate grounding problems. A lot of times you have noise from other sources on the ground bus of your house. Bad grounding schemes on a guitar will enhance these issues, and can be a source as well. That doesn't mean that you should accept this as normal.

    If you use a properly installed GFI outlet to plug your amp into, and your guitar is wired correctly, it should be quiet.

    Also, improperly installed copper shielding can make a problem worse, and in some cases cause a problem that did not exist before shielding.

    My Tele is not shielded at all, and is dead quiet through a 5W class A tube amp, despite being close to a lamp with a dimmer switch and a fluorescent light, and 3/4 of the house is wired without grounded outlets. None of the grounds on the Tele are soldered to pot shells via the 'traditional' method.
     
  9. sothoth

    sothoth Tele-Holic

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    Can you clarify what you mean about a GFI outlet? I wasn’t aware they offered anything beyond the safety aspect of shutting down automatically if there is a short (like a hairdryer falling into the bathtub).

    I’m not disagreeing that your suggestions will help but 60-cycle hum is inherent to single coils and if he’s not grounded the guitar wiring correctly that’s probably causing the problem.
     
  10. Telecentric

    Telecentric Tele-Meister

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    They guarantee that you have a good ground, or the outlet wouldn't work. Often they are wired with the ground wire tied directly to the ground stake instead of the ground bus, which can take a lot of the noise generated by other equipment in the house. A lot of times people just assume that a 3 prong outlet is properly grounded, when that is sometimes not the case.
     
  11. TeleTucson

    TeleTucson Tele-Afflicted

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    You've said a few things in this thread that are wrong (IMO, to comply with TDPRI guidelines :) ). Single coils pick up ambient AC (particularly, AC magnetic fields through the pickup inductance) that has nothing to do with improper grounds - this is a simple fact about the physics of their operation, and the reason humbuckers were invented (despite their typical accompanying shortcomings in depressed high frequency response). And then ...

    The ground is not inherently "better" in a GFI outlet - they use the same ground wires as any other outlet. What GFI outlets do provide is insurance that whatever current flows from the hot wire returns through the neutral and not the ground. This is for safety to make sure than nothing is providing a current path to ground (like a person). If this balance does not exist, the breaker in them pops open.
     
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  12. sothoth

    sothoth Tele-Holic

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    That’s not really how they work. They use a transformer to detect a ground fault (current leak) between the hot and neutral wires and, if they do, they open the contacts to disconnect power. The whole point of it is to function even if there is an issue with the ground connection.
     
  13. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    To be clear, the third wire safety ground, and the common, are tied directly together, back at the panel.

    What @TeleTucson said...
     
  14. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    This, however, is completely correct, if vague.

    All shielding bits, no matter how small or random, MUST be grounded. Otherwise instead of blocking RF, they'll attract it, and make all kinds of noise. Often intermittent, like your guitar is haunted. A bear to diagnose if you aren't aware of this potential.
     
  15. Tonetele

    Tonetele Poster Extraordinaire

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    CalebAaron666 is correct. I drill a small hole under the bridge plate and put a wire from there to the back of the volume pot.
    Then from pot to pot ( if you want, not entirely necessary).
    One lug , usually the 'top' lug of the volume pot to the back of that pot.
    Lastly, one from that line of pot to pot to the ground of the output jack.
    That Seymour Duncan diagram posted by jlem3 is perfectly adequate and not difficult BUT you must have that ground from under the bridge plate.
     
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  16. JIMMY JAZZMAN

    JIMMY JAZZMAN Tele-Meister

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    I was playing my tele one day, with one of those new step tracker watches and I had noise I never heard before,
    I'm thinking my ground wire went loose on me, the switch was bad, all kind of things running thru my head,
    Long story short, took the watch off and noise went away. I now don't know how many steps I did today, or what my heart rate is but I sound much better.
     
  17. Vizcaster

    Vizcaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    I would suggest that the OP read up on grounding versus shielding because i'm not exactly sure what you're asking about grounding new pickups. If the pickups weren't "grounded" then you would not have a complete circuit. There are three different things going on in an electric guitar, and all of them one way or another connect to "ground." Quite often you'll see the back of the volume pot used as a sort of terminal strip to connect a bunch of wires.

    1. Signal ground: One end of the coil in the pickup is connected, eventually, to the "ring" lug of the output jack to complete the circuit. If you hook up the wrong one then the pickup will be out of phase when paired with another pickup. The volume pot has one lug going to ground in order to function as a voltage divider. The tone pot is also connected to ground in order to let some high frequencies go through the capacitor and back to ground so they're not part of the signal.

    2. Shielding: the metal cover on the neck pickup and the conductive paint in the control cavity, along with the metal control plate and the cans on the pots, will serve as shielding to help reduce some noise interference so long as these things are also connected to ground. The braided coaxial shield in a guitar cable serves two functions - to complete the circuit to signal ground, and also to provide shielding for the inner conductor. Wires inside a guitar, however, are usually one thing or the other but not both (unless you have braided coaxial shielded cables for example on some Gibson style pickups). The shielding on a tele neck pickup requires a connection to ground; sometimes there's a jumper so the cover is connected at the pickup end (which complicates things if you want to wire the pickups in series) and sometimes there's a separate wire connected only to the pickup cover in order to connect that to ground, usually at the back of the volume pot.

    3. String ground: If you've ever noticed that there's more hum when you take your hands off of the strings, it's because there's a connection between the strings, saddles, bridge plate, and some how or other, the ground side of the guitar's wiring. Sometimes it's a wire running from the back of the volume pot and ending up underneath the bridge plate (or on non-teles it might be going to a stud that holds the tailpiece, or the trapeze tailpiece). Sometimes the string ground is more subtle - for instance if there's a metal plate on the Tele neck pickup. In that case, there's a small jumper from the eyelet on the pickup coil that connects to the plate. The screws that mount that pickup then provide a connection between the pickup back-plate and the bridge plate. And that's in contact with the saddles and then the strings.
     
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  18. Sea Devil

    Sea Devil Tele-Afflicted

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    An extra, semi-unrelated tidbit: On a Tele with a Bigsby, the ground wire needs to go to one of the cups that the bridge posts rest in, not the bridge plate. The bridge plate doesn't touch the strings.
     
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  19. TX_Slinger

    TX_Slinger TDPRI Member

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    Somehow I missed this too, that baseplate won't really extend any grounding to anything else, even on Standard config Tele.
     
  20. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    How so on a standard Tele bridge? A common scheme is to run a ground wire from the control cavity through the bridge cavity, and then the bare end of the wire is placed on the top of the body, and mashed down by the bridge plate.

    Once that's in place, and the strings on, you now have continuity between jack cup and tuners, and everything in between.
     
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