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New Wiring = Ground Hum

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by choosebronze, May 11, 2012.

  1. choosebronze

    choosebronze TDPRI Member Ad Free Member

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    Hey all. Decided to rewire my Affinity Tele since I was replacing a pickup anyway. Replaced the pots and jack. I kept the inline 3-way switch, so finding a diagram that worked took a little searching, but I finally got it wired up. Switch is working properly (i.e. the right pickups are active when they should be). Problem is this ground hum I can't figure out. It dies as soon as I touch anything metal on the guitar (control plate, bridge), and it dies if I turn the volume off. I had to edit the diagrams I found online, a little bit, to work with *this* switch, as it accepts the pickups on 1-2 and 7-8, not 2-3 and 6-7 like most inline diagrams I've found. I have it drawn out below (please forgive the crappy drawing).

    As for grounding the switch itself to the Vol pot, that's the way it came from the factory, so I left it.

    [​IMG]

    Anyone have any ideas?? I'm about to pull my hair out. Now that I drew it out, it occurs to me I have two grounds, as the Cap ground never meets up with the Volume/Output grounds. Should I just run a wire from the back of the Vol to the back of the Tone to complete that ground? That would be too easy, and I'll laugh at myself for wasting 4 hours today...
     
  2. old_boy

    old_boy TDPRI Member

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    The only thing I see that you need to do is run an earth from the top of the volume pot to the tone pot.
     
  3. Barncaster

    Barncaster Doctor of Teleocity

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    Hey Jared,

    I don't have my schematics in front of me but I usually run the main cap from the grounded volume lug to the middle tone lug. Give it a try.

    Barncaster
     
  4. Keyser Soze

    Keyser Soze Tele-Holic

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    1. Double (triple) check your wires at the output jack - make sure they are not reversed.

    2. Check the bridge grounding wire (use a multimeter to test for continuity between the plate and ground.)
     
  5. choosebronze

    choosebronze TDPRI Member Ad Free Member

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    Tried old_boy's suggestion, no dice.

    Tried Barncaster's suggestion, no dice.

    Keyser, the wires are correct. I don't have a multimeter, I'm gonna check and see if a buddy of mine has one.

    I need to just walk away from this for a while. Way too frustrating for a Friday.
     
  6. old_boy

    old_boy TDPRI Member

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    I had a look at the main diagrams I use at work and found it to differs from yours. Below is a sample of what I would have used.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2012
  7. choosebronze

    choosebronze TDPRI Member Ad Free Member

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    Thanks oldboy.

    After messing with the grounding, the bridge pickup doesn't work anymore. Time to start over. I just ordered a standard Tele switch, and I'll just try to rewire the whole thing on Monday. And I'll use your diagram.
     
  8. Guitarnut

    Guitarnut Friend of Leo's

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    If you're using a metal control plate, all grounds should go to the volume pot. Grounding the tone pot, whether from the vol pot or with a separate wire, will cause a ground loop. It's already grounded by being attached to the plate.

    So, in you're current diagram, try removing the ground wire from the tone pot.

    If you're not using a metal plate, then all components need a single path to ground like in your original drawing.
     
  9. Bud Veazey

    Bud Veazey Tele-Holic

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    Here's an off-the-wall idea that happened to me. I bought a new Hakko soldering station not long ago. After completing my first wiring job using the new station, I plugged in the guitar to check it out and was shocked to hear a hum...a loud hum. I double checked the wiring and ground connections. Hum still there. I checked and re-checked. I even did some re-wiring. Finally I gave up, set the guitar on the bench to attack the next day, and turned off the soldering station. As many of you probably have guessed, when the soldering station was turned off, the hum went away. Lesson learned.

    This probably won't answer your problem, but my experience might be useful to someone.
     
  10. choosebronze

    choosebronze TDPRI Member Ad Free Member

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    Thanks Guitarnut, I tried doing that, and the ground hum persists. Today I figured, as long as I'm upgrading everything, I'll replace the switch, so I ordered a Fender 3-way switch to replace this inline import switch (especially because the guitar still has no output from the bridge pickup). Thanks everyone for your suggestions, I plan on starting from scratch when the new switch gets here, and hopefully everything will just work!
     
  11. Guitarnut

    Guitarnut Friend of Leo's

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    :cool:
     
  12. choosebronze

    choosebronze TDPRI Member Ad Free Member

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    I really have no idea what to do. I put the new switch in today, both pickups now work fine. All grounds go to the Vol pot. Hot/Ground go to the right place on the output jack. Bridge ground wire is secure under the bridge. All solder joints look good. And yet... I still have a horrible hum that stops as soon as I tough something metal on the guitar.

    Anyone have any last ideas? I'm going to be really bummed if I have to pay a shop $100 to fix this $125 guitar.
     
  13. old_boy

    old_boy TDPRI Member

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    Jared, We had a guitar a few weeks ago that had the same issue that you are having.

    What we found out was the Tone pot was actually faulty and causing the hum.
    Try plugging you guitar to your amp with the Volume of both the guitar and amp on halve, then try adjusting your Tone on the guitar from the lowest to highest points. If the hum doesn't dull out when the Tone pot is turned down or worse when turned up would suggest the Tone pot is faulty and needs to be replaced.

    Hope this helps.
     
  14. Guitarnut

    Guitarnut Friend of Leo's

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    Sorry things are still troublesome.

    Time for troubleshooting 101. Listen to the hum level in all 3 switch positions...does it get quieter in the middle vs the neck or bridge? Lift the wire feeding the tone and see if there is a change. Lift each PU from the circuit. Any change? Wire each PU directly to output and see if the hum persists or goes away.

    Any chance you can record what you're hearing? It might help us narrow it down. Clear pics of the wiring would be helpful too.

    I know this can be frustrating but by the time you figure it out, you will have learned a few things. Hang in there and save your dough...

    Mark
     
  15. choosebronze

    choosebronze TDPRI Member Ad Free Member

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    Well guys, you asked for it, so here you go. I got frustrated today. Took out the pots, and put it brand new ones... Might as well start from scratch. Pictures below:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    I also recorded what the guitar sounds like... You'll have to turn your speakers up, but what you're hearing is me pressing the control plate and letting go, on and off.

    http://soundcloud.com/jaredcohen/tele-ground-hum -- sorry, I tried to just have it play the MP3 here in the post, but it kept giving an error.

    I'm now using the standard Tele wiring, straight from Fender, with the addition of the bridge ground added to the Vol pot. Both pickups give signal, and strangely enough, the ground hum is loudest in the MIDDLE position, but it occurs in all 3.

    I copied the wiring from the "60s Tele"... but should the metal casing on the neck pickup be grounded? It's the last thing I can think of. The switch and pots are all different since I started this project, so I think I can rule those out as the culprit.

    Thanks again everyone. I just want this thing to work...
     
  16. LarsOS

    LarsOS Tele-Holic

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    Normally the metal cover on the neck pickup is connected to the negative = ground.

    How is the bridge plate grounded? With a loose wire pressed between the bridge plate and the body? (That connection can turn bad, leading to hum.) Or is it soldered?

    Have you done any shielding of the guitar?

    If you move to another room, does the noise change?
     
  17. choosebronze

    choosebronze TDPRI Member Ad Free Member

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    Thanks Lars, you know, this guitar didn't have the neck pickup grounded when I bought it and the 60's Tele wiring diagram doesn't show the neck pup grounded... should I throw in a neck ground anyway?

    I haven't done shielding... but it's feeling more and more like I'm going to have to try. It's just frustrating because there was no ground hum before I got the brilliant idea to do the rewiring myself.

    As for the bridge plate, it's a Squire Affinity body, so the ground wire comes up through the pickup cavity and rests in a cut-out under the bridge plate. That's all, just contact, no solder.
     
  18. Guitarnut

    Guitarnut Friend of Leo's

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    The cover on a Tele neck PU is grounded by the tabs that fold over the plate or by a ground jumper. There's no need for a separate ground wire. That would only be needed if you were isolating the ground for phase reverse or some other custom wiring.

    Also, since touching the bridge or strings quiets the guitar, your bridge ground is fine. If it weren't making contact, the hum would stay the same.

    I listened to the clip you posted and I didn't hear anything unusual. Some hum is normal until the player is grounded thru the strings. If it's so quiet that you can't record and listen to it without cranking up the volume like I did to hear it, it may be just the normal hum associated with single coils or some level of gain in the amp.

    I also reread your OP. You said you replaced a PU. If this new PU is higher output, you might have a higher level of hum that's different enough from the other that is leading you to think something is wrong. Maybe that new PU is faulty or wired backwards. I say this because the hum gets worse in the middle switch position...it should get quieter.
     
  19. choosebronze

    choosebronze TDPRI Member Ad Free Member

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    Thanks guitarnut.

    My MIM tele makes absolutely no noise. Ever. No hum, no nothing. Maybe my expectations were just too high?

    I can definitely hear the hum, but if that's normal-ish, then I guess I can take comfort in the fact that I wired it right!

    Thanks for all your help everyone.
     
  20. R. Stratenstein

    R. Stratenstein Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    One last thought--do you have a buddy or somewhere else you can plug your guitar into a different amp to see if that makes a difference? Teles are known for some noise, (as are all single coils, for the most part), so it's part of the "experience".

    EDIT: No, this will be the last thought. Tele bridge pickups normally make ample contact through the mounting screws/springs etc. The separate ground wire should be redundant. That's two grounds, and a possible ground loop path. Especially since your body drains off the hum when you touch the metal of the guitar, if you're not burned out on trying, try disconnecting the ground wire under the bridge and see if that makes any difference.
     
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