Static on neck pickup

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by riachuelo, May 6, 2021.

  1. riachuelo

    riachuelo Tele-Meister

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    Greetings. I have an AVRI ‘64 Tele. All stock components, and until now never a problem. It recently started making some scratchy noise, though, and I couldn’t quite place the origin. I tried cleaning the pots and the cable jack and then figured out the noise happened only when the neck pickup is engaged. BUT — the noise also only comes when I somehow touch the pickguard. I think this must be related to static buildup — I live in a very arid city — but am wondering also if it has something to do with how the neck pickup is wired. Again, it doesn’t happen with the bridge pickup.I know very little about the electronics of a guitar, but want to fix this properly — not with a dryer sheet or some other hack. I will take it to a tech soon, but thought I would seek advice here too. Thanks for any help.
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2021
  2. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Friend of Leo's

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    The bridge pickup cover should have its own ground wire. Can you check whether it’s connected to the cover and to ground somewhere?
     
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  3. riachuelo

    riachuelo Tele-Meister

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    Thanks. Will look into that.
     
  4. Refugee

    Refugee Tele-Meister

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    Dryer sheet. I don't think there is a permanent cure. Unless you have some cool, new way of controlling electrons and protons that science doesn't know about.
     
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  5. guitar_paul1

    guitar_paul1 Tele-Meister

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    I bought a can of conductive paint and carefully sprayed the back of the pickguard. Then a bit of conductive copper tape from there down to the ground. A bit more robust than dryer sheet, which will also work.
     
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  6. riachuelo

    riachuelo Tele-Meister

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    If I had a cool new way of controlling subatomic particles I wouldn’t be asking the question. What truly stumps me, and makes me wonder if it has to do with the wiring, is why this only happens with the neck pickup, not the bridge.
     
  7. Boreas

    Boreas Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Did you make any mods just prior to noticing the noise? Could the ground on your pickup cover be broken? I think static electricity would be a good assumption.

    I often use narrow strips of copper shielding tape in lieu of wires. You could try running a strip of copper or aluminum tape diagonally across the pickguard from the neck to the control plate (or a big X, or cover the entire pickguard), with one of the pickup mounting screws somewhere in the path. Then run either a wire from the plate/pot to where the tape abuts the plate or use a piece of doubled tape that is thick enough to contact both the pickguard tape and the control plate.
     
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  8. jackal

    jackal Friend of Leo's Platinum Supporter

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    Copper tape on the bottom of the pickguard. Run a wire to ground that will make contact with said tape. I get this problem with all plastic guards.
     
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  9. Chuck berry

    Chuck berry TDPRI Member

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    The neck pickup run a ground wire from your bridge plate to your volume pot it will cure that. The pick guard there's no permanent fix when its really dry it will ping when your finger touches the pick guard. You can eliminate it for a while by passing a bounce cloth on your hole pick guard and pickups or put some moisture cream on your last three fingers. Its not a permanent fix but will last a while.
     
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  10. Boreas

    Boreas Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Avoid synthetic clothing... And humidify your house - your guitars will thank you.
     
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  11. riachuelo

    riachuelo Tele-Meister

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    Thanks. No, no mods at all. Which is why I wonder if something that previously grounded that pickup has come loose.
     
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  12. Boreas

    Boreas Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Check that grounding solder joint on the pickup cover. Does the pickup sound normal?

    Also, you may want to clean and WORK the switch. If it has poor contact in the neck position it could introduce more noise from that pup.
     
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  13. riachuelo

    riachuelo Tele-Meister

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    Yeah, it sounds fine except for that occasional pop and scratch if my fingers brush the pickguard. I play fingerstyle, so I may touch the pickguard more than folks who use a pick.
     
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  14. Chuck berry

    Chuck berry TDPRI Member

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    I had the same problem when l touched the neck pickup or the volume or tone button it would hum louder. I decide to put a ground from underneath the bridge plate. It cured that.
     
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  15. riachuelo

    riachuelo Tele-Meister

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    Yeah, I guess I should update. Took it to a guitar tech I know and he shielded the underside of the pickguard and grounded it with a little wire to the plate where the pots are. Worked great. Thanks everyone for the suggestions.
     
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