Tele bridge squeal, nothing has worked...any ideas?

Discussion in 'Just Pickups' started by fender4life, Jul 8, 2020.

  1. 11 Gauge

    11 Gauge Doctor of Teleocity

    Posts:
    12,252
    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2003
    Location:
    Near BWI Int'l
    I still think that one of the critical first steps is to flip over the plate and inspect the rim/edge of the mounting screw holes.

    Even with some brass bridges I've found there to be like parts of a tiny machined ledge, maybe just a few thousandths thick. And I think it gets further exacerbated when some holes have it, and others don't.

    I actually fixed three genuine Fender plates fairly recently, by removing these tiny burrs. Two of them are on Teles that now exhibit zero squeal, even when I stomp on a Rat pedal.

    ...I did get a modern plate a couple of years ago - either Kluson or Gotoh. It's a 4 screw but has 6 stainless saddles. The underside of that plate is machined perfectly. I have that one on an Esquire parts build, with a cheap GFS body. It also has zero squeal, even with overdrive and lots of volume.

    You can actually just pass your fingers under the mounting holes, and see if you feel any burrs. If you do, I suggest removing them.
     
    Doorlord and KW1977 like this.
  2. fender4life

    fender4life Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    4,070
    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2011
    Location:
    los angeles
    Ok, i got it. I put the AVRI plate one it and it still squesals a bit but now all the things i tried b4 seem to stop it....pressing on the bridge, loosening the pickup, etc. So first thing i will do is remove some of the surgical tubing. If i lower the pup way down it eliminates it completely. So gonna add just enough to keep it in place and that should do it. If not a bit of electrical tape under the front of the plate.

    Heres the timeline and what caused the issue. It all started as an attempt to eliminate a high mid harshness that i determined was curable with an A5 pickup. So it went like this...

    1-i had a AVRI bridge plate i had installed when i first got it and i also installed a 62 custom pickup. No squeal issues to speak of

    2-felt there was a really hard sounding high mid attack and the first thing i did was put the stock bridge plate back on. No squeal yet with the 62 custom in place and a slight decrease in the hi mids but still wasn't happy.

    3-knowing what A5 pickups generally sound like i thought they would help with my tone issue, so i put a old 8k/A5 zangbucker in and thats when the squeal started.

    4-put the 8k/A5 twang king in it yesterday and squeal remained and thats when i tried everything known to man and nothing worked

    5-today after thinking about it i realized the squeal started when i put the zangbucker in, BUT, It was also after the stock plate went back in and the zangbucker liked wasn't the issue but just exaserbated the issue due to the extra output compared to the 62 custom.

    So i suspected it could be the stock plate and when i put the AVRI plate back i tapped that and the stock plate against wood and you could clearly her the stock plate ring like a bell while the AVRI was more of a thud. It's thicker which is at least in part way but the material may be part of it too. So to anyone with a MIM 69 thinline with the squeal issue, a USA AVRI plate will cure it for the most part and probably any of the other common fixes should take it the rest of the way there. I knew it was the plate but i didn't think the stock plate was that much different than the AVRI, both being the same type. You could put the stock one in a church tower in place of the bell and i don't think anyone would notice a difference. :D
     
    KW1977 likes this.
  3. fender4life

    fender4life Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    4,070
    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2011
    Location:
    los angeles
    As i already mentioned, i sanded the base of the plate dead flat. The thing is a mirror with no burrs or anything. No matter anymore but in any case that certainly wasn't the issue
     
  4. Ricky D.

    Ricky D. Doctor of Teleocity

    Age:
    70
    Posts:
    11,268
    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2006
    Location:
    Marion, VA
    Human torque wrench lol. Like my 1954 Matchless shop manual. Each in turn bit by bit until all are fully home.
     
    EsquireBoy likes this.
  5. Peegoo

    Peegoo Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    8,835
    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2019
    Location:
    Between the Raindrops
    Bazinga.

    Glad you solved the issue.



    "I read somewhere the old time studio players used cheap rubber cement on the guitar body and the bottom of the bridge."

    The solvent in some rubber cement formulas can melt nitro finishes. Most use naphtha, which is safe...but be careful with any solvents besides naphtha and mineral spirits anywhere near a nitro finish.
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2020
    KW1977 likes this.
  6. 11 Gauge

    11 Gauge Doctor of Teleocity

    Posts:
    12,252
    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2003
    Location:
    Near BWI Int'l
    I personally found that just sanding wouldn't always get all the burrs out of the mounting holes. It takes something like a tapered reamer or drill bit, to just cut a tiny amount at an angle, up inside the underside of the holes.

    I'm starting to think that an additional part of the problem that these 'micro-burrs' cause is not just vertical microphonics between the plate and the body, but also lateral microphonics between the plate and the mounting screws.
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2020
  7. jhundt

    jhundt Doctor of Teleocity

    Age:
    67
    Posts:
    12,797
    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2003
    Location:
    Netherlands
    I actually went through quite a long process of trouble-shooting before I got to this. I had the new pickup re-potted at an authorized Seymour Duncan service center. I tried bypassing everything. I removed all the strings; the squeal continued, even without strings. I loosened and tightened the bridge plate screws. The squeal continued. I mounted the pickup directly to the body. The squeal continued. I had eliminated all variables except one. I finally removed all the screws and slowly lifted the bridge plate away (the strings were all gone, the pickup mounted directly to the body). The squeal stopped. Completely gone. And it never returned.

    Something was happening with the metal bridge plate and the windings of the pickup, that's all I can come up with. After I installed the cut-down bridge, the guitar never squealed again. And I used it for several years, hundreds of rehearsals, and scores of performances this way.

    Many years later I re-installed the original bridge plate and the original '68 pickup. No problem with those things.
     
    LutherBurger likes this.
  8. KW1977

    KW1977 Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    497
    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2012
    Location:
    Virginia
    [​IMG]
     
  9. Peegoo

    Peegoo Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    8,835
    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2019
    Location:
    Between the Raindrops
    Sometimes the bridge plate or a portion (one of the front corners) of the plate oscillates. This is due to the vibration of the strings making the body vibrate.

    Any differential movement between the bridge plate and coil, bridge plate and mags, base plate and coil, base plate and mags, coil and mags, suspension springs and coil, etc., can create that squeal because the oscillation generates an AC signal in the coil. It's especially worse when played at high room volumes.

    And the bridge plate doesn't even have to be ferromagnetic for the problem to occur. It can happen with non-magnetic (paramagnetic) materials like brass, aluminum, and some stainless steels because they become magnetically reactive in the presence of a moving magnetic field.

    Potting a pickup in wax usually solves all the issues of loose pickup components, but not always. When players started usung super-high-gain amps and low impedance active pickups, makers like EMG quickly discovered that wax potting was not good enough to lock everything down; they instead used epoxy in a vacuum tank to permanently encapsulate all the pickup parts to make it a monolithic unit.

    Chasing these noise gremlins can make a person crazy.
     
    jhundt likes this.
  10. jhundt

    jhundt Doctor of Teleocity

    Age:
    67
    Posts:
    12,797
    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2003
    Location:
    Netherlands
    yes, I went crazy on this one.

    My new pickup was fairly high-output; but my amps were not high-gain. Any and every attempt to tighten/loosen bridge plate screws seemed to not help, though screwing some tight and some loose did change the pitch of the wail a bit.

    I was most surprised when all screws were removed, and the wail continued. Even with the bridge held lightly in my fingers and slightly above the body (1/16th of an inch or so) with no strings attached, the feedback wail was still there. But it disappeared completely as the bridge plate was removed.

    I love science, but this was too much for me!
     
  11. fender4life

    fender4life Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    4,070
    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2011
    Location:
    los angeles
    Thats the key right there, that the pickups and plate together are what cause this. But theres no ONE cause within the context of those 2 things together causing it. It can be a number of things in any combination. A lower output pickup allowed mine to not squeal. A less resonant plate plus less spring tension by using shorter tubing fixed it for me. But for some other it was foam in the cavity or double sided tape etc etc. What it is at the core of the issue is the pickup and plate working together to cause it, and what i think is likely is that the cure differs from one tele to the next because every one has a resonance at different frequencies depending on the plate model, the wood, the body weight, the pickup, springs, you name it. So every tele needs to be troubleshot as a individual case and what works for one may not for the next. I have also read numerous accounts where people tried everything and just gave up and sold thiers. It is one hell of a tricky issue. One thing is for sure, the vintage tele design was made at a time when high gain and high volumes were not a thing and thats why the design has issues today. Has they used sounds like we do today back then i don't think the telecatser would have ever made it to production in the form it did back then. 50s teles would likely have had thick plates like the modern ones we see on standards today. But we have come to love the sound of the vintage design that did happen and now we go to these lengths to fix the issue w/o having to go to parts that change the tone. I have tried those gotoh modern bridges that fit on a vintage style tele and to me they ruin the tone i like.
     
  12. Tele-phone man

    Tele-phone man Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,961
    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2006
    Location:
    Asheville, NC
    Bridges made of ferrous steel (magnets stick to them) inductively couple with the magnetic field of the pickup. This can change the magnetic field enough to cause the pickup to squeal. I ran into this very problem on one of my Teles many years ago. I had a BL L280TL in that guitar with a modern bridge made of brass. I changed out that bridge with a traditional steel bridge in an attempt to get a livelier tone. Acoustically, it was a success. But plugged in I had three new problems: My hum-canceling pickup was no longer fully hum-cancelling (slight hum present at all times), the tone had become more harsh, and it squealed uncontrollably at stage volume.

    I took the strings off, removed the mounting screws from the bridge plate, and plugged into an amp. I could hold the bridge away from the body with the pickup still mounted in it. I then could lightly tap the pickup with a wooden dowel. The sound from the amp was BAM BAM BAM! Hugely microphonic.

    I removed the pickup mounting screws and moved the bridge plate away from the pickup and tested again. No microphonics whatsoever. I moved the pickup in and out of the cutout in the bridge (without actually letting the two touch each other). The results were stark and unambiguous: proximity of the bridge plate to the pickup CAUSED the pickup to become microphonic. This had NOTHiNG to do with any mechanical issue. This phenomenon was purely electro-dynamic.

    I replaced that bridge with a stainless steel plate. Not only did this completely solve the microphonic issue, it eliminated the other issues, too. And the guitar has the same lively acoustic sound I was seeking, which now translates to a lively electric sound with full hum cancelling and no microphonics.
     
    LutherBurger likes this.
  13. hopdybob

    hopdybob Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,889
    Joined:
    May 28, 2008
    Location:
    netherlands
    maybe a stupid remark.
    with building amps and pedals i sometime read problems to long wires.
    could this be a problem maker to?
     
  14. SbS

    SbS Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

    Age:
    46
    Posts:
    979
    Joined:
    May 29, 2020
    Location:
    Finland
    So, can we say that twang and squeal are like relatives in the end? And the sweet spot is different with different components and setups.
     
    Tele-phone man likes this.
  15. Dacious

    Dacious Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    9,900
    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2003
    Location:
    Godzone
    Ol' Fuzzy when he was around used to swear by candlewax dripped onto the guitar body and some people use two additional screws at the leading edge of the plate. Fender used that on at least one model IIRC.
     
  16. 11 Gauge

    11 Gauge Doctor of Teleocity

    Posts:
    12,252
    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2003
    Location:
    Near BWI Int'l
    Like I mentioned, my '95 MIM Tele was horribly microphonic with the stock bridge, which was brass.

    And the bridge that finally fixed the problem with it was also brass.

    So what I don't understand is why there can be issues with any given pickup with one non-ferrous bridge, but not another, and same thing for ferrous bridges.

    Some of the pickups I've had in the '95 MIM include:
    • SD STL-1
    • Harmonic Design Super 90
    • DiMarzio Fast Track T
    • Van Zandt (the one with the green packaging - forget the model)
    • GFS copy of a Barden bridge pickup
    ...and they all squealed, with the stock bridge. The Van Zandt is now in it w/a different bridge, and no squealing. The Fast Track T is in a different Tele, that's had both steel and brass bridges on it, and it doesn't squeal with either one.

    Also worth noting is how different all of those bridge pickups' designs are. Only two of them have a baseplate, and two are rail-types. All of them squealed equally with the stock bridge.
     
  17. fender4life

    fender4life Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    4,070
    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2011
    Location:
    los angeles
    That seems to confirm what i said earlier, that the core of the issue here is the fact that unlike most any other guitar, a tele has a pickup hanging from a metal bridge. And since it even happens when some say they have screwed them into the wood, it only has to be sitting in the metal plate and not necassarily even mounted to it. Some will squeal and some won't because of all the differences from the wood to the bridge material, how hot the pickup is, hat it's EQ curve is like, saddles, maybe even finish may exacerbate the pickup/bridge relationship. Poly is a glass hard finish thats thicker than nitro which is softer. Who know all the possible factors, but whatever contributes to it, it's contributing to the main culprit which is the relation of the pickup to the plate. The more contributors u have the worse the problem and the harder it is to fix. Mine was a perfect storm u might say.
     
  18. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

    Age:
    61
    Posts:
    28,165
    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2010
    Location:
    Maine
    Interesting and curious range of observations and conclusions in this thread!
    I've had lots of squealy Tele bridge situations and always concluded that it was either a squealy pickup or a squealy plate to body relationship.
    I guess there could be a squealy pickup to plate relationship but I can't say I've found that in easily a hundred Tele pickup installations.
    The Tele bridge pickup is probably the worst design for squeal, or the best design for sensitivity.

    Depends on how they are wound, where more winding tension distorts the ends of the top flatwork, raising it up and leaving the earlier windings not packed against it as it raises later in the wind process.

    As far as potting the bridge pickup, it's certainly possible to pot it and have it still squeal, I've now and then had to pot more than once to get it three feet from cranked half stack safe.
    I also find potting can dull the pickup a bit, and like the slight microphonics but also need the capability to use high volume and high gain, so the potting recipe is a subtle one.
    Some insist vacuum potting is required but I get good penetration with a hot bath until bubbling stops, then often dip once more at a cooler temp because much of the hot wax runs off the outside of the assembly, which may leave voids between the top of the coil and the top flatwork.

    As far as the plate being sanded flat, they are so thin that if bent, sanding will not make them flat.
    I returned a plate to one of the big online retailers because it wasn't flat on the iron table saw, and they were pretty cranky about it, as if it was me being picky. Burrs under the holes could I suppose be an issue, really needs to lay dead flat at the front and there are screws at the back so not much holding the front down where the pickup mounts.
    Most of the plate is like the top of an acoustic or resonator guitar, and not only do guitars vibrate from strings, they vibrate from the speaker driving anything that's not nailed down.

    My finding is still that tightening the plate to the body can and often does distort the interface between wood and metal, raising the front of the plate just enough for it to resonate and cause squeal. Might even distort a thin plate but I've not investigate that possibility.
    I just tighten them gently and confirm that they are tight to the body once the string tension clamps down on the saddles.

    Not much mention of testing by slipping a piece of paper under the front edges of the plate in this thread?
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2020
  19. Peegoo

    Peegoo Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    8,835
    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2019
    Location:
    Between the Raindrops
    Spot on. Bridge plates are flexible, as is the finish which compresses, as well as the wood beneath the finish.

    If you sand a plate and reinstall it, and the problem is reduced, it's not because you sanded it; it's because you removed and replaced the plate, which is now in contact with the body in a different way.
     
    telemnemonics likes this.
  20. 11 Gauge

    11 Gauge Doctor of Teleocity

    Posts:
    12,252
    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2003
    Location:
    Near BWI Int'l
    I did this with my '95 MIM, and it's how I discovered that not only was the underside of the plate not flat, but neither was the finish on that particular Tele.

    I could easily move the paper around in some areas, but not others.

    This is why I ended up covering the entire underside of the plate with (very) thin double-sided tape. It was the only way I could absolutely ensure that there wasn't a gap at any point, between the plate and body.

    Since it was a cheap MIM bridge plate, I also added two screws to the front edge. I also added screws in between the saddles and the pickup, as a last ditch effort to stop the squeal. Nothing worked.

    Oddly enough, I don't recall if I tried the same thing with the Babicz bridge when I got it (slip a piece of paper underneath the front). I do know that I screwed the Babicz bridge down with seven mounting screws, because it is drilled for both original 4-screw style, as well as Am Std 3-screw style. The '95 MIM is like the Am Std, but I had a Wilkinson 4-screw plate on it at one point (because the Wilkinson doubles as a toploader). Oh, and the Wilkinson plate squealed on that Tele, too.

    ...The thickness of the Babicz plate looks the same as the stock MIM plate, which looks the same as most brass plates I've seen.

    The Babicz saddles have locking screws to hold them to the plate, but I don't think this is what stopped the squealing. The machining of the Babicz bridge looks pretty much superior to any of the Fender bridges, either old or new. THAT is what I think finally stopped the squealing.
     
    telemnemonics likes this.
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.