Blasted Squealing Pickup!

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by mild, May 16, 2006.


  1. mild

    mild Member

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    Hey guys,
    I recently acquired a lover-ly MIJ Mahogany Thinline Tele, which the seller had modified in the following ways:

    5 way switching - Neck, Parrellel, Series, Out of Phase, Bridge
    No load Tone Control
    Fender Texas Specials

    I'm sure that information, combined with the title of this thread, gives you a fair idea of what problem I'm having. I'm not a dirty player, but I most certainly am a loud one. As soon as things start getting hairy with this baby, it all blows over - the bridge squeals like a microphonic mofo as loud as it can.

    And it ain't pretty. :(

    So here's what I'm thinking of doing.

    First up - shield that sucker! Currently all the wiring is running on bare wood. Nasssty noises precious...
    Next - Tidy up the wiring. The previous owner did an ok job at best. It all works... but looks untidy, dodgy as hell. Eeeek.
    And finally... Swap out that bastard bridge for something... different.

    Here's my question: What would y'all reccomend to me? I want something to straddle my commitments - my own music, and church playing. I like Jeff Buckley, the Cure, and lots of post punk bands. My church likes U2.

    Pickup reccomendations folks? I want to retain my tele tone, as best as possible...
     
  2. Chris Rice

    Chris Rice Member

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    The usual culprits for squeal are the bridge, mounting springs, and the pickup's baseplate.


    Is your bridge perfectly flat to the body? You can bend and flat-saw it to be flat, this will often cure squeal. Some people put wax between the bridge and body also.

    Is your pickup held in with springs or tubing? Tubing can help stop unwanted vibration. I'll sometimes pack a little foam under the pickup (not a lot!!) to keep it from vibrating also.

    Is the baseplate firmly attached to the pickup with no gaps? I've sanded the bottom of pickups and baseplates to get a good seal (be careful, it's very easy to break a pickup doing that) and then reattaching it with fresh wax. The worst squeal I ever had was from a Fralin, this fixed it.

    Check your bridge saddles, sometimes a height screw can come loose and start squealing.


    Good Luck!
     
  3. BBQLS1

    BBQLS1 Member

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    The pup may need to be repotted too.
     
  4. Chris Rice

    Chris Rice Member

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    The reason that repotting usually fixes tele pickup squeal is that it reseats the baseplate. Coils very rarely feedback, they have to be etremely poorly (loosely) wound to feed back.
     
  5. mild

    mild Member

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    Right! Thanks guys, this is some very helpful stuff. :) A good friend of mine is gonna help me out and do a little bit of wax-work - pups, and perhaps the baseplate if it looks bad. Far as I could see, it looked fine, but I'm gonna let him judge. Fingers crossed its gonna help it!

    The Bridge is most certainly the culprit - the neck takes a lot longer to squeal (but eventually does so in that wonderfully horrific way...) Sigh! This vintage tone quest is such a drag some days... haha.
     

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