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Dimarzio Area T mystery

fr8_trane

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
7,000
So I posted a couple weeks ago that my new area T's were humming loudly. I couldn't figure out what I had done wrong so I took it to a pro to fix it for me...

Long story short, I have now taken the guitar to 2 pro's and neither one found anything wrong with the wiring.:eek:

I have continuity on the ground from the input jack to the control plate to the bridge to the neck pickup cover. Yet then tele continues to hum unless I touch something that's grounded. The guitar is essentially useless and the only culprits remaining are the pickups themselves.

I am going to call dimarzio today but my gut is telling me it CAN'T be the pickups. Can someone explain how it COULD be the pickups. The last tech said maybe one of the dummy coils isn't working properly... but on BOTH pickups? That seems like a stretch although not impossible. He actually measured the resistances and both pickups checked out against the specs.

Any ideas would be much appreciated.:bkw:bkw:bkw
 

mr coffee

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
2,060
reverse the wires at the jack (easier than unsoldering from the back of the pot)
 

carnivore

Member
Messages
57
I having been looking into this having just ordered a set of the area T's. From DiMarzio's site it seems like you need to run a ground from the bridge to the volume control. You may have done this already... hope it helps.

"Special Note for Virtual T™ Bridge Model
Some older Telecaster® guitars and vintage reissues do not
ground the bridge assembly with a wire. The grounding was
accomplished via a metal plate on the bottom of many Tele
bridge pickups. The Virtual T™ does not do this, but it is still
important that the bridge be grounded to eliminate noise. If there
is no independent ground wire running from the underside of the
bridge to the control assembly, you should run an insulated wire
from the back of the volume control through the bridge pickup
cable exit and strip 1-2 inches (3-5 cm) of insulation from the
end. Place the bare portion of the wire between the bridge and
the face of the guitar so it is held securely when the bridge is
screwed back to the guitar body after the new pickup is installed."
 

walterw

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
38,483
... tele continues to hum unless I touch something that's grounded (emphasis mine)...
that sounds normal to me. shielding will reduce this effect, but unless you go with EMGs, not touching the strings=noise.

did the guitar have screws going into the walls of the control cavity or the pickup cavities with wires coming off of them? did you remove them? if so, those were to ground the shielding paint, and are important.
 

fr8_trane

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
7,000
reverse the wires at the jack (easier than unsoldering from the back of the pot)
Ok, I tried switching the hot and ground wires on the jack and it didn't work. It actually made it much worse and touching the strings/bridge made the hum louder. I can now safely assume that the original ground wiring was correct.
 

fr8_trane

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
7,000
that sounds normal to me. shielding will reduce this effect, but unless you go with EMGs, not touching the strings=noise.

did the guitar have screws going into the walls of the control cavity or the pickup cavities with wires coming off of them? did you remove them? if so, those were to ground the shielding paint, and are important.
Thanks for the advice but this is NOT normal.
I had Bill Lawrence noiseless pickups in this tele and they were silent... unless I was at stage volume at which point the bridge pickup would squeal uncontrollably (known issue) hence the switch to the dimarzio's. I also have a strat with BL's and it is silent as well.

These dimarzio's hum AT LEAST as much as normal single coils when I'm not touching the strings and there can be a popping sound (static discharge?) sometimes when I touch any grounded metal part.

The guitar is a MIM 50's tele. There is no shielding and Area T's should require none. They are stacked humbuckers and as such should be at least as quiet as real humbuckers. IME noiseless single coils are actually quieter the full size HB's

This is driving me nuts.
 
Last edited:

fr8_trane

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
7,000
I having been looking into this having just ordered a set of the area T's. From DiMarzio's site it seems like you need to run a ground from the bridge to the volume control. You may have done this already... hope it helps.

"Special Note for Virtual T™ Bridge Model
Some older Telecaster® guitars and vintage reissues do not
ground the bridge assembly with a wire. The grounding was
accomplished via a metal plate on the bottom of many Tele
bridge pickups. The Virtual T™ does not do this, but it is still
important that the bridge be grounded to eliminate noise. If there
is no independent ground wire running from the underside of the
bridge to the control assembly, you should run an insulated wire
from the back of the volume control through the bridge pickup
cable exit and strip 1-2 inches (3-5 cm) of insulation from the
end. Place the bare portion of the wire between the bridge and
the face of the guitar so it is held securely when the bridge is
screwed back to the guitar body after the new pickup is installed."
I'd love to hear how these work for you.

I did ground the bridge but I had to have a tech show me the proper way. Solder wouldn't stick to my bridge so I tried the suggested dimarzio method of putting a bare ground wire end between the bridge and body with the other end soldered to the volume pot. Well that didn't work at all because the wire created a pivot point which lifted the front edge of the bridge off the body by 1/8th ".

The solution is easy and I feel stupid for not figuring it out myself. Use stranded wire, fan it out into a single layer and make sure its long enough to reach one of the bridge mount holes. When you put the bridge on make sure you can see a couple strands through the mounting hole and then screw it down. The worked like a charm - still hums like a beast though.
 

HipKitty

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
2,658
Have you tested the leads to make sure that the ground and shield isn't/aren't coming in to contact with one of the other leads?
 

carnivore

Member
Messages
57
I'll let you know as soon as I put them in. I'm waiting for some other stuff to arrive so it will probably at least a week before I give them a try. Did you get a chance to contact DiMarzio?
 

walterw

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
38,483
The guitar is a MIM 50's tele. There is no shielding and Area T's should require none. They are stacked humbuckers and as such should be at least as quiet as real humbuckers. IME noiseless single coils are actually quieter the full size HB's

This is driving me nuts.
ok, so that rules out shielding issues. if you were to install some, that would reduce this problem, though.

you're right that stacked pickups are usually quieter even than regular humbuckers.

i have noticed that the virtual tele bridge pickups hum a little more than the virtual strat pickups, which i suspect is due to the steel bridge somehow distorting the field a little, but even then they're still at least "regular humbucker" quiet, and the neck versions are dead quiet in any case.

this is a head-scratcher.
 

Tone_Terrific

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
33,350
If this has not been resolved, I suggest the return to basics approach of simply wiring one pup directly to the jack with jumpers and verifying normal operation with nothing else attached.
 

fr8_trane

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
7,000
If this has not been resolved, I suggest the return to basics approach of simply wiring one pup directly to the jack with jumpers and verifying normal operation with nothing else attached.
OK, that sounds like my next step. Thanks for the tip.
 

carnivore

Member
Messages
57
Just installed the area T's in my guitar last night. They sound great with zero hum or noise.

I did rewire the whole guitar (Agile tele copy) while I was at it. Pots, jack, 3 way, cap and bridge ground to volume pot. I used the standard telecaster wiring layout found on Seymore Duncans site.

The pickups are amazing... hope you figured it out.
 




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