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Dimarzio Area T Noise

Messages
1,147
I put a set of Dimarzio Area T's in my Tele last week. The neck pickup is totally silent. The bridge, however, has a fair amount of hum that gets louder as I move the guitar around. I.e. if I turn my back to the amp it goes away quite a bit. I have tried several different methods of grounding the bridge to the volume pot and have gone as far as to remove/replace the ground while plugged in and it sounds like it's doing its job.

I also verified that the two short wires used are twisted and soldered together from the factory. There is even tubing around the ends to shield them.

The fact that the noise changes when moving around leads me to believe it's either not hum cancelling or it's something to do with the shielding.

Any ideas on what else this could be? I have found a few posts on forums around the web and none of them seem to be able to solve this. Some say their pickup is totally silent and others say it's got quite a bit of hum. Is this maybe a defective pickup?
 

Rod

Tone is Paramount
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
23,409
I have 2 Teles with those pickups and they're totally silent... I think yours is defective
 
Messages
1,147
I have 2 Teles with those pickups and they're totally silent... I think yours is defective
Yeah, I'm thinking you're right. I'm going to have to look at the Dimarzio site to see if there is anything I can do about it or if I'll just need to eat the loss and buy another and hope it's not junk. I bought the pickup on Amazon. I may try to reach out to the seller.
 

Masa

Member
Messages
686
One of three Area T's that I had had the same issue. I contacted the Dimarzio support, and they said it was defective. Sounded like relatively common issues. They told me to send it to them, but I returned it to Amazon, and got a replacement.
 
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shane8

Member
Messages
31,700
return for replacement

pro tip - noiseless pickups are supposed to be noiseless ;)
 

AdmiralB

Member
Messages
3,060
About the only way it could be defective is if the bottom coil is connected backwards (would have to have been done at the factory, not something a user could do).

The coils are connected in series, so if there's a break, you get no output. If you separated the two short leads, and swapped one set (i.e. connect the 'long' lead from one coil to the 'short' lead of the other coil'), then extended the now-free short lead as either hot or ground...it would probably work.

The bottom coil primarily 'hears' mostly hum (it does pick up some string information, but it's pretty attenuated), so reversing its polarity doesn't result in the 'out of phase' sound - you just get LOUD hum instead of no hum.
 

K-Line

Vendor
Messages
8,481
If I remember correctly, they have a plastic bottom bobbin. You have to run a wire from your bridge plate to the controls for a ground.
 

AdmiralB

Member
Messages
3,060
If I remember correctly, they have a plastic bottom bobbin. You have to run a wire from your bridge plate to the controls for a ground.
That's true, I guess I assumed that away. If your guitar relies upon the bridge pickup for string ground, you'll have to devise another for these. But that should affect the neck pickup too.
 
Messages
1,147
About the only way it could be defective is if the bottom coil is connected backwards (would have to have been done at the factory, not something a user could do).

The coils are connected in series, so if there's a break, you get no output. If you separated the two short leads, and swapped one set (i.e. connect the 'long' lead from one coil to the 'short' lead of the other coil'), then extended the now-free short lead as either hot or ground...it would probably work.

The bottom coil primarily 'hears' mostly hum (it does pick up some string information, but it's pretty attenuated), so reversing its polarity doesn't result in the 'out of phase' sound - you just get LOUD hum instead of no hum.
I'll give this a shot. I was wondering if it was something like that. If it doesn't work I'll contact Dimarzio.
 

AdmiralB

Member
Messages
3,060
I'll give this a shot. I was wondering if it was something like that. If it doesn't work I'll contact Dimarzio.
It's white and black that are sealed off, right? You have red as hot, green as ground?

Try connecting green to black, and run white to ground instead. You'll have to splice onto white, of course.

You should either get MORE hum, or next to no hum. I'd bet on the latter.
 
Messages
1,147
It's white and black that are sealed off, right? You have red as hot, green as ground?

Try connecting green to black, and run white to ground instead. You'll have to splice onto white, of course.

You should either get MORE hum, or next to no hum. I'd bet on the latter.
You are correct, black and white are currently tied together. I'll report back on the result. I bet that is the fix.
 
Messages
1,147
It's white and black that are sealed off, right? You have red as hot, green as ground?

Try connecting green to black, and run white to ground instead. You'll have to splice onto white, of course.

You should either get MORE hum, or next to no hum. I'd bet on the latter.
I tried this and got a LOT more hum. It was actually about as loud as the strings. I guess I get to contact Dimarzio now and see if i can get a new one. Man, that's a buzz kill.
 

walterw

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
39,356
i have found that hum-canceling systems just work a little less perfectly on tele bridge pickups, whether the ilitch coils or the dimarzio areas; i think the steel bridgeplate throws off the magnetic fields involved enough to alter something.

still, at worst it should be like a somewhat noisy humbucker, so way quieter than a straight-up single coil.
 

sonofiam

Member
Messages
1,104
Thanks for the heads up. I covered that in the original post. I've tried multiple bridge ground configs including testing it while plugged in to verify that the ground was working.
I'm only suggesting testing the ground, just because it's attached doesn't mean it's completely grounded. I had to sand through the plating on my bridge and control plate in order to get a good ground.
 
Messages
1,147
I'm only suggesting testing the ground, just because it's attached doesn't mean it's completely grounded. I had to sand through the plating on my bridge and control plate in order to get a good ground.
That's definitely interesting. I did not realize that you could have a partial ground. Is there a way to test this that does not involve defacing the bridge? i.e. maybe grounding directly to the jack?
 
Messages
1,147
i have found that hum-canceling systems just work a little less perfectly on tele bridge pickups, whether the ilitch coils or the dimarzio areas; i think the steel bridgeplate throws off the magnetic fields involved enough to alter something.

still, at worst it should be like a somewhat noisy humbucker, so way quieter than a straight-up single coil.
I emailed Dimarzio and it sounds like you're right. Their email is copy/pasted below.

We are sorry you have encountered this problem. The Area T bridge pickup will be noisier than the neck pickup if the Tele bridgeplate is made of ferrous (magnetic) steel, which many of them are. The situation is created by the internal construction of the pickup. Area pickups have a hum-cancelling rather than humbucking design and uses two coils that are not identical. They depend on a precise balance to cancel hum, and a magnetic bridge upsets this balance. We have been aware of this from the design stage and tried many approaches to change it, but our final decision was to release the pickup, because we feel the sound quality should not be compromised, even though it may not offer complete hum elimination. A brass or stainless steel bridge plate will lower the hum to the same level as the neck pickup. Brass tele bridges are fairly common and inexpensive. Stainless steel bridges are more expensive and not as common, but a number of companies currently offer them if you are interested. You may already be familiar with some of them, but here are some links to check out:


http://www.stewmac.com/Hardware_and...tar_Bridges/Gotoh_Modern_Bridge_for_Tele.html


http://www.musiciansfriend.com/brid...-4-hole-mount-with-compensated-saddles?pfm=sp


http://www.glendaleguitars.com/glendale18.htm


DiMarzio Inc.

-------------------------------
edit:

Then they followed up with this email. It's good to know this b/c I searched for hours trying to find a solution:

It’s generally not an issue with a clean amp sound, because the hum level isn’t as loud as that of a typical single-coil. Overdriven amp sounds make the noise more noticeable, especially compared to the neck pickup. A brass or stainless steel bridge reduces the noise to a level comparable with the neck pickup. The Gotoh bridge is the most affordable, and the 6 saddles allow for better intonation. The main disadvantage with this bridge is the additional weight, because the plate is pretty thick, but this is an advantage in terms of eliminating microphonic squeal at high volume, which vintage Fender bridges are often prone to.


And a happy New Year to you as well. I appreciate your understanding.


DiMarzio Inc.
 
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AdmiralB

Member
Messages
3,060
My two guitars have steel plates, and I don't notice significant noise, at least not relative to the neck pickup (and since you've already indicated that the neck pickup is silent, people can drop the bridge ground topic). What noise there is, is a little bit louder on the bridge, but OTOH the bridge pickup is about twice as loud in terms of output, so I think this is to be expected.

OTOH, you've ruled out the only plausible problem with the pickup itself (reversed leads).

Does the noise vary with proximity to your amp (IOW, at the end of a 15-foot cable, is it quieter than right next to it)?

I don't understand the explanation pertaining to magnetism. The 'noise' coil needs to be magnetically shielded for tone reasons, not noise - it picks up the hum regardless, but if it's also 'involved' in the magnetic field, it'll pick up string information and the tone will change. So they (DiMarzio, Kinman, et al) go to lengths to keep the field away from the bottom coil. But failure to do so won't change the noise level.

OTOH, I can see inductive coupling causing problems - I reckon there's some significant tuning done (reading the Ilitch patent) regarding coil size, resistance, and inductance, to get the proper balance...and it would make sense that if the bridge plate couples inductively that could screw things up.

Some of the smarter pickup guys can probably talk better to this.
 
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