Noisy Baja Telecaster (again...)

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by stephanar, Jul 3, 2019.

  1. stephanar

    stephanar Member

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    I have this Baja tele for almost 2 years now. Factory wiring is a mess. Already did a search on various forums and seems people have mixed results dealing with this issue.
    I have strats here and the noise lvl on the tele is definitely higher.
    Some people say s1 is the culprit, other say its the wiring, people change it completely with mixed results.
    I’m thinking about going with a new wiring harness with a 4 way switch (without s1) + copper shielding under pickups and control cavity. Think it can’t get better than that, but if it won’t work there’s no purpose to spend this money.
    What you guys say?
     
  2. slide13

    slide13 Supporting Member

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    I don’t know, sorry. But my Baja was very noisy too. I now have an EJ Strat which I beleive is also unshielded and it’s not noisy at all. Makes me wonder if the S1 wiring has a part to play or just something with the wiring on those. I would imagine it’s definitely fixable, but not sure what the best approach would be.
     
  3. Salfordlad

    Salfordlad Member

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    If you are grounded correctly there shouldn't be a need for copper shielding. Just make sure you have a ground wire from under the bridge plate soldered to the volume pot and that should get rid of any hum on standard wiring. I have a 4 way switch in one of my tele's and it is a useful extra tool to have available for sure. This guy makes nice harnesses and has great communication if you have any questions. He even called me up to solve a small issue I had with the selector plate not allowing the switch to completely engage the bridge position. When I had a Baja I also hated the wiring setup Fender installed. Great guitar otherwise. I highly recommend getting a harness with a treble bleed included.

    This is the harness I bought from him...
    https://www.ebay.com/itm/Tele-Premi...e=STRK:MEBIDX:IT&_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2649
     
  4. metrokosmiko

    metrokosmiko Member

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    Always shield everything!

    Also it might just be the pickups.
     
  5. 03hal

    03hal Member

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    Mine is stock (still has the S-1) and is very quiet.
     
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  6. jvin248

    jvin248 Member

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    .

    Low impact test ... get the kitchen tin foil and some tape and tape a sheet across the outside of the guitar like a big pickguard, cover both pickups. tape a strip to the outside of the output cord housing so you know it's grounded. Use an ohm meter to make sure it's grounded. You can tape one across the back and connect the two. See if that quiets your noise level.

    Where I start:
    -Replace the two wires from the volume pot to the jack with shielded cable.
    -Use Nashua Aluminum Flashing tape ($7/roll at the hardware store, will shield two dozen guitars) and cover the back of the pickguard and the cavities, leaving tabs out for connections with the pickguard and check continuity with the ohm meter as you go.

    Check your 4-way switch has the 'extra noise reduction jumper' on it that was identified on the old Phostenix wiring diagram.

    [​IMG]

    If still noisy, I'd be suspicious of the S-1 and proceed with your plan to lift out the factory circuit intact and then replace the whole works with new parts and wiring. That way you can replace the factory stuff any time you want, if you were to sell the guitar someday.
     
  7. Salfordlad

    Salfordlad Member

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    I have 8 Tele's and 3 Strats and none of them are shielded with copper foil tape. A few have shielding paint and some don't. All of them are grounded correctly and when my fingers are on the strings they are as quiet as a church mouse. If it makes you feel better and you can do it correctly have at it, but IMO it is a waste of time.
     
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  8. stephanar

    stephanar Member

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    Could you be more specific about this noise reduction jumper? Wiring on the Baja is very different, wires come from the s1 and and connections on the switch are not the same.
     
  9. Adagietto

    Adagietto Supporting Member

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    Mine too. Fingers crossed as I don't want to change it.
     
  10. VaughnC

    VaughnC Supporting Member

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    My Baja is quiet...and the S1 wiring length isn't much different than non-S1 wiring so I wouldn't expect it to be creating noise. Besides, I find the Baja's 6 sounds usable and would miss the S1 mod myself.

    The one thing I would check though (with an ohm meter) is to make sure the bridge plate is connected to the circuit common by checking the resistance between the bridge plate and the control plate. It should be very close to a short circuit or 0 ohms.

    I tried shielding guitars in the past and didn't feel it was worth the effort. One thing I noticed is loss of sparkle in the top end. And while the shielding helped a little with buzzy type noises, it did nothing for hum.

    However, you might gain something by replacing the 2 output jack wires with a single shielded cable as this is one of the longer "antenna" wires than can pick up noise. And you can install one of those improved, screw-in ElectroSocket output jacks while you're at it.
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2019
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  11. stephanar

    stephanar Member

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    Reporting my findings.
    Before going for a full rewiring job I decided to shield the cavities with copper foil. Also twisted the pickup and jack wires.
    Guitar is a lot quieter now, but I think a little of the top end is gone. Could just be my mind playing tricks. Guitar still sounds awesome.
     
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  12. stephanar

    stephanar Member

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    Just to keep record.
    Today I decided to remove the shielding from the neck pickup and it really got its highs back. Tried to compare as closely as possible since I had to remove the pickup.
    A little noise came back but I guess it’s a good compromise. Looks like the shielding inside the control cavity did most of the job.
     
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  13. Baxtercat

    Baxtercat Member

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    re-quoted fr wisdom.
    Sometimes Tele bridges [chrome esp] don't ground with the lil underneath wire [because of oxidation?].
    Pinching the stripped end under the head of a bridge screw often helps make a better connection.
     
  14. bluesoul

    bluesoul Gold Supporting Member

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    What kind of noise?
    My Baja needed the plastic pickguard gone and tossed....static was driving me crazy. Bakelite ended the frustration. Other than that it is now normal for a tele.
     
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  15. vortexxxx

    vortexxxx Member

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    Although I dont know if this is the OPs problem, this is a very good and common mod for the Baja. It's the only mod on mine. The guards that come with them sometimes also distort. Bakelite guards are really nice compared to plastic.
     
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  16. haslar

    haslar Member

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    The Baja I used to own was hum city.
    I replaced the pickups with Area noiseless pickups, as well as the wiring harness & switch for a classic 3-way.
    Problem solved.
     
  17. candid_x

    candid_x Supporting Member

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    My stock one is very quiet except for static pg sometimes. Dryer sheets to the rescue.
     
  18. vortexxxx

    vortexxxx Member

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    Mine has never had any noise. Having installed and replaced S1 switches, they are a bit 'delicate' - not sure if that's the best word for them - so it could possibly be a switch going bad. Is it hum you are getting or static. Perhaps a description of the noise will help troubleshoot. Also if it occurs in all positions. I think the stock pickups are great, so I wouldn't want to replace them. Having communicated with the designer, Chris Flemming, he informed me the pickups are the same exact ones the custom shop uses.
     
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  19. Adagietto

    Adagietto Supporting Member

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    The pot of my S1 went out on me just past warranty — not the switch. I like the OOP settings enough that I had it replaced. It's been fine for 3+ years now.
     
  20. stephanar

    stephanar Member

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    Ok, this is something I’ve been thinking about. From what I’ve read they work better with non magnetic bridge plates, otherwise there’ll be some noise (confirmed by Dimarzio on an email I sent them). Can you help me on that? What’s your experience?
     

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