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Weird Noise on My Strat

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by JDJ, Oct 9, 2006.

  1. JDJ

    JDJ Member

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    I have a Strat, and I've been experiencing a strange noise when I play it. Being of an investigative nature, I quickly ruled out the amp and cable as my other guitar did not have the problem.

    When I play, I often steady my picking hand by placing my pinky on the pickguard. In studying that technique, I have notice that if I inadvertantly touch the pickup (let's say the neck pickup) mounting/height-adjusting screw, it goes ping or click. Like I'm providing some sort of intermittant ground, and this is regardless of whether I am touching the strings or not (which are grounded).

    In other words, the pickup mounting screws on the "down side" of my Strat (when held in a playing position) seem microphonic. Or maybe they are magnetized. Really, really weird. And, yes, I am sober. For now.

    So, what do I do? Shield the whole underside of the pickguard? Attach a grounding wire to these screws? Just don't touch the damn screws!? Help, please.
     
  2. The_Whale

    The_Whale Member

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    they do that sometimes, I'd just ignore it.
     
  3. JDJ

    JDJ Member

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    Due to my picking style, it's hard to ignore. When it "pops", the touch of reverb I use accentuates it. I could put some electrical tape over the screw heads, but I'd rather come up with an inconspicuous, higher-tech solution because of my guitar vanity.

    Anybody else? :)
     
  4. Luke V

    Luke V Member

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    I'd make sure that everything under the pickguard is grounded properly. Good clean solder connections.
     
  5. has-sound

    has-sound Member

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    Could be static discharge. Do you feel a "bite" when it pops?

    ~Stan
     
  6. JDJ

    JDJ Member

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    No, I don't feel a bite. And it pops whenever I touch it. In other words, I could tap it sixty times in one minute, and it will do it. A static charge would not operate like that. Really, it sounds like it is microphonic. All I can think of is that this screw sits in the pickup cavity rout and only touches the pickguard and the pickup housing. It's like tapping a drum. With it touching the pickup housing, it would be like me just tapping on said housing. That might mean that the pickup needs to have a better ground. How do I test that?
     
  7. rollyfoster

    rollyfoster Supporting Member

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    mine does the same thing. i think every strat i've owned has done it...
     
  8. Texas_Blues

    Texas_Blues Member

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    Mine does it, hitting the volume knob down usually stops it for a whiole for me.
     
  9. The_Whale

    The_Whale Member

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    maybe brass screws?
     
  10. JDJ

    JDJ Member

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    Brass is less conductive?
     
  11. JDJ

    JDJ Member

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    Hey, look what I found from Acme:

    That must be the problem.
     
  12. alderbody

    alderbody Member

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    They say that the pop comes from the pickguard.
    Your pop comes from the screws, right?


    I would try a pickguard shield, or:

    • Take a few strips of adhesive copper tape (not aluminium foil because it will tear apart)
    • Run one strip over the top screw holes (underside of the p/g) and one over the bottom ones. (bass and treble sides)
    • Drill a hole with a needle so that the screws can pass, but don't make it too wide. (we need the screws and tape to make contact)
    • Electrically connect both tapes together and to ground.
      Use another strip of tape to connect them together and make sure it touches the shielding of the controls. Solder if needed, although some tapes have a conductive adhesive. (the one i got from Warmoth does)
    • See what happens...
    ;)
     
  13. drfrankencopter

    drfrankencopter Member

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    How about a dab of clear nail polish, or silicone, over the screw head.

    Cheers

    Kris
     
  14. 1kidc

    1kidc Member

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    Tou can also try a sheet of bounce under the pickguard and another in the trem cavity. I worked for me on an anderson strat. And made the guitar case smell country fresh!
     
  15. donnyjaguar

    donnyjaguar Member

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    Mine does this too. Its static electricity. If it bothers you that much the staticide spray will cure it. One of my compatriots plays fingerstyle so its a big issue for him and he figured out this fix too.
     
  16. The_Whale

    The_Whale Member

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    It's non-magnetic
     
  17. JDJ

    JDJ Member

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    That's hysterical!

    I like the nail polish idea, but I'm also thinking about just going to the '57 gold anodized metal pickguard and soldering a ground to its underside.
     
  18. JDJ

    JDJ Member

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    The pickup height screws have the tubing.

    I ordered and installed a Fender '57 gold anodized pickguard. It fit without modification. This has taken care of the static issue.

    I set the pickups back at the previous height -- I measured them before removing them. However, the neck seemed a bit too quiet so I moved it up. Other than by ear, is there any practical way to measure output at a certain height to get an exact balance among pickups? Just curious.
     
  19. Mike9

    Mike9 Supporting Member

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    I'd shield the whole pickguard and you might as well shield you cavities while it's apart too. With the price of copper at an all time high I use 2" aluminum tape. I overlap the tape then take a pin and puncture the top into the bottom like this:

    [​IMG]

    Even though the tape is conductive this is just extra insurance.
     

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