Help with my Telecaster and HUM!
February 12, 2007 6:28 PM   Subscribe

Telecaster Hum... Why won't it GO AWAY? Please help, I just installed some new pickups.

I received a new set of Telecaster Pickups for Christmas this year, and this weekend I 'operated' on my Tele to install the new pickups.

The reason I wanted them was that before I had these pickups and just had the stock pickups that came with, I got horrible noise out of my amp when not touching anything on the guitar. I touch the strings, the hum mostly goes away.

The pickups I got were the Vintage Strat Noiseless Pickups.

Now, I have another problem that I cannot figure out...
I get a hum NOW from the metal parts of the guitar and not the strings. WHen I removed the bridge pickup last night I noticed that there was a loop that hooked into the screw that held the pickup in place, and the new noiseless bridge pickup did NOT have this loop. I installed it as is, and this new problem with hum has developed. Do I need to go in and strip the lead down and insert that loop back together around the mounting screw? This isn't making sense to me. All of my solder connections are clean and unbroken, and the install itself is flawless.

Also, with the little silver lipstick pickup (the one farthest away from the bridge), there is a considerable amount of play in the "up/down" motion of the pickup. We're talking about the little silver one - it feels like I need to add yet another one of the little rubber bushings on each screw as to hold it down - it kind of tilts to the front, and it rattles a LOT. Do you think that another bushing, making a total of two bushings on each one of the two screws that holds the little pickup in place would help? I can't imagine it would hurt...

Telecaster fans, guitar techs, and electrical engineers, please lend me your advice. I love my telecaster very much - I just want this hum gone!
posted by jimmyhutch to Technology (7 answers total)
I wouldn't bother immobilizing the neck pickup.

There's something wrong with the grounding of your guitar. If you didn't connect the ground lead of the new pickup to ground, as it sounds like, that's what's wrong. Ungrounded pickups still work but they are extremely noisy.

The ground lead of your guitar should be in electrical continuity with the outside (ground) connection of the plug, the ground lead of each pickup, the bridge plate, the strings, and the tuners. If not you're going to end up with noise. A cheap continuity tester/multimeter from radio shack is invaluable when you are doing this kind of work.
posted by ikkyu2 at 6:58 PM on February 12, 2007

Any dimmer switches in your house? I used to get weird hums when the dimmer in the dining room was on...
posted by clarahamster at 7:23 PM on February 12, 2007

ikkyu2 is correct. This is a grounding issue. I had the same problem on a cheap hollowbody. To compound problems, I was playing through a Fender Super Twin that was also ungrounded. I nearly spot-welded to the mic when attempting to sing. You should loop that wire.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 8:48 PM on February 12, 2007

Response by poster: should I pull apart the tone/volume/pickup switch control and take a picture of it, and post it? Would this help?

perhaps I should pull apart the 1/4" jack and check to see if there are some loose connections there...

as always, I appreciate the help!
posted by jimmyhutch at 10:17 PM on February 12, 2007

Bothersome electronics bugbear! I'd recommend getting on to the Harmony Central forums- they have the interwebs full comission of guitar tech-heads there! Sections for electronics bits, and electric gits.
posted by Joe Rocket at 1:47 AM on February 13, 2007

should I pull apart the tone/volume/pickup switch control and take a picture of it, and post it? Would this help?

No, unless it sounds like fun to you.

Go buy one of these. Set it on Ohms. Plug a cable into your guitar. Hold one of the multimeter's leads firmly against the metal sheath of the plug on the other end of the cable (the ground connection), then use the other lead to test the ground connections of the pickups, the volume and tone switch, the switchplate, the bridgeplate, the strings and the tuners.

When you find something that is not in continuity with ground, solder it to something that is.
posted by ikkyu2 at 5:06 AM on February 13, 2007

Fenders are notorious for ground hums.
posted by wsg at 9:41 AM on February 13, 2007

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