Affinity Jazzmaster Ground Problem

Discussion in 'Squier Offset Guitars' started by xDarKnightx, Aug 10, 2018.

  1. xDarKnightx

    xDarKnightx Squier Talker

    Age:
    36
    6
    Aug 10, 2018
    Ontario
    Hi, I have an affinity jazzmaster that I've swapped the pickups in a few times. I haven't played it in a while so i picked it up today and realized there was a ground problem. (Noise when not touching metal...touch strings or tuners and it's silent.)

    I took the bridge off to see whats going on, and the ground wire isn't even connected. It just kinda sits under the bridge and gets squashed into the wood -came from the factory like that. I tried moving it and seeing if it worked but same story.

    Getting frustrated with one of my most loved guitars, I thought, "OK Fine. I'll throw my EMGS into it and Jim Root it up. no need for bridge ground then!! well.. guess what. The EMGS (or any covered pickups for that matter dont fit the pickguard) Couple hours of fighting with the drill and bits of plastic everywhere, I get the emg's fitted into the pickguard and load it up. I played with it a bit but it's late now and cant really get into it but for now, I dont like the EMGS in it - that and the fact that everything is totally crammed into the tiny routed cavity is gonna make for hell when it comes time to change the battery.

    Short story long, does anyone else have this bridge ground issue with their affinity jazzmaster?? is there a better fix? I really liked my Tesla Sharks in it, but that buzz was annoying, and my JB/Jazz set is absolutely KILLER in this guitar and I'd like to go back to that. Besides how can you play anything rock and grunge with EMGS in true jazzmaster style. I Guess the next question is where can I get a replacement pickguard for it now that I mangled mine to fit covered pickups??

    Question #2: when I changed the strings, all the little ferrules (sp?) fall out..thats not normal, is it? It's been a long night to say the least....
     
  2. timtam

    timtam Squier Talker

    Age:
    58
    57
    Nov 25, 2017
    Melbourne
    That's exactly how it's supposed to be, although it seems counter-intuitive. Your body attracts EMI from the environment which the guitar then picks up. When you touch grounded metal your body is grounded so the hum goes away. The ground wire sandwich makes perfectly good contact with the bridge - it's done that way in many expensive guitars too. If it didn't make good contact the noise wouldn't change when you touched the bridge - that would be a sign of a bad/missing ground connection.

    The 'fix' is to remove EMI sources from your guitar's environment.
     
  3. xDarKnightx

    xDarKnightx Squier Talker

    Age:
    36
    6
    Aug 10, 2018
    Ontario
    so... shield the body and pickguard?
     
  4. timtam

    timtam Squier Talker

    Age:
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    57
    Nov 25, 2017
    Melbourne
    That would be a good step, yes. Use double-sided conductive copper tape (ie overlapping pieces conduct). Check with a multimeter that there is zero resistance between cavities. The (continuous) pickguard shielding will all be grounded by the rim of the JM output jack in contact with it. If the cavity shielding contacts the pickguard shielding at at least one point then the latter will be grounded. Make sure none of the hot lines contact the shielding when it's all screwed together.

    [​IMG]
     
  5. so1om

    so1om Dr. Squier

    Age:
    51
    Feb 10, 2010
    Chicago
    you ALWAYS have to ground the strings to the circuit -via the bridge, tail piece, whatever. The type of pickups have no bearing on this be they stock, EMG, active, passive, whatever.
     
    radiotech and Caddy like this.
  6. xDarKnightx

    xDarKnightx Squier Talker

    Age:
    36
    6
    Aug 10, 2018
    Ontario
    awesome thank you. and any idea on where I can buy different pickguards for it??
     
  7. xDarKnightx

    xDarKnightx Squier Talker

    Age:
    36
    6
    Aug 10, 2018
    Ontario
    Well, the instructions for the solderless wiring kit I have say otherwise. And before that, I just used regular 25k pots and I still dont think it was grounded to the bridge. From my understanding, actives dont need to be grounded to the bridge. they're dead silent.
     
  8. so1om

    so1om Dr. Squier

    Age:
    51
    Feb 10, 2010
    Chicago
    Well that must be something new. I've always grounded electronics and, well.. don't have hum. So i'm not sure what you are experiencing.
     
  9. LutherBurger

    LutherBurger Squier-holic

    Sep 2, 2015
    NYC
    The bridge ground wire's strands shouldn't be "squashed into the wood". Flatten and fan them out so they get squashed between the paint and the bridge plate. The insulation can sit in that little channel in the wood.

    I had to look up Tesla Sharks to learn that they're humbuckers. If they were humming, something was (and is) definitely wrong with your wiring.
     
    so1om likes this.
  10. LutherBurger

    LutherBurger Squier-holic

    Sep 2, 2015
    NYC
    I missed this one earlier.

    No, it isn't normal. Next time you change strings, glue the ferrules in. Losing one would be a bummer.
     
  11. timtam

    timtam Squier Talker

    Age:
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    57
    Nov 25, 2017
    Melbourne
    You're not grounding the pickups, you're grounding the bridge/strings. I wouldn't expect any pickup wiring instructions to include bridge grounding - it's a separate thing. All pickups have a ground wire (one of the two connections, together with the hot side) that completes their circuit - if that was left out of the instructions they wouldn't work. Grounding the bridge is standard practice and 100% necessary (and the bared wire sandwich is fine). Less so with 'noiseless' pickups, but still necessary.
     
    so1om likes this.
  12. timtam

    timtam Squier Talker

    Age:
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    57
    Nov 25, 2017
    Melbourne
    Pickguards for the more obscure Fender / Squier shapes are harder to come by. And custom-built ones are relatively expensive (requiring that a template be made first). Best is to keep an eye on ebay (and even then assume that you may have to drill some new screw holes in the body for some swaps that are not 100% correct) eg
    http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-5...0001&campid=5338148356&icep_item=283095019824
     
    xDarKnightx likes this.
  13. so1om

    so1om Dr. Squier

    Age:
    51
    Feb 10, 2010
    Chicago

    ^^ yep.
     
  14. xDarKnightx

    xDarKnightx Squier Talker

    Age:
    36
    6
    Aug 10, 2018
    Ontario

    Thanks for the tip, I will give this a try and let everyone know soon
     
  15. xDarKnightx

    xDarKnightx Squier Talker

    Age:
    36
    6
    Aug 10, 2018
    Ontario
    Lol I thought so.. geez. Another strike against this guitar. Quickly going from a favourite to a headache!
     
  16. CliffP

    CliffP Squier Talker

    Age:
    71
    13
    Apr 27, 2018
    St. Charles, MO
     
  17. CliffP

    CliffP Squier Talker

    Age:
    71
    13
    Apr 27, 2018
    St. Charles, MO
    I was looking for a solution to my hum problem with my Affinity Strat when I ran across this post and now I've got a couple of questions.

    First, for grounding: the only available practice space I have is adjacent to fluorescent lights, my laptop, printer and a small fan. The lights and laptop are all within 3 feet or less and the fan about 4 feet so something to absorb the EMI seems the best solution. I found a kit at Stew Mac that includes the shielding foil and some replacement shielded wire. So my question is has anyone used this kit and is there a better source?

    Second, as regards replacing the wiring: I'm wondering if it's worth replacing all the electronics using a pre-wired, shielded pickguard with upgraded pickups and pots rather than fooling with rewiring not-so-great electronics? I'm not concerned about replacing the wiring, I have the tools and have soldered lots of stuff in the past, although nothing exactly like this. However, I've read a number of opinions about the original pickups ranging from they're fine to they're the first thing to replace if you're upgrading. That leads me to wondering if I should just replace them now.

    I should probably add that I'm a fairly new player.

    Thanks in advance for your help.
     
  18. timtam

    timtam Squier Talker

    Age:
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    57
    Nov 25, 2017
    Melbourne
    The Stewmac kit is expensive (incl shipping) for what you get, but I guess they guarantee it's enough for a strat (I think they mean enough for cavities and pickguard, although I can't see that actually stated). A roll with metres of 50mm double sided conductive copper tape on ebay is much cheaper. A strat has relatively short cable runs so shielded wire isn't going to make much difference compared to just twisting any longer cable runs (ie from pickups, to output) inside a guitar with properly grounded continuous shielding for the cavities and pickguard.

    Whether the cost of a pre-wired harness and shielded pickguard to save you doing that part of the work is justified is mainly up to you. New pots, capacitor, and wire will make minimal if any difference unless yours are malfunctioning.

    Someone else can advise on the stock pickups.
     
  19. CliffP

    CliffP Squier Talker

    Age:
    71
    13
    Apr 27, 2018
    St. Charles, MO
    Thanks for replying. I have a question about one of your comments above, if I read it correctly, you said that just twisting the wiring would work as shielding for short runs. If I understand you correctly this is just detaching the component, spinning it around a few times and reattaching. Is that correct?

    Thanks again
     
  20. timtam

    timtam Squier Talker

    Age:
    58
    57
    Nov 25, 2017
    Melbourne
    Yes, a 'twisted pair' is about as effective as a shielded cable in immunizing against noise pickup. So if your 2-conductor (or more) pickup wires are not already shielded, twist them all along their length. Same with the hot / ground run to the output jack.

    But do shield the guitar's cavities and pickguard with grounded double-sided conductive copper, esp since it sounds like you are in a high EMI environment.