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Mustang ground wires?
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Phil O'Keefe
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Joined: 23 Mar 2010
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Location: Riverside CA USA

PostPosted: Fri Aug 06, 2010 10:55 am    Post subject: Mustang ground wires? Reply with quote

My 71 doesn't have one to ground the strings when you touch them - nothing from the bridge or trem plate to the ground plates or back of the volume pot - nada. So it buzzes like crazy. There's no holes drilled from the trem cavity or bridge to the control cavity either.

How do you guys have the string ground set up on your Mustangs? Pics and descriptions would be appreciated!
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James
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 06, 2010 11:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I previously had a parts Mustang with the same problem. No connection between the bridge or trem and the control plate, but touching the control plate quietened the noise. There was also no hole drilled to connect it between the routes.

I took a washer made of very thin metal, it was lipped so I hammered it flat and then cut it so only half of it was there. I put it under the trem plate and control plate to make a connection between the two and it worked fine.

You can see it in this pic.



You could do the same using as thin a piece of metal as you can find and although it's on top of the guitar it's fairly discrete.

The other option is to drill an internal hole yourself. Either straight to the control cavity or into the bridge pickup cavity.
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Dougler
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Location: Benicia, CA

PostPosted: Fri Aug 06, 2010 3:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have the same problem with my 73 bronco, but soon as I touch the ring for the input jack it gets quite. lame
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Haze
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 06, 2010 3:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have a small piece of a guitar string that touches the pots and is wedged underneath the bridge
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Phil O'Keefe
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 06, 2010 7:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

James wrote:




You could do the same using as thin a piece of metal as you can find and although it's on top of the guitar it's fairly discrete.

The other option is to drill an internal hole yourself. Either straight to the control cavity or into the bridge pickup cavity.


Thanks James! Great picture too! Cool

This is very similar to what I have been doing... when I first got the guitar (before I refinished it) I added a small strip of metal shielding tape in that exact location to "bridge" the vibrato plate and control cavity plate, thus creating a path to ground for the strings. Worked pretty good too. Smile When I put it back together after the refinish, I decided to try the same thing, but with a narrower strip of the same stuff so it would be less visible. Now it's crackling, and I've traced it back to that strip - I suspect it's too thin and isn't making consistent contact with one or both plates. I intentionally didn't crank the plates down super hard because of the fresh lacquer; I let it dry for a few weeks (3+) but I know it's still going to be a bit soft for months, and I'm trying to reduce / avoid the hardware "embedding" or "printing" into the finish too drastically.

My Duo Sonic ('75 Music Master body) had a 22ga wire sized hole run from the bottom of the bridge to the control cavity for a ground wire, but I would rather avoid drilling any new holes in this particular body.

I find it hard to believe that Fender put these out like this with no ground wire on the strings - are ALL Mustangs like this? Even the pre-CBS / early CBS models? How about the later (90s-current) MIJ / CIJ models? Do they have a ground wire channel drilled into the body?
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Phil O'Keefe
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 06, 2010 7:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Haze wrote:
I have a small piece of a guitar string that touches the pots and is wedged underneath the bridge


Guitar string! That should be fairly hard to see. Great idea! I think I'll try running a short piece of an unwound (E or B) string in the same location that James and I have been using instead of the shielding tape I've got in there and see how that works. Thanks Haze. Cool

I'd still be interested to hear from others - are the strings on your Mustang grounded? If so, in what way? Did you do it, or did it come from the factory that way?

Thanks guys!
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Haze
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 06, 2010 8:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Early fender's with the bridge cups would have a string running from the control plate or copper shielding plate to one of the bridge cups. Here is a thread at OSG where a member does all of the good nerdy measurements from the string used on his '59 Jazzmaster. Apparently a .14 gauge string was use.
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Phil O'Keefe
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 06, 2010 11:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just removed that strip of shielding tape and replaced it with a short section of string that I ran from the treble side bridge thimble, under the vibrato plate, across and under the edge of the pickguard, and then under the control plate. It's very "stealth" and barely visible. It's working fantastic, and the crackle is completely gone.

Thanks for the help and suggestions everyone. Smile
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MrMaxima
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 29, 2010 12:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's a link to picture of an original '67 Mustang with the ground wire. I don't know how to upload photos to this forum...

http://fendermustangstory.com/gphotos/bb_in_67.jpg

Do you see the piece of wire (probably a B-string) sandwiched under the bridge plate stretching over to the control cavity? This wire gets sandwiched by the control plate to complete the ground to string.

Mr. Maxima
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Mr. Maxima
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stewart
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 29, 2010 4:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

MrMaxima wrote:
I don't know how to upload photos to this forum...


you can use a host such as photobucket, or PM dots for access to the uploader. then use the [img][/img] tags.

s'easy.
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Phil O'Keefe
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 29, 2010 12:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

MrMaxima wrote:
Here's a link to picture of an original '67 Mustang with the ground wire. I don't know how to upload photos to this forum...

http://fendermustangstory.com/gphotos/bb_in_67.jpg

Do you see the piece of wire (probably a B-string) sandwiched under the bridge plate stretching over to the control cavity? This wire gets sandwiched by the control plate to complete the ground to string.

Mr. Maxima


That's pretty much exactly how I ended up routing mine. Thanks for the picture and confirmation that I'm doing it right.

Oh, and thanks for your website too - I've read through it a few times and reference it often. Smile Great stuff! Cool
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stewart
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 29, 2010 12:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

my '64 duo didn't have a bridge ground (i stuck one in) but my '72 and '76 mustangs both had it.
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MrMaxima
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 31, 2010 4:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ahhh... Like this...


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Mr. Maxima
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Walnut
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 12, 2013 5:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What exactly do I connect the ground wire to? My '75 Mustang has a guitar string coming out of the lower bridge thimble that seems to be added by previous owner. When I first got the guitar, I thought it was just a guitar string that somehow got stuck, and bent it out of the way for later removal when I took off the pickguard and control plate. Now I realize that it's a ground, as the guitar is very noisy without it in the original position.

I tried sandwiching the string underneath the control plate as it's screwed down, but that doesn't seem to work. It's still a lot noisier than it was originally. Do I need to attach it to a pot? If so, what should I use to make sure it stays connected? Tape? This is a royal P.I.T.A. as a I have to keep taking the pickguard and control plate on and off to test it out.
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Joey
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 12, 2013 6:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You can solder it to the brass shield on the bottom of the control plate. Or you can go to the back of the pot. If don't like to solder, you can use a tongue rings and a crimp... you can remove a pot, slide the crimp ring down the shaft and put it all back together. On my Jazzmaster, I did what you basically did. I ran a string to the tremolo route and pushed the string into a screw hole for the tremolo... when I screwed the tremolo down, it grounded it.

No right or wrong way to shield and ground your guitar as long as everything is grounded.
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Walnut
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 12, 2013 7:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

For some reason this isn't working. The string is firmly connected to the thimble of the bridge, and even when the other end is touching the control plate or the bottom of the volume pot (I've tried both), there is no difference in the hum. The noise is still there. It only goes away when I touch the control plate or one of the screws to the switches. Any ideas?
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Walnut
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 12, 2013 7:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here are some pics in case they help.
You can see the guitar string coming from the bridge thimble in the last one.



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Joey
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 12, 2013 11:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If the noise only goes away when you touch a grounded part then it's working as it should.

You will hear a drop in noise when you touch any string, tuners, tremolo, bridge, control plate, jack, cable plug, control plate screw, switch screws...

The only metal part that won't drop the noise are the pickguard screws... because they screw directly into wood. If the screws are touching a shielded pickguard then you may notice a drop in noise.
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Walnut
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 12, 2013 11:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ok. Even when both pickups are in the off position?
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Joey
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 12, 2013 11:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Keep in mind you have single coils... they invented humbuckers to buck the hum. Looks like the back of your pickguard is not shielded at all. Line the whole back of it with copper tape. Pull out the brass shield... line all the cavities with the tape... put the brass shields back in. You can shield your pickups also... obviously don't stick copper tape to the coil, cause it will damage the coil if you ever pull the tape off.

http://www.stewmac.com/shop/Electronics,_pickups/Supplies:_Shielding/Conductive_Copper_Tape.html

surely there are video's on youtube.com of shielding guitars to give you some more advice
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