Guitar Grounding Common Misconceptions?

Discussion in 'Tonefreaks' started by jonesy, Jul 23, 2010.

  1. jonesy

    jonesy GLOBAL WIRING GURU MLP Vendor

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    Truth x 3 ;)
     
  2. jonesy

    jonesy GLOBAL WIRING GURU MLP Vendor

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    Like I said I think it is good to know and be able to understand exactly how things work.

    Do you know exactly how every aspect of your automobile functions? Probably not, but that does not keep you from getting in it and driving it down the road. So whats more important having a car that runs properly or understanding how it all works? Get my point?

    To be honest bro I think I spend a great deal of time answering questions and explaining things as it is. I share info because I want to, not because I feel that I have to.

    And just because I spend a lot of time explaining something to someone does not guarantee that you are going to understand it anyway. There are only so many hours in the day and I have a business to run and a family to take care of but I still manage to spend a lot of time on here passing on information.

    If you really want to learn something do what I do. Research it and get as much information from several different sources as you can. Apply and test that knowledge in real life scenarios by testing and tinkering. Somethings will work like you expect they will and some won't. If you fail, try again and keep testing. (like John said test, test, test) You may also find that things often do not work exactly like you think they do, or you will find that there are a couple of ways to achieve the same goal.

    Like I said before everybody seems to want quick easy answers to difficult problems, but very few people really want to spend the time that it takes to learn and gain knowledge.
     
  3. FourT6and2

    FourT6and2 Senior Member

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    I agree. Knowledge (and experience) lead to other discoveries.

    I do, actually. At least, to the best of my ability. While I'm no mechanic or automotive engineer. I am an "enthusiast" and I track me car all the time. So, it helps to know what my car is doing when I drive it and how all the parts work and come together to function as one.

    Same thing with the guitar. I want to know how everything works and functions together. While it may not make my physical playing/technique any better, it certainly helps me on some level.

    Both. Having a properly functioning guitar, car, computer, whatever... AND understanding how it all works are equally important to me.

    That's fine. Do what you do.

    Think of the medium you are writing in. It's a forum, specifically the tonefreaks section of a guitar forum. This place is setup, specifically, to share information about the wiring and components of the Les Paul guitar.

    It's a place to ask questions and share knowledge. It's not a place to respond to people's questions with "go find out for yourself."

    The inherent purpose of this thread, even, is to answer questions about wiring (grounding) and dispel common misconceptions. Do you not see the irony in telling people to "do what I do... go test it out for yourself... I don't have time to explain things," while at the same time doing so in a forum meant to profess and openly share knowledge?

    You certainly don't owe anybody anything. But why bother in the first place if you're just going to tell people to go learn it for themselves on their own time somewhere else?

    Please don't take it the wrong way, you obviously know way more about this shit than I do and that's why I come here – so people like you will share the knowledge you have.:thumb: I've learned a lot just by participating in this thread. So, thanks for sharing.
     
  4. jonesy

    jonesy GLOBAL WIRING GURU MLP Vendor

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    Good I am glad you are learning, but break out the soldering iron, wire cutters and apply some of this "knowledge" to your own guitar and you will learn even more. Trust me that's the only way to really understand it.

    You can read a book on swimming, have someone tell you all about how to swim, but you really don't know what it's all about until you get in the water and try it for your self. :thumb:
     
  5. jonesy

    jonesy GLOBAL WIRING GURU MLP Vendor

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    Teaching Methods

    I taught mixed martial arts classes for years, stand up, ground work, weapons and street self defense. I have studied Tae Kwon Do, Ju-Jitsu and Kali and have trained "Systema" with the Russian Spetnaz agents in Canada and Chicago. Every teacher had a different "Style" of teaching their martial art. Some were kind and some were cruel, the Russians were the nicest and most humble by far. Tough, but they taught you to think for yourself vs follow a certain pattern.

    In this video Neo has just been programmed Kung fu, but he still cannot beat Morpheus. Towards the end Morpheus asks Neo some questions in an effort to help him learn and to teach him what he needs to know. IMO Somethings have to be experienced before we can actually understand why and how they work. Anyway I love this scene ;)


    [ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j82GKTgVDkw]YouTube - Matrix - Neo vs Morpheus[/ame]
     
  6. FourT6and2

    FourT6and2 Senior Member

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    Your metaphors are mixed. You can't learn a physical skill like swimming or fighting by reading a book or having someone explain it to you. You can gain a better understanding of the theory. But you need to physically do it to get your body to understand. I can read about how to do a lay-up in basketball. But until I get out on the court and practice it 1,000 times I'm not going to get it.

    You can, however, understand how to wire up a guitar by having someone explain it, clearly. It's not a physical skill (soldering notwithstanding). Comparing not answering a simple question like "what happens if you remove this wire?" and learning how to do the butterfly stroke or strike efficiently are completely different things.

    And we seem to have something in common at least. I've been training Jujutsu for about 10 years. I've dabbled a bit in Kali, Escrima, knife fighting and other arts like Judo and Aikido as well. I know some Systema people, too. But I generally prefer Japanese arts.

    It's my opinion that teachers who "hide" their instruction are doing a disservice to their students. I guess we'll just have to disagree.
     
  7. b3john

    b3john Senior Member

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    There is a pretty wide gulf between "hiding instruction" and doing the student's homework for them.

    I see this more like programming than a martial art. The debugging you learn to do now will make you better at both programming and debugging later. Likewise for circuit design and troubleshooting. It can't be done for you. You have to put in the effort to be able to take any real knowledge or learning away from the experience.
     
  8. jonesy

    jonesy GLOBAL WIRING GURU MLP Vendor

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    The Student's Responsibility to Learn, Homework & Practice


    If you are a student and you are trying to learn something from by a teacher by observing them or taking a formal class I think you have a certain responsibility as a student. If you are really a "Serious" student vs just being a "Casual" student you will work hard and do what you need to do to master what ever it is you are trying to learn. Wiring can be learned from a book, but the more you apply it in the real world the more aware you will be of how it actually works. And as far as "Hiding" knowledge goes...If you are a martial artist you know that you don't teach a White belt level student Black belt forms, even if he/she ask because it's just not done that way.

    First of all you have a right to question a teachers methods, but you either have to accept them and trust that they know what they are doing or go out and find another teacher. It's really as simple as that.

    Secondly I think most teachers give homework. It's the students job to work on that at home away from the class room without the help of the teacher. My daughter is going to be in 3rd grade this year and I know she had home work 2-3 nights a week last year. Some of it was very hard and I had to sit down with her and help guide her through it but she got it done.

    So if you consider yourself a "Serious" student of wiring and I suggest that you go try and find something out on your own, that is just my way of giving you some home work because I think it's going to help you learn. The "Serious" student work on their own, will try to find out what they can, and then come back with more specific questions that I can answer for them. The casual students will not do any work on their own and keep asking the Teacher for the correct answers, and then wonder why they are not learning.

    Thirdly I think a student needs to practice their skills. I have taught guitar lessons for 30 years and seen all kinds of students. Some "Serious" but many "casual". Nothing like a student who has been playing guitar for a few months, barely knows how to play G, C, D and then they ask you to teach them "Stairway" or one of the hardest Metallica songs.

    So you indulge them, print up a tab and spend 30 mins going over the basics of the song. Tell them to work on it and next week when they come in you will help them some more. So next week when they come in and you ask them they have practiced the song and they say no, (Casual student) and give you a dozen excuses why they didn't. Or maybe if they are a "Serious" student they have worked on it, struggled with it, still can't play it 100% but at least they have tried. Then you can give them a few pointers, correct some problems they are having and help them get better. IMO that is the way it should work with a "Serious" student.

    So if you do not practice your wiring skills, never take the time to learn how to solder, don't spend a few bucks on a cheap multimeter, and just read threads on line you will never master the skills that it takes to learn what is being taught in this thread. "Applying Knowledge" would be a term that comes to mind.

    I have taught many things, martial arts, guitar, I was an NRA pistol instructor, taught carpentry and a few other things so I have some experience as a teacher. I have seen a variety of students, some talented and some without talent. Some that were willing to work hard and some that were just plain lazy.

    But in the end the ones that wanted to learn did, but it took hard work on their part, they did their homework and practiced their skills on their own. So I think a teacher can only do so much and the rest is actually up to the student. I learned guitar without any formal lessons, same thing with guitar wiring. I do not have a college degree, I am not an engineer, and I didn't expect anyone to sit back and provide me with all the answers. If I wanted to learn something I went out and studied it, practiced it and did my homework.

    So like I said I feel it is the student's responsibility to learn and if they don't, don't blame the teacher. Nothing personal but if you don't like my teaching methods then maybe you should find another teacher, and don't expect me to change my teaching methods because you disagree with them. After all this is a "Free Class" and I am a "Volunteer" donating my time for those who want to learn.

    Peace, jonesy
     
  9. jonesy

    jonesy GLOBAL WIRING GURU MLP Vendor

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    Telecaster Bridge Grounding

    A common way to ground a Telecaster bridge is to run a ground wire from under the bridge through a channel and ground it to the back of the volume pot. You can see that in these pics of this Fender Squire Telecaster Body...

    [​IMG]

    The wire runs through a hole drilled into the body and the bridge sits on top of it. Then the wire goes into the control cavity and is soldered to the back of the volume pot.

    [​IMG]

    Besides relying on the metal control plate to ground the volume and Tone pots there is also a solid ground wire soldered from the back of the tone pot, to the volume pot and then soldered to the switch frame. The ground wire to the input jack is also soldered to the back of the volume pot completing the grounding path to the volume and tone controls.

    [​IMG]

    On the Fender MIM Telecaster they use a different method to ground the bridge. On the bridge pu there is an eyelet connected to the black ground wire that is attached to the pu. This eyelet gos on one of the pu screws and sits under the bridge making a ground connection through the screw to the wire. The eyelet can actually sit on top of the rubber bushing under the bridge plate but I just took a quick pic to show basically how it is connected. The black wire is then run into the control cavity and soldered onto the back of the volume pot.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    On my Tele's I normally run another ground wire under the bridge and fasten it to one of the bridge screws to ensure a good ground and then run that ground wire into the control cavity and solder it to the back of the volume pot.

    Now "Ground Loops" have been mentioned a lot and I just wanted to point out that there are actually two them in this stock Telecaster harness. The pots are grounded to the plate and then the ground wire was added for additional grounding. Fender seems to be more concerned in "Good Grounding" then they are with "Ground Loop" issues or they surely wouldn't be doing this. As I mentioned before I also run an additional ground wire to the back of the volume and tone pots on my Tele rigs as this helps make sure everything is grounded to reduce noise as this is even more of an issue with single coil pu's than with humbuckers.

    [​IMG]
     
  10. FourT6and2

    FourT6and2 Senior Member

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    So, there would be no issue (grounding-wise) with having the pots mounted on the metal plate in a LP as well as having the "C" grounding wire on the back of the pots as well?

    Redundant, yes. But do you foresee any issues arising from that?
     
  11. jonesy

    jonesy GLOBAL WIRING GURU MLP Vendor

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    IMO the "C" ground wire is a solid connection and is a much better grounding method than just the metal plate by itself. As previously discussed the metal plate may have some influence on Tone, but I really don't think adding the "C" wire along with the plate is going to cause any issues at all. If anything you will have much better grounding to all the pots.
     
  12. FourT6and2

    FourT6and2 Senior Member

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    I shall try it. :)

    Just got my RS Kit in. Gonna rewire my Silverburst when I get the time.
     
  13. jonesy

    jonesy GLOBAL WIRING GURU MLP Vendor

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    Cool, sounds like a plan. Hope everything goes smooth. ;)
     
  14. Lampens

    Lampens Senior Member

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    I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.

    In our nco training we go by the rules of explaining, showing, excercising. It sounds better in the dutch version lol. You tell em how something is supposed to be done or how something works. (Weapon instruction is by far the easiest to learn that teaching skill) Then you show em, (in real time) then you show em while explaining. Then they have to do it themselves. With you helping them out in the earlier stages if necessary.

    You remember some by hearing, more by seeing and most by doing it yourself. At least it will stick longer with you.

    Btw I'm gonna do the whole electric wiring in the lp again. can't figure out where the problem is. This time also a new switch and output jack. I've seen hillbilly's vids and they are very clear. My switch wiring is very crappy compared to that. If it still is leaking somewhere after that It must be the pots or maybe that stupid paint inside the cavity I guess.
     
  15. jonesy

    jonesy GLOBAL WIRING GURU MLP Vendor

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    I like that concept, makes total sense to me :thumb:

    A lot of that paint is conductive so if any part of a hot wire or switch lug is touching it inside the switch cavity part of the signal will be sent to ground and will cause volume loss. Hope you get that sorted out.
     
  16. Raz59

    Raz59 Senior Member

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    The conductive black paint is connected to ground?
    EDIT: To answer my question: yeah it is, since the body of the pots are grounded, and they're mounted on the cavity; so if the cavity is covered by a conductive material, the paint itself is connected to ground. *head smack*
     
  17. jonesy

    jonesy GLOBAL WIRING GURU MLP Vendor

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    The epi's are notorious for this in particular, and I have had several people report problems to me that they have had with their toggle switch lugs/wires grounding out inside the switch cavity since it is pretty tight in there. The Switchcraft switches are just a little bigger than the import switches, and if they get twisted they can touch the cavity wall and contact the paint.

    Besides the pots being grounded to the paint, the paint inside the switch cavity itself is also enough to create a "short" by conducting a portion of the signal if a hot lug and ground lug or vintage braided from the switch make contact with the paint as well.
     
  18. Lampens

    Lampens Senior Member

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    But if it's just the braided wire touching the paint it doesn't matter right? Only if a hot wire or lug touches it will it shorten out?

    Cause the braided wire will touch that damn paint no matter what when it goes into the cavity towards the pickups.

    Why in the hell is that stupid paint there anyway?
    Another thing. Since I will be redoing the wiring. Last time I covered the braided wire going from the input jack towards the switch with heatshrinktubing so it wouldn't touch anything in the control cavity like a hot lug and the braided would start making ground contact when it either hit another braided wire in the route to the pickups or at the ground lug of the switch. Or should I connect it at the back of a pot before its going in the route towards the pickups. That isn't necessary right?
     
  19. FourT6and2

    FourT6and2 Senior Member

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    Ok, rewired my guitar with the RS Kit, new jack and new switch. Noise-wise, nothing has changed. Tone-wise, it's quite different. Haven't had enough time to play around and see if I really like the change in sound. The volume pots' sweep is much better, though. And 50's wiring style is pretty cool for retaining clarity when you back off the volume. I like that part the most.

    I'll start a new thread about all that, though. Just thought I'd update about the noise/grounding issue.

    It's either the pickup, itself, or something else. But I rewired the entire guitar and it's done well (I think). So, it's not a wiring issue.


    I asked this question earlier. I think the heatshrink is just to keep the jack lead's outer braid from shorting against something in the control cavity. No matter what, it's going to touch the leads from the switch and both pickups inside the route up toward the switch and pickups. So, I don't think that part's an issue. And the braids (no matter what) are going to touch the guitar body/paint in that route as well. Unless of course you heatshrink them all the way from connection to connection.
     

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