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Thread: Installed Dave Murray Loaded Pickguard (Trouble Shoot, Help!)

  1. #1
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    Default Installed Dave Murray Loaded Pickguard (Trouble Shoot, Help!)

    So I purchased the Dave Murray loaded pickguard (Hot Rails in the bridge, JB jr in the middle, Hot Rails in the neck) to put in my partscaster, came with a wiring diagram, as well as the output jack with the hot and the ground soldered onto it. Seemed like a simple operation, everything was pre wired, all I had to do was de-solder and take out my old pick guard, solder on the white / hot wire to the bridge pot lug and solder on the black / ground wire to the bridge pot and be done, happy days!

    The diagram did not mention the ground wire from the bridge pot to the trem claw, my old pick guard had one so I figured that was strange. Did some reading around on forums / watching videos and the general consensus was you should have a ground wire from the bridge pot to the trem claw, or other loaded pickguards had the output jack hot / ground and the trem claw ground to the bridge pot. So I added the ground wire back in from the trem to the bridge pot. When I got the guitar all set up and plugged it in it had a loud humming noise coming from the guitar (like when you unplug the patch chord from your guitar, but the amp is still on) and it would go away when I touched any piece of metal on the guitar, strings, bridge, tuning pegs, you name it. All the pickups, volume pots worked, distortion sounded great, minus the hum. Swapped out patch cable, tried different guitars in same amp and only this guitar was problematic, so I isolated it down to that. Figured I may have a grounding issue, thought I did everything correct, tinned the wires, tinned the connection points, using the Weller 5w - 40w solder station on high, heat the work and let the solder flow, don't blow on the joint.

    Next step I took it apart again, re soldered my ground connections (as I am newer to soldering, thought maybe I botched it?) to the bridge pot, strung it back up and the hum was still there. Tried turning lights on and off and moving around the room / 360 degress to see if there was any interference and nothing different. Then I opened the guitar back up, removed the ground wire from the trem and strung it back up, figured what else have I got to try to trouble shoot. Guitar sounds good at volumes 1 - 3 (using a Vox AC10C1), but anything louder the hum is there twice as bad. Opened the guitar up again, cut the ends of my old ground wire, stripped back the casing, twisted the ends and tinned them again, re-soldered ground wire both ends, strung it back up, and the problem was there same as before.

    So I have settled on not having a ground wire from the trem to bridge pot and be able to play at home at low volumes for now. I am assuming that the hum is not normal for Hot Rails based on talking with a friend who has had them before, and they are Humbuckers. I do not think I should have to rely on a noise gate with the ground for the trem installed (have not tried this yet, friend did not need to use one), nor do I want to just leave it without a ground wire and only being able to play at low volumes. The area around the pots / selector on the back of the pickguard has some shielding tape on it, but the body does not have any inside of it.

    Sorry for the long winded story, figured more details the better. Any advice on what to trouble shoot next or what the issue could be? I'll see if maybe I can post some pictures, if necessary. Any help is greatly appreciated!

  2. #2
    Mojo's Minions hamerfan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Installed Dave Murray Loaded Pickguard (Trouble Shoot, Help!)

    The hot is touching ground anywhere. Just a shot in the dark: Is your guitar shielded? If yes, often the switch is the culprit. Its lugs could touch the shielded back.
    If you can post some pics, do it. Maybe we can spot it.
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    Default Re: Installed Dave Murray Loaded Pickguard (Trouble Shoot, Help!)

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    Here is the back of the bridge pot, most recent picture I have is this one. The white wire with the rubber casing on the right is the trem claw ground wire (which I currently have removed). The wire with the black cloth to the left of that is the ground from the output jack, the next one over to the left with the black cloth is (attached from the factory) connecting the tone pot to the bridge pot, then the white one to the left of that is the hot wire from the output jack.

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    Default Re: Installed Dave Murray Loaded Pickguard (Trouble Shoot, Help!)

    Quote Originally Posted by hamerfan View Post
    The hot is touching ground anywhere. Just a shot in the dark: Is your guitar shielded? If yes, often the switch is the culprit. Its lugs could touch the shielded back.
    If you can post some pics, do it. Maybe we can spot it.
    The pickguard has a little area of shielding around the pots and switch, but the guitar body itself is not shielded.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Installed Dave Murray Loaded Pickguard (Trouble Shoot, Help!)

    Welcome to the forum!

    is the hum there before you put the pickguard back on? I mean, still wired, but not screwed on...sometimes hot wires can accidentally touch ground when screwed back together, and that can cause hum. You should also solder a bridge ground. But that should be a really silent pickguard, though.
    Dave, Ambassador/Writer/Artist for Seymour Duncan

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    Default Re: Installed Dave Murray Loaded Pickguard (Trouble Shoot, Help!)

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    Photo 1 is the back of the pickguard, factory, before soldering anything on

    Photo 2 is the wiring diagram

    Photo 3 is a zoomed out version of the soldering, with the factory selector included.

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    Default Re: Installed Dave Murray Loaded Pickguard (Trouble Shoot, Help!)

    Quote Originally Posted by Mincer View Post
    Welcome to the forum!

    is the hum there before you put the pickguard back on? I mean, still wired, but not screwed on...sometimes hot wires can accidentally touch ground when screwed back together, and that can cause hum. You should also solder a bridge ground. But that should be a really silent pickguard, though.
    When I soldered the wires up, set the pickguard in before stringing and did the screw driver test, there was no hum. Maybe something has come in contact with something it shouldn't? Yeah, I would prefer a trem claw ground, but unfortunately the problem is there even at low volumes with the trem ground to the bridge pot, when it is removed the problem is there only at loud volumes.

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    Default Re: Installed Dave Murray Loaded Pickguard (Trouble Shoot, Help!)

    Quote Originally Posted by Rb88 View Post
    When I soldered the wires up, set the pickguard in before stringing and did the screw driver test, there was no hum. Maybe something has come in contact with something it shouldn't? Yeah, I would prefer a trem claw ground, but unfortunately the problem is there even at low volumes with the trem ground to the bridge pot, when it is removed the problem is there only at loud volumes.
    Yeah, my guess is something is touching it shouldn't when you put it back together. That is the problem you will have to solve...try to feel what area of the pickguard is touching the shielding when you put it back on. My guess is something on the switch.
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