Need Help With Metallic Noise Coming Through Pickup

Discussion in 'Pickups, Electronics & General Tech' started by guitaardvark, Apr 14, 2019.

  1. guitaardvark

    guitaardvark SS.org Regular

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    Hey everyone, hope you're having a great Sunday.

    I'm having a little bit of trouble with my Telecaster's bridge pickup, a DiMarzio Tone Zone T. It seems to be picking up a metallic noise from within the guitar. I think it's the spring from my 3-way switch because that noise can be heard when I flip the switch to the bridge pickup. When I slowly and carefully flip the switch to the bridge, it can't be heard. The neck pickup isn't picking the sound up, which is odd because as a single coil, it's the noisier pickup overall. I don't think the bridge pickup is microphonic since it doesn't pick up sound from my voice or my speakers. At this point, I'm not sure if it's a problem with the pickup or if it's just an insanely loud switch.

    Here's an example of the noise: https://soundcloud.com/monroe-vallejo/pickup-noise

    The pinging noise at the beginning before the chugs is me switching to the bridge pickup. This example is with a noise gate off just to showcase the noise, but I can hear that frequency ringing out across notes even when I'm playing with a gate as I usually do. Any help would be much appreciated!
     
  2. Tisca

    Tisca Big-tube snob

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    track not found
     
  3. guitaardvark

    guitaardvark SS.org Regular

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    AkiraSpectrum likes this.
  4. AkiraSpectrum

    AkiraSpectrum SS.org Regular

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    Hmm, it sounds to me like string-ring from behind the nut. Put foam or a snug hair-band or something behind the nut to see if that stops it.
     
  5. guitaardvark

    guitaardvark SS.org Regular

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    Forgot to mention that I ruled that out. The clip was recorded with a GruvGear Fret Wrap tightly wrapped behind the nut.
     
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  6. littlebadboy

    littlebadboy SS.org Regular

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    I think it's a Tele thing! Mine had that sound too. Since it is barely audible in my recording projects when in a mix, I just ignored it.

    But, I'm wondering if it's the pickup springs?
     
  7. guitaardvark

    guitaardvark SS.org Regular

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    I'm almost certain that it's the selector switch since that seems to be the source of the sound when it's unplugged. At this point I'm just not sure if something is wrong with my pickup or if I need a new, quieter switch (or if there's a way to dampen the sound).
     
  8. AkiraSpectrum

    AkiraSpectrum SS.org Regular

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    Hmmm, can you open up the (pickguard) control-cavity and try to secure the selector switch so it doesn't 'rattle'? Put foam or something around it?
    While you're in there make sure everything else is seems secure/snug?
     
  9. guitaardvark

    guitaardvark SS.org Regular

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    I'm shielding it soon so I'll see if I can come up with a fix for it then. I'll update afterward! Thanks for the suggestions.
     
  10. littlebadboy

    littlebadboy SS.org Regular

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    Please do let us know!

    While you have it open, consider replacing the pickup springs with automotive rubber tubings.
     
  11. USMarine75

    USMarine75 Contributor

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    With teles it's usually the baseplate. Tap the bridge plate and the control plate and see if they are microphonic. The other issue is the bottom plate of the bridge pickup can get loose.
     
  12. guitaardvark

    guitaardvark SS.org Regular

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    I didn't actually know that this was common on Fender instruments. After looking into it, some people said that it can help with microphonics, but even if it doesn't, it'll still be a lot easier to work with than springs during assembly. Thanks!

    When I tap the bridge plate with my pick, it picks it up. Is there a fix for this? It looks like this happens when the bridge isn't snug on the body, but mine looks pretty tight on there. I'll check the pickup plate when I take it apart this week.
     
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  13. USMarine75

    USMarine75 Contributor

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    Super common with teles!

    It's either mechanical or electrical (or combination):
    • Mechanical test - use something non-conductive like your pick, wood (with cloth over it), or rubbery (borrow something from wife maybe) to press down on the bridge plate in different areas while you are on bridge pickup. Does noise go away? = Mechanical [<-- My guess is this because you said you used pick, but doublecheck you didn't also have palm touching.]
    • Electrical test - does it go away when you touch lightly with your hand? = Electrical
    If mechanical, several solutions = Different (thicker gauge?) bridge, tightening screws, adding screws, add a piece of foam or warm wax in-between bridge and body. You can also remove the bridge baseplate and add a coating of silicone or wax in-betwen the bottom of pickup and baseplate and then re-attach. In the end, the noise is because either or both the bridge plate or pickup (windings, poles, baseplate) may be vibrating. Your bridge plate may look snug, but they can still vibrate if not perfect. You can try removing and giving it a SLIGHT bend/contour by hand, so that the middle arches up and the front and back arch down. When you tighten screws it will pull it flat. The noise is because the front of bridge is microscopically vibrating enough to be picked up by the bridge pickup (or like I said, add anything in-between to dampen the vibrations).

    If electrical = check your grounding wiring, especially the control plate, jack, and bridge! Check that base plate of bridge pickup isn't loose. Add foam under pickup (do this anyways) and make sure springs are strong enough to hold pickup against it tightly. Different pickup is a last resort.

    Let me know.
     
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  14. guitaardvark

    guitaardvark SS.org Regular

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    I can't thank you enough for taking the time to help me and type all of that out. I'll be opening it up later this week or this weekend so I'll let you know what works then! Thank you so much!
     
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  15. guitaardvark

    guitaardvark SS.org Regular

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    Update for posterity because my biggest pet peeve on forums is when an OP has a problem, a solution is suggested, and it's never confirmed whether it works or not.

    I fixed it! I did a few things, and I don't know if any single thing or all of them together did it, but here's what I did:
    - Replaced pickup springs with Fender rubber tubes
    - Shielded the guitar (while I did this just to alleviate the 60 cycle hum, it could have helped dampen vibrations within the cavity that led to the noise in the first place)
    - Gave it an overall thorough visual exam. I noticed that my ground wire under the bridge was sticking out a little bit too much. This may have prevented the bridge from sitting completely flush with the body, which could have led to it vibrating like @USMarine75 suggested. I also made sure that the pickup baseplate wasn't loose, and thankfully it wasn't.
    - Made sure the bridge was on tight, but not overly so.
    - Added a little bit of relief to the neck, just in case fret buzz was somehow compounding the noise.

    The noise is about 99% gone. It's there if I'm REALLY listening for it without a noise gate, but the guitar is virtually dead silent otherwise, save for a tiny bit of 60 cycle hum on the neck.

    Thanks so much guys!
     
  16. USMarine75

    USMarine75 Contributor

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    Awesome!!! And with a true Tele it will never be 100% quiet that’s just the way it works. :)
     

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