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Upgrading modern P, bridge ground solutions

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by aphexafx, Dec 30, 2013.

  1. aphexafx

    aphexafx A mind is a terrible thing. Supporting Member

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    Hey All,

    Well I guess this is my intro post. I’m not a professional player… I’m just recently getting back to the bass after maybe eight years and before that I was NOT doing much more than jamming by ear. This time I’m doing it right. I’m studying theory, learning my scales and relationships, and I’m also studying instrument design, etc. I’m 35-ish (something like that) and I build electronics for robotics and I shoot commercial food and bev so I’m familiar with electronics and mechanics. I’m also comfy in the woodshop as I have built furniture and other exciting things over the years. Anyway, this is my first post because everything I’ve needed to know has been covered her in great depth and this is the single most productive resource for my bass playing that I have encountered. You guys rock. :bassist:

    I’m upgrading a brand new American Standard P into an old dream bass. My main instrument is a 18v Jazz V and it’s the most wonderful bass I’ve ever played HOWEVER I also love the four string P and back in the day I dreamed of my perfect P…now I’m making it happen. So my question:

    I upgraded the electronics and wired to vintage specs with push-back and everything to accompany the “Custom Shop 60s” (LOVE LOVE LOVE these pickups, Fender marketing aside). 2013 and Fender is still just smashing the bridge ground between the bridge plate and body. Seriously? Well whatever. I replaced the ground, as one does, and put it back together but I was seeing some setup issues on my treble end and had to lower the saddles. Lots of tinkering went on to discover that the bridge plate was not seating perfectly flat to the body because of the new ground wire, even though I splayed the strands a la Fender, etc. It’s just enough to pass a sheet of paper under one corner. I don’t know if this is OK or not but it will never sit well with me so I pulled the bridge and I stared at it trying to come up with a better solution. :)spit: at Fender.)

    Does anyone have a personal method for providing this ground contact without offsetting the bridge plate? Something more elegant than clamping the wire between the body and plate? I came up with a solution but I’d love to see what else has been tried.
  2. aphexafx

    aphexafx A mind is a terrible thing. Supporting Member

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    My first solution:

    Parts: #4 x 3/8" wood screw, #8 1/4" x 1/4" aluminum or plastic spacer, 1/4" x 1" steel spring, ~2" copper mesh/strap

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Form a rigid base for spring and ground strap, ground wire is wrapped around the screw under the spacer and tightened down. It could also be soldered to the ground strap but that isn't necessary imo.

    [​IMG]

    Spring grips tight to the base and ground strap folds over contact edge:

    [​IMG]

    Bridge plate presses spring into channel and a ground is provided.

    [​IMG]

    Bridge is now seated solidly with no offset or gap:

    [​IMG]


    So I'm going to watch and see if this ends up being a reliable way to ground the bridge. My only concern is vibration upsetting the contact point but so far it is rock solid. The pliability of the mesh absorbs the vibration..that or its simply not an issue in the first place.

    Interested to see/hear other solutions.
  3. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member

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    that looks like it was fun, but functionally it's no different, and probably less reliable, than the stock method. you now have far less solid of a clamping contact, instead just touching the bridge with spring pressure.

    i'm sure it's fine though; a drop of liquid deoxit where metal touched metal might be prudent to prevent oxidation-caused intermittence down the road.

    one method when the bridge just won't sit properly is to lay some copper shielding tape under it, with some extra extending down into the cavity, then solder the ground wire to that part.
  4. aphexafx

    aphexafx A mind is a terrible thing. Supporting Member

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    Agreed.

    Yes! That's exactly what I'm looking for. That's so simple and easy, I would never have thought of it. Well I'm too proud of my spring to give up on it so fast but I'm going to order some copper tape to have on hand. Thank you!
  5. aphexafx

    aphexafx A mind is a terrible thing. Supporting Member

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    I uploaded some more shots of my upgrade to this P. It's all sealed and done and I absolutely love it. It's a great bass. Good job, Fender!

    Stock 2012 American Standard Maple

    [​IMG]


    Factory wiring job. :rolleyes: Idk, call me particular but...that looks like high school electronics class.

    [​IMG]


    All deboned, factory guard and electronics preserved to be lost and then found and tossed out, decades from now.

    [​IMG]


    Building better ground straps and lines. This is for me, it's not going to change anything.

    [​IMG]


    New electronics on new pickguard and pickups connected. Test. Good. Yay!

    [​IMG]


    Wow...barely fits. But it fits.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    (You can see the gap from my ground wire on the left side of the bridge here, before it got fixed; see above posts.)
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    Beauty!!!

    [​IMG]


    I backed off the pickguard screws a bit after seeing this one.

    [​IMG]


    Schaller locks installed and a *new* Levy's strap.

    [​IMG]


    I just need to find some dome top knobs! I gave it a new full setup; it's a fantastic neck and this thing has TONE. Great response on the tone pot too with audible difference over the entire range. Love it. Time to scratch it up. :smug:
  6. BlueTalon

    BlueTalon Supporting Member Supporting Member

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    Disclosures:
    Endorsing Artist: Turnstyle Switch
    I really like that bridge! Beautiful bass! I love the black on black.

    What I did on my bass (the one in my avatar), when I was putting it together, was to lay down a foundation of adhesive copper foil that's almost the exact size of the bridge footprint (didn't want any copper showing). I extended the copper foil into the hole where the ground wire comes out, and then I soldered the wire to the copper foil below the top surface of the bass.

    I ended up with a perfectly flat bridge with excellent grounding.

    I'd show you a picture, but I didn't think to take any.
  7. BlueTalon

    BlueTalon Supporting Member Supporting Member

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    Doh! I missed this, Walter beat me to it.

    Oh well. At least I can verify that the technique works.
  8. aphexafx

    aphexafx A mind is a terrible thing. Supporting Member

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    No no no thank you very much for posting! I have ordered some copper tape to keep on hand. I love learning all the tricks. :cool:

    I knew there must be some standard solution because the bridge/body interface is an important one. :eek:

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