1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

Buzz in weird old guitar

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by ulrich, Nov 9, 2005.

  1. My friends '57 Strat',after decades of happy playing, developed a nasty buzz about six months ago. At this time, no changes were made. I suspect failing solder connections. I didn't see any broken solder joints, but lots of lumpy amateurish work. Changing amps, cords doesn't help.

    It's been hard getting details from my friend, because, bless his heart, he's a guitarist. (30 years playing, and he looks at me blankly, when I mention neck relief.)

    The details

    1957 Stratocaster
    Modded circa 1970 by Roger Linn
    No Fender electronics whatsoever.
    Gibson micro humbuckers
    Roger Linn pre-amp. (on a odd triangular piece of prototype board)

    Bridge, pots, jack shield, pups, are all grounded together; continuity is fine all over. Perhaps I missed something. I suspect a poor solder joint, that has continuity, but high resistance.

    Any ideas appreciated; TIA.
  2. luknfur


    Jan 14, 2004

    Boy, that ought to make some diciest Fender enthusiasts turn over in their graves - and probably put some existing ones in theirs.

    The good news is you can do the work yourself now. Also I'm guessing this Roger Linn isn't around anymore?

    6 months so I'm guessing the problem has definitively been isolated to the instrument - not cord, amp, location, whatever.

    Does the guitar make more or less noise when you touch the pup poles? If the noise increases that's a red flag for poor ground - if those poles are grounded (which Gibson would know). Does touching anything reduce or increase the noise?

    Is anything loose/sloppy?: pot stem, pup pole, jack. If so that could indicate the source.

    Assuming he wants to retain the tone, first I would make a legible, detailed diagram of all wiring. I would take numerous pics of the control bay from different angles. Even if he wants to change the tone - he may decide otherwise after the fact. So you want to be able to get back to that - without having to remember anything.

    I would rule out the jack and bridge ground first. Those you can rule out with a meter without touching anything. Preamps can take a dive anytime after 10 years so that's definetly suspect. Skip the preamp and wire it through the pots if you can and that would probably tell you about the preamp. If you still get racket then the preamp is probably not the culprit and you can wire the pups straight to the jack. Wherever you get racket, it's in the components that remain (and may or not have anything to do with those cut out of the circuit - but probably not), when it stops, the remaining components are good to go - unless it's something intermittant or rerouting the circuitry resolved a poor connection.

    Basically, you just have to isolate the system then isolate the component in the system thereafter.
  3. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
  4. In case anyone's not twirling in their grave, or clutching their heart; The "routing" appears to have been done with a drill, and chisel. And, there's filler where the tremolo used to be. In Roger's defense, he was a teen at the time.

    He's still around, see link the bongomania psted.


    Touching anything grounded stops the noise. I didn't try touching the poles.

    The jack was loose; I fixed it. (no buzz improvement) I'll check the others.

    Good idea. Unlike when I rewired, my Peavey Patriot bass, there ain't gonna be a readily available schematic.

    Ah yes, common or garden trouble shooting. I just have to suck it up, and take the time.