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Is it ok to use non-shielded wire in a Squier VM Precision?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by petrus61, Oct 20, 2013.

  1. petrus61

    petrus61 Supporting Member

    Looking at the wiring in a Squier VM P bass I just picked up and instead of this:

    I found this: ImageUploadedByTalkBass1382302009.303390.

    I'm fairly new do doing my own wiring, but why the coaxial wire instead of just wiring like every other P I've seen? Are they there to serve a different function? I also noticed there is a black wire from VOL to a shielding tab screwed into the cavity where the black spray shielding is applied. I wanted to replace the electronics and wire like the top diagram, but will it function correctly without the coaxial? Is the sheilding tab wire running to the body still necessary with the original Fender wiring? Thanks.

    EDIT: Thread title changed. I will never call shielded wire "coaxial" again. :)
  2. antonspon


    Mar 27, 2013
    The wiring is essentially identical as regards function in the two diagrams. Not sure if a previous owner may have replaced the standard wiring with coax in yours (my VM Jazz has the separate wires), but if anything it should simply make the bass less susceptible to interference/noise. By all means change it if you prefer the "standard" wiring.
  3. P Town

    P Town

    Dec 7, 2011
    A minor correction regarding terminology. The cable is more likely to be shielded, not coaxial. Shielded cable is less prone to picking up electrical interference.
  4. antonspon


    Mar 27, 2013
    Coaxial = shielded (if the outer sleeve is connected to ground).
  5. petrus61

    petrus61 Supporting Member

    Yes. It has the outer sleeve. Is there a functional difference in this setup? Should standard wiring work or will I need to add/remove to account for whatever the coaxial is doing?
  6. P Town

    P Town

    Dec 7, 2011
    While coaxial cable is a shielded cable, it is not generally used for audio frequency applications. Coaxial cable is designed to be used as a transmission line for radio frequencies. The center conductor is located centrally in the outer shield by an insulating cover that maintains it in position. Coaxial cable is designed to have certain impedance depending on the requirements of the application. So yes coaxial cable is shielded. But shielded cable is not necessarily coaxial.
  7. P Town

    P Town

    Dec 7, 2011
    You most likely have shielded cable, (not coaxial cable). It is less likely to pick up electromagnetic interference than single wire. Don't worry about it.
  8. GlennW


    Sep 6, 2006
    Here's a couple of electronic pics of an old Harmony H22 hollow body bass. The flexible conduit (looks sort of like a rusty spring) serves as the ground/shield, and has the hot lead/s inside. It's purpose is to cut down on 60 cycle hum. Notice how the conduit is soldered to the output jack and pots.

    The grey wire on the left in the second pic connects the pickup (single coil, upside down and top left) to the switch. The grey insulation covers the shielded/hot leads from the pickup.
  9. Indeed. I would leave it alone.
  10. The real question is why don't you see shielded wire on every P bass? The only disadvantage to shielded wire is the increased parasitic capacitance, relative to unshielded wire; but for a foot or two of wire, it's not very much. Single-conductor shielded wire does not allow for series/parallel options on Jazz basses, but multiple conductor shielded wire is available and common on modern pickups. Fender players tend to get really hung up on vintage-correctness, and hence the continued use of non-shielded wire (and especially cloth covered wire) on vintage style pickups.

    It should be obvious why shielded wire was chosen. Shielded wire is shielded. That means less noise.

    That's not spray paint. It is electrically-conductive shielding paint. The purpose of the wire is to ground the paint, to create a Faraday Cage. The ground needs to stay.
  11. Bassamatic

    Bassamatic keepin' the beat since the 60's Supporting Member

    I was floored when I opened my new(ish) VAM P bass and found they wired it with shielded cable! This is so cool - a serious upgrade. P basses are relatively hum-free to begin with, and this will eliminate any possible EMI creeping in via the usual unshielded wiring.

    This is really a huge step forward in guitar making - that someone would make the effort and spend the extra few pennies to do this.

    The only other time I have ever seen this was in a very old vintage Les Paul.

    Also - I don't ever feel that line6man is talking down to someone - he is being an proper engineer and offering the correct information to those that would like to know better.
  12. P Town

    P Town

    Dec 7, 2011
    A wire making contact to the shielding paint is a good idea.
    The capacitance of the short length of shielded cable is negligible.
  13. petrus61

    petrus61 Supporting Member

    Ok, lets try this again. The old electronics are coming out and will be replaced with traditional wiring...end of story...it works or it doesn't. Is there a reason this particular bass requires this particular wiring when the traditional wiring has been perfectly noise free and functional for years on many p basses?

    By your logic, it would seem almost every p bass out there is teetering on obsolescence because of its lack of SHIELDED wire and grounding lugs.

    I don't know why people get so anal about trivial crap that isn't really relevant to the OP. I never called it spray paint and I don't really care what the wires are called, I just want to know, without personal opinions on whether its "right" or "wrong" (try works or doesn't work), why a bass with standard Alnico p bass pickups with typical leads going into two 250k pots, a cap and jack would function any lesser than one with the wiring it currently has.

    The sentence where you stated "It should be obvious..." came off as condescending and perhaps I took it the wrong way. If so, I apologize. I just get tired of reading posts where people just ask for a little direction and instead get big heap of "well, duh"
  14. The traditional means of wiring a P bass has worked fine for 60+ years. However, some people want to go a step further and try to reduce noise. The benefits of shielding are questionable, but nonetheless, it's a step forward in musical instrument engineering, if you're so inclined to go down that path. If standard P bass wiring works for you, then don't fuss over shielding.

    Keep in mind, however, that your bass has shielding paint, so you have to ground it. If you don't, it acts like a giant antenna that might make the bass noisier.
  15. petrus61

    petrus61 Supporting Member

    I'll go ask a mod to change the title or delete the thread, as its attracting more correction of the term I used than anything actually pertaining to the query. My fault. I had seen this type of wire referred to as coaxial...not saying its right, but it was a point of reference for me to use.
  16. CnB77


    Jan 7, 2011
    Functional, yes, depending on the individual circumstances. Perfectly noise free? Not even close.

    It really seems like you came in here to start a fight, so maybe you should just chill out
  17. petrus61

    petrus61 Supporting Member

    Thanks and I deleted my other post...I went a little over the top. I can see, judging from some posts how this type of wiring can be beneficial, but its not doing me any favors at the moment by not working. I figured I'd use what I had on hand (a couple full size pots, tinned wire and better jack) to just redo it. Will the ground lug going to the paint still be necessary in a traditional wiring scheme, or will it short something out that way...seems like coming from the bridge would be enough.
  18. petrus61

    petrus61 Supporting Member

    No, actually I created the OP asking a question and got mostly posts about how I misnamed a wire and some paint. Again, if not pertinent to the query, please just post elsewhere. I'm not getting into splitting hairs about how much noise comes through a P bass in a given room.
  19. You need to have a wire to ground the paint, because otherwise, it's going to act like an antenna for noise. The other option is to remove the paint entirely, so that no conductive surface in the bass is left "floating" from ground, but that's more trouble than it's worth.
  20. petrus61

    petrus61 Supporting Member

    So just leave the shield wire attached to the VOL if I wire as standard?

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