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What am I doing wrong?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by ::::BASSIST::::, Mar 19, 2009.

  1. ::::BASSIST::::

    ::::BASSIST:::: Progress Not Perfection.

    Sep 2, 2004
    Vancouver, BC Canada
    So I had this idea to build my own mute switch into my rig. Should be simple really. I bought a light switch (the standard light switch you'd see at any light in your house etc). It has two screws which are the electrical terminals. I took an old 1/4" cable cut it in half. I am using a cd player and an amplifier to test this because I know I am getting constant signal. I tested with a regular 1/4" cable with an 1/8 adapter and I know that it works. Back to the switch. The lead wire goes into the terminal screw (or whatever they are called) and the 1/4 plug goes into amplifier. Same with the other screw / terminal. Plug the 1/4 (using the adapter) into the cd player and the cut wire gets clamped down in the screw/terminal.

    So I turn it on and all I get is a loud constant humming/buzz. When I flip the switch is goes off.

    I also tried the same thing with a toggle switch I had lying around instead of the light switch and I got the exact same results.

    What am I doing wrong?

    Sounds to me like a ground problem. But I am not sure, and if it is, how do I fix it?
  2. JTE

    JTE Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2008
    Central Illinois, USA
    You really need a double-pole switch. You need to switch both the hot and the ground so that there's no connection at all. I'd wire a kill-switch so that it shorts the hot to the ground on the jack side of the circuit, and totally pulls the hot and ground of the other side out of the circuit. If you don't know what this stuff means, then don't try to build it yourself.

  3. BillyB_from_LZ

    BillyB_from_LZ Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2000
    A really simple mute switch would simply short the signal to ground. If you're opening the connection from "instrument' to amplifier, that's akin to plugging in an instrument cord and touching the tip of the plug...hum city.

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