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Wire behind the bridge?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Casting Thunder, Mar 29, 2013.

  1. Casting Thunder

    Casting Thunder

    Oct 7, 2012
    I'm swapping out the bridge on my squier Bronco and noticed the wire sitting in a slight cutout under the bridge. My replacement bridge's holes don't match up like I thought it would, but I have no reason to believe it won't work once I drill enough holes. On using the internet to double check the right placement for the new bridge and found wire was called the 'grounding wire' and the article also said if the new bridge's holes don't match up with the old ones you should take it to a professional.

    I managed to adjust my truss rod without issue, so I think I can handle this; it's just with the name grounding wire it makes me think if I mess this up, I might electrocute myself.

    What is that wire?
  2. Gaolee

    Gaolee Official leathers tester and crash dummy

    It just grounds the strings to get rid of some hum. I don't think it does anything that would make you electrocute yourself or not.
  3. scottbass

    scottbass Bass lines like a big, funky giant

    Jul 13, 2004
    Southern MN
    That wire connects the bridge to the rest of the electronics on the ground side of the circuit - hence the name "grounding wire".

    All you have to do to connect it properly is make sure there is a section (1/2" or so) of bare wire with the insulation removed sitting somewhere on top of the wood (not in the hole) where the flat part of the bridge will smash into it when you tighten the bridge down.

    It doesn't really protect you from electrocution - in fact if there is a reversal of hot and neutral between the circuit your amp is on and the circuit the PA is on it actually contributes to the "blue flame of death" when you hold a string and get your lips near a microphone. But you need to connect it in order to help minimize hum. Ungrounded strings work quite well as large antennas to pick up radio signals, 60 Hz electrical hum, electromagnetic radiation from neon signs, etc. These will be transmitted to your pickup and into your amp unless the bridge is grounded.
  4. Doug Parent

    Doug Parent Supporting Member

    May 31, 2004
    San Diego, Ca.
    Dealer Nordstrand Pickups.
    I've seen the blue flame of death, and it isn't pretty.
  5. Doug Parent

    Doug Parent Supporting Member

    May 31, 2004
    San Diego, Ca.
    Dealer Nordstrand Pickups.
    Copper shielding tape works even better. Cut a small square and have it partially cover the hole the ground wire is coming from. Solder the ground wire to the copper tape. Make sure the ground wire is inside the hole and not protruding above the surface of the wood. Bolt your bridge down over the copper tape. (Instead of a wire, it sits more flush)
  6. scottbass

    scottbass Bass lines like a big, funky giant

    Jul 13, 2004
    Southern MN
    Several musicians have died from it. If it happens in a venue that is providing the PA, I will not be approaching the microphone again unless it is fixed. Several songs will go unsung, as will many harmony parts.

    I carry a circuit tester with me. If the circuits aren't right in a venue where we are supplying the PA, I likewise will not be singing anything unless the venue can supply a different circuit that is wired correctly - even if they have to run an extension cord from somewhere else to do it.
  7. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    I saw that blue corona once back in the early 70s when a friend and I were playing in my basement!

    I also carry a multi meter. I used to like to bring an outlet tester that uses a neon bulb. If the bulb lights up when you touch it between the mic and strings you have a problem. I once measured about 80 volts.

    I've found it very rare to get shocks after 42 years. It's almost always when the PA system is not grounded properly.

    It never happens with the bands I play with that have their own PA, and I haven't been shocked in the last 25 years (knock on wood).

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