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  • Wiring question

    Hi,

    I'm currently building my first guitar from one of those kits you can buy from various places on the net. I've got to the stage where I'm planning the wiring but I've never done any wiring or soldering of any sort before and am unsure how to ground it all properly. I have attached the diagram that came with the kit. On the diagram it says to solder all of the the ground wires together, so does that mean I just take all 8 of the wires where it says "GND" and solder them all together? If so, do I have to solder them to something or just tape them up?

    Thanks very much in advance,

    stewyd

    Attached Files

  • #2
    No. All the ground wires need to connect to ground. They all don't have to be physically touching each other, just connected electrically.

    Have a look at this diagram, which is a similar two humbucker, four knob wiring setup:



    Notice how they're using the back part of the control pots as ground points, and wires to connect the backs of the pots together. That way there's electrical contact between them - they're all electrically connected, even though they're being soldered to different physical spots.

    The part of this diagram that could be confusing is the pickup wires. There should be at least two from each pickup - one signal, one ground. These pickups in the diagram have metal shielding wire wrapped around an insulated wire. The insulated wire carries the signal, the shield is the ground. You want to connect the shield / ground wire to the back of the pots, and the signal wire to the lug connectors on the pots, or to the switch, etc.

    It's also important to run a wire from the bridge post to the back of one of the pots, as well as a wire from the second (ground) pin on the output jack to the back of one of the pots.


    **********

    "Look at it this way: think of how stupid the average person is, and then realize half of 'em are stupider than that."

    - George Carlin

    "It shouldn't be expected that people are necessarily doing what they appear to be doing on records."

    - Sir George Martin, All You Need Is Ears

    "The music business will be revitalized by musicians, not the labels or Live Nation. When the musicians decide to put music first, instead of money, the public will flock to the fruits and the scene will be healthy again."

    - Bob Lefsetz, The Lefsetz Letter

    Comment


    • #3
      Thanks, that explains the grounding brilliantly. I reckon I shouldn't have too many problems, I've just got to learn how to solder now!

      One more thing though, on the picture you just posted the caps are soldered from a lug on a tone pot to a lug on a volume pot but on the drawing I attached, the caps are soldered from a lug on the tone pot to the back of that same pot. Is one of these wrong? Or can you do either and if so what difference does it make?

      Thanks again,

      stewyd

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by stewyd View Post
        Thanks, that explains the grounding brilliantly. I reckon I shouldn't have too many problems, I've just got to learn how to solder now!
        Practice on some scrap parts and wires first if at all possible. Remember to heat the work, not the solder itself. Once the work (contact point on the part) is hot enough, touching the solder to it right next to the iron will cause the solder to melt and flow freely... once it does, take the solder away, then remove the iron and leave it alone for a minute to let it cool and harden. Then move on to the next solder connection.

        I'd stick with the wiring in the diagram you have for starters. Once that's working, you can try experimenting with different wiring configurations later if you want to - there's tons of possibilities when it comes to wiring your guitar.


        **********

        "Look at it this way: think of how stupid the average person is, and then realize half of 'em are stupider than that."

        - George Carlin

        "It shouldn't be expected that people are necessarily doing what they appear to be doing on records."

        - Sir George Martin, All You Need Is Ears

        "The music business will be revitalized by musicians, not the labels or Live Nation. When the musicians decide to put music first, instead of money, the public will flock to the fruits and the scene will be healthy again."

        - Bob Lefsetz, The Lefsetz Letter

        Comment


        • #5
          Here are two more pictures of Les Paul style wiring (two humbuckers, volume and tone for each)





          In the first case the black wires are the "grounds" - they all tie together with the upper left pot being the common point. In the lower picture the braded wire is the ground between each pot.

          Either your wiring diagram or Phil's will work, but I'm going to suggest an alternative if you haven't actually done it yet

          http://www.stewmac.com/How-To/Online..._Diagrams.html

          go down to where it says "alternate volume control wiring". The difference is that with standard LP wiring if you have the switch in the center position (both pickups) and you turn one volume control all the way down it kills both pups. With the alternate diagram you actually blend both signals and turning one off only eliminates that pickup from the blend. Either way will work but I've been using the alternate method for some time.

          Practice your soldering with some scrap wire - the key is enough heat on the wire or potentiometer that when you touch the solder to it it melts immediately and flows. A trick that I use for soldering to the backs of pots is to have the solder and a small screwdriver handy, push the wire onto the pot with the tip of the iron and hold it there while you feed the solder into the joint. As soon as the solder has flowed put it down and take the tip of the screwdriver to hold the wire tight to the pot, lift the iron and hold it while it cools. Its an operation that really needs three hands but you can do it pretty will that way. If you solder joint is shiny and smooth it is good, if dull and rough it is what is called "cold solder" and you should redo it. Practice.

          Also, I would be interested in seeing the rest of your kit build. I build electric and acoustic guitar and I'm always interested in what others are doing. Also if you happen to have any questions - finish or neck angle or setup or fretting - shoot me a PM, I don't always this forum but would be happy to help.
          Last edited by Freeman Keller; 09-01-2017, 11:10 AM.

          Comment


          • #6
            Two more thoughts. You didn't say what kind of guitar you are building but if its a Les Paul style with a cavity that has a cover you can mount the components and do the wiring with them in the guitar. Here is that same Lester from the previous post - I've installed the pots and started running the wires from the pickups, switch and jack into the control cavity. Also I've marked the pots as to neck and bridge volume and tone (they are backwards so that helps keep you oriented)



            On the other hand, if you are doing a guitar where you don't have a cover or a pickguard (like a semi hollow) it is helpful to make a little jig to hold everything in the correct postion and distance from each other. You wire everything together and fish it through an f-hole or one of the pickup cavites.

            Comment


            • #7
              I'll keep thinking of more soldering tricks. Here are a couple

              With stranded wire or braid cut it just slightly too long, then strip it with the correct wire strippers (buy one that will strip 16 thru 24 or smaller gauge wire) Lightly twist all the strands together, hold your soldering iron against them and lightly feed a bit of solder. This is called "tinning" the wires and makes them much more manageable. Now take some needle nosed pliers and bend the tinned section into an L shape, feed that thru the lug on a pot or switch or jack and bend it closed with your pliers. Sometimes you need to get two wires into the same hole, I use a dental probe to open the hole up enough. Get everything nice and tight, then heat it up and apply the solder. If the is any ends of wires sticking out clip them off so they won't short on something else.

              I like my wires to have a little flex but not be too long - don't cut too much off but also don't have a lot of wire that needs to be stuffed in the cavity.

              Good luck

              Comment


              • #8
                Cheers guys, that's some really useful information you've given me there. I've just ordered some spare pots and cable to practice on.

                Freeman - I'm not building the guitar totally from scratch. I bought a kit where you get all hardware, electricals and the body and neck are already routed and the neck fretted. You have to stain and finish all the wood, glue the neck in place and then install the hardware and wire it all up. I thought that would be the best place to start having never done anything like this in the past. Maybe I'll try creating it totally from scratch in the future, but baby's steps for now! I'll post some pics once it's all done anyway.

                Thanks again!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Stewyd, I like to see pictures of everything anyone is building - it helps to encourage others.

                  One more wiring trick - make a copy of your wiring diagram (don't use the original). As you make each connection highlight it with a yellow marker. If you just attach one end of a wire just highlight that until the other is done. It is very easy to get lost or forget something as you are working - this way you can see where you are. (I used to supervise a large electrical panel fabrication shop - this is how we documented the wiring progress)

                  Also, if its a guitar where you wire it outside and then fish it in, test it while it is still out. Plug the jack into an amp and tap on each pickup with a screw driver - test that the switch works the way you think it should (up is the neck, down bridge, center both), test each volume and tone to make sure its working with the pup its designed for.

                  If it is that kind of guitar tie some pieces of string (I use dental floss) on each component (pot, switch, jack) and feed them out thru the holes. That way you can pull the component into place, but its still frustrating. I've got some pictures if you need them.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    So I've spent the last few days trying to wire this up. I've done everything as per the diagram I originally posted but I'm getting terrible buzzing so I presume I have a grounding issue.

                    The 3 way switch works and all 4 pots do what they are supposed to, but the buzzing is really, really loud. If I touch the output jack with my hand the buzzing subsides considerably but is still unacceptable. If I let go of the guitar and set it down, the buzzing reduces the same as if I touch the output jack but if I touch any of the other metal - the bridge, stop bar, pots, strings, pickups, machine heads etc - the loud buzzing returns. If I switch on any OD or distortion it gets ridiculously loud.

                    I've desoldered everything and started again from scratch using different cable. (originally I used shielded cable on everything, the second time unshielded, except for the pickups) but I have exactly the same issue. My soldering is a bit messy but all the joints look ok to my eyes. I didn't earth the bridge in my first attempt so I thought that may have been the issue but I have earthed it this time and I get the same issue

                    I've checked all the connections visually and they all look ok and I'm sure I've wired it all as per the diagram but I can't figure out why it is happening. I've attached a picture for you to have a look at to see if you can spot something. It's getting pretty frustrating now!

                    Edit: I should also say that when I begin to roll off the volume on either volume pot (when that pot's pickup is selected), the buzzing gets worse for a bit then gets quieter as the volume is reduced.

                    (By the way Freeman, it's a Les Paul style guitar. Forgot to answer your question before)
                    Attached Files
                    Last edited by stewyd; 09-16-2017, 05:43 AM.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Double check the wire running from the bridge post to the back of one of the pots. Make sure it's making good contact at both ends. Without that, you're bound to get a lot of buzzing.

                      Also, those don't look like the cleanest of solder joints - my advice would be to touch them up by reheating them (hold the wires in place with a pair of needle nose pliers) until the solder flows freely, then remove the iron and let them cool - don't wiggle the wiring at all while it is cooling - just hold it in place for a good 30-60 seconds after you remove the iron, then let go of the wire you're holding in place with the pliers.
                      **********

                      "Look at it this way: think of how stupid the average person is, and then realize half of 'em are stupider than that."

                      - George Carlin

                      "It shouldn't be expected that people are necessarily doing what they appear to be doing on records."

                      - Sir George Martin, All You Need Is Ears

                      "The music business will be revitalized by musicians, not the labels or Live Nation. When the musicians decide to put music first, instead of money, the public will flock to the fruits and the scene will be healthy again."

                      - Bob Lefsetz, The Lefsetz Letter

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Also check the wiring at the jack - if you reverse the wires (ie put the hot wire to the ring and ground the tip) it will still work but buzz like crazy. Don't ask me how I know.

                        After that, does it do it for all three switch positions? If so you can rule out the pups and pots. Check the switch wiring to see if you have the ground and hot lead reversed (I'm assuming the hot output is the red wire that runs thru the middle of the cavity). There are four terminals on the switch right together - the wipers of the volume pots goes to the outside two terminals, bend the center two together and run that to the tip of the jack (the red wire I think). There should be one other terminal on the switch, probably on the other side, that is the ground to the back of the pots.

                        In your picture, the pot on the upper left is labeled NV - that should be the bridge volume (on a Lester, when you hold it in the playing position, the upper pots are neck vol and tone, the lower are bridge) Same with the switch - up is the neck position (also called "Rhythym" if you have the little donut on it, down is the bridge (Lead). You can tap on a pickup with a screwdriver to see which one is working with the different switch positions and to make sure the right pot is working. In the neck position the tone is much richer and more complex, the bridge is bright and cutting.

                        Also, why am I not seeing the cap on the neck tone pot? Is it tucked down under the red cable from the pickup?

                        Lastly, did you run a string ground to one of the posts on the ToM or stop bar? Its not always necessary but certainly a good idea. It will be a real hassle to add later however since normally you drill into the ToM stud hole and stick a ground wire there. If everything else checks out and you didn't run that wire try just temporarily looping a piece of wire from the stop bar to a ground point in the cavity to see if that helps. If so we'll talk about how to make it permanent.
                        Last edited by Freeman Keller; 09-16-2017, 09:08 PM.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I'm with Freeman on this one. It seems that you have the two wires that are connected to the output jack reversed.
                          Last edited by onelife; 09-17-2017, 09:27 AM.
                          As a human being, you come with the whole range of inner possibilities
                          from the deepest hell to the highest states.

                          It is up to you which one you choose to explore
                          .

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Ha, that did it! I had the wires connected to the output jack the wrong way around. I think the drawing had them the wrong way around too. Anyway, whatever, it's sorted now. Quiet as a mouse and the guitar sounds pretty decent too.

                            Freeman, I do have the pots in the right places. The pic i posted should have been rotated 90 degrees anti clockwise, I forgot to do that sorry. And yep, the cap is there, right underneath the red pup cable.

                            Anyway, here's a pic of the finished guitar. I'm pretty happy with it considering I've never done anything like it before. There are a couple of areas where I got a bit heavy handed and sanded through the maple veneer and I wish I'd shaped the headstock but overall I'm pretty happy and I really love the colour. And I've learned some very useful skills along the way.

                            Cheers for all your help guys.
                            Attached Files
                            Last edited by stewyd; 09-17-2017, 11:08 AM.

                            Comment


                            • Freeman Keller
                              Freeman Keller commented
                              Editing a comment
                              Looks nice, glad you got it sorted out. Its actually pretty easy to confuse the terminals at the jack - I usually take my little multi meter and check the continuity (ps - I wired one backwards one time too). And I wasn't sure about the pots so I thought I would ask.

                              You might consider doing a little review of your build at the Electric subforum - where you got your kit, what finish you used - you might inspire someone else.












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