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inkwachemis

any harm in not grounding the pickups to anything?

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hi there,

 

i did quite a hack job on pickups installations on one of my guitars. its one of those oscar schimdt oe-30s i got for $99. i put in a pair of GFS Dream180s. they do sound quite good in this guitar i must say. I wasn't expecting a sparkle and a bit of brightness with these pickups, but once i got used to them, they are great.

 

however, i didnt attach the ground wires of the 180s to anything. in installing them, i just snipped off the wires of the stock pickups, and then spliced them onto the 180s. the stock wires only had two wires, which were the pickups leads. no ground wire. thus i left the ground wires unattached. any harm in this?

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hi there,


i did quite a hack job on pickups installations on one of my guitars. its one of those oscar schimdt oe-30s i got for $99. i put in a pair of GFS Dream180s. they do sound quite good in this guitar i must say. I wasn't expecting a sparkle and a bit of brightness with these pickups, but once i got used to them, they are great.


however, i didnt attach the ground wires of the 180s to anything. in installing them, i just snipped off the wires of the stock pickups, and then spliced them onto the 180s. the stock wires only had two wires, which were the pickups leads. no ground wire. thus i left the ground wires unattached. any harm in this?

 

I'm kinda confused... The stock wires from the old pickups... Where onto the 180s did you splice them? Pics?

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I spliced a mean-90 in my dot, and the gfs had one extra wire that I'm pretty sure should've been attached to the ground wire, but I was hungover and in a hurry, so that one ended up not connected to anything.

 

No noticeable different except that when you touch the pickup it buzzes louder.

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The first rule for technicians:

If it works, don't fix it.

Seriously, if it doesn't hum just leave it be. Of course if you get shocks from mics and such you may want to ground it but if you're just a bedroom player I wouldn't worry about it.

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I'm kinda confused... The stock wires from the old pickups... Where onto the 180s did you splice them? Pics?

 

 

no pics.

 

I cut off the stock pickups and used that wiring to splice on the new dream180s. the stock wires, leading to pots, only had 2 wires (incase in insulation) per pickup, the "+" and "-" wires i assume. both of which i used to connect to the stock wires.

 

i do notice that when i touch the metal covers of the pickups, it buzzes, and while i'm doing that, and then i touch the strings with my other hand, the buzz goes away. i assume this is because its not grounded. it doesnt bother me too much, but am I at risk of electrical shock or something? thats my main concern

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Seriously, if it doesn't hum just leave it be. Of course if you get shocks from mics and such you may want to ground it but if you're just a bedroom player I wouldn't worry about it.

 

whoa wait a min. yea, this is what i'm worried about. shocks from mics? I play in a band, and i do backup vox on occasion. what should i be worried about now? getting shocks from mics because my pickups are not grounded?

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Second rule for technicians: if you are hungover, don't fix it.

 

Third rule: Measure twice, cut once. Do your homework BEFORE to try something you don't understand.

 

That said, go back in and solder the wires directly to the pickup selector and the blacks to the pots for grounding. Seymour Duncan websight has instructions with pictures. Just do the job right and you will be happier.

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whoa wait a min. yea, this is what i'm worried about. shocks from mics? I play in a band, and i do backup vox on occasion. what should i be worried about now? getting shocks from mics because my pickups are not grounded?

 

There's a pretty good chance, depending on how the p'up was wired, that when you connected the return you did in fact ground it then. I have many guitars that are wired properly and I still get shocked from mics on occasion. It has more to do with how the room is wired than how your guitar is.

 

Remember, the early pickups only had two wires and they worked just fine.

Edit: Of course shocks were pretty common back then as well.

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i do notice that when i touch the metal covers of the pickups, it buzzes, and while i'm doing that, and then i touch the strings with my other hand, the buzz goes away. i assume this is because its not grounded. it doesnt bother me too much, but am I at risk of electrical shock or something? thats my main concern

 

 

I'd say that's a pretty good indicator that you should ground the pickups. The buzz goes away because your strings are grounded through the bridge. The pickups are not. So, (and someone with more knowledge than I can confirm this) it is possible that you very well could get shocked if you touch the pickup cover and the mic.

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Pickups do not work at all if they aren't connected to ground. The "negative" pickup lead is the ground. A pickup produces an alternating voltage, so the negative and positive leads actually do the same thing, just at a (slightly) different time (another way to think of it would be that one side is the opposite of the other, so if the + is at +100mV the - is at -100mV). If you switch the + and - wires so that + goes to ground and - to the volume/tone circuit, the pickup works just fine, but it will be out of phase with other pickups in the guitar unless you also wire them backwards. Peter Green used the out of phase pickups sound alot.

 

The extra wires on the Dream 180s are individual coil leads/grounds. They should be soldered together and taped off unless you want to use coil splitting.

 

You certainly couldn't be shocked by a mic because your pickup isn't "grounded." Getting shocked by a mic occurs when the mic doesn't have proper grounding and you ground it with your body. I'm theorizing here, but I imagine that in some cases of mic shock it is because your lips connected the mic to your guitar's ground, so if your guitar/amp weren't grounded properly you would actually be at less risk of that particular hazard than if they were grounded. You won't ever get shocked by the pickup itself either, pickups generate a very low voltage (phantom power to the mic is +48V, a pickup less than 1V which is less than an AAA battery).

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What? Pickups have some kind of "ground" wire that you can not connect? I'm confused. You must be talking about coil split wires or something. There is nothing to ground on pickups, it's just a wire going around a magnet.

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Pickups do not work at all if they aren't connected to ground. The "negative" pickup lead is the ground. A pickup produces an alternating voltage, so the negative and positive leads actually do the same thing, just at a (slightly) different time (another way to think of it would be that one side is the opposite of the other, so if the + is at +100mV the - is at -100mV). If you switch the + and - wires so that + goes to ground and - to the volume/tone circuit, the pickup works just fine, but it will be out of phase with other pickups in the guitar unless you also wire them backwards. Peter Green used the out of phase pickups sound alot.


The extra wires on the Dream 180s are individual coil leads/grounds. They should be soldered together and taped off unless you want to use coil splitting.


You certainly couldn't be shocked by a mic because your pickup isn't "grounded." Getting shocked by a mic occurs when the mic doesn't have proper grounding and you ground it with your body. I'm theorizing here, but I imagine that in some cases of mic shock it is because your lips connected the mic to your guitar's ground, so if your guitar/amp weren't grounded properly you would actually be at less risk of that particular hazard than if they were grounded. You won't ever get shocked by the pickup itself either, pickups generate a very low voltage (phantom power to the mic is +48V, a pickup less than 1V which is less than an AAA battery).

 

ok, this is good info thanks.

 

the dream180 has 5 wires. two are the "+" and "-" pickup leads, two are for coil splitting (which are both taped off), and one was this naked wire that I assumed was the ground. I ended up taping that off too. everything works fine and sounds great. should I just leave it alone? this guitar is a semi-hollow, so any actual soldering to be done will actually be a pain in the ass for me.

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The bare one is for the baseplate/cover as far as I know. Grounding it would probably help with noise but you can leave it alone if you want.

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The bare one is for the baseplate/cover as far as I know. Grounding it would probably help with noise but you can leave it alone if you want.

 

Aha. Grounding the baseplate/cover... I have no humbuckers so I never thought of that. There is nothing that can be grounded on my singlecoils..

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^ Some pickups have an extra wire just for ground. Some do not.

 

I was waiting for this to come up in this thread as I read through it.

 

A separate Ground wire allows someone to ground their baseplate and/or cover of the PU to create a shield. By using a dedicated ground wire, it allows the coils to be switched any number of ways without having any one end committed to ground.

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Aha. Grounding the baseplate/cover... I have no humbuckers so I never thought of that. There is nothing that can be grounded on my singlecoils..

 

Strat PU's have nothing to ground, plastic covers and plastic or fiber bobbins. Tele neck PU's ground their covers, so you have to use or add a dedicated ground wire if you want to wire a Tele for phase switching or series/parallel. Vintage-style Tele bridge PU's have a ground plate that is grounded via the screws that connect it to the bridge plate.

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Grounding through a guitar is most likely the CAUSE of people getting a shock from a mic. You're providing a ground path through you mouth to your hand to guitar strings, bridge, and back through the amp ground. However, I don't think grounding or not grounding a pickup would have much relevance to this issue. The ground path to provide a shock will most likely be strings to bridge to ground. There are a number of articles around on using blocking capacitors in guitar ground circuits in an effort to prevent this.

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