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Strat copy pickup replacement

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New Member
Joined: 8 years ago
Posts: 2
Topic starter  

I will preface all of this by saying I am a total noob at electronics. If I've done something blatantly stupid I apologize.

So, about 6 years ago I got it into my head to replace the humbucker on my pacifica. When I opened the guitar, a much dumber and younger me, had no idea what he was doing. So after dicking around for a while, I came to the conclusion I was in over my head and closed it up, and there it sat.

Recently I decided to try again. I did the research, talked to a friend that is pretty well-versed on the topic and got the right tools. I followed a generated pickup diagram from seymour-duncan for a H/S/S setup with one tone and one volume. I bought new pots, a new switch, and kept the original single coils, thinking it's a work in progress, if all goes well I can replace them at a later date. Groovy right?

Well not so much. The problem I'm experiencing now is that my guitar buzzes like a mofo when plugged in. I only have a small sampling amp (G-dec 30), and it is much more noticeable on settings with any sort of effects. Touching the pot stems, or the strings, or the bridge, basically any metal will cancel out this problem. I know that there is some buzz to be experienced when using single coils, but this is pretty excessive and is present in almost equal measure across any combination of the 3 pickups on a 5 way switch.

Things I've done to try and remedy this:
1. Continuity tests pretty much anywhere I can think of. From the switch to the pots, any of the bullshit splicing I did, to the bridge ground to the input jack. Ad nauseum, over and over again. I cannot find evidence of a cold joint.
2. I flipped the green and black wires coming from the humbucker on the off chance it was reacting poorly with the single coils. Originally had black as the hot and green/bare as the ground, and changed to black/bare as ground. Did not solve the problem, but also didn't affect the sound as much as I thought it would.
3. Tested my guitar cord and my amp with another guitar. Even plugged the pacifica into the rocksmith cable on my PS3 just to make sure it was there too. It was indeed almost unplayable in that format.'
4. Searched the internet, pretty much endlessly. I post here as a last resort before taking it to a tech or just saying fuck it and rewiring from scratch.

I know shielding is important, and I essentially don't have any. I know that some noise is just going to be there, and I'm cool with that, but it's crazy and excessive. If anybody has some tests I can run to help find the issue, please let me know.

I have included a few pictures. These are without the grounds for the humbucker, the hot for the middle pup to the switch, or the hot from the jack on the volume pot.

Apologies for the crazy long post and thanks in advance.

Estimable Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 157

Is everything grounded? I know my strat has 2 grounds. One to the body and one to the tremolo.

Does the humming stop when you touch the strings?

Interview guy: What is the source of your feedback?
Neil Young: Volume.

New Member
Joined: 8 years ago
Posts: 2
Topic starter  

The ground ends on the back of the guitar where the springs that hold the bridge in place live. The other ending point is on the input jack.

The sound does indeed stop when I touch the strings, or the pot stems, or the bridge etc.

Eminent Member
Joined: 8 years ago
Posts: 19

Definitely sounds like a grounding issue. One or both of the 2 ground wires are not grounded. Since pickup wires can be whatever color the manufacturer desires and I suck at wiring myself, I suggest going to (I think that's the address) they have easy to read wiring diagrams for most guitars free for download. find yours and backtrack through the wiring job to see where you went wrong. If the wire colors make it confusing because they don't match the diagram go to the pickup makers site to find out what the color combo is for your pickup(s).

Or pay someone to fix it for you. It shouldn't cost that much.