Looking for some advice on grounding

spellcaster

Gretschie
Nov 8, 2009
100
British Columbia, Canada
I have a guitar with a grounding problem and thought maybe one of the experts on Gretsch guitars could offer some advice. On a Gretsch guitar with a floating bridge, how is string grounding handled? Is a grounding wire attached to one of the screws anchoring the tailpiece or is there some other solution I'm missing?
 

Randy99CL

Country Gent
Feb 17, 2020
2,002
Albuquerque
Not an expert but...On my G5129 the wire was protruding from a hole between the Bigsby mounting screws. I made sure the tinned end of the wire and the base were clean and conductive. No real mechanical joint there, just the wire trapped under the bracket.

Start there, loosen the strings enough you can unscrew the Bigsby (or tailpiece) and flip it up so you can use sandpaper or a wire brush to clean the wire and base.
Check your work with a multimeter.
 

Ricochet

Senior Gretsch-Talker
Nov 13, 2009
21,485
Monkey Island
The ground usually exits from a hole hidden under the hinge next to the strapbutton. The wire is simply wedged between the hinge and body. If the wire is long enough you could solder it to the hinge for peace of mind.
 

thunder58

Super Moderator
Staff member
Dec 23, 2010
26,348
tappan ny
@spellcaster
The schematic above also shows a ground at the pick up selector switch .
An old electronics teacher of mine would always say ..... a ground is a ground is a ground is a ground . Sometimes you will also see a ground attached to the Bigsby at the area of the strap lock
 

hcsterg

Friend of Fred
Feb 13, 2012
6,472
France
I have a guitar with a grounding problem and thought maybe one of the experts on Gretsch guitars could offer some advice. On a Gretsch guitar with a floating bridge, how is string grounding handled? Is a grounding wire attached to one of the screws anchoring the tailpiece or is there some other solution I'm missing?

Usually, the grounding of the strings is done by the G-tailpiece or the Bigsby B6.

A+!
 

spellcaster

Gretschie
Nov 8, 2009
100
British Columbia, Canada
I want to thank you all for your responses. it's really appreciated. In all honesty, it's not a Gretsch guitar, but knowing how helpful you guys are and knowing that a lot of Gretsch guitars use a floating bridge, I figured this would be a good place to get good information.

I bought a new Hofner 459 Reissue which is a hollow, violin-shaped guitar with no f-holes or access covers to get at the wiring, so I'm assuming I'm in for an adventure dealing with this. Last night, I did a preliminary test, using a jumper wire from one of the volume pots with the knob removed to the tailpiece, but didn't see any dramatic change in the symptom. Today, my plan is go at it a bit more scientifically...I'm going to remove the output jack (thankfully, mounted to an oval chrome plate screwed to the body) and see if my multi-meter shows good continuity from the negative side of the output jack to one of the pots. I understand the basic procedure to try diagnosing it from there, checking grounds on the signal path from the pickups, pots, and pickup switch to make sure they all show 0 ohms or very close continuity.

Since there's no other way of getting at things, I'm guessing I'll need to tape the bridge in place, remove the strings, and lift out the pickups to access the wiring. You guys helped by confirming for me that the string ground must be through the tailpiece. My first mistake when I got the guitar was removing the strap buttons and installing Strap Loks, and I'm assuming I disturbed the mechanical connection of the string ground at the tailpiece. Live and learn! I appreciate your help in figuring out where to start.
 

GreTschocaster

Synchromatic
Feb 11, 2013
646
Canada
I would remove a pickup and try to see what is going on. A flashlight and a mirror small enough to fit in the hole would give you a good view. I looked at your model and it seems to have quite large pickups If your cell phone is small enough to fit through the pickup hole you could take pictures of the inside. Hopefully you will find your ground issue.
Just a question. Does it hum all the time or does it stop when you touch the strings?
 
Last edited:

Randy99CL

Country Gent
Feb 17, 2020
2,002
Albuquerque
Schematics show everything grounded but not how it should be done.

When you look at the pic Ricochet posted above, the Tailpiece Ground Wire looks to go straight to the output jack. Two other wires: 1. one goes from the same ground lug on the jack to the 3 main pots 2. while the second goes up to the selector switch (and splits off to the master volume). Short jumpers go from the first pot you connect to the two others.

The ground wiring should look like a tree with never a loop or circle.
 

spellcaster

Gretschie
Nov 8, 2009
100
British Columbia, Canada
I spent yesterday trying to chase this problem. I took the output jack out and used my multimeter to measure from the negative terminal of the jack to the strings, and the pots, and it shows that everything's grounded. I was baffled, so I hooked up the guitar to my Twin Reverb, idling with the volume set fairly high, and the noise that I was hearing the day before isn't there. I'd been hearing a really ugly hum that got worse when I rotated the tone control counter-clockwise, and the volume controls were increasing noise as I turned them down. Now, the tone control noise is gone, and the noise from turning down the volume controls is very subtle and characteristic of what any guitar with multiple interactive volume controls will do. I tried inducing the hum by turning on the TV, the cable box, the computer, the ceiling fan, and various appliances and lights, but nothing I could do would let me duplicate the noise from the day before. This is frustrating because I know I didn't imagine it. The only possible explanation I've come up with is that a neighbour in an adjoining apartment might have been using something electrical that was generating an RF or EMF signal that the guitar was sensitive to. I reassembled everything, tried it again, and can't get the fault to reoccur. Anyhow, I very much appreciate the advice I got on this forum.
 

Synchro

The artist formerly known as: Synchro
Staff member
Jun 2, 2008
25,485
Tucson
My guitars make a ticking noise when the rest against the pocket that houses my Cell phone.
My iPad makes most guitars sound like there are fluorescent lights and dimmer switches all around. Even humbucking guitars get clobbered. The good news is the tne inverse square law limits the range of the EMI, significantly.
 


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