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Old Today, 07:15 AM   #1
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Join Date: Jan 2013
EMG 81 85 Solderless and tons of noise


So I've got a Jackson RR2 that has had an EMG 81 85 set up in it since I got the guitar 5 years ago. For the longest time there has been a buzz. Volume/tone all up or down, and at any switch position. It goes away when I touch something metal on the guitar, or the instrument cable (the metal parts at either end of the cable).

So, I decided to say to Hell with it all and reweire everything.

So, I ordered a solderless wiring kit from EMG (before everything was soldered together so I thought this was the right way to go).

I wired everything up with the new wiring kit. Everything is picture perfect and claustrophobic. The only thing I used from before was the extra length of wire to the output jack because the output jack is on the high side of the wing.

So... I still have the original buzz... much to my disdain. It still goes away when I touch any of the metal parts, like the pickups themselves, the volume pots, the switch, the guitar cable, and so forth... but now, there is one new noise.
When I touch the tone pot the guitar gets angry as hell and makes a super loud buzz. Before, touching the tone pot also made the initial buzz go away.

Just to clarify, I have the 81/85 set up with 2 volume and 1 master tone, and a 3 way (LP skeleton style I believe) toggle switch.

Any thoughts?

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Old Today, 07:23 AM   #2
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Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Southern California, USA
Ok, so your pickups aren't grounded. This is tricky, because EMGs don't ground to the guitar itself like passives do, so it's a lot harder to troubleshoot.

With the EMG connections, it is extremely easy for connections to not actually be plugged in all the way. Check all of the plugs and make sure they're really on there.

If that changes nothing, your actual pickups themselves may be damaged. Does it do it on both of the pickups, or only one?

Try emailing EMG and see what they say as well.
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Old Today, 07:43 AM   #3
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Join Date: Jan 2013
Thanks for the quick reply.

Because of the internal grounding I was afraid that it may be an issue with the pickups. Before rewiring everything I went over every little detail. After rewiring I checked everything, and played with the few variables there are (like the switching jumpers on the pots for instance).

I've done my fair share of guitar wiring in the past, but never with the solderless setup. :/ I was trying to think of how I could add an external ground in the mix somewhere too, as a last ditch though.

Also, its this guitar specifically. I have an acoustic electric that doesn't do it, and an 8 string B.C. Rich Outlaw with Seymour Duncan active pickups that don't buzz - thinking about the fact that I'm in Japan and all the outlets are 2 prong... but the Jackson buzzed in the USA too.

It does it with both pickups. There is one more detail, that may or may not be relevant - the buzz goes away when I'm playing. So, when the string vibrate, the buzz is absent if the volume is up. I would say that the sound of the strings is just over powering the buzz, but if the strings are still, or if the volume is turned all the way down, it can be deafening if playing through a large amp.

And... why the tone pot now? That confuses me more... the wire kit came with 2 tone pots, so I will try the other one just for the sake of trouble shooting.
Also... aside from the output jack, the switch is the only thing I didn't change... is that a possible problem? I have beaten on it a lot over the years... I just wish I could remember clearly if its done this since I first got it... just too long ago....

Thank you,
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Old Today, 08:17 AM   #4
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Join Date: Oct 2013
Try reversing the wires for the output jack, if that is backwards the emgs will buzz.
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Old Today, 08:41 AM   #5
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Join Date: Jan 2013
There are 3 wires and 3 posts. One black one goes directly to the battery (left) then the center and right go to the tone pot. I know all three are correct according to the schematic... when you say reverse, which wire are you suggesting I place where? I'm more than happy to try.
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Old Today, 12:27 PM   #6
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Join Date: Oct 2013
Leave the battery one alone assuming its correct, switch the other two around.
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