#1
I've acquired a secondhand Squier Stagemaster HSS. The guitar is in good shape. It sounds good and plays well when not plugged into an amp. I was told the pots were pretty noisy, and the 5-way switch was sticky, so I decided to replace them before my amp came in.

I wired it up according to this wiring diagram, which matched the wiring I saw when I initially took the rear cover off.

Everything is wired back up. I have ground connected to the body of both pots, the ground wire from all 3 pickups, ground on the output jack, and the spring block.

So here's the problem... when I connect it to the amp (Fender Mustang I) and turn it on, there's a horrendously loud buzzing noise when I have either of the single coils selected. It's so loud it almost drowns out the actual strings. The buzz changes a bit in strength depending on how I orient the guitar, but it's very loud no matter what. On top of that, everything sounds awful. The sound is tinny and muddy and has zero clarity.

Changing the height of the single coil pickups does not change the buzzing or make the sound better in any way.

There is much less noise, though still some, with the humbucker selected. But it sounds terrible too.

I've tried tossing a 2-prong adapter on the amp plug but it doesn't seem to do much.

What is going on here? Could it just be crappy pickups?
#2
you need to sheild the cavity and pick guard. check your solder joints, you may have a bad solder joint.
2002 PRS CE22
2013 G&L ASAT Deluxe
2009 Epiphone G-400 (SH-4)
Marshall JCM2000 DSL100
Krank 1980 Jr 20watt
Krank Rev 4x12 (eminence V12)
GFS Greenie/Digitech Bad Monkey
Morley Bad Horsie 2
MXR Smart Gate
#3
The wiring is definitely solid. I ended up cutting one of the single coils and wiring it directly to the output jack via a spare volume pot and it sounded the same, with the same buzzing.

There is no pick guard. It has a rear control cavity.

Could it be the amp?
#4
likely bad solder joint or maybe one of the pups are out of phase?
1978 Peavey T-40 -> Ampeg Micro-VR - > Ampeg SVT210AV + Ampeg SVT-15E
#5
It could just be the pick ups honestly. Those squiers are not known for good anything except bodys and necks used for modding. can you try another guitar with single coils through your amp?

If you are using any pedals at all remove them from your signal path, just to make sure it isn't that.
2002 PRS CE22
2013 G&L ASAT Deluxe
2009 Epiphone G-400 (SH-4)
Marshall JCM2000 DSL100
Krank 1980 Jr 20watt
Krank Rev 4x12 (eminence V12)
GFS Greenie/Digitech Bad Monkey
Morley Bad Horsie 2
MXR Smart Gate
#6
Shielding never hurts, but that problem is way beyond shielding. If it's an intermittent problem, then gutting it to make room for the shielding job might make it OK for a while, but it would probably come back some day.

Probably a bad solder joint or one (or both) of the single coils got damaged.

Use (or get) a multimeter to test continuity and resistance throughout.
#7
I get 5.6 kohm across one of the single coils and 6.2k across the other. Does that indicate anything?

This is a guitar that apparently sold for $300+ new. I wonder if it's possible the pickups got switched? Do pickups that suck that badly exist?
#8
sounds about right.
2002 PRS CE22
2013 G&L ASAT Deluxe
2009 Epiphone G-400 (SH-4)
Marshall JCM2000 DSL100
Krank 1980 Jr 20watt
Krank Rev 4x12 (eminence V12)
GFS Greenie/Digitech Bad Monkey
Morley Bad Horsie 2
MXR Smart Gate
#9
I also notice the pickup wires coming into the control cavity are a little different from what I normally see online in pictures.

Instead of two separate wires, there's a single wire going into the control cavity. Inside the black insulation is a white wire with a thin (~22 gauge) conductor and a bare ground wire wrapped spirally around it. I'm not sure if that's typical or not.
#10
I'd say get some diff pickups if you like the guitar. GFS pickups from www.Guitarfetish.com are good and cheap compared to Duncan/Dimarzios
2002 PRS CE22
2013 G&L ASAT Deluxe
2009 Epiphone G-400 (SH-4)
Marshall JCM2000 DSL100
Krank 1980 Jr 20watt
Krank Rev 4x12 (eminence V12)
GFS Greenie/Digitech Bad Monkey
Morley Bad Horsie 2
MXR Smart Gate
#11
Hm, I might do that. Looks like they have quite a range. Do you suggest anything in particular? I really like the sound of a stock Mexican strat if that helps.
#12
The fat pat is an excelent pickup, it is kinda like a Duncan SH-4 and a Dimarzio SD mixed with only the best parts of each. I'd get that for the bridge. and maybe the texas single coil set for strat.
2002 PRS CE22
2013 G&L ASAT Deluxe
2009 Epiphone G-400 (SH-4)
Marshall JCM2000 DSL100
Krank 1980 Jr 20watt
Krank Rev 4x12 (eminence V12)
GFS Greenie/Digitech Bad Monkey
Morley Bad Horsie 2
MXR Smart Gate
#13
you said HSS? 2 8.4k Alnico overwounds and a Dream 180 make what in my opinion is the greatest sound you can get out of an HSS strat
1978 Peavey T-40 -> Ampeg Micro-VR - > Ampeg SVT210AV + Ampeg SVT-15E
#14
The single lead with a braided ground is normal, a lot of pickups are set up like that including the original Gibson pickups that came in my Flying V. As for the buzzing it could be a number of things, could you post a picture showing your wiring? I went crazy trying to find the source of buzzing inside my Flying V for a few months and it finally turned up to be the capacitor touching where it shouldn't, causing a short.
Endorsed by Dean Guitars 07-10
2003 Gibson Flying V w/ Moon Inlay
2006 Fender All-American Partscaster
SVK ELP-C500 Custom

1964 Fender Vibro Champ
1989 Peavey VTM60

[thread="1166208"]Gibsons Historic Designs[/thread]
#16
I think your problem is the volume knob, it's hard to tell though. I see the first lug is split between the red wire, the 2nd is the hot wire going to your jack, but I can't see what the 3rd is doing.. How's it set up?

It looks like the 2nd lug is grounded to the back of the pot, try breaking that and grounding the 3rd lug instead. I think your causing a loop if what I'm seeing is correct to what it actually is. Otherwise everything looks fine.
Endorsed by Dean Guitars 07-10
2003 Gibson Flying V w/ Moon Inlay
2006 Fender All-American Partscaster
SVK ELP-C500 Custom

1964 Fender Vibro Champ
1989 Peavey VTM60

[thread="1166208"]Gibsons Historic Designs[/thread]
Last edited by Flux'D at Nov 1, 2011,
#18
It's wired exactly as the Seymour Duncan schematic.

The left terminal on the volume knob is wired to common on the 5-way and the left terminal on the tone knob. The center terminal on the volume knob goes to the center pin on the output. The right terminal is grounded.
#19
Is that insulation on the one side of the capacitor?

If not, (or if it's worn,) then you might be getting a capacitor short like Flux'd was talking about. Either way, I'd move the capacitor so the lead is not so close (by bending the leads--wouldn't move the solder joints).
#21
It's not really as sloppy as it looks. A mixture of copper and aluminum with weird shading and reflections from the flash. It's solid up there.

Yes, there is insulation on one side of the capacitor. It's not touching the tone pot anyway.

In other news, I stopped by a Guitar Center today and plugged a Mexican strat into the Mustang I they had there. It sounded better, but not a ton better. At least there wasn't a horrendous buzz. I was using the Twin Reverb preset with the reverb/effect turned off. It just sounded so muddy and indistinct compared to what I got when I plugged into a Super Champ.

Maybe I should exchange the Mustang for something else. I'll have to play around with the settings to see if I can get a better, cleaner tone.
#23
Quote by oZone_TNS
Is it possible that you could have wired the jack backwards?


This, I had an issue where I accidentally wired the jack up backwards and nothing I did was getting rid of the buzz till I resoldered the jack.
#24
It could be the jack wired up backwards, does the buzz go away if you're not touching the guitar?

Another thing, single coils pick up 60 cycle hum from everything. Lights, TV screens, computer monitors, house wiring, anything that has a strong current running through it. But you said the humbucker has the same noise going on, so I'm not sure. Maybe check inside the switch housing and see if you accidentally soldered two lugs together or a blob of solder fell where it shouldn't causing a short.


EDIT: Roll the tone knob all the way down. Maybe it's wired up backwards? Buzzing issues are such a nightmare to diagnose through a forum haha
Endorsed by Dean Guitars 07-10
2003 Gibson Flying V w/ Moon Inlay
2006 Fender All-American Partscaster
SVK ELP-C500 Custom

1964 Fender Vibro Champ
1989 Peavey VTM60

[thread="1166208"]Gibsons Historic Designs[/thread]
Last edited by Flux'D at Nov 2, 2011,
#25
OK, this is embarrassing. I discovered the major source of the buzz and interference was the dimmer switch for the main living room lights. With those lights off, there's only a slight buzz in the single coils that goes away when I touch the strings and no noise on the humbucker. They still don't sound great to my ears, but I might be asking too much of this guitar and amp.

I think shielding would be a waste of time. If I bring my laptop's power brick near the pickups I get a buzzing, but I get nothing if I place it near the controls on the backside.

I bookmarked the Guitar Fetish page and will probably upgrade the pickups to some True-Coils and maybe a Fat Pat or VEH.
#26
Quote by jonnythan
OK, this is embarrassing. I discovered the major source of the buzz and interference was the dimmer switch for the main living room lights. With those lights off, there's only a slight buzz in the single coils that goes away when I touch the strings and no noise on the humbucker. They still don't sound great to my ears, but I might be asking too much of this guitar and amp.

I think shielding would be a waste of time. If I bring my laptop's power brick near the pickups I get a buzzing, but I get nothing if I place it near the controls on the backside.

I bookmarked the Guitar Fetish page and will probably upgrade the pickups to some True-Coils and maybe a Fat Pat or VEH.


The Mustang IIs and IIIs have a lot of potential. I don't know about the I or the IV. If you want a mini-amp, check out VOX. IMHO VOX has the best sounding small, low end amps out there. The older DA5 might be better than its replacement since it seems to have a bigger speaker. VT15 isn't bad, either.