Recently I've been wondering how exactly grounding works in an electric guitar. I've seen Strats that have 2 grounding wires, one to the tremolo plate and another to the routing cavity in the front. I'm curious how exactly the grounding works in an electric guitar - Does the wood in the guitar body absorb the excess current, or does the ground go to mains ground via the amp, or is it a combination of both?
Ideally all the metal components of the guitar are grounded together and that goes out the guitar cable via the braided outer wire. This acts as shielding from radio frequency interference and offers a path to ground for stray voltage other than through your body. I am a fan of good grounding.
"Your sound is in your hands as much as anything. It's the way you pick, and the way you hold the guitar, more than it is the amp or the guitar you use." -- Stevie Ray Vaughan

"Anybody can play. The note is only 20 percent. The attitude of the motherfucker who plays it is 80 percent." -- Miles Davis

Guthrie on tone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmohdG9lLqY
The ground on the output jack ties to the amp.

The idea is all grounds are common, the one you saw in the fender is from claw to the jack.
That ties the bridge, springs and block to ground. The other wire is from the pickups.

All these connections are then connected to the amps ground - hopefully not the chassis ground but the electrical ground.

On the plug the tip is the signal, the spacer is an insulator and the rest is the ground.
Quote by AngryHatter
Wood does not conduct electricity.

I understand that. So what's the point of the ground wire going to the body? For example:
Quote by Explorerbuilder
That is probably contacting the bottom of the pickup.

It looks to me like it's screwed into the body of the guitar under the pickup rout - You can see the bridge to the right. It doesn't look like it's touching a pickup..

Also, I have a Deluxe Player's Strat which has one ground wire going to the tremolo plate in the back and another screwed into the body in one of the pickup routs similar to the one in the photo above.
Quote by CalicoSkies
I understand that. So what's the point of the ground wire going to the body? For example:

The black paint you see by the screw is conductive shielding paint and the screw allows that little metal ring to get a good contact on the paint, this in turn is grounded to everything else to help dissipate 60 cycle hum from outside sources. This is usually done when single coils are used as there is no hum cancelling inherent to the pickup.
Last edited by Fastmerc at Apr 20, 2014,