#1
Hey,

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?

Adam
#2
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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#3
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,
Adam
#4
Try reversing the wires for the output jack, if that is backwards the emgs will buzz.
#5
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.
#6
Leave the battery one alone assuming its correct, switch the other two around.
#7
So, after sitting down and tinkering again... I think it was the tone pot. First, for troubleshooting purposes, I put on the jack that came with the set (after switching wires with the old jack did nothing but make more noise) and have it dangling out of where the bridge pick up should rest. Made sure that it was all plugged in correctly. But nothing changed. Second, I switched to the other tone pot that came with the pack and I think that did the trick. The situation is much more quiet now.... but just for comparison I plugged in the 8 string with active duncans... and it is just a world of difference... making me think....

But, now to wire up the parts that I know do work. And buy strings...
#8
I'm just about finished with EMG's after this. I don't know what the problem is. I put the guitar on a back burner until I got new strings for it. Now... The pick ups work, relatively quiet... but the volume pots are non-responsive and the switch does nothing. I have constant volume from both pickups all the time.
I took everything apart again and even tried doing a single volume feeding into the tone... same thing. I completely took off the switch and no changes whatsoever...
The only thing I can imagine is that I have a bad switch... but it worked before I rewired everything.
... searching for Duncans...
#9
Well... I figured it out. The volume pots. Use only the middle pair of jumpers for the input and the right for the output. Everything works. The tone pot, 2 volume pots and the 3 way switch. The pickups work. Everything is right... right back where I started with the original hum that goes away when I touch any metal part that is connected to the wiring (so not the bridge or the frets).

The only thing I can think of is to come up with some sort of wrist band to literally connect myself to the guitar.
#10
Could you draw out how each of the wires go from start to finish and post it. Maybe a different set of eyes could help you out. Its important you make the schematic and not just pics...although if you want to supplement with pics that is ok.