#1
EDIT: problem solved.


Original post:

So I wondered why my Jackson Pro DK6 (1 EMG-81, 1 volume, made in Japan) hums like my other guitars even though these pickups are said to be much less noisy. My Gibson SG has no shielding at all (going to fix that at some point), and I wanted to check if the Jackson hasn't either. I find it difficult to tell if it's shielded with some sort of graphite paint or if they just painted the whole guitar black even on the inside. It looks and feels slightly different though, and even soft scratching with a fingernail leaves a slight trace, feels a bit pencil-ish, so I believe it's not just black paint.

But anyway... I checked the wiring and found this:



So the EMG's output wire goes to ground before it goes to the volume. One of the black wires soldered next to it is the pickup's actual ground wire (or at least I believe it is).

I'm no expert, but I successfully rewired two guitars, so I like to believe I'm not completely clueless either... but it's not supposed to be like this, is it? Or is my brain stuck somewhere?

I checked some wiring diagrams on Google, and none of them did that... what's going on here?
Last edited by Knarrenheino at Jan 2, 2015,
#2
Check the wires again. That'll just be the braided outer of the EMG wire. They've just left the insulation on the last section to stop it making contact with anything else.
#3
well to be fair the hum it gets rid of isn't 100% , you turn the gain on an EMG 81 pickup to 10 and you're still going to get hum. Try putting the pickups lower away from the strings is one solution, try another string type like GHS Boomers for example I can't stand.. hmm.. that and try a noise gate pedal in a shop. Make sure the guy working there who helps you find the right noise gate pedal like the Boss NS-2 for example knows how to use it properly.

I'm 99% sure (just woke up) but The bridge shouldn't be grounded on actives contrary to Seymour Duncans diagrams. Just ground the selector and everything.

To my understanding as guitar brands and a lot of that stuff bores me today I've thought of some reasons big guitar manufactures like using active pickups so much is because they don't have to shield the guitars as all the hum cancellation comes from the circuit board inside every EMG. They have a distinct look where you know they are EMG, sort of like when you see idiots in public wearing dre beats. So those two reasons and my personal favorite for why they use EMG pickups. There is no pole spacing. If you take an EMG apart it looks like a Dimarzio X2N so you could put them in like 1000 different guitars and get the same results.
Last edited by Tallwood13 at Jan 2, 2015,
#4
Quote by -MintSauce-
Check the wires again. That'll just be the braided outer of the EMG wire. They've just left the insulation on the last section to stop it making contact with anything else.


Right, that was it. Didn't think of that, doh.

I also double checked and looked what happens if I connect ground with signal, and as I expected, the signal just goes completely dead. Proof that it truly was impossible what it first looked like to me.
Last edited by Knarrenheino at Jan 2, 2015,
#5
Quote by Tallwood13
well to be fair the hum it gets rid of isn't 100% , you turn the gain on an EMG 81 pickup to 10 and you're still going to get hum. Try putting the pickups lower away from the strings is one solution, try another string type like GHS Boomers for example I can't stand.. hmm.. that and try a noise gate pedal in a shop. Make sure the guy working there who helps you find the right noise gate pedal like the Boss NS-2 for example knows how to use it properly.


It's not that bad, I rarely use really high gain anyway, just struck me that noise is almost on par with that of my passive pickup guitars.

I'm 99% sure (just woke up) but The bridge shouldn't be grounded on actives contrary to Seymour Duncans diagrams. Just ground the selector and everything.


This doesn't have a selector though, it's just one pickup and a volume, so I guess it has to be grounded.


As for using EMG's or not, I don't like them much either. This was my first (and probably last) guitar with them. I mean, they're great at really high gain because they stay very clear and defined. Imo they're only good for that though, too specialised and limited overall.

My other guitars are Gibson, Framus and Epiphone though, and the Jackson is clearly much more fun to play than the others (and well, it IS good at thrash metal, which I play a lot). But my next one (Charvel) will have Seymour Duncans again.
#6
Framus I'm yet to play but since one of my favorite guitarists in a band called Accept and this other guy Devin Townsend played them I'd give them a shot if I saw them.

Alright so if it's straight to the jack. See if adding a string ground helps. I still haven't googled it yet for assurance but if memory serves me right there is no string ground and they just tape it away. I may take the actives out of this schecter damien elite 6 and give you a more comprehensive answer.

ok so if there's no selector it's safe to say it's just volume to the selector which has it's pros. So as we know. We've got three wires going in and out of the guitar. Ground , battery ground and hot lead. As long as all 3 are going to the jack you're fine. For assurance seymour duncan blackout diagrams are very helpful.

With the wire EMG uses remember there is a double conductor wire inside. The braided like the other guy said grounds to the back of the pot. The white is your hot lead and your red wires battery ground. If there is a tone knob remember to ground it as well and make a path out of the guitar or there will be buzzing. A grounding issue the easiest way to see and have assurance is by playing the guitar in the clean channel of your amp.

mods to make the EMG sound better
the 18v mod - more clarity , less compression and more volume
the X series EMG does what the 18v mod does, this pickups more versatile too
the TWX EMG pickups coiltap by the way for single coil tones if you needed it

the only active pickup I like is the seymour duncan blackout. It's more of a contrast adjusting the pickups EQ. It's also wire solderless and all the pros of an active but with a more passive sound if that makes any sense. The EMG 81 was so sterile I put it in the neck of my schecter
#7
The Framus (Panthera Studio) is an excellent high-quality guitar, but construction-wise it's the opposite of what I want. I much prefer light and flat shredding machines, the Framus is thick, very heavy (may be the heaviest guitar I ever tried), has an even thicker neck than the Gibson's '50s neck on my SG (which already is too massive for my liking), the frets are rather small, and I'm not a fan of 12" fretboard radius either. Upper fret access is limited--not quite like a Les Paul, but more than my other guitars. Or to put it this way, it's a Benz, but I want a Porsche.

But notably, even though using SD passive pickups, it produces very little hum, much less than the Jackson with its single EMG.

The Jackson's strings seem to be grounded, well at least there's a grounded wire going into a hole that goes in the general direction of the bridge. I assume that's string grounding, don't know what else that would be for.

I've seen an interesting mod (for another Jackson incidentally, which also made a lot of noise), the guy just taped tinfoil to the inner side of the back plate and connected that to the volume's ground with a long enough wire, and it seemed to help a lot. Gonna try that next.

All three cables seem to be correctly connected to the jack btw.

Good tip with the clean channel, it still hums considerably while Framus and Gibson are dead silent, even though the Gibson is completely unshielded. So there has to be an issue. Thanks.
#8
compound raidus fretboards have always been a favorite of mine. Forget the exact numbers but your Jackson has it for sure. Ever try a scalloped fretboard before? No guitar shops near me had them so I ended up doing it myself and I have never regretted it. My guitars I have done it to have jumbo frets too so I think someone said it's almost like playing a sitar or something along those lines.

aluminum or copper shielding tape on ebay is around 2$ american. To insulate the entire guitar you'd need 2-3m minimum. Make sure there is a wire from each part of the cavities linked together. I'll have a photo on my photo bucket later tonight if I come back and edit this. If not send me a private message.

does the hum stop when you put your hands on the bridge by any chance?
#9
Quote by Tallwood13
compound raidus fretboards have always been a favorite of mine. Forget the exact numbers but your Jackson has it for sure.


Yes, 12-16 compound radius, the usual Jackson/Charvel choice. Love it.

Ever try a scalloped fretboard before? No guitar shops near me had them so I ended up doing it myself and I have never regretted it.


Never tried that, but since with those Jumbo frets I hardly touch the fretboard, that's not really an issue for me.

does the hum stop when you put your hands on the bridge by any chance?


That's just what I was going to ask. The Gibson's hum is slightly reduced when I touch the strings/bridge, the Jackson: no effect at all. Must be said though that it also doesn't react in any way to touching the ground anywhere. I don't know how to check the bridge wiring, I mean the wire just fades through a small hole. It is connected to something though, can't pull it out, as with all other wires.
#10
yeah shielding will help then. That sort of hum is reduced with conductive tape. Here's a small tutorial on it I looked for scrap photos off my camera and went with what best represents it.

for the scalloping, yeah with jumbo frets it still has the pros to it but more of a unique vibratto or whatever if I want. Or just a more interesting approach if that makes sense.

getting back to it I'm curious if the pickups are just really hot because high output pickups tend to hum which I remember a guy came in and wanted some pickups to go perfectly with his Washburn. So this was a not so rich customer. He went with copies of bigger name pickups. The bridge was a Seymour Duncan JB , the middle was a hot rail single coil and the neck was a jazz or 59 copy. So I usually go by resistance and the bigger the number the louder the pickup can be but this isn't 100% effective. 16k, 12k, 8k or so. I liked the set as the guitar can now do a lot. the hum the guitar had was from the output of the pickups as the guitar was copper shielded at the last visit.... however, in the clean channel if there is an annoying buzz or hum the string ground may be the culperate. I should start a sound cloud to show guys what I mean as I like to help people on here when I'm between projects.


anyways this is the proper way to copper shield I tell guys
#11
Thanks for the input, but I'll have to get some stuff, conductive tape and soldering iron. Last time I messed around with wiring was years ago, and then I used my mum's iron.

Quote by Tallwood13


getting back to it I'm curious if the pickups are just really hot because high output pickups tend to hum


Thing is, my Gibson has higher output than my Jackson's EMG. It's a SG Special Raw Power, which means it's radically all maple, sound much sharper and brighter than a regular SG. It actually uses Gibson's '57 pickups, but even so it's really nasty. What I did with the wiring is (apart from reducing it to one volume & tone): I built in an on/off bypass switch that bypasses all pots, leading the pickups directly to the jack, which makes output even a bit hotter. With that, it's face-crunching, but even so and with no shielding, it doesn't hum as much as the Jackson. So there has to be something wrong.
Last edited by Knarrenheino at Jan 3, 2015,
#12
the bypass idea you've come up with I like that idea actually. I hate guitars with 2 volume and 2 tones so what I end up doing is like a master volume (or 2). tone, fender greasebucket mod which shapes the tone in a different way if there's not enough clarity. This of course is without getting into more serious mods. I may have that schematic laying around if you want it I design my own in photoshop with the help of seymour duncan diagrams.

by the way how did you mount the mini toggle switch on the guitar. I had a Jackson DK2M come in last week and they used this over sized nut or whatever and it didn't look right. Put two linear push pulls in the guitar so I could get 12 tones out of the guitar. I am not liking the p-rail seymour duncans in this jackson much but it was a fun project.

The gibson sg special must weigh a ton. George Lynch of Dokken's ESP guitars people complain about their weight constantly.
Last edited by Tallwood13 at Jan 3, 2015,
#13
The SG is on the mid-to-heavy side, I'd say. It's maple which is heavy wood, but it's also an SG with a rather compact body. Nice side effect: it's balanced, without that typical SG neck sink.

I thought of that bypass thing from the Framus, which has a lead switch that simply leads the bridge pickup straight to the jack. I simply thought, well why not put the pickup selector switch before that, and so it happened. I first did that with my first Epiphone SG and liked it so much that I did the same with the Gibson I later bought.

As for the toggle placement, I simply replaced the neck pickup volume with the switch. Bridge volume is now general volume, bridge tone is general tone, and neck tone doesn't do anything. I didn't know what else I'd do with it, and a hole would look rather stupid, so I simply left the nonfunctional pot there for cosmetic purposes.

I like to have the volume at ten and tone at 0, to get from full force to mellow Gibson lead with a switch flick. Alternatively, lowered volume to switch from full gain to crunch.

Oh, and I replaced the original linear pots with logarithmic ones.

edit:



Don't ask me about the volume/tone sequence, I only remember I stuck to how it was before.
Last edited by Knarrenheino at Jan 4, 2015,
#14
Quote by Tallwood13


I had a Jackson DK2M come in last week and they used this over sized nut or whatever and it didn't look right. Put two linear push pulls in the guitar so I could get 12 tones out of the guitar.


I'm not into that sort of thing tbh, I like to keep it as simple as possible. My Framus has P/P pots too, and combined with the independent mid single coil that makes 16 pickup combinations (17 if you count the lead switch). I ended up with just using the lead switch most of the time.

I never use the middle position on the SG's, either neck or bridge, and I found the split HB's in the Framus not very satisfying, ok sound but weak output.

The Jackson DK2M I was looking for until recently has a 5-way switch, bridge HB - bridge split - both HB - neck split - neck HB. And I'd only use two of those.

The Charvel So-Cal I'll buy though has a three-way switch, the middle being neck split + bridge split, which works surprisingly well, high output Strat twang without hum. That seems ideal for my liking.
Last edited by Knarrenheino at Jan 4, 2015,
#15
yeah the screw or whatever you used on the mini toggle I'm kind of curious what you used to make it go on the guitar. I may have some use for mini toggles in my parts drawer. I have some DPDT and so forth switches and they are not a popular mod so doing something like what you did and on my friends custom DK2M is an idea.

that is actually an interesting idea for a 3 way blade switch and having a coiltap in the middle. If you have 4 wire pickups reverse the hot lead and ground and you get this quack like tone out of your guitar. There's no really good youtube videos on how well out of phase works but it's something to consider if you've got 4 wire pickups.

for a single coil tone without the hum that would be parallel wiring. I tell guys to do it all t he time on their guitars instead of settling for a really annoying buzz single coil sound.

this was my inspiration for 2 band EQ on my guitar. I like the new tone knob a lot more as it shapes the tone more for a metal guitar player
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yVC-Fj9Lz-s&spfreload=10
#16
Quote by Tallwood13
yeah the screw or whatever you used on the mini toggle I'm kind of curious what you used to make it go on the guitar.


That was probably the simplest possible solution. Mini toggle switch for €3.90 + steel washer, done. Steel washer because the switch is too small for the hole otherwise.

http://www.thomann.de/de/goeldo_el11c_minischalter.htm
Last edited by Knarrenheino at Jan 4, 2015,
#17
Quote by Tallwood13


that is actually an interesting idea for a 3 way blade switch and having a coiltap in the middle. If you have 4 wire pickups reverse the hot lead and ground and you get this quack like tone out of your guitar.


For the coiltap they simply use the inner coils of both pickups btw.
#18
thanks for the link, I'll see if I can get that brand somewhere closer because shipping from Europe is insane. I was offered to ship a neck to Germany and it was around 56 euros or a set of pickups to france was 25$.

if you want send me a message and we can continue our conversation. One interesting wiring I found out about was "half out of phase" like this guy Jerry Donahue uses. I had no idea who he is but everyone mentioned how hard his wiring was and it was a different sound then regular out of phase. I may give it a shot as I'm really good with a soldering iron.
#19
I didn't expect it would be a problem finding something like that in NA, I mean, that was just the first, most basic, cheapest mini toggle switch I found back then.
#20
So I did that aluminium cavity shielding thing, to no avail. But I noticed that the hum is clearly coming from a tram overhead power line outside.

That leaves the question though, why does the EMG hum more than the passives in my other guitars, even single coils? Is it possible that the built-in pre-amp amplifies that electromagnetic field? But isn't shielding better against that what they're supposed to do?