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FDP Forum / The 'Pup' Tent / Lace Holy Grails - Noise Problem in Middle and Neck

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Purplejersey

Canada

Jan 31st, 2009 03:57 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I recently installed a set of Holy Grails into my 1985 MIJ Strat. The set consists of a Gold in the Bridge and Silvers in the middle and neck.

Strangely, the Gold (higher output) is nice and quiet, but all of the positions which engage the Silvers (lower output),including pos 4, between bridge and middle, have noticeable buzz with even a modest amount of gain on the amp.

Does this mean there is a wiring error/failing component in the wiring?

If anyone has encountered and solved this problem, I'd really appreciate the help.

(This message was last edited by Purplejersey at 12:48 PM, Mar 20th, 2009)

SMark
Contributing Member
**

Atlanta, GA USA

"Life is good when you love your tone."
Feb 2nd, 2009 12:23 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

They shouldn't buzz, period. So I would check all the wiring, especially at the switch.


Holy Grails shouldn't really be classified as "Gold" or "Silver" like regular Lace Sensors. Holy Grails can have gold or dark copper colored lettering on them, but often none at all. Can you describe your pickups a little?

Purplejersey

Canada

Feb 2nd, 2009 10:47 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

SMark

My Holy Grails were sold as a set. The Bridge appears to have "Lace" written in gold lettering. The middle and neck have "Lace' in what appears to be silver lettering.

I should add that the body cavities in my strat were all professionally sheilded (years ago) with copper foil. The claw ground is soldered to the cavity shielding. None of the other grounds are soldering to the shielding. The pots are in contact with the shielding of the pickguard.

I read on another thread where the user was having grounding issues with all pickups positions that the problem (in part) was some sort of contact between the switch and the pickguard shielding). It's hard for me to imagine that being the explanation when there is a problem with some, but not all switch positions. Or, do I just lack the proper understanding of possible grounding problems associated with the switch?

tktmsa

USA

Trevor Rabin fan
Feb 2nd, 2009 10:40 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I'm having the same problems with mine, though I haven't really trouble-shot the issue. But I did remove the bridge p-up and put in a Hot rail with no other changes and the rail was dead quiet. sumpins up.

beatlefan
Contributing Member
****

It's all in the mind

"Tip-toe through the Meanies"
Feb 6th, 2009 04:24 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

"The claw ground is soldered to the cavity shielding"

That looks unusual. Is the claw ground not also soldered to the back of the volume pot? It should be. And then a ground wire from the back of the volume pot should be run to the shielding. All grounds should come together at a single point. Since you are experiencing troubles with the mid and neck only, I would check their ground connections closely and ensure they are solid.

A couple of other things:

1. Since the cavities are shielded you need to be certain you don't have part of the live circuit touching the shielding when you reassemble or you will have issues. Swith terminals are always the first place I look for this, then any other bare wire or the bottoms of the pickups themselves.

2. Does this buzzing occur when the pickguard is removed (take it loose from the body so there is not a chance of a hot connection touching the shield and try it)?

3. Did you buy these new or used?

-BF

Purplejersey

Canada

Feb 6th, 2009 11:21 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Beatlefan,

Thanks for such a detailed response.

The claw ground is not directly soldered to the volume pot. I assumed that the claw ground would be connected via the shielding to the pot (i.e. claw ground to shielding - shielding in contact with volume pot).

The pickups were purchased new. (So was the guitar, back in 1985. The shielding was added around 2000 when I was still using the stock original pickups. Normal statocaster hum at that time. Nothing unusual.)

The buzzing occurs even when the pickguard is off (with the wiring still connected). Of course, in that situation, the volume pot ground is no longer connected to the part of the shielding that the claw ground is soldered to.

I'm beginning to think the grounding problem is to be found at the switch (hot connection somehow contacting the shielding, and in turn going to ground). As I've said, the bridge pickup is quiet. I'm going to try connecting the other pickups (one at a time) to the bridge lug of the switch and see if they're also quiet in that switch setting).

Please let me know if the grounding issue you raised (claw ground not soldered to volume pot directly) could explain only two of the pickups having grounding issues.

Thanks.



ejm

usa

Feb 6th, 2009 06:14 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Do your "Holy Grails" have visible pole pieces? Or are the pickups totally covered? If they are covered then my guess is they are Lace Sensors, which are a completely different animal.


beatlefan
Contributing Member
****

It's all in the mind

"Tip-toe through the Meanies"
Feb 7th, 2009 04:33 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

"Of course, in that situation, the volume pot ground is no longer connected to the part of the shielding that the claw ground is soldered to."

Opening her up like this should not affect your grounds unless you are using a small copper strip around one of the pickguard screws to connect the pickguard and cavity shields rather than a wire. Not sure what you mean by the above in " ".

"Please let me know if the grounding issue you raised (claw ground not soldered to volume pot directly) could explain only two of the pickups having grounding issues."

That would not cause the problem you are having with the mid and neck. It would affect all three equally I think. However, it is unorthodox and if it were me I would change it to conventional wiring for "star" grounding. All grounds to the back of the volume pot, including the claw, and separate wires from each Tone pot to the back of the volume pot. Then, one wire from the Volume pot to the shielding in the control cavity.

If there is no perceptible change to the buzzing problem with the pickguard removed from the cavities, then you are probably not having any issues with a "hot" contacting the shielding.

I have discovered ground loops through the volume pot before. Isolating the volume pot from contacting the pickguard shield (use some electrical tape) may help solve the issue. Of course, you would have to wire it up the way I described above so that all your grounds go to the back of the volume pot and then to the cavity shield via a single wire.

What kind of shield is on the underside of the pickguard? (Alum Foil, Alum Plate, Copper foil, Copper Plate?)

These kinds of issues can be maddening I know, but hang in there and you will find it.

-BF




Purplejersey

Canada

Feb 7th, 2009 06:53 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Beatlefan,

Thanks for hanging in with me on this one.

"Of course, in that situation, the volume pot ground is no longer connected to the part of the shielding that the claw ground is soldered to."

Opening her up like this should not affect your grounds unless you are using a small copper strip around one of the pickguard screws to connect the pickguard and cavity shields rather than a wire. Not sure what you mean by the above in " ".

Both the cavity shielding and pickguard shielding are copper foil. The cavity shielding is extended by about 1/2 inch onto the face of the body. As a result, when the pickguard is on, the shielding of the guard and cavity are in contact. The claw ground is soldered to the shielding within the body cavity. Therefore, when the pickguard is off, the claw ground is not in contact with the ground on the volume pot (the pot is in contact with the pickguard shielding). When the pickguard is on, my assumption is that the claw ground is therefore in contact with the volume pot.

Similarly, I figured that any buzzing with the pickguard off is a result of this "break" in the grounding scheme.

I'd like to understand two things you've said a little better.

One, in the scheme I've described, shouldn't the volume pot be in contact with the pickguard shield, in order to complete the grounding of the shield and claw ground?

Two, assuming all the soldering at the switch is OK, is it possible that the "hot" leads or blade of the switch make contact with ground (shield, or other ground) in only some positions of the switch? Second, in the scheme I've described, should the switch housing be isolated from the shielding on the pickguard?

I'd really appreciate your insight on this.


Purplejersey

Canada

Feb 7th, 2009 06:55 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Ejm,

Yes, my pickups have the pole pieces. They were bought retail and are "Holy Grails".

PlayaFndr

Greensboro, NC

Feb 7th, 2009 10:38 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

If the hot lead comes in contact with the shield (assuming its grounded) you would get no sound at all, not even buzzing. That would be the equivalent of the volume pot on zero.

beatlefan
Contributing Member
****

It's all in the mind

"Tip-toe through the Meanies"
Feb 8th, 2009 12:31 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

"One, in the scheme I've described, shouldn't the volume pot be in contact with the pickguard shield, in order to complete the grounding of the shield and claw ground?"

Yes...but only because you are not running a wire from the volume pot to the shielding. You are instead using the direct contact of the pickguard shield with the cavity shield via the little strip that extends onto the face of the body. I still recommend you change this as I previously noted. Troubleshooting with the pickguard removed is made more difficult in this case because of the broken ground circuit.

"Two, assuming all the soldering at the switch is OK, is it possible that the "hot" leads or blade of the switch make contact with ground (shield, or other ground) in only some positions of the switch? Second, in the scheme I've described, should the switch housing be isolated from the shielding on the pickguard?"

Agree that a "hot" touching the shielding will reduce the power of the pups. No, you don't need to isolate the switch housing from the shield.

"I'm beginning to think the grounding problem is to be found at the switch (hot connection somehow contacting the shielding, and in turn going to ground). As I've said, the bridge pickup is quiet. I'm going to try connecting the other pickups (one at a time) to the bridge lug of the switch and see if they're also quiet in that switch setting)."

Have you done this yet?

Also,does the buzzing change when you touch the strings or the jack or bridge of your guitar?



Purplejersey

Canada

Feb 12th, 2009 01:41 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Update.

I got so fed up with my troubleshooting that I took the guitar into a pro tech at a trusted shop here in Toronto. Their evaluation? The middle and neck pickups in the Holy Grails simply are more noisy than the bridge pickup!

They compared my guitar to a number of others with Holy Grails installed, and they all had the same issue.

I must say that I am disappointed that Lace would package pickups together as a set with such different noise characteristics. I wrote Lace about 2 weeks ago to ask them whether what I was experiencing was to be expected. Since they haven't responded to me (thanks, but no thanks, to their website's offer that I can always call them in California if an e-mail reply is slow!) I have no choice but to accept the evaluation of the tech.

It would appear that the only solution is to put together a set with gold Holy Grails in all three positions.

If somebody from Lace reads this Board, they might do themselves some good if they were to post a response.

beatlefan
Contributing Member
****

It's all in the mind

"Tip-toe through the Meanies"
Feb 12th, 2009 07:02 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I have never heard of Gold or Silvers with respect to Holy Grails. The sets I have owned have always been just "Holy Grails" 10.7K neck/10.7K mid/11.5K bridge.

Neck and Mid are part #'s HG-1000, Bridge is HG-1500.

Check your part #'s

-BF

SMark
Contributing Member
**

Atlanta, GA USA

"Life is good when you love your tone."
Feb 12th, 2009 08:52 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

"They compared my guitar to a number of others with Holy Grails installed, and they all had the same issue."


That is nothing short of weird. All of them had the same issue? My Holy Grails are all dead silent. Can you post a pic of these pups or post some reference to a pic on the web that matches your pickups? I'm with Beatlefan on this, what you describe just doesn't sound like a set of Holy Grails.

Purplejersey

Canada

Feb 12th, 2009 09:08 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Beatlefan,

I refer to them as Gold and Silver because that is what the colour of the "Lace" appears to be (to my eye). They are the exact part numbers you refer to. Don't get hung up on the language I've used.

They were bought new, retail, and as a set from a reputable store here in Toronto. I have the "real McCoys".

They are quiet (all three pickups) until you switch to a gain setting. Once gain is applied, there is an audible difference in the noise levels of the neck and middle. Btw the way, I'm not talking "death metal overdrive" here, just moderate (crunch) levels of gain.

As to how "strange it is", please note that tktmsa said he had the exact same problem.

I passed everything I read here onto my tech. His simple answer is that Holy Grails are not "0 noise". His theory about the difference between the bridge and neck/middle is that the extra windings of the bridge act to reduce noise more effectively than the other pickups at gain levels.

Since his store sold me the Grails, and he's willing to simply swap the neck/middles with HG-1500's to give me consistent noise rejection, I can't see any motivation he would have to give me anything other than his honest evaluation of the problem.

Purplejersey

Canada

Feb 12th, 2009 09:15 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

SMark,

I can't take any pictures till I get my Strat back from the shop, but the link below to Lace's website describes the set I have: 3 pack with 1 HG-1500 and 2 HG-1000s.

Hey, nobody is more surprised than me at this problem, given what I have read about these pickups.

However, I took a run at installing them (having installed a number of pickups before without incident), a pro tech then checked the installation, and then that pro A-B'ed other guitars with the same set and gave me his opinion.

I'm just as puzzled when I read someone's post that says "mine are dead quiet", because I would not describe my middle and neck (the HG1000s) as "dead quiet". Definitely quieter than stock, but definitely noisier than the HG1500.

http://lacemusic.com/electric_pickups/holy_grail/holy_grail_specs.php

(This message was last edited by Purplejersey at 09:55 AM, Feb 13th, 2009)

amphead4
Contributing Member
****

Cincinnati, USA

Feb 12th, 2009 10:08 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Something's not right with the install. Bypass the tone circuits to see if that changes things.

Purplejersey

Canada

Feb 13th, 2009 07:54 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Amphead,

I'm forced to trust that my tech has considered and tried the troubleshooting that you, and others, have suggested.

Nothing but a response from Lace (and better yet, direct contact from Lace to my repair guy) would really clear up this difference of opinion for me.

SMark
Contributing Member
**

Atlanta, GA USA

"Life is good when you love your tone."
Feb 13th, 2009 08:23 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Let's hope that happens. I'm interested...

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FDP Forum / The 'Pup' Tent / Lace Holy Grails - Noise Problem in Middle and Neck




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