2022 Squier FMT HSS Strat noise...

James64

Squier Talker
Feb 7, 2012
15
Florida
This is the first guitar that I have seen that didn't run a ground wire from the bottom of the Tone 1 pot to the bottom of Tone 2 pot and then to the bottom of the Volume pot! Am I missing something here?

Could this be what's contributing to the noise? I should run wire from the bottom of the Tone 1 pot to the bottom of Tone 2 pot and then to the bottom of the Volume pot?
 

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  • 2022 Squier Affinity FMT HSS stock wiring.jpg
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AxelMorisson

Squier-Nut
Nov 15, 2021
965
Fagaras, Romania
Ground issues,clear as day. Ok let's solve this quickly.

1) Don't ever trust factory installed foil for grounding. You will be happier with a wire running between the pot cases -all of them- and out the back on the ground tab of the output jack. Please add one now- make sure it connects all three to the output.

2) If after this it still hums, please proceed to shield the inner electronics bay (don't call it a cavity we're not dentists). There are plenty of resources around to tell you how - but in short, get some adhesive copper tape - better than the aluminum one. Cover the entirety of the electronics bay in this foil, make sure there is electrical contact between pieces of copper tape. Some have conductive adhesive built in and all you have to do is just put them in there- sides included- and leave a small tab of overhang on the face of the guitar.
Not too much- just enough to pass one of the pickguard screws through it. (it should not overpass the pickguard so it's not ugly). Now do the same for the pickguard- take all everything out- pots, pickups, everything till you're left with a piece of plastic- and put copper tape on the inside part of that too. Make sure when it is closed it touches with the overhang you left prior.

3) After this you MUST ground this shield- put a small wood screw - about the same size of the ones you use for the pickguard- and a bushing around it- solder the ground wire to the bushing, check it makes contact- and the other end solder to the back of any of the pots. That is a separate grounding wire from that of the claw/trem/bridge, those should stay grounded as they were. If you're at it, also check that connection- sometimes the soldering comes undone on the claw, it being massive and all.

4) lift the shell (output jack plate) and shield the recess below it. same thing- copper tape. Leave a bit of overhang on the face of the guitar, you'll connect the shell with one of its fixing screws as you install it normally. The tab should be over one of the holes of course.Now you have to make sure this is connected to the other, larger ground. You could run a wire and put another bushing, or if the adhesive is conducting you can run a strip of copper tape through the channel between the two electronic bays. If there is still some noise, twist the two wires to the output jack to minimize stray current induction.
CAUTION: make sure the contacts don't touch the foil- if the "live" signal wire touches the insulation you'll have a very silent guitar.. so if that happens,electrical tape or better a shrink wrap insulator over the offending jack connecting lug must be installed. Like that it won't matter if it touches.

5) if you still have noise probably you live inside a switching power supply, but that's not reason enough to give up guitar, so read on- you must shield the..pickups! Using a strip of the said copper foil, run a ring around the bobbin, OUTSIDE / OVER the insulating tape- don't mess with the coil insulation, you don't want shorts. But don't close the loop- leave a small gap between the ends- you don't want a closed shorted loop to lower the pickup signal . Then each of these screens must be grounded- to the shield on the back of the pickguard. Then re-assemble everything and check for continuity.

That is mil-spec insulation.. you should not get any noise now. If the buzzing and humming persists, check for faulty or dirty output jack contacts. Spray cleaner works wonders. Deoxit or similar stuff. NO wd 40- get stuff for electronics. They have "contact cleaner" in most every auto parts store- and every electronics store but it's basically the same stuff, in a three times smaller spray and ten times the price, so go for the automotive.
If after all of this there is still some noise left, check the cable and amp. If it's not that, change the orientation of the wires around the amp, something must be inducing hard... If the amp shares a socket with something inherently noisy such as anything with a switching power supply- computers,some larger power tools and special equipment- you should get another socket to feed it from. There are insulation transformers on the market if the noise problem is still there and it's external (for example there is a shared grid with a cell tower or something nasty like that).
 

MAS Tequila

Squier Talker
Platinum Supporting Member
Nov 22, 2021
95
south FL
Here is one of mine.
 

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James64

Squier Talker
Feb 7, 2012
15
Florida
AxelMorrison thanks for all the information... that took some effort. I think I'll save it for the future. Thanks to everyone else as well.

Yes it seems like it was a bad ground! It's solved!

I did measure zero ohms between the each tone pot and the volume pot so I didn't think there was a grounding problem... but... this picture looks like the problem since this guitar was relying on the silver foil (and not wires) as the path to ground between all the pots. I don't think I would have thought of that. I just don't know why I measure zero ohms? But that doesn't matter anymore. I found the messed up silver foil (poor connection) when I decided to strip the Pickguard and cover the back of it with copper foil (and then the inner bays).

I was careful when I put the pots back on after attaching the copper foil (I bought it from philadelphialuthiertools). All the copper foil is making contact to ground.

The noise is 100% gone!!! Before and after video: Noise, a poor ground connection and shielding.

I pretty much did all of this to my other guitars. But not the MIA Strat, I didn't do anything to that one. That one uses the same silver foil as its path to ground (no wires between the pots acting as aground path), and it's pretty quiet (so they most have been careful with the installation), but not 100% quiet like this Squier FMT HSS now is.
 

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