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Post subject: Custom Shop 51 Nocaster pickup upgrade
Posted: Fri Sep 09, 2016 7:22 pm
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I'm new to the Fender website and Fender products. I'm upgrading an Agile TC 625 Tele with a set of Custom Shop 51 Nocaster pickups. I'm looking for suggestions as to any other parts I might need to address, i.e., what tone capacitor value works best, should I also look at replacing the pots and switch, is a treble bleed recommended on a Telecaster.
Up until now I've only played LP style humbuckers and decided I'd like to try a different sound. A Tele seemed the obvious choice.


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Post subject: Re: Custom Shop 51 Nocaster pickup upgrade
Posted: Sat Sep 10, 2016 1:37 am
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First, you're investing about 200 (monetary units) to a pickup upgrade on an about 300 (monetary units) guitar - to me, doesn't make much sense.
For the total 500 (monetary units), you'd probably find a nice preowned MIJ/MIK/MIM (even MIA, depending on your location) Fender with typical Tele sound and ready for playing.

But if you're determined, and since I'm all for modding, :wink: why not start with the "original" '51 Nocaster wiring: Image

And yes, I'd suggest upgrading all electronics while at it. CTS or Bourne pots, CRL switch etc.


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Post subject: Re: Custom Shop 51 Nocaster pickup upgrade
Posted: Sat Sep 10, 2016 12:05 pm
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Thanks, I really appreciate the response and information. I think I'd like to have the vintage twang, but, I'd also prefer the modern 3-way switch setup of neck, neck and bridge, bridge. I read a very good article on Leo's early wiring and it said that one of the earliest mods players made was to reconfigure the pickup wiring.
What you say regarding spending money on cheap guitars may well be true if the goal is to make it sound like a MIM, or MIJ. But plenty of people who have those guitars buy hand wound, custom made pickups, I'm assuming, to make them sound better.
I ordered the pickups for $107, and, all in, I figure I'll spend another $50 to $75 on the other upgraded components to upgrade a guitar that I paid $200 for and, hopefully, when I'm done it will sound better than the MIM guitar I would have paid $400 for, before having to upgrade its components. Besides, as an added bonus I get the satisfaction of knowing I did it myself.


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Post subject: Re: Custom Shop 51 Nocaster pickup upgrade
Posted: Sat Sep 17, 2016 10:42 am
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jackinjax wrote:
I'm new to the Fender website and Fender products. I'm upgrading an Agile TC 625 Tele with a set of Custom Shop 51 Nocaster pickups. I'm looking for suggestions as to any other parts I might need to address, i.e., what tone capacitor value works best, should I also look at replacing the pots and switch, is a treble bleed recommended on a Telecaster.

Hi jackinjax,
If you are happy with the feel of an Agile TC 625 Tele style guitar, then there is no reason not to mod it.

Below is a diagram of modern Telecaster wiring that you should generally follow.
The diagram shows an Oak Grigsby 3-Way Telecaster Switch, which I recommend.
An Oak Grigsby 3-Way Telecaster Switch can be acquired here:
https://www.amazon.com/Oak-Grigsby-3-Wa ... way+switch

Image

Fender normally uses a CRL 3-way switch that is also a quality switch, which can be found here:
http://www.stewmac.com/Pickups_and_Elec ... AhTK8P8HAQ
There is a slight difference in the terminal post location on a CRL switch, as compared to an Oak Grigsby switch, as shown in the Fender American Standard wiring diagram below.

Image

While you have your guitar apart, you should use copper tape to shield the control cavity routing and the pickup cavity routings.
You should use copper tape with conductive adhesive, which can be purchased inexpensively at Amazon.com:
https://www.amazon.com/Electronics-Cond ... ape+guitar

Even though you are using copper tape with a conductive adhesive, a solder link should be used to electrically connect the bottom and the side pieces of copper tape, and any independent pieces of copper tape which may be used to overlap onto the guitar face.
The copper tape in the pickup cavities and control cavity is then grounded with a soldered ground wire from the control area.

Use only two pieces of copper tape in the cavities; one piece for the walls, and one piece for the floor.
At the bridge cavity, you may add an overlapping piece of copper tape fron the bridge pickup cavity onto the face of the guitar.
All independent pieces of copper tape should be linked with solder, despite using conductive adhesive.

Image
A ground wire is soldered into all of the cavities which will ground the copper shielding.

Image

Image

Image

Copper shielding is overlapped onto the face of the guitar in order to ground the back of the pickguard which will also receive copper shielding on its back.
Overlapping copper tape on to the face of the guitar will assist in grounding the bridge, in addition to a dedicated bridge ground wire, which can be seen on the lower left screw post on the bridge pickup in the picture below.

Image
Black electrical tape is used to cover the copper tape under the pickups to assure that the pickups do not ground out.

Image
Here is a picture of the "grounding star," where all ground wires connect at a single point and are grounded by the ground wire from the jack.
No wires are soldered to the volume or tone pots.
This is a much cleaner way to solder ground wires, than soldering them to the back of the pots, and it eliminates any possible heat damage to the pots.
The ground star will be covered with electrical tape.

Image
What appears to be a "second" capacitor in the above picture is actually a reflection of the orange drop capacitor in the chrome plate.

Copper tape the back of the pickguard to prevent any static electric "pops" through the amp.

Image

I recommend 022uf/400v capacitors such as can be found here:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00MS ... UTF8&psc=1
Any voltage capacitor can be used, but I like a "big" "orange drop".

I recommend Solid shaft, 250K-ohm CTS potentiometers, although there are other quality brands available.
These [ (CTS #450S 3487) Item # 0115-S] can be found at Stewart MacDonald:
http://www.stewmac.com/Pickups_and_Elec ... Aov78P8HAQ

Assuming that your guitar has a jack cup that is similar to a Fender jack cup, you will want to use a Switchcraft L11 Mono Female 1/4-Inch Long Shaft Jack.
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00C5 ... UTF8&psc=1
A long shaft jack will allow you to use a right angle guitar cable plug with a stock Fender style jack cup.
Why Fender has never changed to using a long shaft jack in their Telecasters is both unexplainable and inexcusable!!!!

Another approach to resolving this problem is to use a “Rutters Shallow Twisted Machined Jack Cup” which allows for the use of any length jack and a right angle guitar cable plug.
http://ruttersguitars.com/Hot_Rod_Parts.html
While you would have to "splurge" for this accessory, it is the best Telecaster style jack cup on the market.

I also dig the old style dome chrome Fender knobs, if you are interested.
https://www.amazon.com/Fender-Telecaste ... B0002KZITQ

Finally, don't forget to twist the positive and ground wires together as they run from the pickups to the control cavity, as this may also help to reduce electrical interference, 60 cycle hum.

Hope this helps.


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Post subject: Re: Custom Shop 51 Nocaster pickup upgrade
Posted: Sat Sep 17, 2016 2:50 pm
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Thanks, Mick! I'm going to have to save your post for future reference, though. The wife talked me into taking my guitar and new pickups to my favorite guitar tech/guru. She said she didn't want to listen to me cussing and shouting over another guitar parts upgrade. Okay, yeah, my last mod didn't go as well as I'd hoped, and, yeah, I did cuss and shout some.
So, off to see my guy. He swapped everything out with Fender parts off his shelf, except the Jack and Jack cup, and tuners while I waited and watched. Guy's a magician.
Results? Stunning difference. Even he was impressed.
Thanks again!


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Post subject: Re: Custom Shop 51 Nocaster pickup upgrade
Posted: Thu Sep 22, 2016 11:59 am
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Just looking at that star point ground ... do my eyes deceive me or is the earth lug on the pot connected to the control plate thus providing an addition path to ground i.e. pot to plate to shield to ground therefore negating the star ground in which all earths connect to a single point? Not trying to be picky just wonderin or is the control cavity shield low enough to prevent this
I dont check here that often but nice tele build thread :D


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Post subject: Re: Custom Shop 51 Nocaster pickup upgrade
Posted: Tue Sep 27, 2016 9:10 am
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jimmy_james wrote:
Just looking at that star point ground ... do my eyes deceive me or is the earth lug on the pot connected to the control plate thus providing an addition path to ground i.e. pot to plate to shield to ground therefore negating the star ground in which all earths connect to a single point? Not trying to be picky just wonderin or is the control cavity shield low enough to prevent this
I dont check here that often but nice tele build thread :D

Hi jimmy_james,
I'm not quite sure what your question is, but I will try to answer, as best as I may understand.

The pot will create a grounding "shield" in the control plate.
Of course, the plate can only provide electronic shielding, to the extent that the rest of the control cavity, and pickup cavities are also shielded and grounded.

I often also attach a separate ground wire from the ground star to the top screw of the switch, placing the wire lead between the switch and the plate, to provide additional plate grounding.
Older Telecasters came from the factory with this ground wire between the switch and the plate.

The use of a "ground star" is simply a device to tie all ground wires together, without the messy soldering on the back of the pot.

Sometimes I use two (2) dedicated ground wires from the jack.
One dedicated ground wire directly to the far right ground wire terminal on the volume control, which is bent upward and additionally soldered to the volume pot back.
The second dedicated ground wire from the jack is to the grounding star for grounding all other ground wires.

Either method; the single ground wire from the jack to the ground star as shown in the picture above, or the duel dedicated ground wire approach as described, will work.

I think that use of a "ground star" is a superior way to organize your ground wires:
It is much easier to solder numerous ground wires in this manner; it avoids the possibility of a "cold" solder joint of some ground wire on the back of the pot; and it eliminates the possibility of heat damage to the pot.


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Post subject: Re: Custom Shop 51 Nocaster pickup upgrade
Posted: Tue Sep 27, 2016 11:00 am
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Hey thanks for that.
Yeah I thought you were trying to achieve a true star ground in which all grounds terminate at one point avoiding ground loops etc.
Nice job anyway! :D


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Post subject: Re: Custom Shop 51 Nocaster pickup upgrade
Posted: Wed Sep 28, 2016 9:02 am
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MickJagger wrote:
Sometimes I use two (2) dedicated ground wires from the jack.


I'm not surprised.
Meanwhile, the rest of us try to avoid anything that causes a ground loop, which includes dual ground wires.


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Post subject: Re: Custom Shop 51 Nocaster pickup upgrade
Posted: Wed Sep 28, 2016 11:06 am
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TBH i suspect the wiring of the earths in a guitar would make little difference either way parallel or looping. A true earth loop requires a potential difference which would not be normal however a tele does have two potential difference generators i.e. the pickups.
Fender often parallel earths e.g. Pot to shield then earth from each pot.. :D


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Post subject: Re: Custom Shop 51 Nocaster pickup upgrade
Posted: Wed Sep 28, 2016 5:55 pm
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jimmy_james wrote:
Yeah I thought you were trying to achieve a true star ground in which all grounds terminate at one point avoiding ground loops etc.

The fact of the matter is, Jimmy, I discovered this approach to guitar wiring on a web site called "guitarnuts.com," on a web page called "Quieting the Beast," that is no longer available on line.
However, it has now reappeared on the web in PDF form.
Please see:
http://www.mcquain.com/lespaul/StratWir ... g_Tips.pdf

The theory of the "ground star" method of wiring in this article, was to avoid "ground loop" hum in electric guitars, according to the "Guitar Nuts" web site.
The more I considered the theory, the more it became clear that this is exactly the type of silly guitar FICTION, that purveyors of guitar MYTHS, like arth1, and his loyal cadre in the "Fender Lounge Alchemist Society," usually buy into.

This is because there is not enough current in an electric guitar to create a true "ground loop," affecting the guitar electronics or pickups, with an associated increase in amplified hum.

It is a lot like theories of "tone wood," that many guitar Alchemists believe affects the amplified sound of an electric guitar.
It simply doesn't happen.
Yet millions of thoughtful dupes, believe that vibration in the body or neck, coming from the strings, somehow loops back through the body, with ever diminished energy, to the strings, and somehow affects the electric guitar strings, the source of greater vibrational energy; or in the alternative, wood vibration somehow affects modern non-microphonic pickups, creating a vibrational, amplified sound.
Such FANTACIES simply do NOT occur in reality.

Because "ground loops" do not affect electric guitars, is why Fender could historically have wires running from the jack to the tone pot, and then run to the volume pot, where the pickup ground wires were soldered for ground.
Eliminating this traditional Fender wiring approach, does not affect 60 cycle hum caused by electrical interference, or the hum caused by single coil pickups.
And retaining this wiring approach does not increase guitar hum.
That is because there is NO "ground loop" hum in an electric guitar, regardless of wiring methodology.

After considering the Guitar Nuts article, "Quieting the Beast," and after building guitars using "ground star" wiring, the jury is now in.

"Ground star" wiring does NOT eliminate or alter amplified hum.
But it sure is a much easier, and better method of wiring a guitar, than having a bunch of wires soldered to the top of the volume pot.

arth1 wrote:
MickJagger wrote:
Sometimes I use two (2) dedicated ground wires from the jack.

I'm not surprised.
Meanwhile, the rest of us try to avoid anything that causes a ground loop, which includes dual ground wires.

Arth1, since you normally have difficulty comprehending rational, self-evident facts, the first time around, please allow me to give your brain a "shampoo".
This calls for a thorough "rinse and repeat...."

MickJagger wrote:
...It became clear that this is exactly the type of silly guitar FICTION, that purveyors of guitar MYTHS, like arth1, and his loyal cadre in the "Fender Lounge Alchemist Society," usually buy into, because there is NOT enough current in an electric guitar to create a true "ground loop" with associated amplified hum.

The "Bottom Line is:
Two (2) dedicated ground wires, one from the jack to the volume pot, and one from the jack to a "ground star," to ground all other guitar ground wires; DO NOT create a "ground loop," or any additional hum in the amplified sound of an electric guitar.
Take it to the F---ing bank.


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Post subject: Re: Custom Shop 51 Nocaster pickup upgrade
Posted: Thu Sep 29, 2016 9:23 am
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MickJagger wrote:
The "Bottom Line is:
Two (2) dedicated ground wires, one from the jack to the volume pot, and one from the jack to a "ground star," to ground all other guitar ground wires; DO NOT create a "ground loop," or any additional hum in the amplified sound of an electric guitar.

Given that the volume pot will have ground wires that lead independently to other components with their ground connected to the "ground star", yes, it will.

MickJagger wrote:
Take it to the F---ing bank.

Language.


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Post subject: Re: Custom Shop 51 Nocaster pickup upgrade
Posted: Thu Sep 29, 2016 11:57 am
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Yeah I try not to get to tied up in this wiring one way or the other however here is my logic....we are dealing with very small voltages. Each pickup generates a voltage i.e. a potential difference.
It is therefore possible to conclude that potential differences can exist within a guitar circuit if you have more than one pickup.
Once you have two differences unless both earths from both pickups are tied together ... and in most guitars they are ...it is logical to conclude a ground loop could exist. Two wires from the same potential source however will not result in a loop.
However in reality I do not think it all matters.
This all started with just a query and I apologise it has gone off topic.
I think the build is great and more importantly how does the guitar sound?


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Post subject: Re: Custom Shop 51 Nocaster pickup upgrade
Posted: Sat Oct 01, 2016 1:28 pm
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arth1 wrote:
MickJagger wrote:
Take it to the F---ing bank.

Language.

Arth1, you have my sincere apology, if I was a bit too politically incorrect for you and inadvertently shocked your sensibilities.
Unfortunately you still don't get it.
arth1 wrote:
MickJagger wrote:
The "Bottom Line is:
Two (2) dedicated ground wires, one from the jack to the volume pot, and one from the jack to a "ground star," to ground all other guitar ground wires; DO NOT create a "ground loop," or any additional hum in the amplified sound of an electric guitar.

Given that the volume pot will have ground wires that lead independently to other components with their ground connected to the "ground star", yes, it will.

When using two (2) dedicated ground wires; one ground wire from the jack to the volume pot, and one ground wire from the jack to a "ground star," there is absolutely NO additional amplified hum that is created.
Arth1, you can take it to the F---ing bank.
jimmy_james wrote:
Yeah I try not to get to tied up in this wiring one way or the other however here is my logic....we are dealing with very small voltages. Each pickup generates a voltage i.e. a potential difference. It is therefore possible to conclude that potential differences can exist within a guitar circuit if you have more than one pickup [and] ....it is logical to conclude a ground loop could exist. Two wires from the same potential source however will not result in a loop.
However in reality I do not think it all matters. [Emphasis added.]
This all started with just a query and I apologize it has gone off topic.

Jimmy, I don't think that this thread has really gone off topic, and there is certainly no need for you to apologize for anything.
Importantly, you have shown that in a world of guitar MYTHS, on this issue, you are clearly "grounded" in reality.
I often have little intellectual scrimmages here in the "Lounge," with my old buddy, arth1, who keeps life in the Lounge interesting, by often exuberantly promoting electric guitar "MYTHS" and "FANTACIES," which often need to be corrected by me, "The King of Rock 'n Roll"; a voice of reason, and a defender of "truth, justice and the American way," within the vast wilderness of electric guitar MYTHOLOGY, populated by some folks who even claim to have Engineering Degrees, like arth1 does.
jimmy_james wrote:
I think the build is great and more importantly how does the guitar sound?
.
The guitar with the duel dedicated ground wires from the jack which I described (wiring not pictured), is a 2009 American Vintage '52 Telecaster, in which I swapped out the vintage wiring and components that the Tele came with, for pre-assembled components with modern wiring, which already had a Switchcraft L-11 long jack, with a ground wire soldered to the ground terminal and back of the volume pot.
So instead of disturbing that ground, I attached a second ground wire to the jack and ran it to a "ground star," which grounded all of the other ground wires from the pickups and bridge.
This guitar, pictured below, sounds as great as it looks, with absolutely no increase in amplified hum.

Image


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Post subject: Re: Custom Shop 51 Nocaster pickup upgrade
Posted: Thu Oct 06, 2016 3:25 pm
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I just avoid shielding full stop. Nothing wrong with the hum. I really doubt many classic recorded singlecoil sounds came from shielded guitars.
It doesn't work, as it's an incomplete cage and it knocks some to the top end off the sound. Which is what the Tele is all about to my mind.

No shielding and no RWRP nonsense either. Keep em like they were meant to be.

If you simply must take the path of less tone. Then don't bother with the copper paper from guitar stores. Get to a garden centre and buy slug tape. It's cheap, adhesive. You can solder to it, should you wish. And it's very very easy to work with.

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