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Thread: Ground Wire on Single Coil Pickup?

  1. #1

    Default Ground Wire on Single Coil Pickup?

    Hello! Im nearly done with my first electric ukulele, but my single coil pickup is giving me trouble. First of all, I'm looking for the ground wire, the left wire of the pickup is a mesh wire. The right is a stranded red wire. I would guess the red wire is the hot wire, but I'm not sure. Secondly, can I ground to the jack cover if its made of metal?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Greenville, VA.
    Posts
    845

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    You need a common ground for all metal components of the instrument. Your control cavity should be shielded. I like shielding paint. Others insist on copper foil. A metal tab or screw can be mounted to the shielded cavity and the pickup, pots, bridge (and thus the strings) , and jack/plate soldered to the common point. This is sometimes called a star ground system. Not grounding metal strings will cause a nasty hum. If you use a wooden bridge you can add a thin sheet of metal to the bridge plate and solder it to the star. The ball ends will contact the metal and thus be grounded, too. Yes, the red wire is likely the hot lead. No instructions came with the pickup?

  3. #3

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    Alright, thanks! I bought it off my sponsor music store, it looked used. It's a mighty mites single coil. The confusing part is the mesh wire. I didn't think it was supposed to be used as a ground.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Greenville, VA.
    Posts
    845

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    Maybe I should add that any metal parts that make mechanical contact (ie:jack and jack plate) don't need a soldered wire connection. As long as the jack nut is tight they are fine.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Petaluma, CA, USA
    Posts
    127

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    Most single coils have two ends on the super thin wire that is the coil and each will be terminated to a larger piece of wire that can be handled and soldered. This could be any sort of wire, but it is usually different colors but of the same gauge, like 24. Additionally, there is often a third piece of wire, often mesh such as that which shield cables, which is soldered to the body of the pu to ground it. This can be combined with one end of the coil and they can be run together as the ground, but often they are not and instead the cable used is 2 conductors inside a shielding. If every thing is shielded it works out cleanly, but w/o complete shielding it is possible to get a ground loop which will make annoying noise and can be very frustrating to run down. In your case just wire up the red as the hot and the mesh as the ground. If it doesn't work you may have to dig for a missing wire, a task I rarely succeed at. I am much better at the wooden parts.
    Bruce
    (mojoluthier)

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