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Cleaning Strat Selector Switch Contacts


Acousticraft
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My strat switch played up in position one and two and kept cutting out, cracking etc when I played for church worship last weekend so I used positions 3, 4 and 5.

I tried spraying switch cleaner down the slot to no avail. I pulled off the strings and pickguard and flipped it over and dribbled a little bit of brass cleaner (Brasso) on the contacts and worked it back and forth a little. I then flushed out all the brasso with switch cleaner, as well as the pots and put it back together with a new set of strings. It seems to be working perfectly now.

Those new strings sound fantastic, have to not go so long before changing them next time.

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My strat switch played up in position one and two and kept cutting out, cracking etc when I played for church worship last weekend so I used positions 3, 4 and 5.

I tried spraying switch cleaner down the slot to no avail. I pulled off the strings and pickguard and flipped it over and dribbled a little bit of brass cleaner (Brasso) on the contacts and worked it back and forth a little. I then flushed out all the brasso with switch cleaner, as well as the pots and put it back together with a new set of strings. It seems to be working perfectly now.

Those new strings sound fantastic, have to not go so long before changing them next time.

Cool. I suspect the problem was due to corrosion on the contacts - and the Brasso cleaned that off. Good thinking! :D

I just need to change out some of my pickups so when I am playing at church, I don't have any more objectionable hum... :D

Edited by Paul Marossy
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Are you using single coil pickups?

Mine has Kent Armstrong STV1 single coils and I lined the pickup/control cavities with aluminium foil tape, wrapped the pickup windings with copper tape as well as the wiring loom. I also grounded everything to the cavity foil and it is one dead quiet strat. I love it and is my favourite guitar that I play 99% of the time.

My acoustic , LP and 335 hardly get used.

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Yeah, I have a Strat with a DiMarzio FRED humbucker on the bridge and some unknown cheapie single coils on the mid and neck positions. They are the main offenders. I have the entire pickup & control cavity shielded to ground as well as the entire back of the pickguard, but I still get hum when I play using the mid or neck PUPs. I have the amp tilted back and facing towards me. Apparently, it's picking up hum from the transformers in my amp and on my pedalboard. If I move the guitar to a specific position, the hum will go away.

I'm thinking about getting some noiseless pickups to replace those single coils. Maybe I could try shielding around the pickups themselves like you did? Is that copper tape actually connected to ground as well?

Edited by Paul Marossy
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No the copper tape is not grounded but it would be easy to insert a earth wire between the wraps of shielding tape so it could be grounded. Very easy thing to try to see if that cures the problem. My amp is a Vox Valvetronix which is not a full tube amp so I guess a full blown tube amp is more susceptible to pickup noise.

Edited by Acousticraft
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These seem to be getting good reviews. I was trying to see how they approached the stacked coil thing...I liked the hotter JB Noiseless and some of the SCn's...not so much the "vintage" versions, I think they need the extra winds in the upper coil.

Has anyone seen inside them...I'd like to know about the magnet structure. Some of the above designs have a central magnet core that has really overcome the original stacked pickup problems...

When I was looking a bit (could only find reviews) I hit this site...stratoblogster.blogspot.com...and this song started playing..."some kind of love song" by 'freak kitchen'...amazing guitar sound, nice strat stuff...very funny lyrics...hehehe

Not sure how this relates to the original post...still...while we are digressing...

Shielding can help a lot...a lot of people don't realize how much noise their guitar is really making because these modeling amps and effects usually have a lot of noise reduction applied to the patches. Single coils are susceptible to noise even though shielding can help but "noiseless" stacked designs have come a long way in recent times...kinman, lawrence, fenders and now dimarzio have greatly improved the design and sound by better isolating the lower noise canceling coil in various ways. A lot of single coil pickups, even cheap ones, will incorporate and internal copper grounded shield around the actual coils making pickup cavity shielding a little overkill, but even this will only reduce hum, not remove it in the way that a dual coil design will do.

pete

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a lot of people don't realize how much noise their guitar is really making because these modeling amps and effects usually have a lot of noise reduction applied to the patches.

Yeah, that's a good point. I don't use any modeling anything, so it's really apparent in the sound system at church. :D

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Nothing wrong with modelling. I can get some nice chimey AC30 sounds out of my amp which my favourite amp sound.

With 11 amp models I never get bored, I just use another model.

I do not like modeling amps at all. I'm an old school guy when it comes to tone and how to get it. Might be OK for studio work, but I'd never use one for playing live. :D

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I wasn't knocking modeling amps, just saying that if you look at any of the patches programed into any modeling amp or digital effect they are programed to produce a consistent sound with quite a bit of noise reduction and compression. Most also over hype the factory presets to demo the further extent of what they do. If you take out the noise reduction and compression, you hear both the sound of the guitar noises and the effect hiss and such normally masked by the sound of the guitar while playing.

The point then, is that when evaluating the affect of shielding a guitar or comparing one guitar with another or how quiet a guitar really is or even how it really sounds, it needs to be evaluated without noise reduction, compression and excessive EQ.

There are lots of things that can be said about digital modeling some very good, some bad (for instance, anything digital is going to cut up the signal into slices for processing...but then so is the audio on a CD!). Generally, they don't display the dynamic range and organic tone change of an amp, especially a valve amp. The down side is that the tube amp has a lot of high voltage transformers that can produce a fair noise and is not consistant (they change depending on the age of the tubes, how hot they are or have been on, etc)

On the other hand, when recording or in many live settings the modeled sound is exactly what you do want, or what you would like to end up with...a quiet and compressed sound that sits well in a mix.

If it sounds good, or good enough, then use it but you certainly hear a big difference and a real amp will always be more responsive to your playing. My point was that often people believe that they have a quiet guitar when in fact the noise reduction is cutting out all possible noise.

Similarly, there are some signals that the digital technology has trouble translating...my new sustainer guitar can produce signals more than a good modeling device can keep up with and the digital "cut and paste" can clearly be heard. Similarly, I love CD's for their crisp sound and convenience...but I can hear the difference in a vinyl record (I tend not to play them though)...similarly a compressed MP3 to a Wav legit CD..or a CD vs the same song via a radio through the same system.

I have been spending hours messing with the modeling in my BR600 recorder to get close to my real amp but not really come close...similar tone, but nothing of the dynamic range and distortion characteristics that respond to the touch. However, if may well be closer than if I were to mic it up that would add it's own color and limitations...so modeling is a better option.

pete

All of which is off topic. The Brasso was a good idea, but it is an abrasive and so in time the contacts will oxidize again...eventually it will happen again or something similar and the switch wear out...but then we all do anyway over time...

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The point then, is that when evaluating the affect of shielding a guitar or comparing one guitar with another or how quiet a guitar really is or even how it really sounds, it needs to be evaluated without noise reduction, compression and excessive EQ.

I know where you're coming from. You need to have basic stuff in place to determine how much hum you really have. The single coils on my SpankenStrat are pretty quiet unless I have some high gain overdrive/distortion going. But that will amplify the heck out of the slightest amount of hum in your system! :D

I just don't care for modeling amps, they just aren't convincing for me. They have come a long way, but I'm still not a fan of them and don't think I ever will be. :D

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