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Thread: Telecaster Ultra noiseless pickup is... noiseless

  1. #1
    Forum Member
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    Jan 2020

    Telecaster Ultra noiseless pickup is... noiseless


    I've just bought a brand new telecaster with S1 switching but the bridge pickup is acting strange, it doesnt work for maybe 5-10 mins at a time, and then will suddenly start working for maybe 5 mins but intermittently and sometimes with very low volume, once the pickup has gone quiet, touching the bridge below the strings seems to bring the sound back, so i'm guessing it's an earthing (grounding) issue.

    My other guitars all work ok with my setup and i've tried various cables into different amps (including a Kemper), but the problem still remains. To make things worse, this is a replacement guitar for the exact same model that was also having very similar problems with the bridge pickup, although the first one seemed to cut out for longer.

    Because this is the second guitar with a very similar problem, i'm wondering if it could be a issue with my house wiring (possibly the earthing), or maybe it's just a bad batch from Fender.

    anyone got any ideas what this could be? I can either return it back to the shop (2 hour drive each way ) or I can open it up and start poking around with a multimeter, which I don't really fancy on a brand new guitar.


  2. #2
    Forum Member DanTheBluesMan's Avatar
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    Nov 2002
    Southern NH

    Re: Telecaster Ultra noiseless pickup is... noiseless

    holy crap, 2 hour drive each way? 4 hour round trip? I shall consider myself fortunate.

    Are you totally sure they gave you a different guitar? I kind of doubt earthing (UK, are you? We call it grounding here in New England) would affect only the bridge pickup of only one model guitar. However, I won't discount the possibility, slim as it may be, that both those guitars assuming they are indeed individual guitars and not a shop's attempt at flimflammery, could in fact have the same defect.

    Are you totally sold on that model Telecaster? Which one was it by the way?
    "Live and learn and flip the burns"

  3. #3
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    Jan 2020

    Re: Telecaster Ultra noiseless pickup is... noiseless

    Thanks for the reply,

    Yep I'm from the uk, and there are music shops closer to me, but this particular one has a lot of stock so is usually worth the extra drive.

    It's definitely a different guitar as we had both cases open at the same time and the one I have now still has the plastic covered pickguard whereas I'd removed the other, plus I can tell just by looking at the grain on the body, it's a telecaster ultra butterscotch by the way, looks very similar to the one at the top of the page.

    I should have tried it plugged into an amp, but I just gave it a quick play unplugged to see what it felt like, I mean what are the chances of the same problem occurring in two guitars like that

    I think you are right in that it's not a house wiring problem, my money is on a grounding issue in the guitar itself maybe a short cct due to bad soldering. I should probably return it to the shop but it plays great and I don't particularly want to exchange it, so I'll probably open it up when I get chance and do some testing. I have plugged an instrument cable into the guitar and tested the other end, the meter is reading around 5-6K in all selector positions so I'm pretty confident the pickups are ok.

    Thanks again for looking.
    Last edited by 2nowman; 01-18-2020 at 11:41 AM.

  4. #4
    Forum Member jrgtr42's Avatar
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    Jan 2006

    Re: Telecaster Ultra noiseless pickup is... noiseless

    If you have another shop local to you, I would bring it in there (especially if it's a Fender dealer - warranty is warranty, no matter where it's purchased) to have them take a poke around inside.
    If it's a grounding issue, they should be able to take care of it in a few seconds, it it's something else to do with the pickup it may take a bit longer if they need a replacement from Fender.
    If it only happens with this guitar (guitars) and that pickup selection, there's something going on - maybe a bad batch of pickups? Who knows.
    But if it doesn't happen with other guitars, all else being equal, it's definitely the guitar, not the rest of your rig or your house electrical system.
    "Do you call sleeping with a guitar in your hands practicing?"
    "It is if you don't drop it."
    - Trent Lane, Daria, Episode 1-2.

  5. #5
    Forum Member OldStrummer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Northern Virginia, USA

    Re: Telecaster Ultra noiseless pickup is... noiseless

    Any chance you have a luthier nearby? When I was reviving my interest in playing, I wanted to have my 1957 Gibson ES-225 properly set up. Not knowing and not trusting the local rent-a-guitar-and-take-lessons place, I went online and found a professional luthier. I took both my guitars to him (which is what started me on my guitar buying jag, but that's another story...). He did a terrific job. He was a bit quirky, and very private, but I didn't care. He did the work I wanted, and that's what mattered.

    I think luthiering (is that a word?) is a quietly disappearing craft. But there may be one near you worth asking...

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