NPD & Static on the scratchplate

Nope not new pedal day, but new pickups day and a couple of questions.

I just exchanged the pickups in my Sunburst Squier Affinity Telecaster. This tele has a very nice neck and so it’s a pleasure to play. But the stock pickups sound muddy, especially the neck pup. I was happy with them until I got my classic vibe 60’s tele and heard the difference. So I decided to upgrade the pickups without spending a fortune. I got some Tonerider Alnico 2 blues pups. Not very expensive (£65) but v good reviews online.

I also bought a new pre-wired control plate with better quality pots and much much nicer looking and feeling control knobs.

I did the install today without any problems. Wow the difference in sound is absolutely enormous. It sounds great, and I hate to say it but it sounds better than my CV tele. I’m really surprised by the difference and so it was a great (and not too expensive upgrade).

However, there are 2 issues:

  1. If I run my finger over the scratch plate I can hear static through the amp. I have just polished the scratch plate and there is a lot of static on it at present. Is this normal or have I wired something wrong? There’s no noise like that from touching any other part of the guitar, nor is there a lot of hum or any strange noises. My Starcaster scratchplate does this a bit too, but my cv, and this affinity tele (before the upgrade) doesn’t do this. Is it ok? I put the ground underneath the bridge like I saw you should do so it should be grounded ok.

It’s a 3 way switch (completely standard tele config). However, to me, the middle position (neck and bridge together sound a bit quieter than either of the two pickups on their own. I didn’t have that before the change and my cv tele is not like that. Is this normal? Before anyone asks, I’ve checked the wiring of the control plate and everything appears wired exactly as it should be according to the diagrams.

Any comments/advice welcome.


Hi Ian. Congrats on the pick-up change. I’ve heard of this but never experienced it myself. The problem you are having is usually due to static building up between the pick guard and guitar body. There are a few ways to get rid of this but the two most common I have seen are: 1 Take off the pick guard and lightly sand the underside of it with some fine grit sand paper to slightly break down the shiny pick guard surface. 2 A lot of people wipe down their pick guards with dryer sheets which stops the issue. If you use method 2 your guitar will also have a nice fresh fragrance :smiley: Hope this helps
Edit: Sorry Ian. I forgot to mention the second part of your problem. Not sure about this one. Hopefully someone with more experience than me will step in.

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Hi Ian, and congrats on your new pups :smiley:
I had a similar problem when I bought my (used) G&L Tele a couple of months ago. It sounded great at first, but after playing a little (wearing a nylon jumper) there was a soft but distinct ‘crackle’ whenever my finger touched the plastic end of the bridge pickup :thinking:
I brought it to a local luthier who tested all the points with his ‘electrical detector thingamy’ and reassured me that it was only static buildup on the scratchplate and nothing serious. Told me I could get rid of it the next time I changed strings by applying some copper foil to the back of the guard .
When my cousin was visiting last week, he made me take him to a guitar shop to buy new ones (He bought Ernie Ball 1-46, same as I’ve been using for years! :open_mouth:). I put on the copper backing at the same time, making sure some of it made contact with the bridge and control plate and I haven’t had any crackling since.
Might be a solution for you?

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Had to dig back through my Roadcase to find this pic. You can either shield the back of the guard and or shield the body cavity like this. This was full pup put and pot make over within mini coil toggles, so I went for the whole cavity fill, just in case.