Grounding screw under pickguard, and other building questions

jeremyg

New member
Messages
3
Hello, I just got my Stratocaster body and neck (roasted swamp ash and roasted maple), and I've finally stopped procrastinating and started researching how to actually build the guitar.  I got a prewired Fender pickguard with Texas Special pickups and was watching their video on how to install it:

https://youtu.be/vTHzVmoatMM

I see that at about 2:40 and 3:40 they show a screw for a grounding wire in the body cavity.  I didn't see any such screw in the parts that came with mine (though I might have lost it if it was included), neither the body nor the pickguard.  Does anyone know what kind of screw I should use, or how much it matters?  It seems like it would need to be very short, because the cavity is about 1.5" deep and the body is 1.75" thick, so maybe 1/8" or less to be safe?  Or can I just do something else like tape it on instead, since it seems like it conducts through the paint, so I wouldn't need to worry about damaging the body?
 

stratamania

Senior member
Messages
9,217
Welcome to the forum.

Warmoth bodies do not come with a screw such as shown in the Fender video. Fender use it to ground the conductive paint in their bodies.

You need a ground wire to the claw of the tremolo or bridge if it is a hardtail. That is a must for passive pickups.

I am assuming you have a Warmoth body in which case the body has no shielding paint in it like Fenders have or copper shielding. You would either have to add conductive paint or copper shielding yourself.

Here is a link to one of my build threads showing copper shielding from quite a few years back but you may find it useful.

Pickup Installation and Screening

 

jeremyg

New member
Messages
3
stratamania said:
Welcome to the forum.

Warmoth bodies do not come with a screw such as shown in the Fender video. Fender use it to ground the conductive paint in their bodies.

You need a ground wire to the claw of the tremolo or bridge if it is a hardtail. That is a must for passive pickups.

I am assuming you have a Warmoth body in which case the body has no shielding paint in it like Fenders have or copper shielding. You would either have to add conductive paint or copper shielding yourself.

Here is a link to one of my build threads showing copper shielding from quite a few years back but you may find it useful.

Pickup Installation and Screening

Thank you!  Yes, it's a Warmoth body and neck.  I'm relieved to know that I don't need to worry about trying to drill or run a screw into that thin part of the guitar.  My guitar is a hardtail (I ended up blocking the tremolo on my other Stratocaster because I disliked how it caused other strings to detune when I bend one), so it sounds like I need to connect one ground wire to the bridge, as well as one to the output jack.

Regarding the third ground wire, I did buy at least a couple sheets of copper for shielding, and definitely plan on using it.  I appreciate your example, as it gives me a good idea of how to cut and apply it.  Can I just connect the third ground wire to that, or is there anything more to it than that?  In your post, it looks like you used conductive paint, so you connected the copper shielding to the paint, and attached the ground wire to the copper shielding.  You said that I would need to use conductive paint 'or' copper shielding, so I'm still not sure how I should connect that ground wire in my build, without conductive paint?
 

stratamania

Senior member
Messages
9,217
In that build if I recall the conductive paint was used in the rout for the top jack and the copper tape to create ground continuity from the jack plate.

In the main cavity the ground continuity is achieved by the volume and tone pots making contact with the copper on the pickguard which in turn makes contact to the copper shielding in the body and via the pickguard screws which in some cases may be making contact with both.

Ground wires to the output jack and the bridge for are needed, the third wire is not if ground continuity is achieved as described above. The Fender screw is a bit of a hack in my opinion as the conductive paint in the cavity is over sprayed with finish and the screw is a way of attaching a ground that goes through the finish and conductive paint.

My copper tape stock is reducing and I have been musing over in the future using two layers of conductive paint in the cavities and copper or similar on the pickguard with a copper strip from the cavity to the top of the body that the pickguard would make contact with.

Another thing worth doing is to use shielded cable between the cavity and the output jack as it is near impossible to shield the hole between the main cavity and the top jack.

Hope the above makes sense and a Merry Christmas.
 

jeremyg

New member
Messages
3
I am partway through building the guitar, but stuck on the pickguard now.  How can I be sure that I am aligning it correctly?  It doesn't quite fit exactly with the neck pocket or the bridge.  Should I put the neck and strings on and align it that way, or is there a better method?
 

stratamania

Senior member
Messages
9,217
It helps if the pickguard is the same brand as the body for compatibility purposes.

You need to dry fit the neck otherwise you can not be certain that the pickguard is placed correctly.

e.g.

https://www.unofficialwarmoth.com/index.php?topic=32923.msg464406#msg464406

https://www.unofficialwarmoth.com/index.php?topic=30781.msg434209#msg434209

You also need to make sure that you do not have any of the wires from your pickups obstructing the pickguard from being able to sit in it's correct position.

Final alignment of the neck may come later and then you either need outer E strings or strong thread to ensure the alignment of the neck. Depending on your pickups the polepieces may not align fully in any case.

(I think you now have links in this thread to posts from three of my build diaries. Have a read through them as they are quite detailed and document most of the process)
 
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