How to Ground a Stratocaster

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The Fender Stratocaster quickly became a favorite among guitarists when it was introduced in 1954 because of its durability, its smooth fingering action and the wide tonal range provided by its three pickup design. But even the best sounding Strat can’t compensate for the annoying buzz that results from it being improperly grounded. Fortunately, you don’t have to be a trained guitar technician to repair your Stratocaster’s grounding issues. With just a few tools and a little time, you can have it sounding as clean as the day you bought it.

Things You'll Need

  • Towel
  • Philips screwdriver
  • Soldering iron
  • Solder
  • Plug in your soldering iron.

  • Place a towel on your work area to protect your Stratocaster from being scratched.

  • Remove the strings from your guitar and lay it face up on the towel.

  • Pull off the three volume and tone knobs.

  • Remove the plastic faceplate using a Philips screwdriver.

  • Check to make sure each of the three pickups are securely grounded. A ground wire, which is green, should be securely connected to each pickup. All three should lead to a ground loop near the third pickup. If any of the wires has become disconnected, place the end of the wire on the connection point and touch it with the tip of a piece of solder. While holding the solder in place, touch it with the tip of the soldering iron. Hold it in place until the solder melts and a bead forms.

  • Examine the green body ground wire. One end should be soldered to the ground loop near the third pickup, and the other end should be attached to the inside wall of your guitar with a screw. If necessary, tighten the screw with a Philips screwdriver and repair the ground loop connection with a soldering iron as described in Step 6.

  • Inspect the green ground wire that connects the ground loop to the jack. If the connection at either end of the wire is broken or appears to be unstable, solder it securely in place as described in Step 6.

  • Check the ground wires that connect the three volume and tone knobs. Two green wires connect the outer two to the middle pot, while a third green wire connects the middle knob to a circuit board. Solder any connections that are damaged or broken as described in Step 6.

  • Set the faceplate back on your Stratocaster and secure it using a Philips screwdriver.

  • Replace the volume and tone knobs and restring your guitar.

Tips & Warnings

  • Make sure you’ve removed all the screws before attempting to lift the faceplate from your Stratocaster. Pulling up on the faceplate while it’s still attached could cause it to crack.

References

  • Photo Credit James Woodson/Photodisc/Getty Images Dynamic Graphics Group/Dynamic Graphics Group/Getty Images Hemera Technologies/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images
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