Power on! Or not so much.

Today I received the Tele jack cup so I decided to install it and the strap holders and then try plugging the Frankencaster into an amp.

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The strap holders are on the right and the jack cup is on the left. Rather than explain how the jack cup works/mounts, I’ll show you.

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To install this, you need to drill two holes into the body for the two screws and you need to screw the input jack to the cup. Presto! I did have to take the strings off to raise the pickguard to maneuver the jack into the hole, but now the guitar is ready for a power on test!

I know the guitar is intonated, I know it holds a tune, and I know it plays. But so far it’s only acoustic! Can it be electric?

Well, I plugged it into an amp.

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And guess what? Nothing. Literally nothing. No sound, no hum, no nothing. It is quiet beyond my wildest dreams. Except that I wanted to hear something. So, now it is debug time. Since I designed the wiring myself, I need to make sure I have wired the parts according to the wiring diagram, and then I need to make sure the wiring diagram is correct. To do all this, I’ll need to take the pickguard completely off which also means taking off the neck.  So here we go.

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In case you are wondering, the colorful hammer you see is in case I lose my temper and need to bash the shit out of the pickguard.

Anyway, I started out debugging by making sure that things I thought were connected were connected and that things which shouldn’t be, aren’t. And what I found is that I have at least two shorts. A short circuit, or “short” for short, is when you have a zero resistance conductive path between two points which themselves should not be connected. Electricity always takes the path of least resistance and so no currents flow where they should flow, instead they flow through the short circuit. This basically renders any electrical circuit inoperable and sometimes dangerous.

The shorts in my case appear to be due to the stupid shielded cable I used from Stewmac. I used shielded cable, which is a cable with a conductor inside an insulator, like normal wire, but then with a third layer consisting of a conductive shell around the insulator. I used this cabling because I wanted to build a zero hum guitar and shielding the wires is the best way to make sure induced currents are not a noise problem. And also because it came in the kit and what else would I do with it? But as I mentioned previously, shielded cable is a total pain to work with. My shorts occurred because when I stripped off the insulation and the shielding, I believe I have inadvertently exposed the conductor to the shielding, which instantly grounds the conductor, producing a short circuit.

I am afraid there is no quick fix. I am going to need to rewire the stupid pickguard using brand new wire which is not shielded. Maybe there is a way to effectively work with this stupid cable but if so, I don’t know what that is. So I am going back to standard wire, which I understand.

And let me say that kit from Stewmac is in my bad books three times now. Once because it is way, way too expensive. Twice because the switch which comes in the kit is way, way too long. And thrice because this shielded cable is a nightmare and I should never have used it.

And as long as I am dissing stuff, I still have NOT USED that stupid unmarked straightedge I purchased. What a waste of money that was.

 

 

 

 

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