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My latest build has a Tele pickup, around which I added a gold metal ring. Everything's wired up, but when the 3-way knob is switched to the Tele pup, I'm getting a very slight static-y noise, and if I tap the ring with my pick, i can hear it through the amp clear as day.
I'm guessing i need to run a ground wire to the grounding pot?
How does it sound without the ring? I'm having trouble envisioning what this ring is doing. Is it acting as a polepiece or a shield or is it purely decorative? Is it really solid gold or is it gold plated over some other metal?
Running a ground wire to the ring might help. You can just tape one on temporarily at first just to test it. Then if it works, solder it on permanently.
The part where you tap on the ring and you can hear the tapping sounds like the pickup is microphonic, which is not necessarily a bad thing. You can tap on the polepieces or magnets of pickups and hear the tapping through the amp.
If it's too microphonic, you'll get hum/squealing/feedback as you turn the pickup up. You can reduce microphonics by potting the pickup.
2) It's part decorative, but it mainly exists to hold the pickup in place or raise/lower it. It does the same job as a humbucker ring.
3) I haven't tried it without the pickup ring because the pickup would fall through the hole without it.
4) I'm not a pickup expert, but I don't think the pickup is microphonic. I've cranked my guitar and mini amp without squeal.
As you can see in the photo, the bridge is actually 4 separate pieces. What I did was, I took the bridge ground wire, bares it about a half inch or so, and fanned the wires flat against the top of the guitar. Two of the bridges were screwed fown on top of these wires, and I made sure that all 4 pieces touched, so that they shared the ground.
But honestly, the bridge isn't making any noise, even when i lay my fingers on it. The only thing generating background noise is when the tele pickup is active from the 3-way switch. And even then, it's not the pickup itself... its the pup ring making the noise when I touch it. From everything I'm reading online today, they say pretty much any non-grounded metal on the guitar body can cause noise.
Electrically speaking, just because the 4 bridge pieces are touching doesn't mean a good contact. With a bit of hard playing they could possibly shift a bit making a very poor contact, or no contact at all. I'd make a good mechanical connection to the ground wire on each of them and to the pup ring also. Grounding can be touchy and can cause many problems, especially in low output voltage equipment.