SDS-1 noise, shielding, optimization

SDS-1 noise, shielding, optimization

Postby tatittle » Thu Jul 18, 2013 11:44 pm

Hey Now,

I just now finished wiring up my 1st SDS-1 equipped strat, still no neck on it though. I was struck by how noisy the single coils seemed at full volume (the middle is RWRP for 2/4 cxlt'n). I did shield the entire cavity with copper tape, and it tests properly grounded. I was wondering if anyone has had any real epiphanies re: taming the hiss of high output SC like the SDS-1?

I tried a dummy coil rig on vintage pups I wasnt too impressed by, but I did not match the dummy up to the pups at all. Just pulled the magnets off a mexican 5.8 pup and wired it in. I was told Alembic was an early experimenter with dummy coils, but my understanding is Jerry's guitars did not employ them (especially since Wolf).

The polarity of the pups wiring is irrelevent to noise except with 2 pups in relationto each other correct? These are my 1st Dimarzio's so I could have wired them "backwards", but they are in proper relationship anyway. Lastly, I used shielded wire (metal thread on outside type) for the output and grounds w/o making sure the metal jacket was soldered/in circuit well. (I had to move the jack route wiring around so they didnt short out the output already). I figured the wire shielding would be in contact with the copper shielding if my extra solder didnt do the job. Much obliged folks...
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Re: SDS-1 noise, shielding, optimization

Postby tatittle » Fri Jul 19, 2013 1:04 am

UPDATE: I got the neck on and strung her up and I was happy to find less noise and what I think is a great sound. You see I cant tell yet because I used an ABM bridge (chromed brass 2 point) which inexplicably did not come with the allen wrench to adjust the saddle height...and the saddles are way too low as is, fretting out completely except the E strings. I am really excited to get it set-up now: I have been unsatisfied with vintage style pups (usually in the 2/4 positions since they are so harsh SCoil bald clean through a Fender) for Jerry type sounds.
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Re: SDS-1 noise, shielding, optimization

Postby cmc64 » Fri Jul 19, 2013 5:01 am

I had the exact opposite experience with the SDS-1, but that comes with a disclaimer. I set up my MiM Strat with a Blaster first, and then added an SDS-1 in the neck and bridge positions and a Scott Walker Super 2 "single coil" in the middle. The stock pickups in the Strat were so noisy that the SDS-1's sounded SILENT in comparison, even with the Blaster.

I had a local shop do the work (my soldering iron sucks and I have never redone the electronics on a guitar, minus installing the Blaster) and they mucked it up so badly I sent the guitar to Andrew Olson for repairs (it was really bad; Andrew said it was one of the the worst set ups he had ever seen). The neck needed to be reset anyway, and he is adding an OBEL and doing a couple other neat-o little things).

Scott Walker is currently putting together a "single coil" Super Distortion for me which is going to replace the SDS-1 in the bridge. The project should sound pretty good when it's done. Best of luck with yours - sounds like you are almost there!!! :smile: :smile: :smile:


edit: I do not like positions 2 and 4 either and never use them.
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Re: SDS-1 noise, shielding, optimization

Postby tatittle » Fri Jul 19, 2013 6:18 am

Thanks for the reply. Yeah I think my intial reaction is because it was the middle of the night and I was using my 1957 tweed Princeton which can get noisy. Plus my house is notorious, the basement is a Humbucker only zone unless you want to be a statue in a rare acceptable (noise) pose. I have all vintage amps which are great for touch sensitivity but can be quite noisy.

In comparison to stock Fender pups they are quieter...a bit noisier than my Duncan's though. A very quick play has me thinking they are going to be better with bigger headroom amps where the preamp doesnt get overdriven as easily. I love the meatier/bassier tone from the higher output SDS-1 for sure though...it may be a bit too high for my Princeton Reverb even for that clean Jerry tone. Only time will tell. Play around with the pup height and maybe even cap/pot values is yet to come.

Your experience is exactly why I do my own work on midlevel guitars. The work just isnt very complicated and all the basics are covered ad nauseaum online. The biggest factor in quality with basic stuff is caring enough to be patient and take the time to be precise.

I have met some good folks in these forums...I think I saw the Super 2 halving process your are having done. My next wire-up is a Super 2 with OBEL pickguard. I am not sure I can fit a 9V into a strat w/o routing yet...so the buffer may have to be first inline on the floor.

I fear that screaming clean tone Jerry gets is in large part to the McIntosh 2300, which is far beyond my budget. I have noticed when my poer tubes start to get pushed in Fenders the tone begins sounding less like twinkle eyes. I love the 2/4 position on Strats, but more for sweet bluesy stuff like Clapton rather than Jerry---some of the 72 era Dead singles are compatible. Not a sound Garcia played much in his latter years though thats for sure. I find it tougher to play a straight SCoil generally--it has so much bite that through an ultra clean rig you better be spot on or its gonna make you cringe! Sure is nice when the technique and note selection is there though.
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Re: SDS-1 noise, shielding, optimization

Postby Jerry1996x » Fri Jul 19, 2013 6:54 pm

My Strat used to have all SDS-1s. When I first installed them I thought there was something wrong with my guitar it was so noisy. Shielding it helped a lot. Also got the middle pickup reverse wound so the in between positions are silent. All in all, super noisy pickups.

But damn they sound good..........
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Re: SDS-1 noise, shielding, optimization

Postby tatittle » Sun Aug 25, 2013 11:29 pm

For posterity thought I would ADD...

SDS-1's are much taller than typical Strat pup's. I discovered that mine were touching the shielding on the bottom of the cavity. Found this by multimeter 4 connectivity, I was getting contuity between the ground @ jack and the SDS-1 pole pieces. I merely put a layer of tape over the bottom of the pickup and no longer measure connectivity b/t ground and poles.

The noise level and tone were not affected far as I can tell before or after.
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