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I bought a new strat (used). I disassembled it and find a wire that just connects to nothing. I looked at 10 different strat wiring diagrams. I couldn't find it. My key (switch) is a 5 way switch. It has 7 holes. That loose wire reaches to that hole but it won't fit, you know how you first slip the wire through the hole and then you solder it, it forms a seal. What happens if I solder the wire to that hole? Can it damage the guitar or amp? It seems like tone knobs do nothing but I'm new and guitar is really cheap so maybe I just don't hear the difference. Do tone knobs make considerable difference, with cheap amp? PHOTOS , VIDEO

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  • Can you post pictures or a wiring sketch in MS Paint?
    – JamesFaix
    Nov 19, 2020 at 23:42
  • best I can do is this imgur.com/3G2zAfc @JamesFaix
    – baba yaga
    Nov 20, 2020 at 0:35
  • youtu.be/792nd3D4pmE @JamesFaix
    – baba yaga
    Nov 21, 2020 at 20:10

3 Answers 3

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Probably the "body ground" connection. I think on my strat, it is soldered to the tremolo anchor plate (aka "trem claw" or the thing the springs are attached to). If so, there will be an obvious residue or discoloration where the soldering point was.

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  • there is already a wire at the tremolo anchor plate and this wire can't reach there.
    – baba yaga
    Nov 19, 2020 at 22:06
  • It looks like the 5-way switch is enclosed in a metal box, which is in contact with a metal sheet under the pickguard. This metal structure needs to be grounded too. So just like another wire grounds the tremolo structure (and through that, the strings) this extra wire should probably ground the metal structure under the switch and the pickguard. It's not super clear from the photos where this connection point is, but I think that's the point.
    – MMazzon
    Nov 21, 2020 at 17:56
  • youtu.be/792nd3D4pmE @MMazzon
    – baba yaga
    Nov 21, 2020 at 20:08
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Looks like a redundant ground wire. Are you having any grounding issues, like buzzing when your fingers touch the strings? Since it's a used guitar, I'm guessing a previous owner got in there to fix something and added an extra ground. If you're not having any trouble, you don't need it. My guess would be that they soldered it to the metal shielding in the cavity, probably between that middle pot and the shielding. If all 3 of your pickups are grounded and you've got a ground to the trem claw (or anything else that comes into contact with the bridge or strings, so that the ground drains out to your hands as you play), you're fine to ignore it or cut it off if it's bugging you.

[edit] I just noticed there's a little something extra going on here. The two tone pots in this guitar each have their own capacitor, and are not connected except by ground. Normally, there's only one capacitor, which is on the middle pot, and then the two tone pots are bridged together with a wire. I'm guessing this was a mod installed by a former owner, unless this is a specific model of strat that has that mod stock. You might want to check out diagrams specific to dual-tone mods and see if your wiring matches up to one of them, such as the ones here.

I still suspect that that loose wire is extra/unnecessary, though. I can trace the ground path in your guitar from the 3 pickups to the first pot, the first pot bridged to the second and third pots, and the middle pot to the trem claw, so everything that needs grounding is grounded, as far as I can tell.

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  • Yes I think I'm having ground problems. It has everything you described.
    – baba yaga
    Nov 23, 2020 at 1:18
  • by metal shielding in the cavity do you mean aluminum tape on pickguard.
    – baba yaga
    Nov 23, 2020 at 1:24
  • Yes, the tape on the pickguard. See if connecting it to that helps.
    – chigbarg
    Nov 23, 2020 at 8:16
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After looking at the video you sent in a comment (link copied below, for reference) I'm pretty sure the wire is there to ground the metal box that contains the switch. I'm guessing the soldering point was where I put the red circle.

screenshot with soldering point

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