Noisy Humbuckers

ChubbyFingers

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I didn't know quite where to put this, so I figured the general SG section would do. The mods can move it if they like.

Myself and at least one other have been having issues with humming guitars recently. Myself it's been with my Epi LP and Seymour Duncan Whole Lotta Humbuckers.

It's a low volume buzz that goes away when you touch anything metallic.

We've checked all the grounds, shielded cavities,, even added extra grounds, replaced cables, moved amps, disconnected pedalboards and anything else electrical in rooms, you name it we've tried it.

Last night my crack team of scientists

VMX-Beaker&Bunsen.jpg


stumbled upon two probable causes.

The issue is the human not being grounded him her on non binary pronoun self and acting as an antenna or just producing static.

We discovered / proved this by simply holding the bare end of a wire and touching to other to the already proven to be grounded bridge. The hum goes away.

Possible cause in my home is that we've just had the carpets cleaned, and whatever chemicals used have left the carpet non conducting, so the human isn't grounded.

Another cause could be Spring being upon us and a general drop in humidity.
 

donepearce

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Well known problem with a well known solution. It has nothing to do with pickups. It is the unshielded controls cavity. Your body is a huge hum antenna and when you bring it near the controls they pick up the hum it produces. As soon as you ground your body by touching any metal on the guitar it ceases being an antenna and the hum stops.

The solution:

Remove the controls cover plate and cover the inside of it with adhesive copper foil. Solder a wire from this to the body of one of the pots to ground it, then screw it back on. The hum is gone.
 

Col Mustard

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I agree with Don... it's not likely your pickups.
It's simply a faulty ground in the guitar as he describes.

Something isn't connected to the ground wire, and everything should be.
I'd suspect the string ground, the wire that goes from the control cavity ground
to the studs of the bridge. That is inside the wood of the guitar and sometimes
the fault can't be seen.

With a meter you can check the continuity between the bridge and the
ground wire. If there is none, there's your problem. If there is continuity,
then the fault is somewhere else. Maybe a poor solder joint.

These things can be annoying and hard to track down.
But it's likely simple to fix. Good luck.

If you get really frustrated, take your instrument to the best luthier
you can find or afford. They can track down the fault for you. Get your
guitar setup at the same time. It's worth it.
 

ChubbyFingers

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All of the above were checked and double checked. I nuked the ground connections with my Weller "ray gun" soldering iron and checked all the connections with a multimeter, including the shielding added, the pickup backplate and chrome cover grounding, the lot. There wasn't a bridge ground fitted, but there was a ground on the stoptail, which should have done the same thing. I added a bridge ground as well, belt and braces, and yes it's grounded, still no joy.

The only things I haven't shielded are the pickup cavities, but with humbuckers I shouldn't need to. After all, that's what hum-bucking humbuckers are for, right?

I'm also getting this issue on "simpler" guitars too. Moreover, someone on the SD forum is reporting the same issue with his set of WLHs as well.
 

ChubbyFingers

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Another possibility..
View attachment 47984 View attachment 47985

I use the bottom arrangement with 2 volume guitars all the time, as I wire them as independent volumes, not the standard coupled arrangement found on out the factory door Gibsons. I and others have found that the ring ground defeats the independent volume controls. Don't know why, it just does.
 

MR D

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I didn't know quite where to put this, so I figured the general SG section would do. The mods can move it if they like.

Myself and at least one other have been having issues with humming guitars recently. Myself it's been with my Epi LP and Seymour Duncan Whole Lotta Humbuckers.

It's a low volume buzz that goes away when you touch anything metallic.

We've checked all the grounds, shielded cavities,, even added extra grounds, replaced cables, moved amps, disconnected pedalboards and anything else electrical in rooms, you name it we've tried it.

Last night my crack team of scientists

View attachment 47981


stumbled upon two probable causes.

The issue is the human not being grounded him her on non binary pronoun self and acting as an antenna or just producing static.

We discovered / proved this by simply holding the bare end of a wire and touching to other to the already proven to be grounded bridge. The hum goes away.

Possible cause in my home is that we've just had the carpets cleaned, and whatever chemicals used have left the carpet non conducting, so the human isn't grounded.

Another cause could be Spring being upon us and a general drop in humidity.
'CRACK' Team of scientists, BWHA HA HA !! LMAO, TNX 4 that one !
 

MR D

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I use the bottom arrangement with 2 volume guitars all the time, as I wire them as independent volumes, not the standard coupled arrangement found on out the factory door Gibsons. I and others have found that the ring ground defeats the independent volume controls. Don't know why, it just does.
U KNO, I stumbled onto something a while back...by SHIELDING the Toggle Switch Cavity on a Les Paul Standard (a guitar that had an intolerable HUM)......it was exactly that which was able to stop the HUMM....U C..once I shielded the Toggle Switch cavity with copper shielding tape....The HUMM was GONE immediately, guitar became quiet as a Church Mouse...just a thought/suggesttion...it was the only part of the guitars electronics that I had not put Copper Shielding tape on up to that point...and I couldn't get the HUMM to go away......once I made that move, it settled that matter right quick, it did !

An Aside: The GIBSON USA line of guitars, for IDK what reason (qwik-Connects?), for a few years starting in 2017, GIBSON was no longer SHIELDING the USA Line of guitars completely...GIBSON usually painted the control/pickup(?) cavities w/Black shielding paint...but GIBSONs USA line stopped doing it....IDK if the complaints were such that made GIBSON start shielding their USA Line guitars again...BUT...I do know that the GIBSON USA line of electric guitars is once again being properly (?) shielded...the 2020 SG Standard I bought has the BLACK Shielding paint and my 2017 SG Standard & Les Paul Standard don't...I had to shield every GIBSON USA line guitar I bought in 2017-2018 (5 guitars?) w/Copper shielding tape.......it was how I figured out the toggle switch was causing the majority of the HUMM in those particular guitars.
 
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ChubbyFingers

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^ My switchcraft switch body is grounded already, but worth a shot, I suppose. While I'm at it I'll wrap the wires between the switch and the control cavity in copper foil tape and ground that.

Edit - found some braided copper sheath on Amazon, $21 for 12 feet - going to try that for the wires. The hum is mostly a problem on my guitars with "long" wires between the switch and the main control cavities, so Mr D may be onto something.
 
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Colnago

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This is the way an electric guitar is and it is the proper way. You are the ground. When you touch something metal on the guitar you are grounding it so it is quiet. There is nothing wrong with your guitar. It is exactly the way it is supposed to be.
Seriously, this has been discussed a million times before. It is fine.
 

donepearce

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This is the way an electric guitar is and it is the proper way. You are the ground. When you touch something metal on the guitar you are grounding it so it is quiet. There is nothing wrong with your guitar. It is exactly the way it is supposed to be.
Seriously, this has been discussed a million times before. It is fine.
And you have it exactly backwards. The guitar is the ground. It is grounded through the amplifier. You are not ground. You are a big lump of isolated meat that is picking up mains hum and coupling it into the controls when you get close to them. When you touch the strings you ground yourself and no longer pick up the hum. This is why putting shielding foil on the cavity cover works. It gets between you and the sensitive parts.
 

MR D

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^ My switchcraft switch body is grounded already, but worth a shot, I suppose. While I'm at it I'll wrap the wires between the switch and the control cavity in copper foil tape and ground that.

Edit - found some braided copper sheath on Amazon, $21 for 12 feet - going to try that for the wires. The hum is mostly a problem on my guitars with "long" wires between the switch and the main control cavities, so Mr D may be onto something.
Hello C.F., U might want to read this, took long enuff to type.......IF IF IF..the guitar you have that is making the HUMMING noise does NOT have BLACK Shielding paint inside the Control /Toggle Switch Cavities (Pickup cavities do not get the black shielding paint but I taped em up anyway) keep reading..... . U C, When you open the control cavity....You just can not miss the Black Shielding Paint....it is very obviously there...or it is not .......and IF IF IF the Toggle switch has a separate cavity, and that doesn't have the BLACK SHIELDING Paint either, invest in some COPPER SHIELDING Tape and put it in the cavities of the guitar..........I had to do this relatively simple procedure, the problem?.... IT WAS DRIVING ME TO WHISKEY that is for sure. I did later find out that GIBSON stopped putting Black Shielding Paint in the Control/Toggle Switch cavities in its Electric guitars in the USA line for production model years 2017 & 2018 and maybe part of 2019.

the offending guitars:
2017 SG Standard
2017 Les Paul Standard
2018 EXPLORER Elite
2019 SG 'Original' w/Maestro

my 2018 FIREBIRD Standard T had/has the Black Shielding Paint out of the factory and had no such problems.

I can tell you this with absolute confidence: ONCE I PUT THE COPPER SHIELDING TAPE in the correctly wired from the factory GIBSON Electric guitars that all had the same exact problem....the PROBLEM STOPPED IMMEDIATELY. (Several Luthiers/Techs could not figure out what the problem was either....it was SWEETWATERS techs that figured it out)

After doing this to 2 or 3 guitars I started checking after each cavity was fitted with the Copper Shileding Tape, u kno?........I came away with the Toggle switch, on a Les Paul Standard, being the main culprit and after installing the Copper Shielding Tape...VIOLA ! SILENCE !

This is worth a shot, the Copper Shielding Tape is not terribly expensive. I am not there and just do not know what exactly is going on BUT it sounds exactly like what was happening to me.

AN ASIDE: Prior to figuring out the Copper Shielding Tape was the answer to these HOLY **** annoying probems I was having with all of my new GIBSON Standards (oh I was sooo glad I sold my '70's GIBSON's...NOT !)......I had to send a 2017 Les Paul Standard back to SWEEWATER because it had protruding fret-board In-Lays @ 7TH & 9Th Frets and a horribly cut NUT......so while SWEETWATER had the guitar.....I mentioned the HUMM to the SWEEWATER techs.....SWEETWATER charged me $200 to shave down the bottoms of the Fret-Board In-Lays, put Copper Shielding Tape in all the cavities (Pickup's/Toggle Switch/Control cavities) and a new BONE NUT on the guitar.........it was SWEETWATERs' Bench techs that informed me that as of model year 2017 production GIBSON had stopped putting the BLACK SHIELDING Paint on/in their USA Line Guitars...

I could have done this work myself, and almost did..... but the guitar was under warrantty....so I sent it back........IDK if I would have figured out the part about the BLACK SHIELDING PAINT not being in the guitars control/toggle switch cavities or/and that the COPPER SHIELDING TAPE (you can use the Black Shielding paint as well.....the tape was easier for me) was what needed to be done....So I am glad I sent the guitar back....So now, I check all the new GIBSON's I buy to see if they have the Black Shielding Paint (or equivalent Copper Tape) straight Away as soon as the Guitar arrives.......this is how I determined that as of 2020 model year production GIBSON has resumed putting the Black Shielding Paint on the appropriate parts of its USA line of Electric guitars......AFAIK, CUSTOMS always get this Black Shielding paint treatment.....

This was going on for 18 months before the problem was detected and solved.....I have THANKED SWEETWATER profusely (pizzas mostly) for detecting the problem and at least helpng to cut the Crown-Royal consumption level down to a now manageable, merely HEAVY, level (Yeah, right !)...it was driving me to drink, it was....and U C.....the more I drank, the less I heard.

Holy ****, I dont believe I just typed all that.....
 
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donepearce

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Just a note to add to this advice. Don't buy the tape from a guitar supplier unless you are prepared to take out a mortgage. Go to a garden supplies place and buy the stuff they sell for wrapping round apple trees to prevent infestation. And of course all shielding tape MUST be grounded to something convenient - usually a pot body. If you are shielding a remote switch cavity, run a ground wire along the channel to achieve this.
 

ChubbyFingers

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Whether it's shielding paint or foil doesn't really matter much. Some will debate the RF attenuation characteristics of one are better than the other, but TBH on a guitar it doesn't really matter, so long as the shielding is grounded.

Moreover the toggle switch being grounded should mean any RF it is picking up should short straight to ground.

My 2015 Gibson SG Standard does not have shielding at all, and it doesn't hum. None of my Strats or solid body Teles, most with regular single coils, hum to any noticeable degree.

The two guitars that hum the worst are my new LP and a thinline I just built where I put the selector switch in the upper bout LP style (pic below). What differentiates these two guitars from the others in my collection, therefore, us the 3 number (four if you count the ground) foot-plus-long runs of unshielded wires between the switches and the control cavities. I'm planning on shielding those later today when the braided copper sheathing arrives. It will be grounded to one of the pots in the control cavity. We shall see if it works or not.

As for where to buy tape ir shielding paint, well, I use Amazon for just about everything except milk and TP, and I'm happy enough to pay $5 extra for the convenience of home delivery, rather than spend $5 on gas driving somewhere.
 

ChubbyFingers

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The thinline I'm talking about. Two SD P90s, three way switchcraft in the upper bout.

20220424_194917.jpg
 

ChubbyFingers

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^ Agreed.

My house is all LED lighting, so there really shouldn't be any hum at all.
 

MR D

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Whether it's shielding paint or foil doesn't really matter much. Some will debate the RF attenuation characteristics of one are better than the other, but TBH on a guitar it doesn't really matter, so long as the shielding is grounded.

Moreover the toggle switch being grounded should mean any RF it is picking up should short straight to ground.

My 2015 Gibson SG Standard does not have shielding at all, and it doesn't hum. None of my Strats or solid body Teles, most with regular single coils, hum to any noticeable degree.

The two guitars that hum the worst are my new LP and a thinline I just built where I put the selector switch in the upper bout LP style (pic below). What differentiates these two guitars from the others in my collection, therefore, us the 3 number (four if you count the ground) foot-plus-long runs of unshielded wires between the switches and the control cavities. I'm planning on shielding those later today when the braided copper sheathing arrives. It will be grounded to one of the pots in the control cavity. We shall see if it works or not.
As for where to buy tape ir shielding paint, well, I use Amazon for just about everything except milk and TP, and I'm happy enough to pay $5 extra for the convenience of home delivery, rather than spend $5 on gas driving somewhere.
Correct, tape or paint...doesn't matter...Why GIBSON USA stopped doing that, I will never know!

I'm just hoping it works out for you, u kno? I know what that HUMM can do as far as irritating that one last hanging nerve.....I was about to pull a Townshend Act on my brand new Les Paul Standard until SWEETWATER finally straightened the matter out., over a year and a half after I got her..... I, and several other 'Qualified' experts, could not figure out what was wrong.....AAIM, prior to fixing the problem, the guitar did not always do it...so it may have had something to do with the power source too ? IDK, imma just glad its fixed...... My '17 Lester Standard has the BB Pros in it and IMO it sounds better than my CUSTOM Lester w/Custom-Buckers....its .just KILLER !...and........the Standard no longer has humming/popping static problems !
 
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