How can I reduce pickup hum?

Discussion in 'Beginners/FAQ' started by Cardbird, May 28, 2017.

  1. Cardbird

    Cardbird SS.org Regular

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    Hello, I'd like to play around with some more distorted guitar sounds, but the background hum (I'm not sure if there's an official term for this) understandably gets louder when I crank up the distortion and gain. I'm already using a noise gate with some very aggressive/intrusive settings; low attack, threshold notably lower than the amount needed to cut the humming. It can still get kind of noticeable though.

    As far as I know, there isn't a wiring problem in my guitar. No buzzing when I adjust the knobs or anything. The buzz persists when I've got my volume knob turned all the way down. It slightly lessens when I turn off my computer monitor. Kind of weird, but if I touch either the strings or my audio interface, a small amount of the buzzing also stops. Turning off my monitor makes a much bigger change though.

    Are there any easy things I can do to help remedy this? How about not so easy things?
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2017
  2. Leviathus

    Leviathus Psychotic Monster

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    Well the easiest remedy is to just not stop playing.

    You may have a loose ground or somethin if when you have your hands on the strings the hum decreases, i'm sure others on here can tell you more than i can on wiring so i'll leave it to them.

    Also, sounds like you're in a room with all sorts of energy flying through the air that your guitar's picking up, so maybe just keep experimenting...
     
  3. Cardbird

    Cardbird SS.org Regular

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    Thank you for the help. About the not-stopping part, I'd like to do that most of the time, but more tight mute-y riffs tend to bring it out a ton. And yeah, I can hear a bit of noise decrease when I touch bridge/saddles as well, oddly enough. Again though, it's barely anything. A significant portion (slightly higher buzzing) is from my monitor being on. Even if I were to touch the strings and turn off my monitor, there's still an uncomfortable amount of buzzing when I've got the gain so high.
     
  4. Leviathus

    Leviathus Psychotic Monster

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    Ahh good point.

    I'm not sure if a loose ground issue is magnified by a radiating computer monitor but perhaps it is. To me it sounds most like a grounding problem still. I'd check the control cavity for any loose wires or maybe try another guitar through the same setup if you can to isolate the problem.
     
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  5. MatthewLeisher

    MatthewLeisher Ghostmaker

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    Right off the bat, if your monitor is causing hum, you should look into getting your guitar shielded with copper tape. The fact that the buzzing persists when the guitar is turned all the way down tells me that it's not your guitar. Try a different guitar, if possible. If the problem persists with a different guitar, try a different cable. If it's not the cable, it's the amp that has a grounding issue. What kind of amp do you use?
     
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  6. Cardbird

    Cardbird SS.org Regular

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    I feel like such an idiot. It really was the cable. I'd considered it, but never bothered to check it out, given that I bought the cables I currently use new. I crimped my old ones by accidentally stepping on them, but they alleviate the problem. Even the extra cable I bought still buzzes just a bit more than the one I stepped on.

    Thanks. Also I guess I need to buy new cables. Any way for me to really know how to avoid this other than reviews? The one I bought had generally positive reviews.
     
  7. MatthewLeisher

    MatthewLeisher Ghostmaker

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    Don't feel dumb, it happens to the best of us! They're pricey, but just get Mogami cables. They also have a lifetime warranty. I've bought dozens and I've never had one go out on me.
     
  8. Gmork

    Gmork SS.org Regular

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    Could be a cell phone or laptop close by. Its happened to me before. Maybe just a cord cutting out. Jiggle those suckers see if its as simple as that.
     
  9. WhammyZhou69

    WhammyZhou69 Member

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    I think you can ground the inner cavity with aluminum foil. I talked to a gearhead at GC and that's what he recommended. I'll probably try it on my SSS when I get it
     
  10. Cardbird

    Cardbird SS.org Regular

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    Neither of my guitars have additional buzzing when I'm not touching the strings, so I'm not sure why I had that problem earlier. I found out though that my bass most definitely buzzes more when I'm not touching any of the strings. Is this easy to fix? Because I have absolutely no knowledge and skill of soldering.

    Does this work well, or do you think it'd work well with my situation? I'd like to hear back with how it worked for you if/once you get it done.
     

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