noise that stops when you touch metal...

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by uncle psychosis, May 10, 2009.

  1. uncle psychosis

    uncle psychosis Member

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    Hi guys

    So I've always had a bit of background hiss from my telecaster when I'm not playing. Fairy snuff, its got single coils. The hiss disappears when I touch a metal part of the guitar---strings, bridge, controls. I was led to believe that this is because your body acts like a big aerial, and when you touch the grounded parts of your guitar your body no longer amplifies the background hum.

    The other day, however, I bought a compressor and when its engaged, obviously it amplifies background noise, as compressors do. The problem is now that every time I ground myself on the guitar there's a fairly loud `pop'. This is very annoying when playing chords that jump around the neck, for instance.

    Any ideas? Will shielding the guitar help a bit or is there not much to be done? I had a read of the guides over guitarnut and this is what it said:

    http://www.guitarnuts.com/technical/...nericnoise.php

    "Your body is probably discharging a capacitor. If you are using an isolation capacitor between the signal ground and your bridge ground you may need to place a 220k resistor across it (this usually isn't necessary though). Also, ensure that you didn't accidentally get the capacitor between the jack and signal ground. "

    Does this sound sensible?
     
  2. mooawk

    mooawk Member

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    Yes, shield the guitar. It may or may not get rid of it completely, but it should get rid of most of the noise.
     
  3. Gas-man

    Gas-man Fever In The Funkhouse Silver Supporting Member

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    Both my teles have this to some extent--noise unless I'm touching metal.

    I had a very reputable tech tell me that it was basically part of the Tele deal.

    Has anyone solved this on a vintage-style tele?
     
  4. Kingbeegtrs

    Kingbeegtrs Senior Member

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    the ground is connected to the back of the bridge plate which is connected to the strings....so when you're touching the strings or metal the noise goes away. Shielding will help, but this is all part of having a guitar with single coils. If you buy stacked humbuckers such as the seymour duncan vintage stack you will have a totally quiet rig...but it will lack the magic of a true single coil pickup.
     
  5. strat6866

    strat6866 Member

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    There is more to it than just having single coils. I have owned plenty of SC strats and teles and only a few have done this. My first 2 EJ strats had a terrible buzzing/popping sound even after i tried retouching all solder joints. My latest one has nothing but the normal 60 cycle hum.
     
  6. Blue4Now

    Blue4Now Member

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    I have always understood this phenomenon to be the sign of a well grounded guitar. If the noise goes away when you touch metal then your body is acting like a ground. If all the solder joints are solid and the proper ground wires are hooked up right, this hum (not the 60cycle hum from the pickups) but the ambient low hum from electricity will reduce. It helps to have very clean power. That greatly reduces this problem for me.
     
  7. localmotion411

    localmotion411 Gold Supporting Member

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    The Suhr silent single coil system is the only thing I've ever seen offered by anyone that truly effectively kills the single coil hum and allows the true tone of the pickups to shine through. My Suhr Classic strat has it and a kill switch so that I can quickly turn it off/on, and there is no difference in the tone when it's on or off.

    A big part of the tele mojo is the hum and buzz, but it can be helped with shielding the pickup cavity.
     
  8. uncle psychosis

    uncle psychosis Member

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    I don't mind the hum/buzz so much. Its the fact that it radically changes when I touch the guitar thats really irritating. Ordinarily its not really a problem but when using a compressor its really noticable!

    I've decided to shield the electronics and we'll see how we go from there.
     
  9. ukslinger

    ukslinger Member

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    Could also have to do with the actual outlet. I live in a very old house. As it turns out none of the outlets in a few rooms were grounded. I have since had work done to correctly ground the outlets. It greatly reduced the hum and pop you are describing.

    That was the exact sound I was having as you can't always be in contact with metal while playing. A tele into a 5e3 cranked a bit was unplayable before the grounding.
     
  10. DavidH

    DavidH Member

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    Ditto, it's meant to do that. As long as it goes when you do touch the strings then you're good. All electric guitars do this don't they?

    The other problem sounds like a noisy pedal, or static.
     
  11. muddyshoes

    muddyshoes Member

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    orturning the volume off between songs. that pop is a diferent matter, not good, the pedal may have a fault or the polarity backwards. using an adapter? or something else is in backwards
     
  12. strat6866

    strat6866 Member

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    Mine don't, and they shouldn't. It is VERY annoying when you get that loud "Pop" when you change chords.
    I have had only 3 or 4 that have done this out of dozens of SC Fenders that i have owned thru the years. Those are gone and NONE of the ones i still own have grounding issues.

     
  13. Jon Silberman

    Jon Silberman 10Q Jerry & Dickey Gold Supporting Member

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    My Tele did this in spades. My tech, Phil Jacoby, shielded the living **** out of it. Now it is among my quiestest guitars. Some people will tell you shielding a Tele kills its tone. Nonsense (based on personal experience)!

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  14. Tone Loco

    Tone Loco Silver Supporting Member

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    There's actually 2 kinds of noise with SCs... the buzz and the hum. The buzz is what goes away when you ground the guitar by touching the strings, and I think good shielding will get rid of that. The hum is what gets louder and softer when you move the guitar in various directions relative to the amp. AFAIK nothing will get rid of the hum except humbuckers of some sort (stacked, etc) or maybe the Surh backplate system which sounds tempting.
     
  15. imguitardan

    imguitardan Supporting Member

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    Make sure the electronics are grounded to the bridge first. If that doesn't fix it, get the cavity shielded. That should to the trick. I had a Les Paul that did this and it was because there was no ground to the bridge.
     
  16. tjmicsak

    tjmicsak Member

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  17. uncle psychosis

    uncle psychosis Member

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    Glad to hear it. I've ordered some copper tape so I'm gonna shield it up and then see whats what. At some point I'm going to change at least one of the pickups anyway, so that might also make a difference.
     
  18. Kingbeegtrs

    Kingbeegtrs Senior Member

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    yes...that's always a great online diagnostics surprise. You answer all the obvious and then you find out the guy has 23 pedals in the equation...

    "here's your sign".

    as I said earlier....Shielding will help significantly.
     
  19. Scott Auld

    Scott Auld Staff Member

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    You play a Telecaster ... just learn to turn your body to face Mecca between songs, like the rest of us.

    ;)
     
  20. rawkguitarist

    rawkguitarist Member

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    As far as I understand, shielding the guitar well will cut down on 120 cycle hum. And humbucking pickups can reduce significantly the 60 cycle hum from normal single coils. Dimarzo Virtual Vintage or Area pickups are *the best* humbucking "single coil" pickups available. Maybe they don't have all the "mojo" of single coils... but I never liked that word "mojo". Reminds me of white boy blues and soul patches too much.

    In all seriousness, I don't miss anything but the 60 cycle with my Dimarzios in my tele. And a little bit of buzzing when your hands are off the strings is quite normal and acceptable. If there's popping going on, that's a different story and should be investigated further with a knowledgeable tech.

    PS. Oh yeah, "hiss" like the original poster mentioned is entirely different than ground problems. That sounds like a rig problem, which is simply exacerbated by the extended high end of a single coil guitar.
     

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