EMI driving me crazy!!

Messages
148
I just moved into a new apartment and no matter what cable, guitar, piece of gear I use, I get a terrible buzzing sound. I've tried the ebtech hum eliminator and it didn't work, I tried the EHX Hum Debugger but the reverb/doubling-effect issue it has drove me just as crazy as the buzz. I don't like noise gates cause it doesn't get rid of the buzz as I'm playing. I have tried turning off my lights, wifi router and that doesn't help. The only time the noise completely goes away is when I get my HSS Jackson and put it in position 4 in between the neck and middle pickup,but allof my other humbucker guitars buzz. The buzz is directional and fades when aiming in certain directions but the orientations are not comfortable to play in. It's odd because my previous homes never had this issue. I can also get all of cables while not plugged into the guitar but plugged into the amp modeler, etc. and aim them in certain directions and they will make the same buzzing noise. My cables aren't spectacular but they never buzzed at my old apartments.
 

Jeff Gehring

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
7,426
If the noise isn't present when you have your guitar plugged in, but turned down to zero vol on the guitar, a power conditioner will not help. That tells you that it is coming from ambient EMI/RFI being coupled into your guitar pickups and/or wiring. Not much you can do to address the cause (the EMI/RFI emitters) unless they are under your control, and it sounds like you've pursued that without much success. How is the shielding in your guitar? If it is not all that great, you may gain some ground by addressing that.
 

xmd5a

Member
Messages
2,934
I just moved into a new apartment and no matter what cable, guitar, piece of gear I use, I get a terrible buzzing sound. I've tried the ebtech hum eliminator and it didn't work, I tried the EHX Hum Debugger but the reverb/doubling-effect issue it has drove me just as crazy as the buzz. I don't like noise gates cause it doesn't get rid of the buzz as I'm playing. I have tried turning off my lights, wifi router and that doesn't help. The only time the noise completely goes away is when I get my HSS Jackson and put it in position 4 in between the neck and middle pickup,but allof my other humbucker guitars buzz. The buzz is directional and fades when aiming in certain directions but the orientations are not comfortable to play in. It's odd because my previous homes never had this issue. I can also get all of cables while not plugged into the guitar but plugged into the amp modeler, etc. and aim them in certain directions and they will make the same buzzing noise. My cables aren't spectacular but they never buzzed at my old apartments.

So the noise doesn't go away when you have your HSS on the bridge humbucker either?

Try turning off every single light and appliance in the apartment, except your amp, just to make sure that the noise source is nothing you can control for free before spending money trying to solve the issue. I have the most trouble with reostats.
 

alivegy

Member
Messages
1,176
I dont think an expensive power conditioner is going to help you. Your new apartment clearly has a lot of emi. The best thing you could probably do is shield the cavities of your guitars but that will be a lot of work for minimal improvement. This is an opportunity to get really good at riding your volume knob.
 

xmd5a

Member
Messages
2,934
I dont think an expensive power conditioner is going to help you. Your new apartment clearly has a lot of emi. The best thing you could probably do is shield the cavities of your guitars but that will be a lot of work for minimal improvement. This is an opportunity to get really good at riding your volume knob.

If the EMI is directional, that pretty much lays blame on the pickups as being the receiver of the EMI, because the pickups are directional, where as electrostatic coupling with other parts of the circuit would be less direction specific.
 

Q55-Z

Member
Messages
93
Here's a few culprits to look out for? If your in a multistory building and or have some common wiring.
!. Refrigerators older ones are notorious
2. Air conditioning (yours, neighbors, building)
3. Florescent lighting not grounded, I'm not sure about new lighting, led or cfl
It takes trial and error but unless there's a grounding problem, ( get electrical meter) you should be able to find it.
Good luck.
 

GuitarWanabe

Member
Messages
177
I had this problem with a Les Paul Traditional, an hour or two shielding the control cavity and the output jack routing with copper tape and earthed it. A hundred times better.

Originally planned to do the pickup cavities too but it’s really not necessary, a barely perceptible noise now. Planning a pickup swap at some point so will probably do it then for good measure.
 

Woollymonster

Member
Messages
1,462
Maybe some electricians or electrical engineers can chime in here but; if you are in a building with multiple apartments on the same ground loop, would you not be getting 60 cycle hum from every toaster and popcorn machine in the entire building?
 

xmd5a

Member
Messages
2,934
Maybe some electricians or electrical engineers can chime in here but; if you are in a building with multiple apartments on the same ground loop, would you not be getting 60 cycle hum from every toaster and popcorn machine in the entire building?

It's proportional to distance, but if its a tiny apartment, he might be close to his neighbor's electrical appliances.
 

doc

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
7,685
Probably the easiest way out is to pick one guitar to be your "apartment guitar" and load it with active humbucking pickups. Its still possible to get some buzz, but should improve it markedly. If you really know what you're doing you can also improve passive pickups with shielding and improving the grounding scheme, but just putting some copper tape in there won't make much difference. The best passive setup for this type problem is metal covered humbuckers with a separate ground that is attached to the housing and not connected to the signal wires, and connect to the shielded control cavity keeping the separate ground isolated from the signal wires by a capacitor. I'll agree with others to continue your search to isolate if possible a source for the EMI that is fixable as well.
 

xmd5a

Member
Messages
2,934
If the EMI can't be mitigated, this might be one time where the Fishman Fluence makes sense.
 

doc

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
7,685
I'll add that even though you said you dislike noise gates, they may be helpful as well - I'm the most impressed with the ISP Decimator. Its especially useful if you play high gain and have a loop in your amp, get the "G String" version in that case.
 

orourke

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,975
Maybe your apartment is being flooded with EM from a very close cell phone antenna outside or on the roof of your apartment and the hum should be the least of your worries.
 

KGWagner

Member
Messages
3,243
Apartment buildings often have substantial step-down transformers located fairly close by outside or in the basement to get the distribution voltage down to branch feeder levels you can use. They're often configured something like this...

elect-dist-sys-large.gif

As you might imagine, those transformers can kick off some pretty good magnetic fields. They're supposed to be shielded pretty good as well, but it's possible the system in your building is less than ideal for some reason. Most folks don't have any kind of consumer electronic stuff that would respond to it, but guitars remarkably sensitive to it. It might be worth calling the power company and see if there's any way they can test to see the installation has been compromised somehow.
 

ssvr

Member
Messages
231
Can transformers (see pic in link below) on a power line create pretty strong EMI causing hum?


If so, is shielding the guitar cavity enough if one wants to stick with a single-coil sound?
 




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