Guitar noisy at idle

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by Aardvark, Feb 12, 2008.

  1. Aardvark

    Aardvark Silver Supporting Member

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    I have noticed that a couple of my strat-type guitars are about twice as noisy as a couple of others when plugged in but not played. It's not a 60 cycle click but rather a continuous loud buzz or crackle. When I touch the strings or bridge, it largely goes away. Now, I have heard someone say that the guitar is either properly grounded or shielded when it does this and to not worry because with the band playing, it makes no difference. Well, my playing is virtually all late at night with most of the family asleep, and the noise is really irritating. I know the problem can be corrected, as my two other strat-styles are much quieter. Thanks for the help.
     
  2. Rosewood

    Rosewood Member

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    If they all have pretty much the same pu's it probably will come down to the shielding or lack of it. Do you know if they all have the same amount of shielding?
     
  3. Aardvark

    Aardvark Silver Supporting Member

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    Pickups are essentially the same. All are quality boutique guitars, all have paint shielding.
     
  4. justonwo

    justonwo Member

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    A proper shielding job with copper tape is about the best you can hope for. If the noise goes away when you touch the strings, the bridge is already properly grounded.
     
  5. Aardvark

    Aardvark Silver Supporting Member

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    Would the copper tape work better than the shielding paint, which seems to work in the quiet guitars? Also, would shielding the back of the pickguard help if the bridge is properly grounded?
     
  6. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

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    better shielding will reduce the effect, but ultimately, this is a technique issue. it should be an automatic reflex to turn a guitar's volume off when you're not actively playing it, especially with strats where the volume knob is right there.
     
  7. Rosewood

    Rosewood Member

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    Shielding paint has to be the same quality and the same number of coats to do a good job, maybe some of your guitars are not coated good. If I have a choice I always use copper tape, it's just better.
     
  8. Aardvark

    Aardvark Silver Supporting Member

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    Thanks for the comments so far. Interestingly, one of the quiet guitars and one of the buzzy guitars are both made by the same builder. It occurred to me that the only real difference between the guitars is that the saddles are different (buzzy guitar has bent steel; quiet guitar has graphtec). I once had a guitar which was noisy with bent steel saddles but quiet with other types. Has anyone else seen this? Maybe I need to try other saddles, although I like the bent steel.
     
  9. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

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    whatever is going on, it ain't the saddles.
     

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