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Old December 19th, 2009, 11:16 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Hum stops when I touch strings

Hi,

I have a Fender Custom Shop Nocaster NOS that is wired "modern" (it came that way). The guitar hums when plugged in until my fingers touch the strings. Is this a dangerous grounding scheme?

Thanks,

Bob

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Old December 19th, 2009, 11:32 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Only if you touch something of opposite polarity.
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Old December 19th, 2009, 11:49 AM   #3 (permalink)
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>dangerous grounding scheme<
Nope

Single coils will hum, normally. Some lots, some not so bad.

How bad is it ? When your volume is up a bit, is it just a slight buzz or hum or does it really blast (B4 you touch it) ?


Wired properly (output jack, pots, bridge plate grounding) a light (normal) buz will subside when you touch the metal.
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Old December 19th, 2009, 12:00 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I replaced my 2000 American series tele pups with Fender vintage noiseless, problem solved, and the guitar still sounds great. I think the noiseless pups were just under $100.
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Old December 19th, 2009, 12:15 PM   #5 (permalink)
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That hum is "normal" for old style single coil pups. 60 cycle hum is part of the mojo. You soon get used to touching a metal piece ( string, bridge, control plate) when not playing.
My 2 cents.
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Old December 19th, 2009, 12:33 PM   #6 (permalink)
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The beauty of that situation is what happens when you pick them . Nothing sounds like a good single coil pickup .
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Old December 19th, 2009, 12:35 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Solder a wire from the bridge plate to the volume pot that will help
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Old December 19th, 2009, 12:41 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
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Solder a wire from the bridge plate to the volume pot that will help
+1 You can run that to ground from the bridge plate, or the plate under the bridge pickup. Either will ground bridge, saddles, strings and the plate under the bridge pickup. Should control that buzz.
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Old December 19th, 2009, 02:22 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Thanks...

I seem to remember some artists electricuting themselves when touching their lips to a microphone in the 1960s and it having somthing to do with how his instrument was grounded.

Bob
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Old December 19th, 2009, 02:32 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Nocaster bridge pickups have a conductive base plate (zinc shielding plate) that ties (bonds) the strings & bridge plate to ground through the mount screws so no other wire is required.
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Old December 19th, 2009, 02:36 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Nature of the beast.....
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Old December 19th, 2009, 03:33 PM   #12 (permalink)
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I thought that a buzz was normal because of the nature of the single coils, but it shouldn't remedy itself when you touch something metal should it? It sounds like a grounding issue to me if it gets better when you touch the strings but I could be wrong.

I was just about to post a thread asking the same question because my Highway 1 stops buzzing when I touch the strings or something metal.
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Old December 19th, 2009, 04:51 PM   #13 (permalink)
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If you are holding a guitar with single coil pickups while NOT touching the strings, bridge, or control plate, you should expect it to hum. Your human body is a fantastic power line antenna. You know that by touching your finger to the end of a guitar cable plugged into an amp. Your body in close proximity to the guitar induces power line hum into the pickups. If your guitar is properly grounded, touching the guitar silences the hum. You body is now shunted to ground and you are a shorted worthless antenna.

What you should watch for is when the humming gets worse when you touch the strings for instance. That means you as an antenna is inducing hum into the strings by touching them. In that case you would need to check the ground wire between your bridge and the control panel.

You can soon develop a habit of always touching the strings, until you turn the volume down. It's the nature of the beast.
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Old December 19th, 2009, 05:27 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fenderguy View Post
Solder a wire from the bridge plate to the volume pot that will help
+1 on this

Some buzz is normal, but I would check the bridge ground.

I have also found that playing near compact fluorescent bulbs creates a heck of a buzz. I didn't think of it at first, but the CFs are as bad or worse than any other fluorescent.
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Old December 19th, 2009, 05:31 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Nocaster bridge pickups have a conductive base plate (zinc shielding plate) that ties (bonds) the strings & bridge plate to ground through the mount screws so no other wire is required.
Makes sense, but I would still take an ohm meter from the bridge to the jackplate and see what happens, you never know what might have broken.
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Old December 19th, 2009, 06:39 PM   #16 (permalink)
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.............. but I would check the bridge ground.

.........
He said it stopped buzzing when he touched the strings. That is as good as an ohmmeter. If it buzzed more by touching the strings, then one would suspect the bridge is not grounded.
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Old December 19th, 2009, 07:57 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Thanks...it stops when I touch the strings.

I feel better now.

:-)
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Old December 19th, 2009, 08:13 PM   #18 (permalink)
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He said it stopped buzzing when he touched the strings. That is as good as an ohmmeter. If it buzzed more by touching the strings, then one would suspect the bridge is not grounded.
Yup. It's you (your body) that is in large part creating the hum. The pickups on the guitar are 'picking up' the radio frequencies that your body is radiating. When you touch the strings the guitar is grounding you so things become quieter.
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