Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups

The Science of Grounding...

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by SonicDiveBomb, Aug 29, 2017.

  1. SonicDiveBomb

    SonicDiveBomb Tele-Meister

    Jun 15, 2014
    So since I've been doing my own guitar wiring for the past year or so (badly and sometimes successfully) I was curious about one thing in particular.

    even if you ground your guitar PERFECTLY, you can turn your guitar up really loud or add some gain, and it will buzz until you touch the strings (even the guitars I've had professionally wired :p) A little bit after as well. What's the "scientific" explanation behind this?

    I've figured because humans are like a giant saline solution, therefore we're really good conductors and offer a better ground than our volume pots/input jack. Can anyone offer an explanation?

  2. chezdeluxe

    chezdeluxe Poster Extraordinaire Gold Supporter

    Dec 29, 2007
    Brisbane Australia
    Your body is not acting as a ground. You could be suspended in mid air by helium balloons and noise would still reduce when you touch the grounded parts of your guitar.

    Rather it is acting as a large antenna (or shield if you prefer) which attracts unwanted electrical noise and shunts it to ground through your AMPLIFIER via the grounded strings on your guitar.

    A well shielded guitar is pretty silent on the noise front and doesn't need much assistance from your body and grounded strings.
    SonicDiveBomb and Heyitsmejoeg like this.

  3. dsutton24

    dsutton24 Poster Extraordinaire Gold Supporter

    Dec 29, 2010
    My colleague Chez nailed it.

    I would also add that the idea of grounding is pretty murky among guitar people. Grounding is part of the equation, but shielding (which is not the same as grounding), decent components, and wire length and dress are also big contributing factors to a quiet guitar.

    Write this down and refer to it often: Not all noise is ground related.

  4. Preacher

    Preacher Friend of Leo's

    Apr 17, 2007
    Big D
    Well said, and I would agree that is not necessarily the "bad grounding" that causes the noise but bad shielding. Those electrical parts that have pole pieces and wires running around them are called pick ups. They are called pick ups for a reason as they "pick up" the frequencies around them. What we want them to do is pick up the vibration frequency of a stretched wire tuned to a certain note and nothing else. When they are noisy they are picking up all sorts of other frequencies around the guitar, some unwanted which causes the noise. While you can never totally shield a pickup because you have to have exposed parts for them to work, there are things you can do to try to eliminate as much unwanted noise as possible.
    SonicDiveBomb likes this.

  5. sjtalon

    sjtalon Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Your body acts as a EM I shield.

  6. philosofriend

    philosofriend Tele-Holic

    Oct 28, 2015
    Since our bodies are mostly salt water we make a good antenna. We pick up energy from radio waves caused by all kinds of electric action around us, often involving hum at the power line frequency. When our body is close to the guitar but not touching any grounded part we can send our personal hum to the pickups by capacitive coupling. When we touch a ground on the guitar, the capacitive coupling is killed and that particular hum stops.

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