BUZZ when TOUCHING the strings...?

ruger9

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You know how usually if you've got a buzz (usually a ground issue), it stops when you TOUCH the strings? Well one of my guitars is the opposite... it's quiet UNTIL I touch the strings. So... what should I be looking for inside, to correct it?

note: it's been this way the entire time I've owned it, with multiple pickups, including humbuckers, which is what is in it now.
 

ruger9

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Buzzes when you touch the strings means you have ground reversed.
Probably sounds like you hold the end of the bare guitar cable.

Sometimes its a wire that is touching cavity shielding.

.

I'll make sure nothing is touching the shielding. But what would a "ground reversed" mean? I thought something was either grounded (to the back of a pot, etc) or it's not?
 

Wulf

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I'll make sure nothing is touching the shielding. But what would a "ground reversed" mean? I thought something was either grounded (to the back of a pot, etc) or it's not?
grounding probs can pop up anywhere in a guitar circuit...any slight chafed wires...you dont always see them...wires can get caught up installing things...or one microhair on a shielded wire accidently finding its way into live part end...ive seen a lot of this...or a switch grounding out on shielding dry solder joints and even dying pickups
i would be inclined to check everything with good light and a magnifying glass...more than once...you can still miss things.
try another lead too it could even be that.
something isnt happy...i had one sent in to me with a feeble and buzzy bridge pickup...i think the blind bloke at the end of our street must have wired it...that was one little ground wire mixed in with the live...not enough to make a short..but enough to weaken output.
i aso noticed that a few wires had been chewed by the removal and incorrect replacement of pickguard...taking tiny nicks out of wires...that most certainly added to the problems.
i replaced any damaged wires resoldered those that werent...shielded everything and it was fine after that...it was also doing what you described.
start with your lead though...a failing plug or damaged wires internally along the cable will cause this
 

Mr. Lumbergh

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You know how usually if you've got a buzz (usually a ground issue), it stops when you TOUCH the strings? Well one of my guitars is the opposite... it's quiet UNTIL I touch the strings. So... what should I be looking for inside, to correct it?

note: it's been this way the entire time I've owned it, with multiple pickups, including humbuckers, which is what is in it now.
Swap the wires at the output socket and see if that fixes it.
This is the first thing I'd try. Guitar circuits are AC so they'll happily work whether you've got your hot or ground on the input side of the amp, but if you accidentally swap them it will add the ground noise to the signal.
 

Wally

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I would not swap any wires around until I analyzed how the circuit is wired. It could be that the wires to the output jacks are reversed, but one can see whether or not that is the case without touching a single solder joint. A meter would be handy. If the tip contact of the output has continuity with the guitar’s circuit ground, there is a problem somewhere. If you do not work guitar circuits, it is t9me to learn or to find a tech.
If it is an ‘aftermarket’ wired circuit, all bets are off until an analysis is made. If the Jack is wired with the ground tab to circuit ground and tip to volume pot out lug, then I would suggest lifting the grounds for the pickups. Then check for any continuity between the pickup leads and ground. If it is there, then you have a pickup wire making contact with the shield or the ground end of that h7mbucker where it should not be making contact....open insulation hitting that ground.

You know how usually if you've got a buzz (usually a ground issue), it stops when you TOUCH the strings

just to stay on the straight and narrow... when you have a buzz that goes away when you touch the strings, you have a normal situation for almost all pickups. The only pickups that do not require that the strings be grounded are certain active pickups...like active EMGs for example.
 

mojek

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Even I believe the reason is as described(reversed wires), once I've bought 68 Mustang which made the same thing. I have measured the input resistance and found the pickups were dead. Nobody noticed, they worked, volume and tone knobs worked, just both singles had infinity resistance...just another experience ;)
 

Wulf

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20140403_101119-1.jpg
they forgot to mention strings
this was on a managers wall at a mine i used to spend a lot of time working..this guy was another guitar player and good friend sadly gone and greatly missed
 
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ruger9

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It's definitely not the lead. Same lead, multiple guitars. Only one guitar does it.

ALSO... this only happens at the rehearsal space, not at home. At home the guitar does not do this. ... the rehearsal space has a different amp and different pedalboard, but still- ONLY THIS guitar does this at the rehearsal space... all other guitars into that rig behave normally.
 

Wulf

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It's definitely not the lead. Same lead, multiple guitars. Only one guitar does it.

ALSO... this only happens at the rehearsal space, not at home. At home the guitar does not do this. ... the rehearsal space has a different amp and different pedalboard, but still- ONLY THIS guitar does this at the rehearsal space... all other guitars into that rig behave normally.
still a good reason to have a good check of everything.
is she well shielded?...i have had switches touch shielding before...esp if some pillock has left a big blob of solder like a carbuncle somewhere...ive seen that too...and solder that looks like a blob of silver grey chewing gum on pots...overcrowded dime pots is another pet hate...(any overcrowded pot for that matter)...if you can im,agine it..ive probably seen it and had to deal with it somewhere along the line
even though it only seems to happen there...for your own sanity....yup it will drive you potty till you find out why its doing it...please please check it. everything.
its bound to be something daft and simple once you track it....get your torch and magnifying glass out sherlock...ooh...i say holmes...not there...what will people say...
a people have said...check your jack...its unlikely if its only started doing this...but there could be something afoot there...but as your going to undo stuff might as well get the nitcomb out and go through the lot
be interesting to know what you find....keep us updated please
Skol
Wulf
 

Wally

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Well, that is another dimension to the problem. Make very sure that the guitar is properly wired. You have to start eliminating all possibilities one at a time, correct?? If the guitar is proper, then there is something else going on. It could be that that rehearsal space by some stroke of fortune s a portal for personal energy to be manifested causing your personality to become magnetic???? Eeehaw....

I hope you find the cause, but start with the guitar because if it is as you describe, the problem occurs only with that guitar.
 

MatsEriksson

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You can have double grounding too. Someone thought that solder and ground it everywhere just to be safe. ;) Ground both here and there. But... actually...I haven't heard of "reversed" grounding, at all, especially not on guitars.

I have experienced some "star-grounded" or "star-shielded" guitars on repair bench, that had this phenomenon but only in certain circumstances.

Question:

Are any of your cables (anywhere) one of these posh DIRECTIONAL ones? With shielding only at one end? I e they can only be put in a certain way, otherwise they'll hum. But granted, they would produce that on all other guitars too, in that case.



- - - - - - - - - - - - - -

One thing I think can have problems, it is often so when connecting stereo pedals to 2 separate amps that are grounded. Say, I have a stereo delay chorus, and have - especially - Peavey amps. 2 of them. If they're connected to the same power strip with same grounding, ONE of them starts to buzz when lifting off the fingers, and the other not. So I can make a great effect stereo panning with some kind of "kill-switch" to make the hum move from Left and Right amp in a musical beat so to speak. Fun! :twisted: Now, with my guitars with EMG this doesn't occur at all, but most passive single coil guitars does, and I have shielded the f*** out of them and left no stones unturned.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

I don't know, but for live purposes I would keep it that way, because, you're not touching the strings when it hums. Then you're sure that when you do touch the strings they are NOT grounded, and as such you will stay clear of lethal jolts if you play through some dodgy power grid that ain't grounded properly.
 

MatsEriksson

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Look, first and foremost:

1. Which guitar do you have, that has these problem? Brand and model please.
2. Stock pickups?
3. Single coils? One pickup or more?
4. Modded or hot rodded in any way?
 
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MatsEriksson

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It's definitely not the lead. Same lead, multiple guitars. Only one guitar does it.

ALSO... this only happens at the rehearsal space, not at home. At home the guitar does not do this. ... the rehearsal space has a different amp and different pedalboard, but still- ONLY THIS guitar does this at the rehearsal space... all other guitars into that rig behave normally.

Ok, then I think you have different amp grounding, and it's connected to a powerstrip with a lot of others too in it. Then everything goes to ground twice, and - I mean - not the same ground. So you're adamant about telling us ONLY THIS guitar oes this... but are you afraid of being bullied or laughing stock to tell us what brand or if it has single coils? Are you afraid to tell us it's a Squier? ;)

If it's a strat with 3 single coils, does the hum goes away when using position 2 or 4 on the pickup selector, i e using 2 pickups at once?

If you have fluorescent lights at your rehearsal space, try turn them off temporarily to check this. Too. Important word: too.
 

ruger9

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You can have double grounding too. Someone thought that solder and ground it everywhere just to be safe. ;) Ground both here and there. But... actually...I haven't heard of "reversed" grounding, at all, especially not on guitars.

I have experienced some "star-grounded" or "star-shielded" guitars on repair bench, that had this phenomenon but only in certain circumstances.

Question:

Are any of your cables (anywhere) one of these posh DIRECTIONAL ones? With shielding only at one end? I e they can only be put in a certain way, otherwise they'll hum. But granted, they would produce that on all other guitars too, in that case.



- - - - - - - - - - - - - -

One thing I think can have problems, it is often so when connecting stereo pedals to 2 separate amps that are grounded. Say, I have a stereo delay chorus, and have - especially - Peavey amps. 2 of them. If they're connected to the same power strip with same grounding, ONE of them starts to buzz when lifting off the fingers, and the other not. So I can make a great effect stereo panning with some kind of "kill-switch" to make the hum move from Left and Right amp in a musical beat so to speak. Fun! :twisted: Now, with my guitars with EMG this doesn't occur at all, but most passive single coil guitars does, and I have shielded the f*** out of them and left no stones unturned.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

I don't know, but for live purposes I would keep it that way, because, you're not touching the strings when it hums. Then you're sure that when you do touch the strings they are NOT grounded, and as such you will stay clear of lethal jolts if you play through some dodgy power grid that ain't grounded properly.

No directional cables. No stereo pedals.


Look, first and foremost:

1. Which guitar do you have, that has these problem? Brand and model please.
2. Stock pickups?
3. Single coils? One pickup or more?
4. Modded or hot rodded in any way?

1. Fender Cabronita Thinline MIM
2. stock pickups, T-90s, T-Armonds, TVJ Classics, Rio Grande Filtertrons... happened with all of them.
3. see #2
4. totally modded, I bought it used and ALL the electronics were replaced/upgraded to fancy pots and caps. Also, the toggle switch was moved to the upper bout.

Ok, then I think you have different amp grounding, and it's connected to a powerstrip with a lot of others too in it. Then everything goes to ground twice, and - I mean - not the same ground. So you're adamant about telling us ONLY THIS guitar oes this... but are you afraid of being bullied or laughing stock to tell us what brand or if it has single coils? Are you afraid to tell us it's a Squier? ;)

If it's a strat with 3 single coils, does the hum goes away when using position 2 or 4 on the pickup selector, i e using 2 pickups at once?

If you have fluorescent lights at your rehearsal space, try turn them off temporarily to check this. Too. Important word: too.

See above. No fluorescent lights. But I am plugging into an extension cord that is no doubt plugged into a circuit with other stuff. But this isn't that kind of hum. It's a ground hum, if it stops when I remove my hands from the strings (the opposite of what usually happens with electric guitars)
 

MatsEriksson

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Well, then it's a guitar that is hot rodded and modded from the moon and back, and as you said, with top of the line things, and someone else have been over-cautious with all shielding, and grounding. Maybe someone thought "better safe than sorry" but went overboard with all wires in the guitar. However.

Still. Since it happens at rehearsal space, ONLY, something else down the line is happening, as it doesn't happen at home. If it would be the guitar - only - (mind you: only), it would happen at home too. However, it can be be added "salt to the wound" if something else exacerbates the problem. Add insult to injury...or whatever it's called.

At rehearsal space: During breaks, or showing up earlier than the rest of the band, remove one power source at a time, like connecting the amp directly into the wall outlet ONLY, and connect the guitar ONLY to the amp, bybassing tuners, effects pedals. Take note if the power outlet is - surely - a grounded one at that. In the UK, and US or countries where they have these three prong contacts, it's not a good idea to turn on them, to get rid of hum. Because one can't. If it's a 2 prong, try that one.

In some residential flats, like your home, it may exist grounded or/and ungrounded wall outlets, depending on how old the house is, and when it was built, or when it was last renovated. Like in northern Europe, older houses, had grounded outlets only in kitchen*, and one outlet in bathroom (!?). But that one wasn't 220 v either, (weaker at 110 or below) and had earth fault circuitry breaker installed. Wet + electricity is bad match. For connecting shavers, hair dryers and whatnot. yada yada.

BTW sounds like a very good guitar anyway, with that much hotrodding and pickups. Seems strange that something like that should sport hum anyway, and in that way too, when removing fingers it's silent, and when you touch, it's humming.


* I used to live in a flat in the 90s (even built early 80s) that I had to pull a long power chord out to the kitchen whenever recording on daw/computer. The soundcard (MOTU) buzzed as hell. Same with single coiled guitars, whether I touched the strings or not. Only the kitchen had grounded wall outlets. After a few years I got fed up and paid an authorized electrican huge amounts of money, to ground every outlet in the flat. Took almost a whole day for him. Worth every penny. No hum,buzz, or ripples after that.
 

MatsEriksson

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Since you had Rio Grande filtertrons on it, which is a humbucker, sort of, and it happens there too, BUT ONLY in the rehearsal space, and not at home (with any of these pups) I think the culprit must lie elsewhere anyway, anyhow.

Now, is it possible for you to borrow another guitar (any) from band colleague or friend, or ask them to come down to rehearsal space with their guitars, and do the same tests? I can't help to think that this must happen with other guitars too, since it does only happen at your rehearsal space.

- - -- ---

I've had some field days with most rehearsal spaces, with dimmers that fades lights, fluorescent lights, dodgy ripple effect due to that the room is in vincinity to the power central of the whole house, and wall outlets to each different grounding connections, and - especially - mixing amps with one Peavey connected to the same power strip as a Marshall and so on. It just opens a can of worms hum wise.

My best qualified guess : Ground loop at the rehearsal space.

First, I haven't heard of anything "reversed ground wire". It is AC all the way, and shouldn't be directional in any way. If you can and have the time, buy a roll of black isolation tape, and tape and cover up the earth prongs on the power strips each and everyone, one at a time with small patches. The plug may turn very hard to get in and out though.

Since:

1. You don't experience this at home, I would definitely rule the guitar out. If it should be anything inside the guitar, it would behave exactly the same way, at home, as it does at rehearsal space.
2. You heard this with all pickups, even humbucker 'trons ones, but still, only at rehearsal space.
3. You have your gear connected to a strip with other gear included, including amps, PA, pedal boards...
4. You said you use different amps at home compared to rehearsal space. Is one of them (in rehearsal space) a Peavey amp? I mean, not even yours but belongs to other members in the band?
5. Does the hum change if you move around, turn around, with your guitar strapped on? I angle towards something else, amp, speaker cab etc?
6. Does this hum happens too, when you turn the guitar volume all the way down to zero?

If so, even if it's turned off, remove that amps plug from any power strip in there first, and do the test again.

To accurately determine the correct solution to a problem you first have to find and isolate it. For example, if you simply start flailing away, swapping gear and cables and everything all at once, you may never know what actually caused (or fixed) the problem. In addition, you may end up making more and more work since you are expending energy in areas that don't have any effect on the problem at hand.

Start simple. Troubleshooting ground loops involves taking things in order and checking a few basic, common elements to see if the problem is simple, or complex. For example, if adjusting the volume on your guitar does not alter the hum level, then the problem must be occurring after that point. It if occurred prior, then the guitar would typically raise the overall level of noise. Makes sense?
 
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