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Ground hum from guitars / amplifiers and 3 pin plugs / sockets

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by Craig Williams, Jan 20, 2021.

  1. Craig Williams

    Craig Williams Tele-Meister

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    I live in Thailand and we have notoriously dirty power and poor grounding here. Some amps / guitars I have had were noisier than others. I am talking about the hum / buzz you get when you take your hands off the strings. Not ground loop hum. Many appliances here only have two pin plugs (220V). Even steel framed stuff. Often the house will have no earth or three pin sockets.


    My home is earthed properly, but we do get some intermittent electrical noise sometimes. I make sure all of my stuff has three pin plugs and are properly earthed now and I think that reduces the noise or hum altogether, but hard to tell sometimes as it can be ok in the morning and not so good in the afternoon. I am talking sonically here, not from the safety aspect. And I have seen people suggesting cutting the ground pin off to reduce ground loop hum (which I am not even sure what that is). Of course this is an unsafe practice. Generally speaking for the sort of ground noise I am talking about, the normal hum you get with single coil guitars when you take your hand off the strings....will proper grounding with a 3 pin plug reduce or delete this sort of noise?
     
  2. dogmeat

    dogmeat Friend of Leo's

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    your best bet may be with an isolation transformer
     
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  3. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Craig, it is normal for there to be noise when one takes their hands off of the the ground contacts on the guitar when it is plugged in to a live amp....anywhere in the world. That is one reason why players turn the volume control on the guitar down to zero when they are going to take their hands away from those contact points...with any guitar unless the pickups allow that one not have the strings connected to the ground in the circuit. certain active pickups such as EMGs do not require this ground connection to the strings. What you are describing is normal....just don’t take your hands off of the strings and/or turn your volume down if you need to remove your hands.
     
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  4. Craig Williams

    Craig Williams Tele-Meister

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    The curse of a single coil guitar player. I notice my G&Ls have nearly zero noise with the single coil MDF puck ups
     
  5. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Craig, it has nothing to do with a single coil pickup. Any pickup that is connected to the ground will exhibit this noise. A single coil hum will occur even if you have hand contact made. The noise that occurs when you lift your hand is due to the strings then acting as an antenna to pick up stray noise from the ‘ether’. The single coil hum will still be there with your hands on the strings...and it is a different kind of noise...it is a hum whereas the loss of ground contact is not uniform and does not have that same nature as the single coil hum.
     
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  6. Craig Williams

    Craig Williams Tele-Meister

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    Thanks Wally. I feel like mum is chastising me lol....Craig! Just joking, thanks for the advice :)
     
  7. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Craig, when I was 12....long time ago....and started taking lessons with a Gibson Les Paul(SG body) Junior, my instructor made sure that we understood some basics.....how to hear the noise that resulted from a two wire AC plug being plugged in ‘backwards’, how to hear the difference between single coil hum and that noise that results when one does not have their hands on the strings. We took lessons in a group setting, so we were aware of limiting noise. The two wire power cord thing was a safety issue as well. So, perhaps I sound a bit like an instructor....maybe because I have taught a large number of people some of the basic hows and whys of these things we use.
    here is one for you...I do NOT a take my hands off of the strings of an acousitic...not amplified acoustic....when I am not playing on it. I do NOT like the noise that occurs when those strings are caused to vibrate by bumps or vibrations in the air. Perhaps this stems from my beginnings on electric??? Or...maybe my ears are attuned to musical sounds instead of noise?? On electric, the noise that occurs with the hands off of the guitar with the volume up is definitely something I do not want to hear. Imho, it is key to playing to be aware of all of the sounds that come out of the instrument...amplified or not. Watch some good electric players in action....if their hands are off of the strings, their volume is off.
     
  8. Craig Williams

    Craig Williams Tele-Meister

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    I hear you. I do get some other buzzing here sometimes and it does seem to be related to not having an earth pin. I make sure all my power boards are properly earthed now and have very few issues.
     
  9. King Fan

    King Fan Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    Nice, Wally. This is one of those times I wish TDPRI had 'stickies' or perma-posts for great information that many of us don't fully grasp.

    And Craig, I like your good humor. Wally is a gentleman -- he often addresses OPs by name rather than just "OP" or the implied "hey you" -- so picture your Mom calling you for a tasty treat instead of a scolding.
     
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  10. Craig Williams

    Craig Williams Tele-Meister

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    Apart from my joke, I actually like Wallys personal and friendly replies. Sounds like a true gentleman to me
     
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  11. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I try, Craig. I fall short of my mother’s expectations sometimes, but I try.
     
  12. Craig Williams

    Craig Williams Tele-Meister

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    Shes a hard marker in my book Wally
     
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  13. DeepDangler

    DeepDangler Tele-Meister

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    You may need a power conditioner. Unfortunately, any latent noise coming from the electrical socket can creep into your signal. Depending on the time of day and how your home and nearby homes are wired, you can get more noise. I have some nasty electrical noise from my wall sockets in my home and have been using a noise suppressor until I can get a power conditioner. The Boss NS-22 is fairly sophisticated for the role compared to others.
     
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