Is my Strat hum normal?

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by danadig, Sep 27, 2017.

  1. danadig

    danadig TDPRI Member

    Age:
    28
    Posts:
    20
    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2017
    Location:
    Baltimore
    So I bought a 2007 Highway One FSR Strat with Custom Shop '69 Pups (This is my first single coil guitar, might I add). Love the tone and all, but the hum is driving me a bit nuts.

    I just had the frets redone by a luthier, so I think he would've told me if there's a grounding problem, but here's what's happening: There's a hum that goes away when I turn the volume down, so I know it's the guitar. The hum reduces when I rotate in a certain direction, which I know is also normal. However, the hum does NOT decrease when I touch the strings or any metal parts on the guitar.

    So, is this a grounding issue that I need to check out, or is it just the normal loud hum of vintage single coil pickups and I'm just not used to it? Any solutions? Last resort is changing the pickups.


    Note: CS '69 pups are not reverse wound, therefore there aren't any noise-cancelling positions.

    [​IMG]
     
  2. john_cribbin

    john_cribbin Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,351
    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2014
    Location:
    London
    Try it in different rooms with a many electrics as possible turned off.

    Single coils do hum to a certain extent. I gave up on a strat years ago. Turns out it was picking up what the energy efficient lighting was chucking out.
     
    RoscoeElegante likes this.
  3. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

    Age:
    63
    Posts:
    79,443
    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2009
    Location:
    Austin, Tx
    Yup.
    Single coils hum.
    There are lots of ways to circumvent it, but they all involve spending money.
    Some people can live with it, but it bugs me.
    If you like the guitar otherwise, I'd go pickup shopping.
     
    RoscoeElegante likes this.
  4. Rockdog

    Rockdog Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,159
    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2010
    Location:
    Heart of the Commonwealth
    You could try shielding the cavities and the back of the pickguard. I used copper tape from StewMac on my Strat, and while it didn't completely eliminate the hum, it did noticeably reduce it. For best results, you just need to ensure the tape in the cavity and on the back of the guard make contact by leaving a tab of tape extending out of the cavity--essentially you are making a Faraday cage! I'd definitely try this before replacing the pickups.
     
    awasson and RoscoeElegante like this.
  5. RoscoeElegante

    RoscoeElegante Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    4,054
    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2015
    Location:
    TooFarFromCanada
    The ElectroHarmonix Hum De-Bugger can really help.

    Some pedals can really worsen this, so be careful about your boost or overdrive or delay + amp + Strat match-ups.

    Ditto room/electric wiring in the house issues. I have a bad outlet in my house that turns Strats into AM radios having fits. Elsewhere, with the Hum De-Bugger's help, it's fine.

    These are well thought of, and not all that expensive:
    http://www.guitarfetish.com/GFS-Noise-Free-NEOVIN-Pickups-for-Stratocaster-Sets_c_38.html

    Good luck and post again about your experience resolving this.
     
  6. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    9,028
    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2014
    Location:
    Lions & Tigers oh Mi !
    .

    First step is replace the two separate wires from the jack to the volume pot with a shielded cable. I find this run can be 50% of a guitar's idle hum source. Most of us use shielded cable from the amp to the guitar.

    Then you can go down the list in increasing complexity. The above and this next one usually take care of most objections.

    Some use copper tape, but those kits are always short for mistakes or where you really want to go. Buy a roll of Nashua Aluminum Flashing tape, use an ohm meter to ensure continuity as you put it down (wrinkle edges or overlay bridge strips) and you will have enough to cover two dozen guitars for $8.

    If you are adventuresome and find you still need a bit more, you can wrap the bobbin and line the insides of the pickup covers, making sure to not damage the bobbin wires or cause a short on the output leads yet ground the shielding. Use a meter to verify as you go.

    Get a RWRP for the middle pickup and give yourself not only the parallel 2 and 4 positions but also a series option for humbucking. I use the Dan Armstrong Blender Mod but some use push/pull pots effectively this way.

    .
     
  7. DaphneBlue

    DaphneBlue Tele-Meister

    Age:
    33
    Posts:
    494
    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2017
    Location:
    Switzerland
    single coil hum has its own charm. now if you don't like it, you can do one thing that is cheap and efficient: create a link to wire one metal stuff to another on your guitar in order to create grounding (e.g.: a guitar string that goes from one screw to another on the pickguard). It is basically what your body does when you lay your fingers on the strings and the hum disappears.
    I have this issue with my jazzmaster and sincerely now I don't even care cause the hum can't be heard when I play. It is only heard when my hands are not on the guitar...
     
  8. JL_LI

    JL_LI Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    70
    Posts:
    3,351
    Joined:
    May 20, 2017
    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    When you solder the shielded cable do you just solder the core or do you solder the shielding to ground as well?
     
  9. LKB3rd

    LKB3rd Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,811
    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2013
    Location:
    CT
    That's normal hum.
     
  10. codamedia

    codamedia Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    5,123
    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2009
    Location:
    Western Canada
    Touching the strings will NOT reduce hum... it may reduce or eliminate "buzz". Two totally different things.
    The hum you are describing is normal... Tele's do it as well, as do P-90's. It's the price you pay for some of those great tones. You learn to work around it.
     
  11. alderre

    alderre TDPRI Member

    Posts:
    57
    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2015
    Location:
    Texas
    I'd Just get new pickups. Have no time to experiment. I agree on GFS as a starting point
     
  12. Chiogtr4x

    Chiogtr4x Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    6,638
    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2007
    Location:
    Manassas Park, VA
    I have Fender ' Fat ( or Phat) '50's- pickups in my Tex- Mex Strat- I love the sound, but they can be really noisy in some rooms ( neon!)

    My buddy Jason that occasionally plays in our band with me, has a beautiful Two-tone SB ' 57 Strat RI that after going through a few different sets of PU's , recently got a set of Fender.Vintage Noiseless pickups ( I think that's the name, believe they are a newer product).
    They are completely quiet and sound amazing ( he is a very good player, so that helps!)
     
  13. MrGibbly

    MrGibbly Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,519
    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2014
    Location:
    SATX
    I find the hum bugs me most when I'm playing alone at low volume. Lots of good tips already posted about pickup options, shielding, getting a cleaner power source, etc. Another quick answer if you otherwise like the sound of your guitar would be a simple noise gate pedal. When the hum gets under my skin I have been known to add a very mild gate in my patch on my HD500X...
     
  14. MahoganyStratDZ

    MahoganyStratDZ Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    511
    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2012
    Location:
    USA
    What noise they are suppose to be like that. :) Thats THE sound that created legends that is THE sound. lol

    Go over the entire circuit shorten leads, shield the guitar completely and use a RWRP.


    imho.
     
  15. MahoganyStratDZ

    MahoganyStratDZ Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    511
    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2012
    Location:
    USA
    Definately..."I'm playing alone at low volume." and if you live in this and play all the time which I did long ago "but they can be really noisy in some rooms " it can be a pain in the rear end and also "When the hum gets under my skin I have been known to add a very mild gate in my patch on my HD500X"

    Helps but not a great band aid either. Just saying especially in a room like above all the time. You would switch to humbuckers imo or as I was saying above but I was playing a Tele then so I just left the bridge and used a neck PAF. Strats were sufferable unless you really get anal with shielding and good joints and clean short direct point to point wiring with good wire/components etc.
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2017
  16. FirTrader

    FirTrader Tele-Meister

    Age:
    45
    Posts:
    245
    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2017
    Location:
    Alberta Canada
    Is the hum reduced if you put the switch in the 2 and 4 positions? If not, you may have something screwy. I find the hum bothersome only if I have a ton of gain dialled in, I never find single coils make much noise on a clean amp, even fairly loud, but of course it depends on environment too...
     
  17. sonicsmitty

    sonicsmitty Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    883
    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2012
    Location:
    Clarksville, TN
    I don't have a problem with my Strat, but it has Fender "noiseless" pickups in it. My Tele, on the other hand, does the same thing you're describing. As Rockdog suggested, I shielded the pickup and controls cavities. That reduced it some, but it is still noticeable, especially when I am in close proximity to the amplifier. How close do you stand? Maybe try moving a little further away?
     
  18. Fireball519

    Fireball519 Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    378
    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2014
    Location:
    Walland, Tn
    I had terrible hum out of all my single coils until I switched to Emgs...best money I ever spent. I can crack my amp(Peavey Nashville 400)and not have my hands on my guitar and no hum what so ever. And they're solderless and they only take about 10 minutes to hook up.
     
  19. Iago

    Iago Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,069
    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2006
    Location:
    Brazil
    Always good to try 1-2 other single-coil guitars into the same amp you're using (in the same room, with the same cables, etc) and compare...
     
  20. Anode100

    Anode100 Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,773
    Joined:
    May 9, 2014
    Location:
    Behind my beard.
    Try playing in the same 'noisy' room with the lights off.

    Single coils hum (as noted above) - and modern energy-saving bulbs are essentially miniature neon tubes - so they're incredibly noisy to play single coils under.

    My old bandmate had to stand in a sweet-spot of the rehearsal room to avoid this - but his Baja Tele sounded great, so we learned to work with / around the issue.
     
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.