Leslie West 'managed' to hide the hum in p90s?

Discussion in 'Just Pickups' started by Bluessoldier, Jan 30, 2011.

  1. Bluessoldier

    Bluessoldier Tele-Meister

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    As in this article: http://www.woodytone.com/2009/11/02/leslie-wests-mississippi-queen-tone/

    In a House of Blues interview, he said: “To me a Les Paul Junior is a tree with a microphone.” And “there’s a hum to it [because of the P-90 pickup], but I managed to hide the hum.”

    Anyone know what Leslie is talking about?
    Maybe he modified his original p-90s by making them stacked or something?
    :confused:
     
  2. LarryM

    LarryM Tele-Holic

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    I think he meant he was able to position himself relative to the amp so that it was quiet.....
    Single coils can hum, but it's not constantly - If you are at the right angle/position, it will be quiet.
    And once you are playing (especially loud), you won't notice it anyway.
    So correct position, and turn down the volume in between songs....
     
  3. birddog01

    birddog01 Tele-Afflicted

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    No, I don't.
    I get no hum out of my Epi's on either amp.:confused:
     
  4. jefrs

    jefrs Doctor of Teleocity

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    There are a number of ways to reduce hum from a single coil pickup. The coil is perfectly designed to pickup electro-magnetic radiation/force (EMF). By intent the string disturbs the field made by the pole piece which generates a current in the coil. However the coil will also see any and all disturbances in the emf around it: this is how a radio receiver works. The emf can come from fluorescent lights, transformers, electric motors, radio stations, etc, etc.

    Possible solutions.
    Twisted pair wiring in the guitar (my favourite)
    Single star-earth point in the guitar (stops induction loops), guitar properly earthed.
    Electrically quiet recording environment - home/studio wiring and appliances good etc. Going to extreme lengths this could include Faraday Cage built into structure around "studio".
    Shielding in the guitar (can cause induction loops or act as an aerial)
    Same above applied to the amplifier and accessories to prevent generation of emf.
    Special low induction lead to amp (some of these actually work e.g. Fender)
    Short length lead to amp.
    Post recording hum cancellation/subtraction.
     
  5. fezz parka

    fezz parka ---------------------------

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    He probably turned to magnetic north ( or south).:lol:
     
  6. Bolide

    Bolide Friend of Leo's

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    Single coil pickups are quite similar to loop antennas used in radio direction finding gear in navigation and directional antennas for radio reception. These work because they have "dead nulls", areas from which electrostatic noise is self cancelled; It would be difficult for someone playing a small stage to be able to place nearby noise sources in these cones of silence (imagine a line passing through the pickup, parallel to the polepieces as the centerline of the cones, with the pointy ends of the cones in the center of the pickups: the neon signs behind the stage, the cash registers, the house-light dimmers are apt to be outside of these cones), but for someone who is playing a larger venue careful attention to the routing of power leads, and careful attention to the postition of the pickups, and dilligence during the sound check, make this a difficult but do-able proposition.
     
  7. Boogyman

    Boogyman Tele-Meister

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    Speaking as one who is old enough to have seen Leslie West & Mountain live, I'm guessing he meant his technique or style. He was a master at using distortion to it's fullest and created a huge wall of sound, with very few gaps between chords or notes. And yes, I remember him reaching down to the control knobs quite often.

    I'm certainly no electronics guy and no doubt there's plenty of ways to modify P-90's, but I think what Leslie meant in his case was more to do with his signature sound. My 2 cents anyway.
     
  8. Larry F

    Larry F Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    How would this be done? In my own experience, I have managed to cancel a voice that was mixed along with other electronic and transformed sounds. I needed to remove the voice so that I was left with only the backing sounds. I put the mixed track into Pro Tools and a voice only track exactly in sync. I flipped the phase on the vocal track and balanced it against the mixed track. Even though we understand things scientifically, it can be a very eerie experience to see it happen right in front of you, and under your control.

    Anyway, how would one cancel hum in a track that has guitar in it?
     
  9. jefrs

    jefrs Doctor of Teleocity

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    Something as simple as CoolEdit can do it: select a section that has hum w/o guitar and subtract that sample from the track.

    If the hum is constant frequency then maybe apply a 50Hz mains-hum notch filter, or tight parametric eq.
     
  10. Jimo

    Jimo Tele-Afflicted

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    Fun record player trick........

    Switch the leads going to the cartridege or your turntable and push the "mono" button on your amp...and it will do the same thing....really fun with Beatles records.............................cheers! JIMO
     
  11. LarryM

    LarryM Tele-Holic

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    Exactly - The guy was a master when it came to high volume, live playing.
    Out of all the late 60's hard rock bands - Zeppelin, Jimi,Beck, - Leslie West was the most consistant,full sounding,best tone, when it came to live playing. (Listen to Wolfgangs Vault).
    He sounded like the records,but better - incredible sound,sustain,vibrato - never sloppy or thin sounding. He was all over the V & T controls.
    I saw him he had 2-3 Sunn heads, each w/ 2 cabs, very loud - He never had any noise or hum.

    Check out Blind Man - his 1st Lp - He got these sounds live & then some! A literal wall of sound

     
  12. Boogyman

    Boogyman Tele-Meister

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    Thanks for the blast from the past. :D Yep, anybody who's ever been plugged into a full Marshall stack (or 2 or 3) turned up to earbleed level can tell you it's a whole 'nother animal than playing small amps at low volume... it's like having a giant beast by the tail that's trying to tear your playing to pieces every second. A little buzz or hum is insignificant when you're trying to harness screaming feedback and turn it into viscious, cutting tone. It takes a unique set of skills to control it, playing a monster amp is every bit as challenging as playing the guitar itself. Leslie West was one of the best.
     
  13. Ronsonic

    Ronsonic Tele-Afflicted

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    Screaming amp management is something of a lost art these days. The technology has improved to eliminate a lot of the problems; less radio interference, channel switching, etc. And people simply aren't driving monster stacks of amps hard from the stage. Even a band as straight up as AC/DC is running the amps mic'ed up in a bunker with just monitors on stage, if not in-ears.

    As for hiding the hum, you don't have to listen to a lot of Leslie West to know he's real handy with the volume control. Guitar off between songs and roll the volume up with your pinky before the first note. As mentioned hum is variable with position relative to the amps and whatever else is generating noise.

    Besides, back in the day all he had to do was stand in front of the amp and nobody could hear the hum.
     
  14. Boogyman

    Boogyman Tele-Meister

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    :lol:

    Yes, he was a human wall 'o noise cancelling. :D That LP Jr. looked like a kid's toy on Mr. West's substantial frame. No disrespect meant whatsover. ;)
     
  15. M Black

    M Black Tele-Meister

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    Ronsonic said it best.....
     
  16. FirstBassman

    FirstBassman Friend of Leo's

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    I just went and asked him (on Facebook).

    This was his answer:
    "By playing louder than the hum."
     
  17. Jimo

    Jimo Tele-Afflicted

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    True Facts!!!

    That is really the key---just turn the vol. control ON when you are ready to play and then turn if OFF after you are done and it pretty much hides the hum. Unless you have just insane gain and go immediately into uncontrollable feedback, in which case, turn it down.......!!! hahahahahah:lol:
     
  18. Thundersleet

    Thundersleet Tele-Afflicted

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    No kidding? Maybe I should give Facebook a chance. Because that's really cool.
     
  19. FirstBassman

    FirstBassman Friend of Leo's

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    No, I wasn't kidding.
    Some artists have "regular" Facebook accounts (not the account that one can only "Like" ... I don't know what that is called.)
    Leslie West and I have a mutual friend or two in common so I requested and we "friended" each other even though he doesn't know me from Adam.
    My main purpose for having famous Facebook "friends" is to keep informed on what they're up to ... concerts, CDs, etc. *
    I don't pretend that we're buddies or chat them up.
    I make sure not to "abuse the privilege" (same with the private e-mail addresses I have of some famous artists).
    But if a particular question comes up, I'll send a message and ask.
    The worst that can happen is they don't answer or un-friend me.


    *
    Unfortunately some of them post drivel every day, which is kind of annoying.
     
  20. geetarfreek82

    geetarfreek82 Tele-Afflicted

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    yeah, i'm "friends" with the Mother Truckers and asked Josh Zee about his Tele AND ACTUALLY GOT AN ANSWER!!!! lol Some celebs still are regular ppl too
     
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