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Pedal that cancels 60 cycle hum?

Discussion in 'The Stomp Box' started by TeleAnthony, Mar 22, 2015.

  1. J Hog

    J Hog Tele-Holic

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    Try the shielding paint from Stew-Mac. A previous owner of my mongrel Tele, (kind of a partscaster, but old Fender parts from the 50's and 60's), did it and that guitar is fairly quiet. It's a lot quieter that other Tele and Strats on the same stage. I remember a gig I did with it where a guy with a Strat though a Twin was getting all kinds of hum, and my guitar even through my modded Twin with a 4 stage OD channel (similar to a Soldano) was very quiet.
     
  2. Adelbatross

    Adelbatross Tele-Meister

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    Before you go down the route of paying for things there's a couple things I've learned that help.

    Best way I learned how to reduce 60 cycle is to use the guitar's volume knob at lot more, and not just between songs. Never really used it much for years, but someone showed me how to really use it to my advantage and I've never looked back.

    The master of this was SRV. His strat was loud but he knew when to back things off and when to crank it up.

    Another option is trying different things with your signal path. Amps, cords, pedals, everything plays a part, so sometimes a quality cable, and a few adjustments to the settings on your amp and pedal can make a big difference.

    If all else fails, shielding and noise cancelling pups are also a good choice. Every noise suppressor pedal I've used sucked all the goodness out of my tone. YMMV.
     
  3. Tele-phone man

    Tele-phone man Tele-Afflicted

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    First, make sure that you don't actually have some sort of wiring error in the guitar. Have it looked over by someone with experience. Make sure everything that is supposed to be grounded actually is grounded. Follow best practices, including twisting together pickup leads through the chambers of the guitar, keeping all leads to minimum length, have all grounds meet at one and only one point. I always shield my pickup cavities and control cavities and I make sure that I avoid all ground loops.

    Be aware that shielding does not eliminate 60 cycle noise. It can't. However, it does reduce other higher-frequency noise that many of us mistakenly refer to as 60 cycle; noise you would describe as "buzz". 60Hz noise is a "hum". You will often hear it at 120Hz, too. "Buzz" is much higher, and a properly shielded and wired single coil guitar will hum but shouldn't buzz. Humbucking pickups will still buzz if the pickups or the guitar body has no shielding. This noise will vary depending on the ambient electrical environment. Some buildings have much more noise that your pickups will "hear". My house is a good example. All of my guitars are dead silent in most places, except my own house. I've not been able to figure out why, but at least I know that if a guitar is quiet enough to be usable at home, it will be noise-free just about anywhere else.

    If your guitar checks out as OK, but the noise is unacceptable, you then need to ask yourself if you are happy with your guitar's tone (disregarding noise for the moment). If so, pursue a pedal solution or perhaps an Illitch system solution. If, OTOH, you aren't particularly attached to your guitar's current tone, look into noise-free or noise-reduced pickups. In the long-run, it's best to eliminate noise at the source, either via the Illitch or with noise-free pickups, rather than using a pedal. I would hate to depend on an external device like a pedal to make my guitar usable.
     
  4. Tim Bowen

    Tim Bowen Poster Extraordinaire

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    Agree with proper shielding.

    Which noise cancelling pickups do you recommend that sound as good or better than traditional single coils? Anything that retains 100% of the quack, presence, clarity, detail, etc. of true singles (as opposed to getting close but not quite there)?

    Also which specific noise suppression pedals are you referencing, and how did you set and route them within your rig?

    Thanks in advance.
     
  5. Doctorx33

    Doctorx33 Tele-Afflicted

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    I suspect that the OP's issue is poor shielding somewhere, rather than ground loop hum, which the EBTech hum eliminator is for. I built my own for less than ten bucks.
     
  6. JR88

    JR88 Tele-Meister

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    guitar/Amp tech/maintenance problem...or very very common some nightmare ground loop/system grounding, the potential/differences, current flows between them develops voltages and your noise etc.
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2015
  7. Garage Dog

    Garage Dog TDPRI Member

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  8. JR88

    JR88 Tele-Meister

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    No you don't really want a pedal, don't expect that to fix noise like that...which sounds a bit deeper/involved...
     
  9. Adelbatross

    Adelbatross Tele-Meister

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    The best single coils I've heard for reducing noise are called Orpheus pickups, which are hand made by a local guy here in Melbourne, Australia. Not sure if they ship overseas but worth a try. There's also Fender Noiseless as well, they shouldn't be too hard to find.

    And as for shielding, I'm referring to the shielding you can put on the wiring inside your guitar, that does help reduce 60 cycle. Shielding the cavity inside your guitar is another story.

    As for noise suppressors, I've tried the Boss Noise Suppressor, Rocktron Hush, and EHX DeBugger. The Boss and Rocktron I'll admit work much differently than the De Bugger. Some people may like them, and if they work for them great but for me I don't like them. They take all the dynamics out, and don't add anything good to my tone.

    I'm by no means an old school type, or traditionalist by any stretch. But just like tube amps, single coils are just old technology that have some quirks, but they still sound the best. Think of single coils like vinyl records, old technology with noisy cracks and pops, but sounds better than any CD or mP3 you'll hear.

    No doubt there's been advancements, but ask yourself why do so many people chase vintage gear? Sure, a lot of it could be hype, but plenty of touring pros also go after vintage gear. The single coil is just something that comes with some hum so embrace the noise.
     
  10. Adelbatross

    Adelbatross Tele-Meister

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    TeleAnthony, you might also want to check out this blog...

    https://www.lollarguitars.com/blog/category/hum-canceling/
     
  11. jim_pridx

    jim_pridx Tele-Afflicted

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    Funny, but the Ilitch system still seems to be an unknown entity amongst the majority of folks looking to kill the obnoxious 60-cycle hum. I installed one of these units on my Strat-style partscaster a few weeks ago, and I'm kicking myself for not doing it much sooner. These systems really work great, and I can keep the true single-coil pickups that I love! It's a win-win situation, IMHO.
     
  12. Tim Bowen

    Tim Bowen Poster Extraordinaire

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    Thanks for the reply.

    As you say, there's been advancements. I ask about pickups because I've been completely out of the loop as far as pickups go for about the last ffteen years or so. I have the Fender type true singles, & P90s, that work for me. But I'm always curious as to what's out there. The noiseless pickups that I've owned/played - off the top of my head, Lawrence, Kinman, Duncan, Lace Sensor (the worst!), to name a few - I pretty much hated all of them.

    But then I hate 60 cycle hum as well.

    Opinions regarding noise suppressors are extremely polarized. Some think they suck and some believe they are magic boxes. I started my trial & error with this in the early 80s. Hated the conventional rackmount gates, as well as the old BOSS Noise Gate pedal (not to be confused with the NS-2), but none of them were as bad as the Rocktron Hush*, which absolutely destroyed high end. I found the right fit for me in the old half space rack BOSS NS-50. And then in the 90s I started using the BOSS NS-2s, which I think are fantastic. About a year and a half ago I picked up an ISP Decimator II, which is also pretty good.

    * The one thing I do like about the ISP over the BOSS NS-2 is that it retains high end *slightly* better. The weird thing, as I understand it, is that the ISP was created by the folks that came out with the Rocktron Hush, which, as far as I'm concerned, is the worst tone sucker of all time.

    The fact that opposite opinions regarding noise suppressors are so extreme is why I am always curious as to how folks have used them within their rigs. I always have a clean boost on, and I wonder if folks that don't get along with noise suppressors do the same or the opposite. Up until around 2:00 on the clock dial on the NS-2's threshold knob (which is higher than I ever set it), I get no difference in dynamics, transients, sustain, etc. And I do mean zero difference. And not just live, I've been using the things at recording dates for twenty years. So that's why I wonder how the folks that hate them, are using them exactly.

    With the exception of a few horribly wired rooms here and there, as well as perhaps the qualifier of P90s in general, I have come to the conclusion that, at least for myself, 60 cycle hum from true single coil pickups, in and of itself, is not really the problem - it's the gain additive devices used in conjunction with the true singles that throws the big monkey wrench in the gears.

    So after much trial and error, I determined that the combination of the single coil pickups that I really dig, along with a good noise tamer, is a way better fit for me than are noiseless pickups. I'd speculate that the Ilitch system is pretty great... but the other thing about systems like this, and pickups, is that you have to install for each instrument separately - whereas with a suppressor you just use with whatever instrument is at hand. Not to mention the fact that you can bypass a suppressor circuit or just yank it out of the chain entirely, as opposed to going into the instrument to do surgery.


    The noise/60 cycle hum battle has always been interesting to me, and I usually/often wind up participating in these types of threads on some level. At this point I pretty much know what works for me. However I like to maintain an open mind on the subject and am always interested in perspectives that are different than my own.
     
  13. JD0x0

    JD0x0 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Completely agree.

    I've tried pedals, and I've yet to find one that does what it needs to do, with zero ill effects on tone, otherwise I'd own a noise reduction pedal, by now.

    The ILitch system seems like it's just a very expensive dummy coil system, and needs to be done carefully, depending on your single coils. Apparently, it also doesn't work with series/parallel/phase reversal type stuff, so it seems a bit limiting in that regard. Nothing is perfect. And I think that's what we need to realize. There will almost always be some sort of tradeoff. I've decided, personally, that decent shielding and components cuts down on enough noise, for me.
     
  14. Tim Bowen

    Tim Bowen Poster Extraordinaire

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    Ding ding ding. For the win.

    Exactly right. It's great that we can detail our various approaches, and learn from them. However, as you say, there's always a compromise at some point. And every individual's gear and approach is unique. The trick is to find the best compromise for you.
     
  15. Adelbatross

    Adelbatross Tele-Meister

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    Definitely! I'd say that's the case for a lot of people, that and cranking the amp to the point of breakup.

    I think the most important thing is doing whatever works for you. Not sure about other people, but I like forums like this for options, different things to try, and ultimately, learn a few things. I don't think I've ever seen a thread that had a unanimous response, which is a good thing (if not confusing sometimes).

    Glad to hear the noise pedal works for you, and gotta say this thread has made me think about giving one a try just for the heck of it.
     
  16. Blaghard

    Blaghard TDPRI Member

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    Is the hum caused by not using isolated power for each pedal you have? Is there hum when you have the guitar plugged in directly to the amp?
     
  17. TeleAnthony

    TeleAnthony Tele-Meister

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    My rig is my '93 tele with original pup's with the 4 way mod, 20 foot cable straight into my SFChamp or my USA 1st Gen HRD. I do not use pedals. Come to think of it where it was worse was two weeks ago in a basement wher all the lighting are dimmers and through my brother's DRRI. But we were playing about 10 to 15 feet form the dimmer switches.
     
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