Single Coil Noise - Story with a happy ending

Chief Brody

TDPRI Member
Dec 31, 2016
San Francisco
Yeah, there's lots of threads on here about life with single coils and the noise they can spew forth. Like many of you, I've read a bunch along with multiple articles on how, if even possible, to tame this particular beast. In the end, I've come to the conclusion that it is just my house/neighborhood and there's nothing I can do. While playing at home, my '72 Custom RI has been almost exclusively switched to neck humbucker only, the noise, especially when paired with my 65 Champ, is just unbearable unless I'm sitting just right (almost always in an awkward, unnatural position). This situation has been made even more depressing since dropping a set of Lollars in. So my Tele playing has been mostly limited to going to the studio.

So, I was traveling for work this week when my wife called in a bit of a panic. Lights and appliances in the house were popping, the power strip in the living room sparked and was smoking. Turns out a transformer in the neighborhood blew up. 37 houses were without power for several hours. When the power came back on, the electrical equipment survey began. Stereo mostly okay, but CD player dead. Phono pre-amp seemed dead, but on further inspection yesterday it seems the wall wart took all the impact and the actual unit is fine. Fridge, microwave, coffee grinder, stove hood: all dead. Thankfully, the Champ was fine.

After surveying things yesterday along with replacing old power strips with higher quality ones and general better organization of all things electric in the house, I grabbed my Tele and plugged in the Champ for some relaxing time. A few minutes in I realized the pickup switch was in the center position, hadn't really thought about it...then I switched it to the bridge...holy mother of...what IS that SOUND? I'll tell you what, it is absolutely NOTHING save Tele bridge pickup, Champ and my clumsy MY house. Repaired/replaced neighborhood transformer = silent tele!

Happy twangin'



Jun 5, 2020
Shenandoah Valley, Virginia
An electrical gremlin vanquished. What a wonderful thing. I'm sorry that you had to loose appliances to achieve it but all if your electronics will be happy.
I lived in my house approx 15 years before I tested the 3 prong outlets in the 1970s addition. All outlets ungrounded and jumped off of existing 2 wire circuits. Dishonest electrician.

Brent Hutto

Dec 6, 2006
South Carolina
As a kid and teenager I was into amateur radio and there was a transformer on a pole about 500 yards from my parents house that spewed electrical interference over the entire range of frequencies that my equipment could receive. I kind of narrowed it down by pointing a directional antenna and then got on my bicycle and took an AM radio to confirm which exact transformer on wich pole. You literally could not hear any station on that radio if it was within 100 feet or so of that pole.

I often fantasized about taking it out with a .22 rifle in the middle of the night some time but never took action. Finally it got fried in a thunderstorm when I was about 14 years old and my reception was blessedly noise free (or near enough) from then on.