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Guitar shielding to stop hum

Postby loungepenguin » Thu Feb 08, 2007 1:33 pm

Hi

My Fender Telecaster (Japanese about 1995) hums quite badly especially when going through my digital 8 track. I've tried different rooms, different cables, different plug sockets, a DI box, the ehx hum debugger and the boss noise suppresser pedals. Although the pedals work to varying degrees they affect the sound too much. If I cover the strings the hum isn't as loud but it is still there and is annoying!

I spoke to someone in the guitar shop the other day and he says that with single coil pickups this could happen to even the most expensive guitars. He pointed me in the direction of this site: http://www.guitarnuts.com/wiring/shielding/tele.php . Has anyone seen / done this before? The person who has written this basically says that the electronics in a lot of Fender guitars is less well made than some basic $20 portable radios. Therefore you need to shield them to reduce the hum. Could this be true? I would have though Fender would have sorted a problem such as this out ages ago!

Any thoughts on this welcome and appreciated

Matt
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Re: Guitar shielding to stop hum

Postby Vintage DNA » Thu Feb 08, 2007 2:30 pm

Shielding is mostly to stop Radio Frequency interference rather than hum, so if you're picking up the local taxi company RFI shielding is the way to go, however it does seem to make guitars a bit quieter too and I usually shield all of my guitars, particularly those with single coil pickups. I use copper foil with conductive adhesive, however you can also spray the control cavity with conductive paint, just make sure that all of the shielding is connected to ground or it is useless. On strats and tele's it also helps to twist the pickup wires together to make them into a twisted pair. Do make sure that none of the pot or switch connections touch the shielding thought and insulate anything that looks like it could.

It is certainly worth trying shielding, it won't hurt anything and may well give a noticeable improvement.

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Re: Guitar shielding to stop hum

Postby Supposed to be workin » Thu Feb 08, 2007 2:30 pm

The man speaks the truth!!!

Guitars usually don't come sheilded and this can cause quite alot of noise, especially if you have single coils. Shielding should reduce noise quite a lot and it's quite simple to do.

I think it's a good idea to shield your cavities even if you don't have a problem with noise. And that website#s instructions look quite good.

Rich.
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Re: Guitar shielding to stop hum

Postby Wonks » Thu Feb 08, 2007 2:34 pm

Certainly been done before and you'll find several threads on this forum that have covered pickup hum and its solution.

If your guitar is really prone to picking up hum to start with, then a complete replacement of the internal wiring harness is usually recommended as a starting place. You don't know the condition of the wires under the insulation - there may be some breaks in the cables - and you may have some bad solder connections as well.

Shielding the underside of the scratchplate is easy to do and I don't know why its not done as standard. Adding foil to the pickup cavities (you can also use a conductive paint spray to do this for awkward shaped cavities though copper foil is easier to connect to for grounding purposes) is a bit harder and you do need to ensure that no signal carrying parts touch the shielding or you'll get no sound at all.

Otherwise, some fit some noiseless pickups such as the Fender Noiseless units or Kinmans or go active and fit some EMGs.
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Re: Guitar shielding to stop hum

Postby Vintage DNA » Thu Feb 08, 2007 2:57 pm

Otherwise, some fit some noiseless pickups such as the Fender Noiseless units or Kinmans or go active and fit some EMGs.

Yep, I totally agree with Wonkey here. Worth trying shielding and rewiring first but this is the ultimate solution to single coil hum.
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Re: Guitar shielding to stop hum

Postby loungepenguin » Thu Feb 08, 2007 3:56 pm

thanks everyone. It does look like the way to go.

I've started to look into the kinmans. - Do you think there is much point in installing them without shielding the guitar? Also which kinmans should I get for the Tele and where in the UK can I get them?

thanks again.
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Re: Guitar shielding to stop hum

Postby Wonks » Thu Feb 08, 2007 5:02 pm

Kinmans are fully humbucking - and are as quiet as any standard humbucker. I haven't got any extra shielding on my Strat and that's fine unless I'm sitting right on top of a noise source e.g. right next to my CD player - but no more so than my Les Paul.

Finding Kinmans in the UK is tricky as they haven't got a distributor here at the moment. You may have to get them from Australia direct. The Fender Noiseless aren't bad units - I've got one on s Squier Tele (bridge unit) and it sounds fine, but the Kinmans do have the edge IMHO.
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Re: Guitar shielding to stop hum

Postby loungepenguin » Fri Feb 09, 2007 10:13 am

I can find kimans on the thomann site for £150 or I can get fender noiseless for £100. Unless there is an incredible amount of sound difference I think I'll just go for the fender noiseless and go for the shielding.

Are pickups quite easy to install myself? I have a soldering iron but do they have some kind of instructions?

Also, has anyone had any good / bad experiences with the fender noiseless?

thanks
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Re: Guitar shielding to stop hum

Postby gofodwr » Sat Feb 10, 2007 9:59 pm

I've done the guitarnuts copper foil/pickguard shielding on both my Strat and Tele and they still hum. It's hard to say if they hum less than before or the same. Disappointing.
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Re: Guitar shielding to stop hum

Postby __ » Sat Feb 10, 2007 10:02 pm

Just a thought, but i suppose you dont have a light dimmer switch or CRT monitor in your room? These are noisy as...
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Re: Guitar shielding to stop hum

Postby loungepenguin » Mon Feb 12, 2007 10:09 am

I don't have any dimmer switches and the monitor is off. Also, I have tried it in several rooms, in 3 different houses.

I think I'll try the shielding thing and also replace the pickups with the fender noiseless. If that doesn't fix it then who knows... Might have to bite the bullet and take it into a proper guitar shop and get the electrics looked at.
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Re: Guitar shielding to stop hum

Postby loungepenguin » Mon Feb 12, 2007 5:28 pm

reading through the kinman site, there is quite a lot of talk about the volume pots. Would there be much point in installing kinmans if the volume pots are not matched? I have a japanise fender tele 1996. sorry if this is obvious, I have never changed pickups before...
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Re: Guitar shielding to stop hum

Postby loungepenguin » Fri Feb 16, 2007 3:40 pm

well, I've decide to bite the bullet and buy some Kinmans from Thomann.

My plan is to install them at the same time as shielding the guitar. Then, if it still hums I'll need to go to a professional.

Are they quite easy to install? Does anyone have any tips about what I should look out for?

thanks
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Re: Guitar shielding to stop hum

Postby DoeZer » Mon Feb 19, 2007 5:53 pm

hi there longepenguin!!

very iterested to hear how you got on there! Im thinking of going the same way myself....

i have quite a noisy strat at home... wont shut up no matter how many lights etc I turn off... ive tried the Kinmans before - theyre nice.. ;)

please let us know how you get on

and good luck ;)

cheers
D
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Re: Guitar shielding to stop hum

Postby 4TrackMadman » Wed Feb 21, 2007 9:11 pm

Did you check whether your ground is connected to the bridge? In some of these guitars it might not be so I'd first start there.

You can possibly try single coil sized humbucking pickups - DiMarzio and Seymour Duncan make them. You could also look at better options for single coil pickups. I had a friend with a Fender and after changing to the Texas Strat pickup series his noise disappeared. Blue Lace sensor pickups are noise free as well.
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Re: Guitar shielding to stop hum

Postby loungepenguin » Thu Feb 22, 2007 10:22 am

I've already purchased the Kinmans now. After reading around quite a lot I just got the impression that they were great so I decided to just go with them. The SOS review said they were great pickups even if they weren't noiseless.

I haven't checked that the ground is connected to the bridge yet. It could well be something as simple as that. Sorry if this is a really simple question but how do you do that? Should there be a wire from the control to the bridge?

The kinmans arrived yesterday so I'm just trying to decide whether to install them myself along with doing some shielding or whether to go the whole way and just get a professional to do it all at the same time. I suppose with my very limited knowledge I should get a professional!
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Re: Guitar shielding to stop hum

Postby Spiked Lunch » Thu Feb 22, 2007 5:41 pm

I'd have a go at doing it yourself...Take it to a pro if you go wrong/get lost or confused. Everyone has to learn somewhere.

Plus there are plenty of diagrams on the internet and plenty of help and advice from the good people on here.
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Re: Guitar shielding to stop hum

Postby loungepenguin » Fri Feb 23, 2007 12:41 pm

I think I will have a go this weekend. The actual shielding doesn't look that difficult now I've re-read it a few times.

I could do with an installing pickups guide for dummies though. I've searched the internet and I can't find one that really breaks it down with pictures - can anyone recommend one? Also, is it any different installing kinmans to installing other pickups?

Thanks again.
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Re: Guitar shielding to stop hum

Postby loungepenguin » Mon Feb 26, 2007 10:42 am

update! - I have now installed the kinmans and shielded the guitar. Thankfully, I had someone with me who knew what they were doing. This may sound a little dumb but the instructions that came with the Kinmans were a little difficult for me. They aren't really helped by them providing a capacitor and resister which to someone who hasn't dabbled in electronics before seem quite worrying! If I was doing them on my own I'd have needed a really good step by step guide for dummies. Anyway we got the installed.

The shielding was much easier and with the help of an ohm meter we got this done with no problem. I used the ohm meter to check the continuity between the jack and the rest of the guitar.

Firstly I plugged the guitar into my amp. I haven't had much time yet to check it properly but there seemed to be little to no noise. Touching the strings made no difference so I was pretty sure the guitar had been grounded. I say little noise as the amp itself hums a bit, the inputs haven't yet been adjusted properly and I need to get my guitar set up properly too. The guitar didn't make that much noise before but I'd say that somewhere between the shielding, the pickups and the grounding it was definitely quieter.

Next I moved onto my digital 8 track (zoom mrs802). Annoyingly the hum was still there. I touched my strings and the hum went, I touched any part of the electrics and it went. After all the shielding / grounding work I was pretty sure that the guitar wasn't the problem and it must be the zoom not grounding properly. I know that is going to be obvious to most people but when I first had this problem I tried a DI box with a ground loop remover and this did nothing. I also tried grounding from a screw under the zoom to a radiator as suggested in the manual and this did nothing.

Anyway, to solve this I now have a wire from the screw underneath the zoom to the earth / ground of a plug that is then plugged into the mains. None of the other pins of the plug are wired, just that one. I now have absolutely no hum - excellent!

I haven't had the chance to properly check the kinmans out for tone etc but from reading around (alot) they are meant to be one of the best sets around so it's good to know they are in the guitar. If anyone has as little knowledge as I do with guitar electrics I recommend following the shielding example as it really does teach you alot. If you still have the ground loop problem after shielding and grounding I'd say it's time to really think about what you are plugging it into!

wow that was quite an essay! hope it makes sense and someone finds this useful.
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Re: Guitar shielding to stop hum

Postby DoeZer » Tue Feb 27, 2007 4:22 pm

i absolutely do find it useful and thank you...

im gonna get me the Kinmans but seeing as i already have a busy day job and no time in the world whatsoever or electrical knowledge I am buying the "No Soldering Harness" that comes with the kinmans... it completely replaces all of the electrics in your guitar and provides two or four extra switching options too!! you just pull out the existing scratch board + electrics and replace it. hoepfully will go ok. but very glad to hear yours went so well in terms of hum...

now!! quick question. your solution on the earthing of the zoom. Sounds ingenious!! Are you sure thats fully electrically safe there yes? I mean it sounds OK to me but im no expert. i'd double check with some folks round here and maybe firther afield too... It sounds like a problem I have. I have also tried running a wire from the suspect unit (a Yamaha 01v96 mixer) to a radiator but no luck...

now I might try this wire to a plug option too...

PLEASE do post about the Kinmans when you get to check them out. Im all ears!!! Which ones did you get? Standard? lues? Woodstock? Woodstock Plus?

D
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