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Thread: Guitar hum

  1. #21
    Axellent Member Mreilander's Avatar
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    The statement of ALL hum is due to a grounding issue is simply untrue. There are so many factors and causes of hum. The number one cause of hum is environment, and unless you lock yourself with your guitar in a Faraday cage, you will never fully eliminate it. You can, however, mitigate it substantially.

    Like Zontar mentioned, hum can come from a number of sources, as well as there being different types.

    Two main types of noise...

    60 cycle... This is the most common hum you will hear from your guitar. All the transformers, ballasts, chargers and wall warts in your house / venue emit an alternating electromagnetic field that coincides with your alternating current. All the wiring in your house / venue also emits this magnetic field. Not only that, but these alternating magnetic fields are synced, so you are basically surrounded by this omnidirectional alternating magnetic field.


    Poor ground buzz
    This is different than your typical induced hum. It is more of a buzz... This type of buzz is obnoxious and may or may not go away when you touch the strings.
    This is the one that can be fixed by checking your grounds. To diagnose, plug your guitar into your amp, but have your amp unplugged from the wall. Take your multi meter and check the resistance between your guitars bridge and your ground pin on your amp's power cord. You should have a resistance of 1 - 2 ohms. If it's significantly higher than that, then you may have a grounding issue.



    Other types of noise...
    Wifi, Cell phone and other wireless devices.
    If you have a cell phone in your pocket while you're playing, you'll very often hear a 'morse code' like pulsing through your amp right before your phone rings. If you stand near a computer or a wireless router, with your guitar, you will hear a constant 'tick, tick, tick,' or sometimes a 'hum' that will vary in frequency. You can also hear other noises if it's positioned just right.


    Why?
    Your pickups are inductors. They don't discriminate between your strings altering their magnetic field, or an outside EMF altering their magnetic field. Any alteration of a magnetic field within a coil will produce a current, and in a guitar+amp, that current is converted to an audio signal.

    Here's an experiment that will show this. Grab any guitar, and plug it in.

    Now, get some audio going through your smartphone or any other portable device with a small speaker. (keep it small)

    Hold the speaker side up to your guitar pickup. You will hear the audio from your phone through your guitar amp.

    This is not due to microphonics... this is due to your guitar pickup magnetic field being manipulated by the magnetic field of your phone's speaker driver. You are inducing a signal through your pickup.


    So why does touching your strings / bridge stop the hum?
    - Your strings are grounded to the guitars circuit. Your body is conductive. When you don't touch the strings, your body is acting like an antenna for all the EMF floating around you and can actually CAUSE hum. Like Spell said, when you touch the strings, your body is now connected to the guitar and amps ground. You have turned yourself into a shield for your pickups.

    Mitigating hum.
    Humbuckers
    Humbuckers are designed to mitigate hum buy having two coils wound in opposite directions, with one coil having north magnetic poles and one having south magnetic poles. This will allow any signal received from the string to be in phase, electrically speaking, and pass through to your amp. Any signal the is induced from an outside source will be electrically out of phase between the combined coils, and cancel each other out. You should not have substantial hum with a humbucker equipped guitar

    Shielding.
    Properly shielding your guitars pickup cavities can significantly reduce induced hum.

    Dummy Coils
    A properly wound dummy coil can virtually eliminate hum, but it comes at the expense of loosing top end.

    Illitch or similar pickguard system
    This is a product that can reduce hum significantly... it's basically a low impedance dummy coil, giving you the reduced hum without loosing your top end
    Hum Canceling Systems
    These work extremely well, but are expensive.


    The kicker....
    Sometimes the hum has nothing to do with the guitar, it can sometimes be induced in the amps circuitry, or be caused by power / grounding issues in your houshold /venue wiring.
    Last edited by Mreilander; 05-29-2017 at 02:10 PM. Reason: wording

  2. #22
    Axellent Member
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    Mike you're a genius. I wish I had your knowledge.

    Sent from my XT1650 using Tapatalk

  3. #23
    Axe-honerated zontar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mreilander View Post
    The statement of ALL hum is due to a grounding issue is simply untrue. There are so many factors and causes of hum. The number one cause of hum is environment, and unless you lock yourself with your guitar in a Faraday cage, you will never fully eliminate it. You can, however, mitigate it substantially.

    Like Zontar mentioned, hum can come from a number of sources, as well as there being different types.

    Two main types of noise...

    60 cycle... This is the most common hum you will hear from your guitar. All the transformers, ballasts, chargers and wall warts in your house / venue emit an alternating electromagnetic field that coincides with your alternating current. All the wiring in your house / venue also emits this magnetic field. Not only that, but these alternating magnetic fields are synced, so you are basically surrounded by this omnidirectional alternating magnetic field.


    Poor ground buzz
    This is different than your typical induced hum. It is more of a buzz... This type of buzz is obnoxious and may or may not go away when you touch the strings.
    This is the one that can be fixed by checking your grounds. To diagnose, plug your guitar into your amp, but have your amp unplugged from the wall. Take your multi meter and check the resistance between your guitars bridge and your ground pin on your amp's power cord. You should have a resistance of 1 - 2 ohms. If it's significantly higher than that, then you may have a grounding issue.



    Other types of noise...
    Wifi, Cell phone and other wireless devices.
    If you have a cell phone in your pocket while you're playing, you'll very often hear a 'morse code' like pulsing through your amp right before your phone rings. If you stand near a computer or a wireless router, with your guitar, you will hear a constant 'tick, tick, tick,' or sometimes a 'hum' that will vary in frequency. You can also hear other noises if it's positioned just right.


    Why?
    Your pickups are inductors. They don't discriminate between your strings altering their magnetic field, or an outside EMF altering their magnetic field. Any alteration of a magnetic field within a coil will produce a current, and in a guitar+amp, that current is converted to an audio signal.

    Here's an experiment that will show this. Grab any guitar, and plug it in.

    Now, get some audio going through your smartphone or any other portable device with a small speaker. (keep it small)

    Hold the speaker side up to your guitar pickup. You will hear the audio from your phone through your guitar amp.

    This is not due to microphonics... this is due to your guitar pickup magnetic field being manipulated by the magnetic field of your phone's speaker driver. You are inducing a signal through your pickup.


    So why does touching your strings / bridge stop the hum?
    - Your strings are grounded to the guitars circuit. Your body is conductive. When you don't touch the strings, your body is acting like an antenna for all the EMF floating around you and can actually CAUSE hum. Like Spell said, when you touch the strings, your body is now connected to the guitar and amps ground. You have turned yourself into a shield for your pickups.

    Mitigating hum.
    Humbuckers
    Humbuckers are designed to mitigate hum buy having two coils wound in opposite directions, with one coil having north magnetic poles and one having south magnetic poles. This will allow any signal received from the string to be in phase, electrically speaking, and pass through to your amp. Any signal the is induced from an outside source will be electrically out of phase between the combined coils, and cancel each other out. You should not have substantial hum with a humbucker equipped guitar

    Shielding.
    Properly shielding your guitars pickup cavities can significantly reduce induced hum.

    Dummy Coils
    A properly wound dummy coil can virtually eliminate hum, but it comes at the expense of loosing top end.

    Illitch or similar pickguard system
    This is a product that can reduce hum significantly... it's basically a low impedance dummy coil, giving you the reduced hum without loosing your top end
    Hum Canceling Systems
    These work extremely well, but are expensive.


    The kicker....
    Sometimes the hum has nothing to do with the guitar, it can sometimes be induced in the amps circuitry, or be caused by power / grounding issues in your houshold /venue wiring.
    I knew you'd put it together from what else we posted...
    (And the TC Electronics pedals with TonePrint use an app that sends a signal through your pickup to the pedal--and you can hear it...)
    I've been a pilgrim on this earth, since the day of my birth, I'm a long way from my home.

  4. #24
    Axe-honerated zontar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mreilander View Post
    The statement of ALL hum is due to a grounding issue is simply untrue. There are so many factors and causes of hum. The number one cause of hum is environment, and unless you lock yourself with your guitar in a Faraday cage, you will never fully eliminate it. You can, however, mitigate it substantially.

    Like Zontar mentioned, hum can come from a number of sources, as well as there being different types.

    Two main types of noise...

    60 cycle... This is the most common hum you will hear from your guitar. All the transformers, ballasts, chargers and wall warts in your house / venue emit an alternating electromagnetic field that coincides with your alternating current. All the wiring in your house / venue also emits this magnetic field. Not only that, but these alternating magnetic fields are synced, so you are basically surrounded by this omnidirectional alternating magnetic field.


    Poor ground buzz
    This is different than your typical induced hum. It is more of a buzz... This type of buzz is obnoxious and may or may not go away when you touch the strings.
    This is the one that can be fixed by checking your grounds. To diagnose, plug your guitar into your amp, but have your amp unplugged from the wall. Take your multi meter and check the resistance between your guitars bridge and your ground pin on your amp's power cord. You should have a resistance of 1 - 2 ohms. If it's significantly higher than that, then you may have a grounding issue.



    Other types of noise...
    Wifi, Cell phone and other wireless devices.
    If you have a cell phone in your pocket while you're playing, you'll very often hear a 'morse code' like pulsing through your amp right before your phone rings. If you stand near a computer or a wireless router, with your guitar, you will hear a constant 'tick, tick, tick,' or sometimes a 'hum' that will vary in frequency. You can also hear other noises if it's positioned just right.


    Why?
    Your pickups are inductors. They don't discriminate between your strings altering their magnetic field, or an outside EMF altering their magnetic field. Any alteration of a magnetic field within a coil will produce a current, and in a guitar+amp, that current is converted to an audio signal.

    Here's an experiment that will show this. Grab any guitar, and plug it in.

    Now, get some audio going through your smartphone or any other portable device with a small speaker. (keep it small)

    Hold the speaker side up to your guitar pickup. You will hear the audio from your phone through your guitar amp.

    This is not due to microphonics... this is due to your guitar pickup magnetic field being manipulated by the magnetic field of your phone's speaker driver. You are inducing a signal through your pickup.


    So why does touching your strings / bridge stop the hum?
    - Your strings are grounded to the guitars circuit. Your body is conductive. When you don't touch the strings, your body is acting like an antenna for all the EMF floating around you and can actually CAUSE hum. Like Spell said, when you touch the strings, your body is now connected to the guitar and amps ground. You have turned yourself into a shield for your pickups.

    Mitigating hum.
    Humbuckers
    Humbuckers are designed to mitigate hum buy having two coils wound in opposite directions, with one coil having north magnetic poles and one having south magnetic poles. This will allow any signal received from the string to be in phase, electrically speaking, and pass through to your amp. Any signal the is induced from an outside source will be electrically out of phase between the combined coils, and cancel each other out. You should not have substantial hum with a humbucker equipped guitar

    Shielding.
    Properly shielding your guitars pickup cavities can significantly reduce induced hum.

    Dummy Coils
    A properly wound dummy coil can virtually eliminate hum, but it comes at the expense of loosing top end.

    Illitch or similar pickguard system
    This is a product that can reduce hum significantly... it's basically a low impedance dummy coil, giving you the reduced hum without loosing your top end
    Hum Canceling Systems
    These work extremely well, but are expensive.


    The kicker....
    Sometimes the hum has nothing to do with the guitar, it can sometimes be induced in the amps circuitry, or be caused by power / grounding issues in your houshold /venue wiring.
    I knew you'd put it together from what else we posted...and then some
    (And the TC Electronics pedals with TonePrint use an app that sends a signal through your pickup to the pedal--and you can hear it...)
    I've been a pilgrim on this earth, since the day of my birth, I'm a long way from my home.

  5. #25
    Super Moderator die Bullen's Avatar
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    I knew Mike would weigh in here!

  6. #26
    Axe-honerated zontar's Avatar
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    Of course--an somehow I doubled posted--oops...
    Maybe it was the hum...
    I've been a pilgrim on this earth, since the day of my birth, I'm a long way from my home.

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