60 Hz hum - How do you guys deal with it ? - Jemsite
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-27-2001, 06:26 AM Thread Starter
 
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60 Hz hum - How do you guys deal with it ?

I'm trying to reduce amount of 60 Hz hum I'm getting out of stock-everything RG3120. For the reason yet to be found it's really strong, especially for humbuckers. From what I already know, two things are on top of the check-list: cavity shielding and ground loops. The cavity seems to be already shielded, at least somewhat - one can see black conductive paint on the wood, and metal film on the plastic cover piece. As for ground loops, I spotted at least two.

The question is, how do those ground loops really affect the amount of 60 Hz hum ??? I don't think doing a better cavity shielding job would help much in my case, cause it's pretty much already there, and if doing it again is really gonna improve anything, then not by a whole lot. So I don't really want to mess with it ... The same is about ground loops - are they worth touching at all ??? Or should I rather look for other reasons for hum ??? If so - what would you, guys, recommend first ???

Heh, I just realized that I always had some hum (more or less) in my sound ... but how do those "real" guitarists get rid of it "completely" when playing "high-gain-really-loud" ???

Any input is wery welcome.
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-27-2001, 11:30 AM
 
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60 Hz hum

There could be a couple of other sources of 60Hz hum, which i'll assume you haven't already ruled out... if you have, you can skip this post.

First, make sure you're not playing near fluorescent lights, computer monitors, or other devices that emit a strong electromagnetic field. No practical amount of shielding will protect your signal from a powerful EM field.

Another thing that comes to mind is that you may have broken wire(s) in one or more of your pickup coils. On a two-humbucker guitar, 60-cycle hum really shouldn't be much of an issue.

If you haven't considered this already, try the following: With your guitar plugged in, switch to the bridge humbucker in full series mode (position 1). Gently tap on a pole piece on one of the coils at a time, to make sure you get a signal from each of them. Do the same with the neck pickup (position 5).

If you don't hear a loud "plonk" from each of the coils when touching them with the screwdriver, then you have a broken coil, which would certainly introduce 60Hz hum into your circuit, since your humbuckers would no longer be cancelling out the hum. This should be covered under your guitar's warranty (if it's a new guitar). If not, then you'll need to replace the offending pickup.

If you're having ground loop problems, you really should get the source of the problem diagnosed and fixed by a qualified electrician, not only for acoustic reasons, but for safety reasons as well. You don't want to become the conduit through which that voltage finds its way to ground!

Edited just to clarify one sentence.

(Edited by darren wilson at 10:33 am on Dec. 27, 2001)
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-27-2001, 12:20 PM
 
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60 Hz hum

Make sure that all of our effects units, amps, and or anything you have in your signal chain is grounded or isolated well.

2ndly, in your wiring runs, try and keep audio cables from running parallel with power and midi cables. Any criss crossing should be at a 90 deg angle to each other. Keep them as far apart as you can and shorten any cable runs that are un-necessarily long.
Make sure your guitar cables are in tact and shileded and double check all of your guitar's wiring.

If you are near fluorescent lights, try rotating your body and guitar 90 deg at a time, if the hum subsides, its due to your enviroment. get a desk lamp or something that has an incandescent lamp.
Darren hit everything else I can think of at this point.

Bamm
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-27-2001, 11:56 PM
 
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60 Hz hum

Tone Zone in the bridge right? If this is the case and you are using a lot of distortion I'd say it's the Tone Zone. I tried one awhile back and got insane amounts of hum from it. I use alot of distortion. I called DiMarzio about it and they said the Tone Zone is more apt to hum because of what he said was "asymetrical winding" of the coils. In high gain situations I've noticed that Alnico magnet humbuckers do hum more or are more suseptable to hum than ceramic magnet humbuckers. Try an Evolution, solved it for me.
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-27-2001, 11:59 PM Thread Starter
 
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60 Hz hum

Darren,

The quest for clean sound is still going on, and the real source/solution for my hum isn't found yet. The more time I spend on this, the more convinced I'm getting that the source is outside my apartment: I tried turning off (fully unplugging from the wall) all my home equipment, including refrigerator and electric kitchen stove - the hum is still there, not even smaller (maybe smaller but I can't even notice it). Another source might be 110 Volts wiring inside the walls - the building is rather old, its wiring doesn't have the third ground wire. At some point I thought the latter is the clue, but I tried grounding my guitar gear properly to the water pipes - no difference whatsoever.

It's not the cable (checked and double checked), it's not the guitar (my older one has the same problem). I've checked humbuckers - work properly, both on my old one and on RG. My old guitar has single/single/humbucker config, and the humbucker is wired so that one of two tone pots (Strat-like electronics) changes it from 100% humbucker to 100% single coil - so it's very obvious that my hum isn't just a bad pickup, with single coil the hum is just horrible, much-much worse.

Bamm,

I've checked everything you mentioned. The hum is there even if it's just guitar+amp, nothing else in between. The cable is shielded, amp is grounded to the water pipes. Rotating guitar really makes a lot of difference - there is one position, when the hum is 99% gone. Unfortunately, this position is weird enough to be used for playing ...

I tried playing at work, but the environment there is polluted a lot (electrical motors, fluorescent lights, air conditioning, etc.) - the noise was still there, and again there was a position when it would almost go away. So that didn't really give me anything ... tomorrow I'm gonna try it at local music store ...

Basically, I think the source is outside, or it's something else I can't do much about. The real question is what can I possibly do to reduce it's influence ??? Use tin-foil as wallpaper for the whole apartment ??? Or should I try shielding the pickups first ??? Can't really see the way to do it on RG without ruining it's outlook ...

This is so frustrating ... especially, when you know that this could fix relatively easily - mankind plays electric guitars for 50 years already - there should be a fix for it out there !
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-28-2001, 01:22 AM Thread Starter
 
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60 Hz hum

Xing,

Interesting suggestion. I do notice that bridge ToneZone hums more than neck PAF Pro does, too ... But the difference isn't that dramatic to blame all my hum problems on it. What was your other pickup at that time, and how was it's hum compared to ToneZone's ???
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-28-2001, 10:01 AM
 
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60 Hz hum

Since rotation reduced the hum, then you have an issue with either lighting or shielding. Fluro lights, dimmer, TV?
shut em all off when you play.
try that.
Bamm
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-28-2001, 11:04 AM Thread Starter
 
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60 Hz hum

Bamm,

I tried it with everything off, literally - refrigerator, kitchen stove, all was off the wall except the amp. No luck.

The cavity seems to be already shielded, is there a way to shield the pups themselves ??? I've heard people do it with Fender-like single coils, for the part which is under the pick guard ... how could one shield direct mounted ones ???
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-28-2001, 11:08 AM
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60 Hz hum

how does this sound in a different room or building? ie. a different electrical power source. i'd do that before anything else... glen
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-28-2001, 11:20 AM
 
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60 Hz hum

Now that i think of it, i used to have an intermittent problem with hum when using my headset on my phone at my old office. It was definitely a ground loop problem, but not with any of my gear, which was all properly grounded. It was either our building or the outside wiring that was messed up. Never did find the source of it, but putting my hand on my desk lamp while using the headset did eliminate the hum.

If you've got old wiring in your apartment, something may be awry somewhere. That's why i suggested having an electrician come and check things out (or more appropriately, your landlord should).

The only other thing i can suggest beyond that is to make sure that all of your gear is plugged into the same wall outlet, and that all the polarities of your plugs are the same way.

(Edited by darren wilson at 10:21 am on Dec. 28, 2001)
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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-28-2001, 04:59 PM
 
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60 Hz hum

Quote:
Zann on 12:22 am on Dec. 28, 2001
Xing,

Interesting suggestion. I do notice that bridge ToneZone hums more than neck PAF Pro does, too ... But the difference isn't that dramatic to blame all my hum problems on it. What was your other pickup at that time, and how was it's hum compared to ToneZone's ???
The other pickups in the guitar were a DiMarzio HS-2(neck) and Fender single(middle). The HS-2's hum was zero compared the the Tone Zone, so I guess that throws my theory out the window because it's alnico. But the the output difference between the two is pretty drastic. The HS-2 is around 90ma and the Tone Zone is 380ma or so. Plus like I said, DiMarzio told me it hums more because of the way it's wound.
I noticed you said rotating the guitar makes a huge difference and that in one position it almost goes away. To me this sounds like the exact problem I had. I could walk around and find one little spot where it didn't hum much. Find a guitar or someone with a guitar with a ceramic magnet pickup in the bridge position and A/B your guitar against it through your rig. That would eliminate that possibility.
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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-28-2001, 05:49 PM Thread Starter
 
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60 Hz hum

Well, I'm just back from the local music store, where I spent two hours comparing my hum to all RGs they have in the stock

I'm positive now it's my apartment or its neighborhood what causes my "extra" hum - *at the store mine hummed almost exactly the same as all the others I tried, and it was much less of it compared to my place.

So, the question is pretty much still opened - *if I can't find the source of the problem, how can I make the situation better ??? Do you guys think it would be possible to install those metal covers (Gibson-like) on 3120 and ground them to shield the pups ??? What actually holds them in place ??? Never had a Gibson.
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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-28-2001, 06:25 PM
 
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60 Hz hum

It's definitely possible. They're held on with solder at the base of the pickup.
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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-18-2004, 12:54 PM
 
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Hoping there's some new ideas, I'm experiencing the same problem in my house. I've tried all suggestions here (minus installing metal covers on my Ibbys because my les paul has the same problem though it's not as bad) plus there's a twist. Basically with all the guitars mentioned below I'm experiencing the same results. Using my wireless I've found it's throughout my house. Standing/sitting at a certain degree south-west in my jam room seems to be best/least noisy. In the dining room it's best at a certain degree west. Upstairs hallway it's best facing a north-west direction. Weird huh?

-JEM7v w/stock evos the neck pup is the culprit.
-RG3** w/evo in bridge and stock powersound in neck the bridge is the culprit.
-les paul w/stock pups the neck pup is the culprit though again not as bad.

I've gone through the wiring, tried straight cord (monster cable) & wireless to amp, and unplugged everything minus amp (and wireless in that attempt).

It makes sense IMO the evos would bring the most hum given they're the hottest pups.

Any suggestions other than selling my house or redoing my electric? The house is approx. 50 yrs old w/60 amp.

*edit
I forgot to mention I checked the outlet (all in the house when I bought it for that matter) with a tester to insure it's wired correctly.
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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-26-2004, 02:51 PM
 
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You know, it's probably your apartment, especially in light of your store test.

My 7620 hums slightly but noticeably in full humbucker mode (rewired with a three way and coil tap) when playing through my nomad in my apartment, and VERY noticeably when playing with the coils tapped in all positions (including the middle, although I'm pretty sure it's not out of phase- i should get that fixed). I figued it was just the price of singlecoils until I set my rig up in my parents' house last time I was home- dead quiet in humbucking mode, and negligable hum in singlecoil. Hell, it was quieter at the bar I played at that weekend (sitting in with an old band) than in my apartment... Just bad grounding, I guess.

My solution? Suck it up, it's not the end of the world. and, when next you move, bring your amp in before you commit.

-D
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bridge hum , bridge humbucker , bridge position , coil tap , darren wilson , electric guitar , humbucker guitar , les paul , local music store , monster cable , music store , neck pickup , neck pup , paf pro , tone zone

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