Single coil 60Hz hum - troubleshoot

Discussion in 'Fender' started by pillbug, Jun 4, 2017.

  1. pillbug

    pillbug Senior Member

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    This is weird. My all-stock Jimi Hendrix signature strat sounds fine, but my other strat (with aftermarket SD Jimi Hendrix loaded pick guard) has the worst hum.

    I am playing them in the same location with the same pedals/amps.

    What should I check first, on the humming strat?
     
  2. Kris Ford

    Kris Ford Senior Member

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    Are they shielded similarly?
     
  3. Walt_T

    Walt_T Senior Member

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    Ground wire from back of the pots to trem.
     
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  4. pillbug

    pillbug Senior Member

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    Thanks guys. I will take it apart and look.
     
  5. pillbug

    pillbug Senior Member

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    OK here's the pick guard - looks like the area under the pots is shielded.

    [​IMG]

    The long black wire runs to the tremolo, but, there's another inch-long wire screwed into the body connected to nothing?

    [​IMG]

    And here's where the the long wire connects to the trem (left side of solder joint) with another inch-long wire (right side of solder joint) connected to nothing.

    [​IMG]

    Is this how it should be, or does something need to be fixed?
     
  6. Dick Banks

    Dick Banks Senior Member

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    Are you playing positions 2 and 4 (2 pickups, reverse phase) or 1, 3, 5 (singles)? Generally speaking, with the hotter single-coils, most strat players either live with the hum, or install noiseless pickups. N4s are great, and almost as quiet as a humbucker. As for that isolated wire, short it to a ground while plugged in (strip part of it and use a screwdriver) and see if that makes a difference. I assume also that you have already eliminated outside sources of hum (checked outlet grounds, tried ground lift, turn off all lights, etc.). Are the pickups between the 2 guitars the same? AV65s?
     
  7. pillbug

    pillbug Senior Member

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    Hi Dick, the pickups are different. This guitar has Seymour Duncan Jimi Hendrix signature pickups, while the Fender Jimi Hendrix signature Strat has vintage '65's I believe (the stock pickups that come with that model).

    I will try your suggestion of grounding the wire while plugged in, as a test.

    Yes I'm familiar with the different levels of hum - it's supposed to be quieter in pos. 2 & 4, right? Does the pickup height have a measurable effect on hum? I could adjust the heights accordingly if you think that would help.

    Regarding noiseless pickups, I actually like Lace Sensors and was thinking of putting in a Lace Sensor (gold) loaded pickguard. Would that be a good move, noise-wise?

    -Jim
     
  8. Zoobiedood

    Zoobiedood Senior Member

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    Did you accidently reverse the wires on the output jack? I've done this, sadly.
     
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  9. chasenblues

    chasenblues Senior Member

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    I would guess that whats left of those wires were at one point an attempt at adding to the grounding/shielding of the guitar since its screwed in to the shielding paint in the cavity.
     
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  10. Dick Banks

    Dick Banks Senior Member

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    Those Seymours are fairly hot pickups, so they will deliver more sound, and of course more noise. The Laces should be more quiet, since they have a shield designed to shunt off 60 Hz. Hard to find anyone who has gone to those that doesn't like them. I have no experience. And yes, you should hear a noticeable drop in noise (but NOT signal output) from positions 2 and 4 on a 5-position strat selector switch, because the corresponding pair of pickups are wound in opposite directions, and the electronics of that system will reduce the noise (you can search google to see how that works.)

    Pickup height should have no effect on AMBIENT noise levels feeding directly into the pickups (i.e. from the room) but WILL have an effect if the source of the noise is the strings. Does the noise level drop when you contact the strings with your hand? If so, you are getting mostly string/guitar noise--the noise is being propagated from the environment into parts of the guitar first, and then to the pickups. I get this with my MIM strat (ceramic pickups) under heavy lights--but I keep contact on the strings anytime the volume is up, and that eliminates most of it.

    My USA strat has Fender N4 noiseless pickups, and they are just that, noiseless. They are not as hot as ceramics, and not as quiet as Humbuckers, but the tone is exceptional IMO. Of course my Les Paul with 57 Classics emits NO noise whatsoever.

    You either have the love for the Strat "quack" or you don't, and if you don't, you probably don't own a strat. There are some tunes I do where I just HAVE to play the strat. I can split the coils on my Les Paul Traditional, but it's not the same at all. But then again, I can't make my Strat sound like a Les Paul either.

    My personal opinion on all of this--if you listen to Hendrix live (You Tube), you will quickly realize that he never cared much about hum, and really no one listening did either. So if you are playing with any equipment live with his name on it, you must be playing loud, so what the heck, right? Recording is a different story--and he obviously made adjustments to his rig for the studio. I suspect there were Les Pauls and SGs in the studio just for that reason.
     
  11. pillbug

    pillbug Senior Member

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    Should this be connected to another grounding point like the back of a pot or the output jack?
     
  12. DarrellV

    DarrellV Almost 1 Year old this month! Premium Member

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    Wondering if that stub of wire from the grounding paint in the cavity is the same wire that used to connect to the stub on the trem spring claw to complete the grounding of the cavity...?

    Stub on trem claw, stub on cavity floor...
     
  13. chasenblues

    chasenblues Senior Member

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    Well if the other grounding points are solid these two are redundant.

    What is the history behind the guitar?
    Might seem like a odd question but are you the original owner?
     
  14. pillbug

    pillbug Senior Member

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    I just bought it on Reverb. I believe it's a Fender White Opal edition,

    [​IMG]

    which was a GC exclusive MIM, and the seller had installed this loaded pickguard and Fender locking tuners on it.

    That's the short history.

    The long history is, I had played two Strats locally that I liked some things about and disliked other things about:
    1- Jeff Beck strat, $1099 used, loved everything about it except the quality/feel of the newer rosewood board.
    2- '97 American strat, $999 used, loved the lace sensor pickups and older rosewood board, but it was a little beat up and one of the pots was funky.

    So, I decided I could build the equivalent of a Jeff Beck strat, with an older/better rosewood board, locking tuners, and Lace Sensor pickups, and it was going to cost me $900 start to finish when I found all the parts I wanted.

    Well, impatience and trepidation set in (I haven't soldered anything in years, and I've never built a Strat) and during Reverb's 15% off Memorial Day sale, GAS struck and I picked this up for $500 because I figured (as I explained to my wife, anyway) that it would get me 90% of the way there (locking tuners and nice 'board) for 60% of the cost.

    So now I'm considering selling the SD/JH pickguard and replacing it with a Lace Sensor Gold guard, and my local luthier can perform that swap for $30 and I know he knows what he's doing.

    thoughts?
     
  15. chasenblues

    chasenblues Senior Member

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    So that answer's that,Previous owner ran different grds..

    Well if its totally pre-wired guard you'd only have 3 points to solder,A little practice and you could save yourself 30$..

    If you're looking to build a Beck type Strat you can't forget the LSR roller nut..:naughty:


    [​IMG]
     
  16. pillbug

    pillbug Senior Member

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    Yeah, I won't be playing the Miami Pop Festival anytime soon. I am strictly a basement player with low wattage amps. I do have a wah, fuzz, and univibe though, for some authentic noise.

    BTW Jimi also had a Tele, which Chris Adams wrote an *awesome* book about, called The Grail Guitar.

    Thanks for your detailed responses (goes to everyone above, too). I'll be tinkering tonight.
     
  17. pillbug

    pillbug Senior Member

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    Problem solved!

    I ran a wire from the grounding point of the body, to the trem claw. Joined it with the other wire (from the jack) into a lug and soldered that lug to the trem claw with a good, solid connection, and used heat shrink tubing on both ends for a clean, pro look.

    Put on a fresh set of 9's and played with my TC Nova for a couple hours.

    I'm in Strat-tone heaven. Best of all, it's dead quiet with no hum.

    Thanks everyone!
     
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