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  • Noisy amps and guitars

    Hi everyone... I have run into a problem where a lot of my amps are making noise... I thought it was the guitars but it seems like the amplifier are just noisy in my house. I have a few guitars that are REALLY quite regardless, but a number of guitars get plugged in and have the annoying hum that goes away when you touch the stings... aside from shielding the guitars I am wondering if I have too much electrical interference in this house for the signal. Is there anything to fix that on the amplifier side? Something like a clean power source or something? I have two amps that make this noise and I've tried a few different electrical outlets and rooms.

    Thoughts?
    -=The Dali
    --== Unabashed Alex Lifeson Fan

    Visit My Guitar Building Blog at www.hammersandchords.com

  • #2
    It could be any number of things. Define noise? Is it the high gain hiss? If so, an ISP Decimator pedal or similar (gate type) pedal can be the answer. It could be electrical interference from power lines or something in house. It could be the power in your wall is too high for your equipment. If it is not in the right range as your amp it will cause problems and sound different. Do you have a way to measure your current? Furman or AmpRX products (probably various other brands) can regulate power and make sure you are getting clean, measured power that in in alignment with your gear. If your amp is 117 and the wall is 128 (for example) that is a bad thing. It doesn't sound so much like a grounding issue or anything like that (which if course is problematic) because it sounds like you have the same problems on most or all of your gear. I hope this little bit of info helps. Let me know more and I will do my best to help.
    The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side.

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    • #3
      Do you notice this noise outside of the house?
      Dave, Ambassador/Writer/Artist for Seymour Duncan

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      • #4
        I haven't checked... it was a recent thing. Last night I heard it on two amplifiers and two guitars (including my new one)... but not every guitar. This morning most of the noise was gone?!!?!
        -=The Dali
        --== Unabashed Alex Lifeson Fan

        Visit My Guitar Building Blog at www.hammersandchords.com

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        • #5
          I would first get an outlet checker and make sure the house power is hooked up correctly. I had this in my 40-year old home but even a Furman or ADC regulated supply didn't filter out the hum for some reason. My Les Pauls that have been dead quiet for their lifetime exhibit an audible level of hum in this house that goes away if I keep the edge of my plam touching the bridge. But there are a lot of power lines near my home and dense housing, communications, trains, airport traffic, services, etc. are pretty dense where I live, so it could be just excessive interference / power usage / power sources. The way I've gotten around it is using a very precision noise gate / noise filter.

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          • #6
            Thanks - I'm wondering if the amount of activity in the house is influencing this as w2ell... kids on laptops and Ipads and two modems and a wifi expander... on top of the regular lights and machines. I was looking into a noise gate for sure.
            -=The Dali
            --== Unabashed Alex Lifeson Fan

            Visit My Guitar Building Blog at www.hammersandchords.com

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            • #7
              flourescent lights
              LEDs
              bad ground

              try moving the amp to another room
              or like mincer said to someone else's house

              lighting causes problems
              bad grounds cause noise
              ceiling fans

              EHD
              Just here surfing Guitar Pron
              RG2EX1 w/ SD hot-rodded pickups / RG4EXFM1 w/ Carvin S22j/b + FVN middle
              SR500 / Martin 000CE-1/Epiphone Hummingbird
              Epiphone Florentine with OEM Probuckers
              Ehdwuld branded Blue semi hollow custom with JB/Jazz
              Reptile Green Gibson Custom Studio / Aqua Dean Shire semi hollow with piezo
              Carvin Belair / Laney GC80A Acoustic Amp (a gift from Guitar Player Mag)
              GNX3000 (yea I'm a modeler)

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              • #8
                A Furman and a noise suppressor pedal should fix almost any problems. I too like the isp decimator, but a cheap one will also work.

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                • #9
                  Have the ground checked by an electrician... Believe it or not, the ground can change. I found out long ago while touching the plumbing with my foot while immersed in the tub. Wasn't a big shock, but it was a tingle. The guy drove a new copper anode in the ground and reconnected the house wiring to make it good again.
                  aka Chris Pile, formerly of Six String Fever

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                  • #10
                    I usually do this when I am determining if it's an amp or a guitar issue. One step you have already kind of figured out.

                    1. With no guitar plugged in and the amp on, how much noise does it make at normal volume level. Other than hiss, it should not hum. The input jack should ground out with no input, hence why you should not have any hum. If it hums, attempt to clean the contacts on the input jacks.

                    2. With the amp on and the guitar plugged in, when you touch the strings, does hum diminish or go away? If it does, your guitar is wired correctly. If not, then you have a wiring issue with your guitar.

                    3. Is it a location thing? Does the issue occur at all locations, or just here or there? If so, it could be dirty power, light ballasts, light dimmers, or some other device connected to the same power source that is causing electrical noise to become amplified by the pickups or the amp. Power conditioners WILL NOT fix this UNLESS you buy a higher-end model and it ONLY addresses the power source issue, not the noise that is in the air from lights ballasts or microwaves. The basic Furman models do not have noise suppression in them, which are roughly $250 to start. The Merit series and other $100 models from any brand will not help.

                    Generally, if it is multiple amps that start having the issue together and suddenly, it is a power thing. It is usually due to something new added to the circuit in the house like a new light, air conditioner, or whatever it may be. Single coils are great antennas and if there is any noise in the air, they will pick it up. I have never had an issue with lack of shielding in my guitars, but perhaps I am just lucky? I don't like layering copper tape in my cavities and prefer the shielding paint. While shielding does help, it will not take you from noisy to silent, it will only take you from noisy, to less noisy.

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                    • #11
                      Thanks everyone for the feedback. Yeah, it is definitely not a guitar wiring issue... I had almost no noise yesterday from a few guitars so I do think it is electrical/stray interference. I think this Les Paul I have just seems to grab the noise... it is completely unshielded and that might be a solution. I do need to test these amps at a different location too.
                      -=The Dali
                      --== Unabashed Alex Lifeson Fan

                      Visit My Guitar Building Blog at www.hammersandchords.com

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        This is a good product to try:
                        https://www.crutchfield.com/S-QfxU2M...=s&awat=&awug=

                        Furman power strip and power conditioner. Inexpensive. Easy to take with you. Many venues I've played use them and I run all my gear into them now after seeing that.
                        Originally posted by crusty philtrum
                        Anyone who *sings* at me through their teeth deserves to have a bus drive through their face
                        http://www.youtube.com/alexiansounds

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                        • #13
                          Power strips, for the most part, are worthless in my opinion. The Furman one posted above does have " noise filtering ", but it is passive and will not do much more than help take the edge off. If you search " Furman power strip wiring " you will see some gut shots of different models. There will be two very obvious differences between the ones that actually do something and the ones that don't. The real power conditioners are active circuits that have active circuits doing all the things labeled on the box. The lower-end models have pretty much a circuit board with outlets attached to it and a few MOV's and a couple of capacitors. The capacitors are for noise filtration ( ish at best ) the MOV's actually do save your equipment from spikes and surges. The little outlet strip that Furman has uses a choke and some capacitors to reduce noise, but it is a passive noise filtration, so as I mentioned before, it only takes the edge off. The top of the line stuff has regulated power supplies, much more aggressive active noise suppression, and of course serious surge and low voltage protection. The price difference is HUGE though. The top shelf units cost $500+.

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