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problems with guitar buzzing!


rabiusmaximus
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I have had some problems with my electric guitar and there is a slight buzzing that comes through the amp. This goes away when I touch the strings though, which leads me to believe that it is an earthing problem. I also just bought a brand new guitar which has the same problem! Does anyone know if I can sort this out myself and what the problem is? Ive tried earthing some of the pots in my guitar, but the buzzing still occurs.

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  • 3 weeks later...

That is, unfortunately, just totally normal - you touch the earthed strings and help form a nice big Faraday cage. The bridge and strings will be earthed - but you aren't - that is until you touch the strings.

Basically - in touching the strings you help shield the guitar from monitor, mobile phone noise, high frequency lights etc

Ever see those basses with like a loop of metal covering the pickup - at the neck and bridge - right over the strings? Well that's why

I'd suggest getting a fine wire mesh phone box sized box - and earth it to your guitar - then play inside the box.

Sorry - seriously now - also check - when you get a lot of noise in your setup - that you haven't got your plugs on your amp and mixer on different wiring looms. If you can run everything from one gang lead - or you live in a more modern place that's cool.

If you must operate across two semi/unconnected earths always use a DI box or something like this with a Ground Lift function to disconnect the two.

As a final - sensible idea

They sell really nice cables - that have an instrument and amp end. The amp is connected to the earth and the instrument isn't -

Planet waves do one and you might try that..

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my mate went to the emergency room coz he had a massive electric shock once some place south of the boarder, coz something wasnt earthed, and the electricity passed through the mic through him and through the guitar, he could of died apparently,

little scarey story for you there lol

The electricity would've went the other way, i.e. through the guitar, through him and earthed on the mic.

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Well its one thing to ground lift on a signal line but the other (very scary) way to remove ground loop hums and such is to cut the earth off the amps plug. The trouble with that is that everything is designed to protect you by shorting to earth, so the case is earthed, screens and mic grills and guitar strings. If there is a problem in the amp its not going to go through you its short straight to the earth soak and just your amp goes pop. If you cut that option out however then the notion of earths gets a wee bit more relative and the case of your amp for example can be developing a voltage in its own earth relative to the real (disconnected) earth.

If you have your amp in one wiring loom, and the PAs miles away on another you can have a situation whereby when you come near the mic, the screen on the mic through the PA could have enough of a difference to your amp to give you a faint jiggle. So that can happen just between two different actual earths.. It can sound atrocious if you line out an amp on one loom to a desk on another (until you lift the ground off the signal line with a DI box or something like this). This is called a ground loop and the potential difference between two earths connected together causes an extra interference signal..

But if youve got no earth soak at the amp end at all what if theres a fault in the amp and theres a live voltage desperate to get to earth? Its made worse by the fact that its usually a fault with the amp that causes someone to cut the earth in order that the amp appears to work fine. If the amp shorts to its case it probably doesnt go pop but it does raise a voltage on everything connected to the screen of the amp including your guitar. But your playing away - you touch the earthed mic with your lip other hand on the strings something like that and, tragically, bang.

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  • 3 weeks later...
I have had some problems with my electric guitar and there is a slight buzzing that comes through the amp. This goes away when I touch the strings though, which leads me to believe that it is an earthing problem. I also just bought a brand new guitar which has the same problem! Does anyone know if I can sort this out myself and what the problem is? Ive tried earthing some of the pots in my guitar, but the buzzing still occurs.

There's no earth problem. The fact that the noise goes when you touch the strings shows that the earth path is intact.

Your guitar needs to be properly screened. Check this out.

Screening and noise reduction

Take it to this guy here Welcome to Rattle & Hum and ask him to screen it for you.

I know it's a fair old step from Aberdeen if that's where you are but he's good, ethical and honest and the only guy i know in Scotland who I'd trust to do the job. he'll charge you a fair price for the work involved and won't screw you over. Knock three times and tell him Eltham sent you. I can provide him the graphite for the paint if necessary.

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