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shielding a Les Paul

RocknRollShakeUp

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Jul 7, 2006
Messages
672
Ok Les Paul fans, I've got an issue.

My house produces the type of hum that is solved by a properly shielded guitar. I know this because in the process of figuring out how to kill this really annoying buzz that occurs when I play at night in a house with a metric shit load of dimmer switches, WiFi, and who knows what else, plugging in to my properly shielded Strat (which sounds great by the way, and I think the shielding improved the tone if anything) makes the buzz go away completely! My other guitars that are not shielded suffer from the bad buzz, including my Les Pauls. Actually my telecaster is the worse culprit, but the Les Pauls are close behind.

Incidentally the buzz is significantly worsened by a Cali 76 CD pedal that I have, which is a drag since it sounds stellar. I have an SP compressor which is a good 50% less susceptible.

So I think I'm going to be having some more guitars shielded, Les Pauls included. Any advice on shielding a Les Paul? Anything to watch out for?

Thanks!
 

renderit

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Jan 19, 2009
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10,219
Fix your house. It should not be that bad. I don't have dimmers so I am no expert there but the regular load should not cause that. You have some other problem. Now, P90's and single coils will show anything but a humbucker? Your Wifi don't use lightning bolts does it?
 

J T

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Oct 20, 2005
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10,185
Check the ground that you are plugging your amp and pedals into. Get one of those plug in testers. Neutral should not be on ground. That is a common mistake do-it-yer-selfers make when doing simple electrical work around the home.

Also check what is on that circuit. Appliances, electrical equipment, anything in that circuit can feed voltage into the ground causing 60 cycle hum. Dimmers can do it, florescent lights things like that.


Also if you are in the high gain camp, your single coil Tele will certainly be really noisy when you are not playing regardless of how quiet your electrical circuit is.
 

PaulD

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Jun 25, 2007
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588
Incidentally the buzz is significantly worsened by a Cali 76 CD pedal that I have, which is a drag since it sounds stellar. I have an SP compressor which is a good 50% less susceptible.

Any overdrive or boost pedal will inevitably increase noise, as well as boosting the signal it will also boost any noise that has been picked up by the guitar and cable, your compressor pedal does not boost the signal in the same way or to the same extent so will be less susceptible.

+1 on finding the source of the interference and fixing that, I have never encountered a Les Paul with humbuckers that needed additional shielding in any normal environment. Wi-Fi should not be an issue, it is using frequencies way outside the audible spectrum and will not be causing interference, the problem is more likely to be related to mains wiring and lighting.
 

RocknRollShakeUp

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Jul 7, 2006
Messages
672
Thanks for the responses!

OK, so I went through doing some trouble shooting, and lots of reading, and a 5 page thread on TGP.

It really does look like my house suffers from lots of what is called Electromagnetic Interference (EMI), most likely from the plethora of dimmer switches I have.

Solutions seem to be:
- get rid of dimmers
- shield guitars
- move

- this may work too, so I may get one to try: https://www.bestbassgear.com/aero-dbuz-noise-cancelling-cable.htm

Since it is airborne EMI these are not likely to work (although these may be worth having anyway):
- a power conditioner
- an uninterruptible power supply (UPS)
- voltage regulator

I'm in a rental right now, so I can't change the dimmers, and won't likely move until after the end of the year.

But it is shocking how effective that shielded Strat is at defeating that horrible buzzing, I wouldn't have believed it if it didn't happen to me...
...but I may not shield any of my two Les Pauls as they are nice Wildwood Historic feather weights, and I'll be moving eventually anyway. However if I do a project where these are used a plenty, and I'm getting this issue, I'd shield them bitches in a second...dealing with that EMI buzz really really sucks!

I may shield the Tele though as it is "just" a Wildwood Thin Skin 64 reissue, and it is the biggest problem, and I use it quite a bit, and I wanted to use it for some home recording...which I could always do during the day on the weekends, when the lights aren't on.
 

RocknRollShakeUp

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Jul 7, 2006
Messages
672
Fix your house. It should not be that bad. I don't have dimmers so I am no expert there but the regular load should not cause that. You have some other problem. Now, P90's and single coils will show anything but a humbucker? Your Wifi don't use lightning bolts does it?

yeah the humbucker Les Paul buzzing as well, actually a lot more than my Jazzmaster (which must have better internal shielding) was a clue that this wan't your typical 60Hz hum I was dealing with!
 

RocknRollShakeUp

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Jul 7, 2006
Messages
672
Does it come with a free jar of snake oil?

Well here judge for yourself. It is a little goofy but it may be super practical to have when you get into a situation with horrible electrical interference or EMI and have an unshielded guitar.
 

PaulD

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Joined
Jun 25, 2007
Messages
588
Well here judge for yourself. It is a little goofy but it may be super practical to have when you get into a situation with horrible electrical interference or EMI and have an unshielded guitar.

All this is doing is adding a ground connector that you push into your waistband to keep your body grounded to the guitar and prevent the increase in buzz that you always get when you remove both hands from the strings or bridge. Personally I never find this to be a problem as I always seem to have at least one hand touching the guitar when I am playing but if it is a problem it would be very simple to add a piece of wire with a metal tag on the end to a regular guitar cord and would cost much less than $50.
 

renderit

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Jan 19, 2009
Messages
10,219
All this is doing is adding a ground connector that you push into your waistband to keep your body grounded to the guitar and prevent the increase in buzz that you always get when you remove both hands from the strings or bridge. Personally I never find this to be a problem as I always seem to have at least one hand touching the guitar when I am playing but if it is a problem it would be very simple to add a piece of wire with a metal tag on the end to a regular guitar cord and would cost much less than $50.

Damn dude! You're taking away ALL our fun!
 

renderit

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Joined
Jan 19, 2009
Messages
10,219
I wonder...Maybe if your socks are wet it might ground your tone better! Or make it worse. But this is 'spairimental'!

1) Just drink a couple of beers.
2) Grab your guitar.
c) Play for a few hours.
1.7) Then stand up and let the electrolytes flow!

Let us know how it works!

Do you live upstairs?
 
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