Loud buzz when not touching strings

Guitar Tricks Forum > Tech Talk > Loud buzz when not touching strings

bimbuy

Registered User

Joined: 07/29/17

Posts: 3

Guitar: Yamaha Pacifica 112J

Amp: Yamaha THR10x

I recently bought the THR10x and when i plugged in my pacifica it gives a fairly loud buzz. The buzz disappears when I touch the metal components of the guitar (the bridge, strings, tuners, the mounting screws of the selector switch) and the amp chassis. The buzz is getting louder when I turn the gain up but when I put the amp on clean the buzz is greatly reduced.

I have also noticed that when I put the guitar down on my bed (guitar is far from my body) and touch the strings the buzz will not disappear.

Also when Im touching the metal parts the amp hums and I expect that this the 60 Hz hum because it is barely noticeable when I select the humbuckers.

I am staying in a place where the electrical outlets have no ground (2 prong outlet). There is also a power line transformer about a hundred meters from my room. Can this be the causes of the buzz?

Can you guys give me information about my problem? Cheers

#1

Guitar: Yamaha Pacifica 112J

Amp: Yamaha THR10x

I recently bought the THR10x and when i plugged in my pacifica it gives a fairly loud buzz. The buzz disappears when I touch the metal components of the guitar (the bridge, strings, tuners, the mounting screws of the selector switch) and the amp chassis. The buzz is getting louder when I turn the gain up but when I put the amp on clean the buzz is greatly reduced.

I have also noticed that when I put the guitar down on my bed (guitar is far from my body) and touch the strings the buzz will not disappear.

Also when Im touching the metal parts the amp hums and I expect that this the 60 Hz hum because it is barely noticeable when I select the humbuckers.

I am staying in a place where the electrical outlets have no ground (2 prong outlet). There is also a power line transformer about a hundred meters from my room. Can this be the causes of the buzz?

Can you guys give me information about my problem? Cheers

jarkko.eklund

Full Access

Joined: 09/25/13

Posts: 212

You can try connect your guitar with another cable, but probably it is a grounding problem, as the buzz isn't constant, and it dissapears, as you ground the signal chain by touching some components.

#2

You can try connect your guitar with another cable, but probably it is a grounding problem, as the buzz isn't constant, and it dissapears, as you ground the signal chain by touching some components.

ChristopherSchlegel

Guitar Tricks Instructor

Joined: 08/09/05

Posts: 7039

Hey & welcome to GT!

Originally Posted by: bimbuy
I am staying in a place where the electrical outlets have no ground (2 prong outlet). There is also a power line transformer about a hundred meters from my room. Can this be the causes of the buzz?

This jumps out at me as the most likely culprit.

Originally Posted by: bimbuy

Also when Im touching the metal parts the amp hums and I expect that this the 60 Hz hum because it is barely noticeable when I select the humbuckers.

Aside from the non-grounded electrical power, this could be one of few things (sometimes in combination).

1. Single coil pickups. You are obviously aware of this. But single coils in combo with the next...

2. Too much gain. You mention turning down the gain & that removing some fo the problem. But it's still there a little? No gain, clean tone plus humbucker equals little to no hum? Or still there if you turn up the volume with a clean tone?

3. RF interference. Radio frequency interference is a huge potential problem. TV screens, computer screens, laptops, cell phones, wi-fi singals, florecent lighting, unstable, fluctuating electric power. The only thing you can do here is to move your guitar & amp around the room away from potential sources of RF. Trial & error & see if anything reduces the buzz.

4. Faulty grounding. The wiring harness in the guitar is supposed to have a wire that is connected to the bridge & vibrato plate. The point of this is to ground the instrument. Sometimes that wire gets disconnected. The solder cracks, or the vibrato springs bounce against it.

I show how to connect this at about 4 minutes in this video.

https://www.guitartricks.com/lesson.php?input=15806&s_id=1121

Also, it could be any one of the solder connections or components in the guitar. So, you could watch the wiring parts of that tutorial & maybe look at your guitar to see if that's the problem.

Or you could ask a local guitar tech to check it out if you aren't comfortable with any of that.

Finally it might be a combination of some of those things. Experiment with those ideas & see if you can remove the buzz. But I think the non-grounded electric power is the culprit. Let us know how it goes! Best of success!

Christopher Schlegel
Guitar Tricks Instructor

Christopher Schlegel Lesson Directory

#3

Hey & welcome to GT!

Originally Posted by: bimbuy
I am staying in a place where the electrical outlets have no ground (2 prong outlet). There is also a power line transformer about a hundred meters from my room. Can this be the causes of the buzz?

This jumps out at me as the most likely culprit.

Originally Posted by: bimbuy

Also when Im touching the metal parts the amp hums and I expect that this the 60 Hz hum because it is barely noticeable when I select the humbuckers.

Aside from the non-grounded electrical power, this could be one of few things (sometimes in combination).

1. Single coil pickups. You are obviously aware of this. But single coils in combo with the next...

2. Too much gain. You mention turning down the gain & that removing some fo the problem. But it's still there a little? No gain, clean tone plus humbucker equals little to no hum? Or still there if you turn up the volume with a clean tone?

3. RF interference. Radio frequency interference is a huge potential problem. TV screens, computer screens, laptops, cell phones, wi-fi singals, florecent lighting, unstable, fluctuating electric power. The only thing you can do here is to move your guitar & amp around the room away from potential sources of RF. Trial & error & see if anything reduces the buzz.

4. Faulty grounding. The wiring harness in the guitar is supposed to have a wire that is connected to the bridge & vibrato plate. The point of this is to ground the instrument. Sometimes that wire gets disconnected. The solder cracks, or the vibrato springs bounce against it.

I show how to connect this at about 4 minutes in this video.

https://www.guitartricks.com/lesson.php?input=15806&s_id=1121

Also, it could be any one of the solder connections or components in the guitar. So, you could watch the wiring parts of that tutorial & maybe look at your guitar to see if that's the problem.

Or you could ask a local guitar tech to check it out if you aren't comfortable with any of that.

Finally it might be a combination of some of those things. Experiment with those ideas & see if you can remove the buzz. But I think the non-grounded electric power is the culprit. Let us know how it goes! Best of success!

Christopher Schlegel
Guitar Tricks Instructor

Christopher Schlegel Lesson Directory

bimbuy

Registered User

Joined: 07/29/17

Posts: 3

Hey Christopher,

Thanks for replying.

I tried running the amp on batteries and then the buzz disappeared so now Im pretty sure that the problem here is the outlet with no ground. I'm working abroad now and this place has only 2 pronged outlets. I can try plugging my amp when I got home a couple months from now.

After messing with the software for the THR10x I found out that the noise gate can greatly reduce the buzz so I am using that for a temporary fix for now.

As for the other causes:

2. When I use the clean tone the buzz is still there but not quite as loud as with gain.

3. RF interference.

I tried turning off everything in my room but the buzz is still there. But maybe there is a change but I didn't notice it. I could try shielding my guitar though (is this useful), maybe this could further reduce the noise after I solve my outlet groung problem.

4. Faulty grounding

I have also checked your video but I'm sure that I have no faulty ground on my guitar when I checked it with my multimeter.

Thank you for your help man.

#4

Hey Christopher,

Thanks for replying.

I tried running the amp on batteries and then the buzz disappeared so now Im pretty sure that the problem here is the outlet with no ground. I'm working abroad now and this place has only 2 pronged outlets. I can try plugging my amp when I got home a couple months from now.

After messing with the software for the THR10x I found out that the noise gate can greatly reduce the buzz so I am using that for a temporary fix for now.

As for the other causes:

2. When I use the clean tone the buzz is still there but not quite as loud as with gain.

3. RF interference.

I tried turning off everything in my room but the buzz is still there. But maybe there is a change but I didn't notice it. I could try shielding my guitar though (is this useful), maybe this could further reduce the noise after I solve my outlet groung problem.

4. Faulty grounding

I have also checked your video but I'm sure that I have no faulty ground on my guitar when I checked it with my multimeter.

Thank you for your help man.

ChristopherSchlegel

Guitar Tricks Instructor

Joined: 08/09/05

Posts: 7039

You're welcome for the reply!

Originally Posted by: bimbuy
I tried running the amp on batteries and then the buzz disappeared so now Im pretty sure that the problem here is the outlet with no ground.

Great thinking! I didn't know those could be run on batteries. That's a perfect test to isolate the problem. Well done. :)

The noise gate sounds like a good temporary workaround solution.

I don't think shielding will help much more than anything else you've done. I wouldn't be surprised if the guitar was already shielded a bit, likely on the inside of the pickguard. And especially since you've isolated the ungrounded AC electric as the source of the buzz.

A couple of older places I lived did not have grounded power. In one situation I had a friend fix it. He had experience working with an electrical contractor, so he knew how to tie a shielded copper wire into the fusebox & run it to a long metal bar that we literally stuck into the ground & then covered with a box!

I am NOT suggesting that you do this! :) Please be careful around electricity. I'm only mentioning it to show that it's possible to fix the problem with the right knowledge & tools. You might be able to hire a local electrician, or talk to the owners of the property to see if they are willing to hire one. It could be an inexpensive way to upgrade the property, make it safer & be a win for everyone.

Hope that helps!

Christopher Schlegel
Guitar Tricks Instructor

Christopher Schlegel Lesson Directory

#5

You're welcome for the reply!

Originally Posted by: bimbuy
I tried running the amp on batteries and then the buzz disappeared so now Im pretty sure that the problem here is the outlet with no ground.

Great thinking! I didn't know those could be run on batteries. That's a perfect test to isolate the problem. Well done. :)

The noise gate sounds like a good temporary workaround solution.

I don't think shielding will help much more than anything else you've done. I wouldn't be surprised if the guitar was already shielded a bit, likely on the inside of the pickguard. And especially since you've isolated the ungrounded AC electric as the source of the buzz.

A couple of older places I lived did not have grounded power. In one situation I had a friend fix it. He had experience working with an electrical contractor, so he knew how to tie a shielded copper wire into the fusebox & run it to a long metal bar that we literally stuck into the ground & then covered with a box!

I am NOT suggesting that you do this! :) Please be careful around electricity. I'm only mentioning it to show that it's possible to fix the problem with the right knowledge & tools. You might be able to hire a local electrician, or talk to the owners of the property to see if they are willing to hire one. It could be an inexpensive way to upgrade the property, make it safer & be a win for everyone.

Hope that helps!

Christopher Schlegel
Guitar Tricks Instructor

Christopher Schlegel Lesson Directory

bimbuy

Registered User

Joined: 07/29/17

Posts: 3

At last I have solved my problem with the loud buzz. I have properly grounded my amp's power supply and the buzzing disappeared.

#6

At last I have solved my problem with the loud buzz. I have properly grounded my amp's power supply and the buzzing disappeared.

Artisan Luthiers

Registered User

Joined: 02/09/19

Posts: 1

If the buzzing is caused by RF interference from amps, computers, lights, etc. you need to apply conductive shielding to your guitars' cavities and back of cover plates/pickguard.

You need conductive shielding paint in the cavities, copper foil tape on cover plates and a grounding wire to make it work. The paint and copper tape must connect/touch to so the paint may need to extend out 1/8" or so outside of the cavities.

You may find it easier and about the same cost to have a reputable guitar shop do this for you. Make certain they use good paint like what is sold by StewMac - a lot of cheap paint sold on eBay is ineffective.

You can see an article on conductive shielding at this link >> https://www.artisanluthiers.com/blog/conductive-shielding-guitars/

#7

If the buzzing is caused by RF interference from amps, computers, lights, etc. you need to apply conductive shielding to your guitars' cavities and back of cover plates/pickguard.

You need conductive shielding paint in the cavities, copper foil tape on cover plates and a grounding wire to make it work. The paint and copper tape must connect/touch to so the paint may need to extend out 1/8" or so outside of the cavities.

You may find it easier and about the same cost to have a reputable guitar shop do this for you. Make certain they use good paint like what is sold by StewMac - a lot of cheap paint sold on eBay is ineffective.

You can see an article on conductive shielding at this link >> https://www.artisanluthiers.com/blog/conductive-shielding-guitars/

walshjames78

Registered User

Joined: 02/28/21

Posts: 1

Good ideas to ground guitars and amps correctly! Copper shield tape or aluminium tape works. It has been suggested back in the 1990's by famous musicians like EVH we eliminate fear of frying by using wireless guitars - also a good idea.

I prefer the noise gate pedal for guitars to kill hum - both Boss and Behringer make good ones. Also if you are so inclined you can purchase a "HUM-X hum eliminator" device by EBTECH for the power cords and surge protectors to get rid of 60 cycle hum. It works good.

#8

Good ideas to ground guitars and amps correctly! Copper shield tape or aluminium tape works. It has been suggested back in the 1990's by famous musicians like EVH we eliminate fear of frying by using wireless guitars - also a good idea.

I prefer the noise gate pedal for guitars to kill hum - both Boss and Behringer make good ones. Also if you are so inclined you can purchase a "HUM-X hum eliminator" device by EBTECH for the power cords and surge protectors to get rid of 60 cycle hum. It works good.