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  #1  
Old 11-19-2017, 10:35 PM
sterling sterling is online now
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Default Can't Stop the Hum

I need some suggestions!

I moved into a new house at the beginning of the year and didn't get much playing time until recently. I have noticed a hum from amplifier in this house that I can't get rid of. I have three guitars, a Les Paul, Telecaster and G&L S-500 tribute as well as two amps, an old Fender silver face champ and a Fender Mustang. Every combination of guitar/amp gives me a terrible hum. It goes away when I touch the strings or the jacks on the cable or any other metal. I have tried different outlets in the house and it doesn't change. I have tried a ground lifter and a HUMX. Still no improvement. Is there anything else I can try?
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Old 11-19-2017, 11:13 PM
MiG50 MiG50 is offline
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I'm scared to suggest that your house's electrical system may not be grounded. Even if you have three-prong outlets, there may only be two conductors run. It could be that you live near a large source of radio frequency (RF) interference, but without building a faraday cage around the guitar and amp, that would be difficult to ascertain.

It would probably be worth the $5 to go buy an outlet tester and check the outlets themselves. If you have an open ground, or other electrical issue, then at least you'll know.
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Old 11-19-2017, 11:20 PM
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Thanks for the reply, I should have mentioned that I do have an outlets tester and the outlets are good according the tester. No open grounds or anything. I wonder if the HUMX is faulty?

The next step is taking the guitars and an amp to tech to see if they can reproduce it in the shop.
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Old 11-20-2017, 12:29 AM
dv5140ca dv5140ca is offline
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I think I would actually take it to a neighbor's house and see if you get the same hum, before spending the money on a tech. Although you tested the plugs it could be something else with the house wiring...seeing if the hum occurs elsewhere seems a quick check prior to taking it in.
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Old 11-20-2017, 04:34 AM
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Are there power lines near? They can be above or below ground.
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Old 11-20-2017, 05:25 AM
clintj clintj is offline
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An outlet tester may not always detect a bootleg ground, where the ground and neutral of the outlet are jumpered together. You'd have to open the breaker, then physically pull the receptacle out and look at it. The panel or subpanel wiring may have an undetected fault, too.
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Old 11-20-2017, 05:57 AM
Gmountain Gmountain is offline
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Also, plug in the amp and then turn off the circuits one by one on the circuit breaker panel, and see if you can isolate it. Especially the A/C, refrigerator and hot water heater.

I guess it goes wthout saying you aren't using fluorescent lights in there.
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Old 11-20-2017, 07:17 AM
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You state with every combo of amp and git ... but have you tried a different instrument cables also ?
Also another couple more diagnostic steps to try is to try turning on the amps with no cables at all attached and then with no guitars but different cables attached

While anything is possible It would seem highly unlikely that both amps would develop an internal grounding issue unless you drug them behind the car during the move

And the hum stopping when you touch the strings or jack (with all combinations ? ) If yes, then it would seem almost certainly a grounding issue related to something in the house circuitry . Although I suppose it could still be some kind of hum from power lines or other RF issue.... So taking them somewhere else is an excellent diagnostic suggestion as well as are Gmountains suggestions
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Old 11-20-2017, 07:33 AM
MBDiagMan MBDiagMan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MiG50 View Post
I'm scared to suggest that your house's electrical system may not be grounded. Even if you have three-prong outlets, there may only be two conductors run. It could be that you live near a large source of radio frequency (RF) interference, but without building a faraday cage around the guitar and amp, that would be difficult to ascertain.

It would probably be worth the $5 to go buy an outlet tester and check the outlets themselves. If you have an open ground, or other electrical issue, then at least you'll know.
It would t be the first time a system was not grounded. Consult a licensed electrician.
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Old 11-20-2017, 12:27 PM
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When this happens to my guitars, I install self-grip copper tape inside all interior pockets of guitar where controls and pickups are located. This usually reduces static 75-80%, the kind where touching the strings or pick-guard lowers the noise.
If you move the amp and guitar to different locations, and turn off all electrical appliances in the room, and it still happens, maybe your wiring. I always go to the outside fuse box and trip all connectors, make sure they're fully activated. Don't consult a guitar repair or amp tech unless you take the time to experiment. These grounding issues are usually temporary and very easy to eliminate cheaply.
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Old 11-20-2017, 01:17 PM
MiG50 MiG50 is offline
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I had a similar problem in a house with no ground, but I got rid of about 80% of the noise when I swapped my pedalboard onto an isolated power supply (mine is a Voodoo Labs Pedal Power 2). Not a cure, just a workable solution, if you have pedals that aren't on an isolated power supply.
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Old 11-20-2017, 08:15 PM
jseth jseth is offline
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More information would help pinpoint the issue or at least guide us there... Is the house "new" new, or just new to you? Older construction or newer?

Does the hum happen in every room in the house? With the HVAC system engaged or not? Are there dimmer switches/reostats turned halfway up? Any neon electric signs in the room?

One "fix" is to sink a steel rod into the ground outside a convenient window to the room; then, run copper wire to the outlet being used and attach the wire as a ground... with the other end of the wire wrapped around that steel rod...

Sounds like something to have a qualified electrician check out for you...
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  #13  
Old 11-20-2017, 11:45 PM
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Thanks for all of the replies. The house is not new construction. It was built in the late 90s. I have moved the rig through out the house to see if if the problem was room specific. I got the hum everywhere.

I stopped at a Guitar Center today to see if any of the kids there might have some ideas. I was referred to the pro audio section to look at power conditioners. The young man in that section grilled me with questions about amp settings, when is the hum worse and about 100 other questions. Then he asked if i tried a noise suppressor. Since i hadn't I decided to entertain him. He took me over to the pedal section and showed me a Boss Noise Suppressor and then can created a hum in the display amp and used to the noise suppressor to cancel it out. I was pretty intrigued and decided to research that option a little. I think I am going to pick one up this week and see if it works for me here at home.
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Old 11-21-2017, 03:13 AM
MBDiagMan MBDiagMan is offline
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You need to make sure you have a good ground in the outlet you are in plugging the amp into. This can be a safety issue. You can get a simple little plug with LED’s that you simply plug into the outlet and the different colored LED’s tell the story. When I helped my son do a few Gig’s when he was a teenager, I kept one of these in the gig box and checked outlets before plugging anything into the outlet. I was protective of my son and wanted good sound too.

I think it is called a ground fault tester. You can probably get one at the hardware store or Home Depot. You should never play electric instruments when wet or damp, but durn sure don’t do it if you haven’t confirmed a proper safety ground.
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Old 11-21-2017, 04:19 AM
paulp1960 paulp1960 is offline
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I wouldn't buy a noise suppressor pedal (AKA noise gate) to try to solve this problem. Also I wouldn't run an old amp like a Fender Champ without a proper earth connection.

It does sound like it could be an earthing issue and I would get that checked out before buying something that probably won't really fix the problem.
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