Pickup hum/noise is too much for me

Just recently acquired new 2012 Eric Johnson strat ... Love the guitar, neck, finish, tone,colour, case etc but the pickup hum/noise is too much for me . I have tried it with different amp, leads, pedals, in a different house etc and has been no change .. all points to the guitar itself- my standard single coil strat is totally quiet on the same setup.
buzz stops when I touch the strings or bridge or any metal and appears to get louder as the volume passes through 7-8 then fades bit i am sure this is not normal. I am about to take it back to the dealer but fear he will not find a fault Any suggestions please and if everyone says this is to be expected, then can someone suggest alternative pickups I like the SC vintage sound but am not desperate to try and sound exactly like EJ I am not keen to go down the shielding route.. Help from any experts out there please all the reviews of this guitar were excellent and never mention noise problems.All answers on other forums are totally contradictory ! ?????

Comments

  • MegiMegi Posts: 7,191Member
    It could be that there is something wrong, but also it could just be "normal" single-coil hum that you are objecting too. Your "standard single coil" strat which is quiet might actually be fitted with one of Fender's more recent version of stacked coil hum-cancelling pickups, such as the SCN or N3 - these look just like normal strat pickups when fitted, and do give a tone very close to a real strat single coil pickup, so you might not realise if so - and this might explain the difference in noise between the 2 guitars.

    You say you don't want to go down the shielding route - I have to say my experience with single coil guitars is that properly done full shielding (which is rarely done as standard) can make a huge difference regarding the guitar's susceptibility to noise - I have shielded all my guitars, including those with humbuckers. I have a strat which I built from parts, and find I don't notice any issue with hum, although I suppose if I really tried - maybe stood next to the TV say, I could get it to hum to an annoying degree. To me, shielding does seem a preferable option to throwing money at a new set of hum-cancelling pickups, especially since I understand the pickups in the EJ strat are rather nice, so a shame to waste them. You do need to have a little bit of electronics knowledge, but there is also quite a bit of help and advice available online these days. Just a thought...

    Anyhow, it is impossible to say if your guitar does have a fault, or if it is just picking up "normal" hum without seeing it - I can only suggest taking it to the shop and having a chat there, they might at least be able to offer some useful advice. Hope you can get things sorted in the end, the EJ strat is a lovely looking guitar.
  • MegiMegi Posts: 7,191Member
    Actually, one thought - do you still get the hum in positions 2 and 4 on the pickup selector switch? If not, then I tend to think it is just single coil noise you are experiencing, i.e. no fault with the wiring. If there is still lots of hum, then likely there is something wrong.
  • Pete_BPete_B Posts: 563Member
    Sounds like a bad earth to me, touching the strings is grounding it through you rather than the amp.
    There is no Mojo!
  • AlidoreAlidore Posts: 528Member
    Sounds like a bad earth to me, touching the strings is grounding it through you rather than the amp.
    Pete.

    “There are 10 kinds of people in the world: those who understand binary, and those who don't.”
  • JockoJocko Posts: 7,107Member, Moderator
    Could be the earth wire between the bridge and the rest of the electrics is detached. Remove the rear cover and check it is present and connected.
  • pablo2011pablo2011 Posts: 46Member
    thanks for all your help folks -I am not keen on any DIY maintenance as it is under warranty. the earth wire on the back is intact at the springs end. moving the pickup switch makes very little difference which is odd so i think its going back to the shop - was trying to avoid the trip. Just think might get get them to check and give it a free set up while they are at it .Pickups in previous strat were Standard US single coils not N3s - that one feels dull now compared to the EJ
  • money4nothingmoney4nothing Posts: 169Member
    yeah definatly sounds like an earthing problem. i had the same problem with my les paul
  • duckofdeathduckofdeath Posts: 255Member
    Yeah, sounds like an earthing problem. Should be a simple fix, and a free one too if the guitar is new and under warranty. I hear those EJ Strats are fantastic guitars and it seems like you like yours a lot, so I'd definitely advise an "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" approach, only in this case, it *is* broken. Hold off doing anything drastic with pickups or shielding until the shop have rectified the earth fault.
  • stickyfiddlestickyfiddle Posts: 355Member
    If touching the strings or jackplate stops it it's not an earthing problem, it's a shielding one.
    When you touch the metal you are grounded and act as an antenna for the noise, shorting it to ground. If the strings weren't grounded then your touching them would make no difference. Taking it to the shop may well be pointless as the grounding thing is such a common myth that they may very well have a look at it and decide it's ok without doing anything to it.

    If your other strat has painted cavities and/or a foil shielded pickguard then it will be much quieter in comparison. Particularly true if you have any dimmer switches, CRT screens or fluorescent tubes in the room you're playing.

    You might not need to go full-Farraday-cage on the routing. Foil on the back of the 'guard will likely make a big difference (assuming that is grounded properly!)
  • Pete_BPete_B Posts: 563Member
    You have a dry joint in your output, usually the jack plug. Touching your strings grounds it along the easier option, you.
    Touching the strings ain't going to make you into a Faraday cage.
    There is no Mojo!
  • AlidoreAlidore Posts: 528Member
    You have a dry joint in your output, usually the jack plug. Touching your strings grounds it along the easier option, you.
    Touching the strings ain't going to make you into a Faraday cage.
    Pete.

    “There are 10 kinds of people in the world: those who understand binary, and those who don't.”
  • stickyfiddlestickyfiddle Posts: 355Member
     Originally Posted By: Alidore
    You have a dry joint in your output, usually the jack plug. Touching your strings grounds it along the easier option, you.
    Touching the strings ain't going to make you into a Faraday cage.


    Actually no. Humans are extremely resistive (which is why we don't get electrocuted by low voltage things like batteries).

    http://www.guitarnuts.com/technical/noisebucket.php
  • pablo2011pablo2011 Posts: 46Member
    Thanks for all info folks - think i go for the "touching the strings makes it quieter" means its grounded ok - Still seems intermittent though sometimes i pick it up and its quiet as a mouse so could be someone next door with something electrical. Have got a bit more used to it now and the loan of a Boss NS2 noise gate seems to help in the not playing times so may invest in one of those. Makes life more interesting anyway.
    Will take it back to the dealer for a set up in a few weeks so maybe will get him to check wiring and then maybe invest in some shielding when the warranty runs out. Some interesting views though - the replies on the US Fender forum were even more conflicting !
  • MegiMegi Posts: 7,191Member
    I tend to agree with Sticky on the "hum debate", although also obviously dry solder joints can't be good. But anyway, I do find the home can be one of the noisiest environments for electric guitars - mine is no exception, so I'm not surprised you are hearing some hum. Honestly, doing a proper shielding job will improve things markedly. With single coils, you can't eliminate the noise altogether, but in most situations I find it is reduced to the point where it isn't an issue, and often not noticable at all. I'll stop going on about it now!

    Could you post a pic or several of your lovely new EJ strat though? \:\)

  • pablo2011pablo2011 Posts: 46Member
    Here it is - decided against a Sunburst a la Eric

    http://www.pireson.co.uk/styled-4/index.html
  • MegiMegi Posts: 7,191Member
    Very nice indeed, lovely looking guitar and comes with a tasty plush lined case as well I see. Don't blame you on the finish - what do they call that one? Doesn't really look pink to me! A bit like the ash white finish on the Mary Kaye strat - I like it anyway. Cheers for the link! \:\)
  • pablo2011pablo2011 Posts: 46Member
    its vintage white Blonde - the pink reference was to everyone winding me up cos they were jealous !
    Its gets better every time i pick it up .
    Gibson 339 is next on my list to complete my midlife crisis/ spend the kids inheritance mission
  • aspguitarsaspguitars Posts: 40Member
    Hi! I may be a bit too late, but found this kit on Ebay last night. It may be of some use. Well worth a try anyway.
    Ade

    Item No. 170947725740
  • aspguitarsaspguitars Posts: 40Member
    Hi! I may be a bit too late, but found this kit on Ebay last night. It may be of some use. Well worth a try anyway.
    Ade

    Item No. 170947725740
  • pablo2011pablo2011 Posts: 46Member
    thanks - sounds convincing. I cannot see why all the manufacturers do not shield new guitars if this is such a problem. The cost from the start would be insignificant Fender please respond ??
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