View Full Version : Hum Noises from my Fender guitars (Strat, Bass)

02-16-2008, 08:38 AM
Hi all,

I am looking for help from cool tennis playing music playing fellow members. I have a HSS (two singles and one humbucker pickup: So called Fat Strat) fender strat guitar and fender jazz bass guitar. It's not that bad but there is always that Zeeee- hum noise from both. I also have a Steinberger copy with EMG select (not real good EMGs) pickups. This guitar is very quiet.

I know that Fender single coil pickup is supposed to be noisy but don't know how much is normal. I also wonder if there is any way to minimize it without changing the pickups etc. Well, probably the best way is upgrading them... Also, advice on good replacement pickup will be welcomed. FYI, I love creamy soft distortion sound (ex. Allan Holdsworth, Lee Ritenour, Pat Methney, not hard distortion).

Thanks in advance!


02-16-2008, 09:15 AM
Bluegrasser would be your man to ask on these boards about guitars. He will probably see this thread. I don't know much about guitars.


02-16-2008, 09:21 AM
Single coil pickups have a tendency to hum (its called 60 cycle hum). Humbuckers were created to do just what they are called: "buck" that hum. You could upgrade to some nice noiseless pickups or single coil sized humbuckers. An upgrade will certainly help, but that 60 cycle hum is a tendency that most single coils have. Is your fat strat a standard series or something else? I have a standard tele that still has the hum, I've never upgraded its pickups, and I have a "powerhouse" strat with single coils that hums a bit too.

02-16-2008, 10:21 AM
some pick-ups you can dip in wax to help... i have a Strat Plus with Lace/Sensor pick up sin the Neck and Middle, they are quiet... i have a "stacked" humbucker, Lil Screamin Demon in the bridge and it does not hum...

02-16-2008, 10:27 AM
First off, you might want to ground your guitar's pickup cavaties---your local shop might have the paint which does this, then you attach a ground wire to your pickup assembly. Also, glue a piece of aluminum foil to the underside of your pickguard. Otherwise, yeah, Bluegrasser will help you out.
Don't go buying new pickups until you've tried the above. Good luck.

02-16-2008, 12:12 PM
Does the P-90 pickup on a Gibson Les Paul junior have the same buzz problems? I think it's single coil but I'm not sure.

02-16-2008, 01:58 PM
Does the P-90 pickup on a Gibson Les Paul junior have the same buzz problems? I think it's single coil but I'm not sure.

Yes - a P-90 will actually buzz more than a Strat or Tele-styled single coil.

The hum adds to the tone. ;) (I LOVE single coil pickups for everything but the heaviest of tones.)

Does the humbucker in the Strat hum? If so, you've got a grounding issue. If not, it's just 60 cycle. You can reduce that by turning off your CRT monitor (if you don't have an LCD monitor), TV, and fluorescent lights.

02-16-2008, 05:40 PM
Hum is just part of the trade-off for that classic strat tone. Neon signs, computer monitors, and fluorescent lights will all add hum. Turn these things off if you can. If you have an effects processor like a POD, try adding a noise gate. It will hide the hum when you're not playing. You can also fool around with the grounding. Some amps have a ground switch, and if you want to risk death, you can remove the 3rd prong on your power cord (I don't recommend this). If you're going out the back of your amp to a mixer or if your effects aren't plugged into the same outlet as your amp, you could be getting a ground loop. I'd personally go with the noise gate. When you're playing, the hum won't be audible, and if you're playing clubs, there will be so many other things humming, nobody will notice. Last resort would be changing pickups. 2nd to last resort would be playing through an amp/speaker emulator like a POD. I've recorded my strat through one without problems.

02-16-2008, 11:38 PM

Thanks for all these helps! My strat is a MIM HSS (single-single-humbucker at bridge) standard (Purchased used but almost mint condition). My bass is a standard too (I am cheap :)). Since my Steinberger with same HSS setup doesn't hum, I thought there should be somethig we could do. Actually I tried to see the inside. There is a 5 position selector switch. It seems to toggle between, 1st Single - 1st & 2nd Single - 2nd single - 2nd single & humbucker - humbucker. I noticed 2nd and 4th position hum less. And my humbucker hums...:neutral:

Also, I was told those two singles on my std jazz bass would cancel the noise out when they are at same volume level. But that was not the case on my bass (purchased brand new).

I might try Grounding someday. I don't even have time to play much (tennis comes first if I have any time).

Maybe someone should start a poll (Gibson vs. Fender) or Single coil vs. Humbucker. Thanks again!

02-17-2008, 02:43 AM
I wanted a Les Paul sound on my Strat, so I dropped a Seymour Duncan '59 humbucker in the rear, so now I have the best of both worlds. Now I need a Telecaster....

02-17-2008, 11:36 AM
Absolutely do not remove the ground on the power cord. If the chassis is hot and you sing into a mic that's grounded, you'll really wish the chassis had been grounded.