Last night I was playing my strat with the master volume on the amp way down, and the pre and “saturation*” on the amp way up (Peavey term for * post / gain / distortion / whatever you want to call it * on their old SS amps).
I noticed a little bit of hum when I was holding the guitar by the neck, with my whole hand squeezing tightly on the neck and all of the strings (so that all of the strings are muted and fretted multiple times - as each finger was fretting each of six strings at least once).
The guitar is dead quiet and hum free when I play it in non-high-gain settings, and is normally very quiet even in high-gain settings … and, No, I don’t generally play with my hand squeezing the living daylights out of the neck and strings, so I’m not exactly concerned.
But I am curious.
So, if those of you with a strat and a spare moment wouldn’t mind, would you please replicate what I did and let me know if you get any hum?
Depending on your results, I may seek to improve the bridge ground.
This is from J.A.'s original Guitarnuts article on shielding.... toward the end where it says "My guitar Still Hums"........
Don't overlook the fact that you may have subconsciously cranked up the gain on your amp! We guitarists love saturation and many of us have kind of become conditioned to turn up the gain until the hum becomes objectionable, then turn it back a smidgen.
Another thing to consider is that your amplifier and guitar cord may be contributing to the noise problem. Always plug the amp into a properly grounded power outlet and use a guitar cord with a tightly woven shield braid. Also, always use the shortest guitar cord that you can –
My Strat(ish) guitar is fully shielded and almost totally hum free but I get the same problem with high gain. It gets even worse with amp sims (in which case I have to use a noise gate).
I seem to remember reading somewhere (probably around here) that your body can act as an antenna, and can contribute to noise when you're touching the strings or other metal parts.
In any case I think your using high gain is the culprit.
D2o I think I may have the answer (although lpf3 explained it quite well). I'd say it's the amp and not the guitar that's the source of the hum.
I too have a Peavey solid state amp which has a saturation adjustment. The amp is over 20 years old and I noticed as the years rolled by that it had a hum problem that was getting increasingly louder. Eventually, I narrowed it down to the reverb and if I set it to zero, the hum went away. My solution at first was to clean the input and output connections which worked ... for a while. So, to make things easier to clean, I took the reverb out of the bottom of the amp and screwed it onto the side. Luckily, all the connecting cables were long enough so that no rewiring had to be done. Now, if the amp gets a little too much hum, I just connect and reconnect the input and output connections a few times.
Granted this was a problem with reverb whereas your problem is related to distortion (aka saturation). Perhaps, Peavey has a problem with making and keeping contacts clean. I don't know. To me, it seems more than coincidence that we both have Peavey amps with hum problems.
That is very interesting because I have indeed noticed that the amp itself has a small but definite amount of hum ... even with no guitar plugged into it, even with no patch cord, and even with all volumes set at zero. And, yes, reverb does add to that hum. Notwithstanding, nice amps aren't they?
This was different than the usual hum though ... I wasn't even sure what drew my attention to it last night, as it is not uncommon that I will max the pre and saturation from time to time.
However, I did try to replicate what I observed last night and could not do so, which - in itself - is probably what drew my attention to it ... i.e. it was the first time I had observed that behavior.
I don't know if there was an appliance being used that was throwing things off ... maybe we had lots of CFLs on last night? I don't know, but I could not even reproduce what I described myself.
Not without socks and beer, anyway.
P.S. In all of writing above, I meant to - but failed to - say thanks for responding. Thanks, wolf.
Anyway, it's Canada Day, so a little fireworks tonight is okay - even if I'm the fireworks.
After that you've got my full attention. What cruel fate do you see wolf and I enduring, sensei?
By the way, the amp hum is not intrusive or anything (at least with my amp) ... it's just "there". Please Have a listen to something recorded with the guitar and amp in question - as always, I look forward to your input once you escape.
I'm not hearing a problem. My computer monitors are Roland stereo monitors & I listened to your clip very LOUD & all I noticed was that I really like your tone. Is your Bmn setting Bridge in series with middle & neck?
If ya ask me that's a nice tone you got there, what is your switching scheme?
Special thanks to Sumgai; I haven't thought about that record in years. ;D
Sorry guys - that was unintentionally misleading on my part.
The recording was demonstrating all of the tones available from the current guitar wiring, but I was referring to it to illustrate the level of hum in the amp and the guitar as they normally sound, not with the problem I was describing.
In other words, it was just revealing that the normal amp hum is not that bad. Sorry for the miscue, and thanks for taking the time to listen to it.
Yeah, that is B*(M+N) ... B in series with (M in parallel with N). It is a lovely tone that was achieved by wiring it up in accordance with JohnH's most excellent Strat Lover's Other Strat (see my post in reply #36 here).
D2o Yes, the way you describe that hum is exactly the same problem I had with my amp. The hum is really noticeable when you're playing at low levels in a small room. And they are nice amps which last a long time.