Noisy Pick Ups?

RedRogue

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Sep 13, 2022
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I recently purchased a new PRS CE. This is my first humbucker guitar. I noticed a few days ago that I was getting noise from my pickups and thought it was odd. It sounded like a grounding issue. If I touch the strings or any other metal part on the guitar, the noise would stop.

I took it my dealer and had him check it. He said everything looked good. The PRS rep happened to be there. He checked it and compared it to a some other CE's that were on display. Those guitars had the same issue. The rep explained that the pickups are very "hot" and suggested I use a lower volume (I was all the way up). He said that's just the nature of the beast.

My question is this. Is the explanation accurate and is the noise to be expected if I turn up the volume all the way?
 

GuitarJammin

Guitar Player
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Nov 14, 2015
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Location
Corpus Christi, TX
You should be able to turn your guitar volume up all the way as much as you please. If you touch the guitar strings and the noise stops, your guitar probably does not have a grounding issue.

However...amps make noise...if your issue is with noise you'd look at the amp. You said this is your first humbucker guitar so I'm going to guess you are learning and running higher gain than you've been used to. High gain amp settings usually generate lots of ground noise vs their counter part clean channels.

The solution is usually a Noise gate pedal in front of the amp. Some amps have this built in and maybe you can turn it on.
 

RedRogue

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Sep 13, 2022
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Did you have your mobile phone in your pocket when you were getting the noise? I've had weird noise come through the guitar when I had my iPhone in my pocket while playing - once I put the phone on the desk and stepped away, the noise went a way. It's a small thing but it can be an issue especially with hotter pickups.
Cell phone is usually on my desk. It's close by but not close enough to interfere.
 

RedRogue

New Member
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Sep 13, 2022
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You should be able to turn your guitar volume up all the way as much as you please. If you touch the guitar strings and the noise stops, your guitar probably does not have a grounding issue.

However...amps make noise...if your issue is with noise you'd look at the amp. You said this is your first humbucker guitar so I'm going to guess you are learning and running higher gain than you've been used to. High gain amp settings usually generate lots of ground noise vs their counter part clean channels.

The solution is usually a Noise gate pedal in front of the amp. Some amps have this built in and maybe you can turn it on.
I don't use high gain settings. I have a Vox AC10C1. I typically play clean and sometimes add some grit with an overdrive pedal. The amp gain and volume are set between 9:00 and 10:00 positions. I also have a Strat Ultra with noiseless pickups. I don't this problem with my Strat. I've had this amp for several years and used it with a few other guitars. I don't believe the amp is the problem.
 

GuitarJammin

Guitar Player
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Nov 14, 2015
Messages
423
Location
Corpus Christi, TX
I don't use high gain settings. I have a Vox AC10C1. I typically play clean and sometimes add some grit with an overdrive pedal. The amp gain and volume are set between 9:00 and 10:00 positions. I also have a Strat Ultra with noiseless pickups. I don't this problem with my Strat. I've had this amp for several years and used it with a few other guitars. I don't believe the amp is the problem.
Noiseless pickups make no noise. I’m surprised or not surprised. I’ve never owned Vox AC amps so I’m not familiar. If it’s an issue with the guitar I’m sure the guitar employee and rep would’ve exposed it.

Humbuckers have more output therefore more gain. Plus I’m not sure the amount of noise you are referring to. If it’s a lot I’d really look at dirty power sources…however you took this to a store and it made “noise” there too so….without hearing it im guessing it may be normal.

Noise gate.
 

TLVA

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Aug 22, 2022
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What type of power are going to you pedals? If you are using an ispot daisy chain, try switching to battery power or borrow an isolated power supply and if that fixes it.

If not, there is definitely a grounding issue somewhere.
 

RedRogue

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Sep 13, 2022
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Plus I’m not sure the amount of noise you are referring to.
It's like the noise you get from a single coil. When I touch the strings, the noise goes away. Much like switching from the bridge to bridge / middle pickup on a single coil.

I experienced something similar with my previous guitar. It was a strat with Texas Special pickups. They were described as "hot". I just assumed it was the nature of a single coil and never gave it much thought.

What type of power are going to you pedals? If you are using an ispot daisy chain, try switching to battery power or borrow an isolated power supply and if that fixes it.
My power supply has isolated connections. The noise occurs even when plugged straight into the amp.
 

TLVA

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Aug 22, 2022
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It's like the noise you get from a single coil. When I touch the strings, the noise goes away. Much like switching from the bridge to bridge / middle pickup on a single coil.

I experienced something similar with my previous guitar. It was a strat with Texas Special pickups. They were described as "hot". I just assumed it was the nature of a single coil and never gave it much thought.


My power supply has isolated connections. The noise occurs even when plugged straight into the amp.
Sounds like a grounding issue to me.

Is the wiring vintage braid?
 

Bogner

Redwood Original - Pure Blood
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Jun 20, 2016
Messages
907
I am betting on it bing a grounding issue as well. Can you post a short video or clip of the sound and how you stop it?

If it isn't amp hiss/noise or pedal/power related and you are getting this plugged straight in on your amp with little to no amp gain it is most likely a grounding issue.

Have you removed the backplates and while the guitar is plugged in use a pencil or chopstick to nudge the wires and see if you hear a difference when touching anything inside?
 

RedRogue

New Member
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Sep 13, 2022
Messages
10
If you touch the bridge and the noise goes away the wiring is good. Your body is an antennae and you ground yourself when you touch the bridge. Shield the control cavities and your noise will become so much less that you won’t even notice any noise anymore.
Thanks for explaining that.

Also, thanks to everyone for the suggestions. Turns out, the culprit was a bad cable. I got a new cable this morning and hooked it up. Now I only notice the noise if I turn the guitar volume all the way up.
 
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