Hi Guys,

 hope everyone is doing great.

 I've got what I think is an odd problem. I've just screened a Strat for the usual hum problem. I've done lots of these and I've always been happy with the result. But this one has developed a hum when I touch the pole pieces.

 This is a new Strat, I don't think this particular low hum was there before.

 Anyone got any thoughts on what's happening here? I'm thoroughly perplexed.



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I made the mistake of mentioning a similar thing that happens with Kinman pickups from time to time to one of my more revered colleagues who does a lot of work in the field - his reply stunned me in its simplicity " why would you want to touch the pole-pieces anyway - it doesn't happen in normal playing so just stop poking around". That makes sense to me and nullifies all this other mumbo jumbo about soldering stuff to poles and extra earths etc - just leave em how they are and they will sound just fine - if you don't like hum either learn to play using your volume knob in the quiet bits, buy a noise gate for your signal chain (anything by Bob Bradshaw is a good place to start) and take any residual noise out in the post-recording phase using any of the good software plugins

That make sense to me Russel! But some customers have weird playing style, and some others get quickly obsessed by that kind of noise when they know it can happen... even if it actually never does. And most of the time, that kind of answer won't satisfy them.

On the other hand, bass players do have that problem because of their thumb sometime touching the pole pieces.

I sometime dream of well educated musicians... not trying to change a vintage Strat in a no-hum no-buzz no-nothing sound synthesizer. Unfortunately, we, luthiers, are the one who educates!

Yes, thanks Pierre-Antoine, I could have been a little more tactful there - and your observations are noted and appreciated.    Rusty.


A good "real world factual" reply Rusty.

A couple of coats of flat finish or satin finish polyurethane brushed on & built up on the polepieces acts as an effective insulator.  That's the cheapest & easiest solution I've found.

Pierre: I know what you mean about what I call paranoid players.  It's usually a strange [poor] personal technique  or 'just plain wrong' internet info that causes most of their phantom concerns.  It takes a long time for us to undo their problems, often having NOTHING to do with the guitar in question.

Have a great weekend guys (:

Well, Paul, you know that I know squat about electric guitars but I have to ask if you have ever used clear acrylic fingernail polish to isolate parts?  

Hi Ned.

Yes sir, I have used fingernail polish for that exact task.  I think of it as a multi- purpose product.  I've also used it as a substitute for Loc-Tite (tm),  to stop mechanical mystery rattles etc  I've also used it for drop fills on budget instruments. When I work on electronic circuits, I use blue nail polish to "identify" my repairs after I'm done soldering.

My wife and 3 daughters actually use that stuff to paint their nails!!! Leave it to non-repair folks to come up with the most outrageous uses (-:

I should've included this stuff in our recent discussion about freebie or cheapie tools.  I should also have added "my thumb nail" as one of my most often used tools(:

Have a great weekend Ned (-:

'just plain wrong' internet info

You nailed it!

Paul,  I steal my wife and daughter's fingernail polish and they use my CA for torn nails.  My daughter did comment once that the shellac I had on my nails after a session of French Polishing was "Very shiny" but she lost interest when I told her it would last too long. 

G'day all,

I've been doing a wee bit of experimenting and learnt something - always good.

The Strat I started talking about has a weird low hum after I screened it. After someone talked about magnets I had a muck about with a perfectly good but cheap (therefor disposable) pickup.

 I've recently gone to lead free soldering which means I've had to turn up the solder station a bit (415C).

I think this is causing a magnetic field around the iron. I plug in El Cheapo - just normal Fender hum. I wave the hot iron near the magnet. Plug it in again and it's gained a low hum.

Anyone with some more physics behind them got any ideas?

The situation is easy enough to avoid - I'm just keen to find out why.

And any ideas how to fix this humming pickup?




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