#1
I have a Les Paul style guitar that is a bit too noisy. Since I can't figure out the issue I figured I might as well turn to the almighty internet for help.

The guitar hums equally much on the bridge and neck pickup and won't stop unless the guitars volume is down to 0. It does hum more when I'm not touching the strings, tailpiece, etc but it's only slightly reduced when I do touch the strings.
Has anyone here experienced something similar and/or know how to solve this?

Thanks in advance!
#2
sounds like a string grounding issue. If the pickups screech it's a wax potting issue but this is an easy fix.

check inside the control cavity for a wire you don't see the other end of and re-solder it to the back of any potentiometer.

strings are grounded usually from one of the bridges studs and then go to one of the pots and out of the guitar as ground is the signal leaving the guitar.
#3
I had it open earlier today and checked all connections and everything seemed fine but I guess I'll try that. If that isn't the problem would there be anything else I could try?
#4
has the guitar always had this issue? humming comes from three things

the pickups not being potted properly - it screeches unconditionally
the strings not being properly grounded - you get an annoying buzz
the guitar not being properly shielded
besides that if the wiring isn't done right the guitar won't work in experience and I do custom wirings all the time so that is a lot of experience haha


if the pickups aren't potted properly you can either switch them or re-pot them but re-potting them is tedious. If you got a spare set of pickups laying around try them as the only time a humbucker should hum is in a coil splitted mode as you're isolating a coil. Even really cheap pickups never hum excessively I've used and we're talking 6-10$ pickups on chinese ebay on project guitars I flipped. Slash for example had to get his pickups re-potted in one of his most famous guitars a few years ago for this very reason so it even happens to big names.

ok so string grounding I think I did a good explanation of , signal in , signal out. In regards to grounding it's a path out of the guitar. So a les paul I do a backwards C like the photo below.

however in regards to ground.. if the guitar was ever re-wired see if the input jacks wires are in the right place. I have a funny story about this mexican strat i had and I re-wired it with this custom diagram as i'm not a strat guy... long story short i took the strings off the guitar and pickguard completely off. Found no problems and then i looked at the input jack and did I ever kick myself.

and shielding, if the hum isn't intense like you'd be able to play music a few ways to get rid of this are:

copper sheilding tape
- ebay 2-3$ (us) for 3m (10 feet) worth
insulate the entire control cavity and where the humbuckers are routed and connect a ground wire from the bridge to neck routing and then get the ground wire go to the closest ground wire possible. It's tedious but I sold 100s of feet of copper tape and people love it. Some guys even use nickle braided wires and all but it is complete over kill. The tape is all you need.

a higher end guitar cable
I like the planet waves one with the gold tip. Monster, mogami and a bunch of others come up. It's not a massive difference but the higher end ones help.

and if you live in an apartment or older house with wires everywhere a powerbar with an RFI and EMI reduction on it goes a long way. Sweetwater or ZZounds sells ones for just this purpose. They aren't cheap.


photo wise these two images should help
copper shielding


and how i'd ground a les paul. It's an older diagram but follow the black lines that is how I ground a les paul. This is the best way to do things as it retains the treble as you turn the volume down so your sound doesn't go dark almost instantly.
#5
Turning the volume pot to zero just shorts the hot directly to ground. So, have you isolated the guitar as the cause?

If you unplug the lead from your amp does it hum?

If you leave the lead plugged into the amp but unplugged from the guitar does it hum?
'It takes 100 guitar players to change a light. One to change the light and 99 to stand around pointing, saying..."Yeah man, look...I can do that too"...'

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#6
Is the amp near a laptop or plugged in a usb port? Anything nearby that could be putting out interference?

If I have a particular item plugged into my laptop while my amp is connected to the laptop...I get a lil buzz. unplug the item...it goes away.

The shielding is a great idea for any guitar. Sometimes its stuff nearby too...
#7
Thanks alot for all that information Tallwood13! I don't know if the guitar has always had this issue as it wasn't really a problem while playing live but since I started recording alot this has become a major issue. But I'll try wiring it like that and shield it properly. Thanks again!
#8
I have several guitars and this is the only one that behaves like this so I'm fairly sure it's something with the guitar.