#1
Ok so I have a really cheap Stratocaster imitation from a brand no one knows about that. To improve, I started off with buying Ernie Ball Skinny top heavy bottom Strings (Fan of A7x). I have a stranger C-15 15W amp that has a separate distortion channel. I also have a BOSS DS-1.

The pickups are Stock HSS. In the SS configuration in distortion (second position from top), she makes very negligible hum but the rhythm played on bass strings are not clear then. In the bottom most configuration (only the Humbucker) it makes a bit more hum than normal but the rhythms are clear. Any other configuration of pickups makes a whole lot of noise..

So what should I do.
Buy a new Humbucker (Seymour Duncan)
Or
A new amp and/or effects pedal.
#2
If you're getting more hum on the humbucker than on the singlecoils it's a crappy pickup for sure; however I wouldn't recommend any of the options in your post as a cost-effective solution if you're playing an absolute bottom-of-the-barrel Strat copy.
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#3
IOW, it may be time to buy a better guitar.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

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#5
How much was your guitar (if you know)?

I ask because I can think of some decent but inexpensive replacements, but that option may not be cost effective relative to the price of the guitar.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#6
Quote by hrx1016
dannyalcatraz
No my parents are surely not gonna get me another (let alone a better and costlier) guitar..

Well that's really the only thing that will help. Your guitar, and amp, are extremely low-end, and that's just how it is. A seymour duncan humbucker will cost more than the guitar is worth. Keep an eye out for used stuff. You should be able to find something with better pickups for less than $200. Then again, even with a better guitar and/or pickups, that amp is still going to sound tinny and have buzz. Them's the breaks. Cheap gear is cheap for a reason.
Guitars
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Yamaha RBX374 and Washburn MB-6
#7
Do you have the option of doing chores/getting a summer job to raise at least some of the cash yourself?

Parents love "character-building" and showing initiative.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#8
This is one of those situations where I will say  get yourself a new used guitar : check out Craigslist, Facebook shop, etc.. but I have a feeling that my advice will be pointless, cus you seem like the kinda guy who doesn't want to buy used. or maybe your parents are too cautious to let you buy from strangers. Lol 

Check out craigslist if you can...i've seen quality guitars go for 80-$150, epiphones,schecters.. etc .. 


My other advice would be . DON'T buy a new set of Seymour Duncan pickups. Look for some used ones locally, if you can't find any, get yourself some chinese brand pickups. Some are surprisingly very good, and are dirt cheap. https://www.amazon.com/Musiclily-Blaster-Humbucker-Stratocaster-Electric/dp/B00CE20FC0/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1490943172&sr=8-1&keywords=hot+rail+pickup

I got a $15 set for my Les Paul, and they were pretty decent. Not great, but good enough to be considered an upgrade for really crappy stock pickups here's a demo I did on them 
#9
Quote by dannyalcatraz
How much was your guitar (if you know)?

I ask because I can think of some decent but inexpensive replacements, but that option may not be cost effective relative to the price of the guitar.


My guitar is worth 150 USD. I live in India and here it's 10k. The amp is of 40$.
#10
Quote by dannyalcatraz
Do you have the option of doing chores/getting a summer job to raise at least some of the cash yourself?

Parents love "character-building" and showing initiative.


This is India. I don't know why but it's a straightforward NO out here..
#11
Quote by the_bi99man
Well that's really the only thing that will help. Your guitar, and amp, are extremely low-end, and that's just how it is. A seymour duncan humbucker will cost more than the guitar is worth. Keep an eye out for used stuff. You should be able to find something with better pickups for less than $200. Then again, even with a better guitar and/or pickups, that amp is still going to sound tinny and have buzz. Them's the breaks. Cheap gear is cheap for a reason.

Kay. I think i must get the big picture anyway.
But, still, which first, the AMP or the GUITAR?
#12
First, check for the common causes of excessive hum from noisy EM emitters:

- those energy saving non-incandescent light bulbs (the coiled tube ones). Those generate EM spectrum noise, not terribly strong, but over long distances. If you have just one turned on in a home or apartment you will hear it through the pickup of an electric guitar. The solution is to turn it off when you play... this is problematic if you are in an apartment because your neighbors' bulbs' noise may still be heard.


- unterminated TV/internet coax cable. If you have live but unused cable outlets (unused meaning nothing connected, so unterminated), these will make a huge noise, but you need to be fairly close like within about 10 feet. The solution is to find the splitter (usually in the attic) and disconnect the unused legs from the splitter. You may have to experiment to determine which legs you want to keep connected (the ones you use)... in an apartment, ask the manager to disconnect the legs for empty apartments...


Check these two sources and see if that helps.
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Last edited by PlusPaul at Mar 31, 2017,
#13
Quote by PlusPaul
First, check for the common causes of excessive hum from noisy EM emitters:

- those energy saving non-incandescent light bulbs (the coiled tube ones). Those generate EM spectrum noise, not terribly strong, but over long distances. If you have just one turned on in a home or apartment you will hear it through the pickup of an electric guitar. The solution is to turn it off when you play... this is problematic if you are in an apartment because your neighbors' bulbs' noise may still be heard.





- unterminated TV/internet coax cable. If you have live but unused cable outlets (unused meaning nothing connected, so unterminated), these will make a huge noise, but you need to be fairly close like within about 10 feet. The solution is to find the splitter (usually in the attic) and disconnect the unused legs from the splitter. You may have to experiment to determine which legs you want to keep connected (the ones you use)... in an apartment, ask the manager to disconnect the legs for empty apartments... the splitter will look something like this...


(Invalid img)
Check these two sources and see if that helps.


I don't know why the hum exists, but it's not from the bulbs or the tv because where i play normally there's none.
#14
PlusPaul

Still, wouldn't that be more of a problem with singlecoils than with a humbucker? IOW, the opposite of some of the described issue?
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#15
Quote by hrx1016
Kay. I think i must get the big picture anyway.
But, still, which first, the AMP or the GUITAR?


Normally, I'd say amp, because a bad amp makes ANYTHING sound bad. But in this case, there really does seem to be an issue with the guitar.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#17
Quote by hrx1016
Ok so I have a really cheap Stratocaster imitation from a brand no one knows about that. To improve, I started off with buying Ernie Ball Skinny top heavy bottom Strings (Fan of A7x). I have a stranger C-15 15W amp that has a separate distortion channel. I also have a BOSS DS-1.

The pickups are Stock HSS. In the SS configuration in distortion (second position from top), she makes very negligible hum but the rhythm played on bass strings are not clear then. In the bottom most configuration (only the Humbucker) it makes a bit more hum than normal but the rhythms are clear. Any other configuration of pickups makes a whole lot of noise..

So what should I do.
Buy a new Humbucker (Seymour Duncan)
Or
A new amp and/or effects pedal.


Wait... Isn't there anyway to bring clarity to the rhythm in the SS configuration (second from top).
#18
hrx1016

OK, Indian location, tight budget.

I'll suggest these:
https://www.amazon.com/Wilkinson-Electric-Guitar-Bridge-Humbucker/dp/B01BHWSD7G/ref=sr_1_1?s=musical-instruments&ie=UTF8&qid=1490944769&sr=1-1&keywords=wilkinson+guitar+pickup


But here's the thing: unless you can solder & wire this yourself, I have a feeling this option won't be affordable for you.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#19
Quote by hrx1016
dannyalcatraz
Not a straightforward answer anyway..๐Ÿ‘†


Completely straightforward, but I'll spell it out: when dealing with cheap gear, your best option is almost always upgrade the amp first, because, as pointed out more than once, it will make any guitar- regardless of quality- sound bad.

HOWEVER, in your case, you seem to be having a genuine problem in your guitar's wiring and/or pickups. No amp purchase will rectify that, so addressing your guitar issue is the priority.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#21
Quote by dannyalcatraz
hrx1016

OK, Indian location, tight budget.

I'll suggest these:
https://www.amazon.com/Wilkinson-Electric-Guitar-Bridge-Humbucker/dp/B01BHWSD7G/ref=sr_1_1?s=musical-instruments&ie=UTF8&qid=1490944769&sr=1-1&keywords=wilkinson+guitar+pickup


But here's the thing: unless you can solder & wire this yourself, I have a feeling this option won't be affordable for you.

The customs charge should become double of the original price...
#22
So already with ordering a single pickup, you're at the price of your amp...

And that's before paying someone to install it, or getting the tools you need to do it yourself. And if you've never done it before, odds are good you'd mess up at least once,
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#23
Make sure the solder on the pickup, on potentiometer, on output jack, and to ground; are done properly..

I would either shield the electronic cavity with copper shielding or shielding paint... better pickups may help.. but proper ground and shielding is important.
I have Washburn guitars 'Maverick Series' and bass 'Bantam Series' and a few pedals and amps, but man I wish to have more patience and drive practicing my playing, if it's equal to the modding itch, then I'm golden.
#24
One way to stop humming is to learn the lyrics.
#25
Determine where the problem is.  Hopefully you have friends or a local guitar store that can help.  Hook up the guitar to a good amp.  Hook up the amp to a good guitar.
#26
There are a few things to keep in mind.  

1. Distortion amplifies background noise. You're almost always going to have hum and/or buzz when using distortion. That's a fact of life. In your case, this is magnified because of other factors that we can only guess at.

2. Single coil pickups are prone to hum and interference from outside sources like bad wiring, florescent lights, etc. That's why humbuckers were invented. The reason you get less hum in switch position 4 is because in that position, both SS pickups are active and acting like the dual coils of a humbucker. 

3. More expensive pickups are not necessarily going to be quieter. Pickups are just a lot of wire wrapped around a magnet. Expensive pickups have more wraps for higher output, and probably better quality control. They certainly aren't cost effective on a cheap guitar. Save your money.

There are a few things you can try which may help with some of the noise, but honestly, it's never going to go away entirely.  You can't shield the pickups themselves, but you can shield the internal wiring. The simplest way to do this is by lining the entire pickup cavity with foil (they also sell conductive paint for this purpose, but who knows if it's available in India.  Glue some aluminum foil completely around the inside of the cavity *and* the underside of the pick-guard. Make sure that both sides make good contact with each other, and also that it's connected to ground. While you're at it, be certain that the bridge is also grounded. 

This should help quiet down the guitar when you play clean.  Make sure your cables are good quality. Try placing your amp in a different location. Distortion is still going to be an issue because it will magnify even the smallest amounts of background noise. If you get rid of 50% your hum on a clean setting, the distorted hum will only be reduced by 10%. 
#27
You need a new amp.

But seriously have you considered some shielding inside the body cavity? (make sure it's grounded) Does the hum vary or is it always the same? Is your power source isolated or filtered? Do you have a fluorescent bulb attached to it?
#28
gerdner
*throws tomato*
Booooo! Hissss!
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#29
Another thought here, does the hum reduce when you touch the strings?
#30
Boss NS-2. Hum happens. Even to the best of setups. Some amps have noise gates.
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#31
Quote by tommymc
There are a few things to keep in mind.  

1. Distortion amplifies background noise. You're almost always going to have hum and/or buzz when using distortion. That's a fact of life. In your case, this is magnified because of other factors that we can only guess at.

2. Single coil pickups are prone to hum and interference from outside sources like bad wiring, florescent lights, etc. That's why humbuckers were invented. The reason you get less hum in switch position 4 is because in that position, both SS pickups are active and acting like the dual coils of a humbucker. 

3. More expensive pickups are not necessarily going to be quieter. Pickups are just a lot of wire wrapped around a magnet. Expensive pickups have more wraps for higher output, and probably better quality control. They certainly aren't cost effective on a cheap guitar. Save your money.

There are a few things you can try which may help with some of the noise, but honestly, it's never going to go away entirely.  You can't shield the pickups themselves, but you can shield the internal wiring. The simplest way to do this is by lining the entire pickup cavity with foil (they also sell conductive paint for this purpose, but who knows if it's available in India.  Glue some aluminum foil completely around the inside of the cavity *and* the underside of the pick-guard. Make sure that both sides make good contact with each other, and also that it's connected to ground. While you're at it, be certain that the bridge is also grounded. 

This should help quiet down the guitar when you play clean.  Make sure your cables are good quality. Try placing your amp in a different location. Distortion is still going to be an issue because it will magnify even the smallest amounts of background noise. If you get rid of 50% your hum on a clean setting, the distorted hum will only be reduced by 10%. 

I believe a conductive paint may already be there.. A black coat exists that has tiny spikes at some places.. But I'll consider the shielding..
#32
33db
A little hum is gone when I ground the strings using my body. But that's not what I complain of. The background hum is, like, universal..