Skip to main content

I live in an apartment so Micing an amp isn't really an option. I got myself a Voice Tonelab ST which I really like and with my new Fender Strat I quite like some of the tones I'm getting out of pairing them together. I've been recording straight in to my Firestudio because again amp Micing isn't an option, and I like the tones I'm getting, but I keep noticing a buzzing coming from the Tonelab especially with distorted tones which I notice a bit with my Les Paul but it's especially bad with the Fender because of it's 60 cycle hum I suppose.

Here is my dumb question as I know very little about grounding but I know that when I physically touch the end of any of the patch cables it basically kills 95% of the hum to where it's not audible. Is it a stupid idea to keep say my toe down on one of the patch cable ends going into the Tonelab from a health risk point of view while I'm recording in order to get a clean sound? Could I be harming myself in any way by doing this? I figure I'm part of the signal when I'm touching my guitar strings so I'm not sure how different this is but if anyone INTELLIGENT would like to educate stupid old me, I'd appreciate it.


Topic Tags


kmetal Fri, 04/26/2013 - 22:31

If you switch the pickup to one of the intermediate positions, does the hum go away? like try the bridge pickup, then go one click up so it's bridge/middle. this essentially creates a 'humbucker effect'. they make pickups that do this in single coil style, for just such reasons. And is likely why your les paul is quieter.

Also w/ your preferred pickup selected, rotate yourself 360 degrees, at some point you'll find the 'quiet spot' where the hum cancellation occurs.

try a noise gate pedal. and a different outlet of the house.

How is it possible to step on the cord, and have your guitar plugged in too? i'm unclear on what you mean.

strats are just noisy, without modification. it's just part of what they are, and any signal coil guitar. as long as it's not over bearing while your playing, i'd just find the quiet spot, and edit out any noise that exists when your not playing.

I've done a lot of trade work in apartments and i know, that without a doubt, they are the, most hacked up of all living areas. landlords tend to have a just get it done, if it works, it's fine, mentality. So it could be an electrical issue. maybe someone else's fridge is running of the same circuit as your outlets for music. the possibilities are endless...

some of the better minds around here will prob chime in, but what i suggested is some basic things to test, to get a better feel of what's happening.

also, your power cables, and audio cables aren't near each other right? and if they are they cross at a 90 degree angle, right? this shouldn't come into play as much w/ low powered stuff, but even modest studio monitors have enough power to amplify the negative effects of not using this practice.

rbf738 Sat, 04/27/2013 - 08:30

Kurt Foster, post: 404031 wrote: wrap a wire that is striped back a few inches so that bare wire touches you skin around your wrist (a ground strap for working on electronics works very well) and put an alligator clip on the end and clip it to the guitar bridge or a knob shaft or the guitar cable.

Good advice. I take it that this is less precarious way to do what I've been doing as it achieves the same result? And again that's safe, right?

kmetal, post: 404023 wrote: How is it possible to step on the cord, and have your guitar plugged in too? i'm unclear on what you mean.

Great info, thanks. And what I mean is that I'm just resting my big toe on the metal casing of the patch cable right outside of my Tonelab on the floor.

Also for what it's worth, the buzz happens a touch more at the extreme single coil pickups but it's still plenty palpable at a bridge/middle setting.

Gette Sun, 04/28/2013 - 19:30

I really like the wrist strap idea...

we need a bit more info. Are there any Florissant light fixtures nearby? these could be the typical long tube or the energy efficient variety....

To assume not,,,,, this would be my suggestions.

But, seriously, A 60 cycle hum can be a result of a lifted ground or a ground that has AC on it. But given the statement that touching it removes it, makes me believe that the equipment is not grounded. I would start by looking at the back panel and see if a "Ground Lift" switch is present. Check what status it is in (grounded/lifted). If i am confusing you.

Run down to the nearest hardware store, and get a ground lift adaptor (about a dollar). If after connecting the power to the wall using the ground lift adaptor does not resolve the problem. I would guess that Wall socket is not properly grounded....

my2 cents


KurtFoster Sun, 04/28/2013 - 20:04

hum can be the result of mis matched out of phase wiring in the walls ... it can also be caused by faulty ac recepticals that make a loose connection and are arcing. solution (cheap too) is to install brand new recepticals thought the building and get one of those little plug in gizmos that check phase and other anomalies ... hey Dave!!! what are those things called? Dave will know ... he's an electrishin' ya know ....diddlydoo

pcrecord Mon, 04/29/2013 - 06:28

Hums can also come from bad grounding of pickups and knobs inside the guitar. (I had an old charvel that was very noisy. Sent it to the repair shop to be rewired ; came back perfect !)

Be carefull of the impedance missmatch between the Vox Tonelab ST and the Firestudio . A Directbox can be of help in certain case...


User login