Amp buzz

Discussion in 'Epiphone Guitars' started by Steve Ray, Aug 28, 2021.

  1. Steve Ray

    Steve Ray New Member

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    Hey folks,
    I’m sure this one has been covered many times before but I would to be brought up to speed on an amp buzz issue.
    I’ve noticed more amp (Vox VTX 20) buzz lately when playing my 3x single coil partscaster and vintage 1981 Gibson Sonex. Just sitting there plugged up and it’s noisey man. When I wiggle the connections I can get it to settle down. Ahh, cable! I checked continuity with my multi meter and it is fine. The thing that is confusing me is when I plug in my year old Casino (P 90’s) no issues.
    I don’t have another cable to test against and it’s certainly no problem running and picking one up (which I will do in the next few days) but I am very curious how the dynamics of all of this works ie electrical interference, guitar shielding and grounding, etc. The fact that the issue is different with the three different guitars is puzzling me.
    And by the way, since this is an EPI site, I will feel disappointed if not at least one of you says scrap the other axes and just play the Casino.
     
  2. imnotcreative

    imnotcreative Active Member

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    my old planet waves cable did have some issues when it comes to shielding(18 year old cable) which my new fender cable doesn't.
    you could check to see if there are any cold solder joints in the noisy guitars. or maybe some grounding cable came loose.
    does the buzzing go away when you touch the strings? how tight is the cable when plugged into the output jack? the cable can read fine but if the plug doesn't sit tight it will not make a proper connection which can cause some grounding issues. i have a 2 foot d'addario cable i use for my tuner on which the barrel is slightly thinner than my other cables. the tip (hot wire) connects without problems but the barrel is a little too narrow for some of my guitars to make a proper connection so i have to wiggle it around untill it does.

    i'm not saying to chug out the other guitars, they can be nice wall art, but definitely play the casino.
    maybe your amp is just trying to tell you something ;-)
     
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  3. Steve Ray

    Steve Ray New Member

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    Thanks for the insight. I will dig in and try those ideas. Regardless of getting a new cable it might be something else as well.
    Liked “they can be nice wall art”
     
  4. Space1999

    Space1999 Well-Known Member

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    Believe it or not, you should be careful how close your cell phone is to your guitars when you are playing them.

    Go ahead and put your cell phone close to your guitar and you will see. Same goes for any device that is broadcasting Bluetooth or WIFI.

    Pat
     
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  5. Raiyn

    Raiyn Well-Known Member

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    Note that the following works best on solidbody guitars, it *could* be done on a semi / hollowbody, but I'm not building a ship in that bottle.

    I shield all of my guitars as part of my modding process regardless of pickup type. I use conductive adhesive copper tape in all cavities and on any pickguards / covers making sure that all cavities have continuity with each other and ground.
    GIR Shield completed.jpg
    GIR Shield completed 2.jpg

    The point of this is to create a form of Faraday cage. This will minimize the amount of outside interference that gets into the system from the guitar. My clients are always impressed with how much less noise their axes make once I'm done.

    Of course all of that can be undone with a bad cable. I use cables from Reverb•com (not a seller from there, actually Reverb), Monoprice, Hosa, and my favorite curly cable is a GLS. I feel this proves you don't need to bleed the coffers to get decent cables.
    Actually, a fun trick at a lesson is to take your phone and play a track or video on it while holding it above your pickup.
     
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  6. Space1999

    Space1999 Well-Known Member

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    Raiyn,

    how do you do the ground wires when you do that voodoo that you do so well?
    Is it chassis ground plus copper lining ground?
    Do you ground them to the same pot?
    Enquiring minds want to know! :)

    Pat
     
  7. Raiyn

    Raiyn Well-Known Member

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    It depends what I'm working with.
    As for soldering to the pots, I'm an adherent to this methodology.


    Instead of guitar string, I use a piece of buss wire that I then continue to the other pot(s). Any other grounds then get hooked to the buss.
    The buss wire is a typical thing in any of my wiring jobs.

    In Fender style guitars, I will often run the claw ground (with slack) to a soldered point on the shield (usually just by stripping the same wire in the middle) and either continue it directly to the output jack ground or (if the cavity wire hole is too small) splice into the wire / solder onto the wire shield going there. Sometimes I'll hook back into the buss ground, but it's usually whatever feels right for the guitar. The pickguard shield I don't stress about as there's plenty of mechanical points of contact at the pots and switch etc.

    Something like an SG or a LP would be similar in terms of the connection between shield and pots*. There's plenty of mechanical points of contact. I do tend to use small bits of bare tinned wire to connect each cavity to each other. I generally prefer to use buss wire for that, but it depends what the guitar let's me do.

    Remember, ground is ground, as long as it all ends up in continuity with the jack ground you're doing it right.

    *In my G400, I do have a ground strap made from a bit of wire shield that I flattened and soldered to the shield.
    It's entirely unnecessary, I had run a few experiments on it a while back busting wiring myths for my own amusement, and this is a harmless remnant of that.

    At some point, I'm going to redo that control section and doll it up, but for now it all works. Like a Tuesday matinee stripper....
     
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  8. Equalphone

    Equalphone New Member

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    There are lots of options when it comes to single coil noise. If you're lucky, it's just a cable for you.

    Cables have capacitance and the shielding quality varies. So, depending on the pickups involved, windings, pots, caps, switches, it's all a wild equation. If your cable is marginal, then minor variations in other equipment can cause noise, or not.

    Start with that. We can work from there.
     
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  9. Robert Smith

    Robert Smith Member

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    Defiantly a connector problem, start with cable, then output jack, shield cavity if using single coils. Good Luck
     
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  10. IGRocker

    IGRocker Well-Known Member

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    Those monoprice cables work pretty well! I’ve used them as my main gigging cable the last ten years.
     
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  11. Raiyn

    Raiyn Well-Known Member

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    They are a go-to brand for me, we use them for literally every other type of cable in the house, so I figured why not? I'm quite pleased with the guitar / patch cables I've bought from them.
     
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  12. Raiyn

    Raiyn Well-Known Member

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    One thing I neglected to add: With cavity covers or Fender-y pickguards I will shield over screw holes deliberately on both the guitar and the plastic and use the screw to pierce them on installation. That way it's an ever so slightly better connection. YMMV.
     

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