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 Post subject: Humming Question
PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2008 7:02 am 
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Joined: Tue May 06, 2008 6:38 am
Posts: 6
Location: South Florida
I have an x175 that I bought 25 years ago. It's a great guitar but now that I finally have a decent solid circuit amp, I'm noticing a faint hum when I'm plugged in and switched on. The hum doesn't seem to get louder when I play and goes away completely when I pull out the push pot on the second tone control while in pick-up switch positions 2 and 4. My other (newer) guitars don't hum at all. What are my options for quieting things down? Thanks from the newbie!


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PostPosted: Thu May 08, 2008 12:26 am 
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Joined: Sat May 22, 2004 12:17 am
Posts: 1903
Well, an X175 is a 3-single-coil guitar like this:

Image

You've got a 5-way switch, but unlike a modern 5-way strat switch (which only appeared about the same time) positions 2 and 4 are jsut combinations of neck and middle, middle and bridge- IN phase. On a modern strat as we know it, they're wired out of phase (that duck squawk, originally an 'in-between' position on strat 3-way switches) So your tone knob is wired to flip them out of phase, I do believe (i.e. the phase of the middle pickup is reversed).

I'm working from catalog data here, mind, and my understanding could be faulty- you actually have one in front of you. (I have the body of one, but no wirin in it, alas) So check and see if I'm wrong.

But in that out of phase position, two and four with the knob pulled out, the two coils act in a humbucking way, like humbuckers, and there's no hum.

My guess is that when you say 'like modern guitars' you mean 'like guitars with humbuckers'. (some modern fenders have trick noiseless pickups that are actually stacked dual coils in the space of one- not exactly humbuckers, but effectively the same)

So... you are getting noise with single coils through a solid state amp- which one? Large or small? Regardless, I'm not surprised- any modern Telecaster will do the same thing, in fact it's a problem.

One reason frankly is that those twisted fluorescent bulbs (which contain mercury and can't be disposed of in the trash) generate a ton of noise that pickups pick up.

I'm inclined to say- your answer is play through those humbucking positions, and/or buy a guitar with humbuckers (how about a nice X185? red ones show up cheap on ebay all the time).

At stage volumes you're not going to hear the hum, it won't be a problem. If you're performing really high-gain and the hum is objectionable, use a noise filter at the end of your effects chain- or the down-home way, which is a footswitch kill switch, or just turn the volume down.

In modern urban settings there are places where you can't play any single-coil guitar without getting some hum- it's all over the place.

You should be able to turn and find an angle at which you get less hum- though that means holding still (yuk).


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu May 08, 2008 5:04 am 
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Joined: Tue May 06, 2008 6:38 am
Posts: 6
Location: South Florida
Thanks for the great reply.

I have noticed that if I play with my back to the amp (a Behringer Modeling Amp, 30 watts), the hum goes away. I guess I'm picking up RF from the amp itself. I have it plugged into a noise supressing power strip so there's probably not much else I can do about that. My old amp was dirty enough that the hum of the pickups just blended with the hum of the amp. It's only noticable when the guitar is not being played but it kinda dirties up any rests between notes. I only play for myself and whoever is sitting around the house, so stage-quality performance isn't a huge consideration- I just want a cleaner sound for my own amusement.

I'm kicking around the idea of switching the pickups for a set of "noiseless" ones- would I need to put a new switch and pots in if I did that? I think the guitar is great in every other way so it might be worth a little futzing.


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PostPosted: Fri May 09, 2008 1:30 am 
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You should be able to swap in any strat-type pickups without changing anything else.

Normally I'm pretty much in favor of leaving thigns stock but... those single coil pickups are just OK, IMHO.

I have Fender noiseless strat pickups in a strat, they're great. You might also check out what www.guitarfetish.com has in their gfs line of pickups.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri May 09, 2008 5:18 am 
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Joined: Tue May 06, 2008 6:38 am
Posts: 6
Location: South Florida
Thanks again!

Those pickups look interesting, I've also been looking at Copperheads.

If I understood your breakdown of my set-up correctly, I DON'T want to a use reverse-wound middle pup if I retain the factory wiring. Is this correct?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri May 09, 2008 6:05 pm 
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If it were me I'd keep it simple, and run whatever was available... there's a whole strat conversation about this preference; whatver you choose, the phase reverse switch will reverse it anyhow.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri May 09, 2008 7:53 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jun 08, 2007 2:06 am
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Location: Hervey Bay, Australia
Hey, X - are those speed knobs stock, or did this have the tapered ones?


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PostPosted: Sun May 11, 2008 11:36 am 
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The easy answer is 'knurled speed knobs in 83, reverse tapered knobs in 84".

But I'm not certain exactly what month the change happened. January? December? March? October?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun May 11, 2008 11:39 am 
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The easy answer is 'knurled speed knobs in 83, reverse tapered knobs in 84".

But I'm not certain exactly what month the change happened. January? December? March? October?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon May 12, 2008 5:35 am 
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Joined: Thu May 03, 2007 9:32 am
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Location: NYC
I have found shielding to be a good way to reduce/eliminate hum from rf. There is no nead for expensive supplies; heavy duty aluminum foil and contact cement work fine. There are instructions available on several web stites.


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