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Old 02-04-2010, 05:14 PM   #11 (permalink)
D-D-D-D-D-DROP THE BASS!
 
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OBLIGATORY HUGE POST WARNING


The pickups aren't picking up the noise because they're powerful, they're picking it up because they aren't humbuckers and aren't shielded. Get your electronics cavities shielded in the guitar and you'll notice a reduction in noise. Get a humbucker instead of a p94 and you're going to get less noise too. A humbucker with integral shield, like a bill lawrence design, would be good too. Gibsons are unbelievably poor when it comes to shielding, even worse than most.

As for reducing noise further, theres a few things you can try.

1 - Shielded guitar cables. Monster aren't the only option. You can even make your own if you do a little research, and it'll come out a higher quality cable than most you can buy. Parts-Express.com:*Pro Co Guitar & Instrument Cable 90% Shield 1 ft. | guitar cable coaxial instrument cable bulk wire bulk cable is a good example. Its overengineered, copper shielded cable, thickly insulated. Put a pair of good neutrik Jacks onto it, and invest in some good solder to make a high quality electrical connection, and you'll have much less noise. You'll also have complete control over your cable lengths. The less cable you're running, the less places noise can creep in. Why use a 1ft cable when you can have a 2/3 inch cable?

2 - Power supplies DO introduce a small amount of noise to your signal chain. The reason for this is they're not adequately filtered. This noise is absolutely negligible. If you REALLY want to get rid of it however, you can buy mains conditioners. They clean up the power going into your pedal board so it has no AC ripple.

3 - Shielded enclosures. Whats the next best thing to shielding every individual part? Putting those parts in shielded boxes. Stomboxes can be modified quite simply with internal copper shielding, same way as guitars. This will void your warranty, so only do it on old boxes, but as long as it doesn't short any circuits inside, and can be grounded (Easily done, with a basic grasp of electronics), then you'll notice that each pedal introduces less and less noise. Coupled with a buffer pedal and those short cables, this will make a huge difference.

4 - Stompbox order. Look up a guy called pete cornish. He makes the pedalboards Dave Gilmour uses, and he takes painstaking care in using nothing but the absolute most perfect order of pedals in the board. The reason behind this is that different orders give different results. Putting your distortion before or after your wah pedal could mean the difference between quite and loud. Wah pedals are notorious for adding noise to a signal chain. If you send that noise into what is effectively a big signal booster like a distortion or overdrive pedal, it'll amplify the noise. Do it the other way around, and the higher initial signal will work to reduce the amount of noise you hear added by the wah pedal!

5 - Buffered inputs/outputs. If you do a quick google, you'll find a million places telling you what a true bypass pedal is, and comparatively few telling you what a buffered input/output is. The reason for this if the advantages and disadvantages of both approaches.

Simply put, a normal guitar pedal in the off position, sends the guitar signal through the effects circuitry but just doesn't modify it. Because of the extra resistance and capacitance in the pedal circuitry, along with cheap components, this degrades the tone. A true bypass pedal doesn't do that. It takes the circuit out of the loop, as if the effects pedal was never there. This preserves more tone. Sounds good, right?

Wrong. True bypass is GREAT if you only have one pedal or two, but in chains longer than that, the simpler design is susceptible to noise and degradation over longer signal paths. The best option is whats called a BUFFERED pedal. Normal pedals are buffered pedals, but they use class B buffers, which aren't very good, and the implementation is usually bad. What you can do is build your own buffer box, to throw in at the start of the signal chain. It takes the extremely low level, high impedance guitar signal, and converts it to a low impedance one (sometimes boosting it a bit), allowing you to drive more pedals, harder, and with less noise in the chain.

Heres a basic introduction, and despite the fact I do very much dislike gibson as a company, this article is right on the money -
Gibson Tone Tips: True Bypass Pedals and The Buffer Zone

And heres a basic DIY buffer pedal - http://johannburkard.de/blog/music/e...-a-buffer.html (Note, the article linked from this one, recommends using this buffer pedal deisgn with batteries, since it doesn't reject mains hum very well. You'd be more than fine to drive a long pedalboard with a wall wart plug, and only use the 9V in the buffer pedal though, thats what its FOR.)

6 - Just turn the gain down! You'll find listening to most albums, the gain on the guitars isn't high at all. The big heavy sounds on a lot of records, aren't actually coming from the guitars at all!

As an example, listen to the Gojira track 'Heaviest Matter of the Universe'. This track is HEAVY, and the strange thing is that while the guitars ARE using a lot of gain, they're not using anywhere near as much as you'd think. The reason for this is as follows:

A - The guitars are doubletracked, sometimes triple or quadruple tracked. This is where you record the same guitar part 4 times and just put the tracks on top of each other, one panned left and one panned right. (Theres more to it than that sometimes, but as a basic overview, this is what happens) The result is a guitar sound that retains all the basic character of the individual takes, but which sounds HUGE.

B - The bass is high in the mix. That thundering low end isn't coming from the guitars, its coming from the bass underneath them.

C - The drum hits are timed in perfect sync with the strikes of the guitar. Same principle as the bass. A guitar's attack isn't a big instant hit of noise, no matter how you set up your signal. To get a guitar that really feels like it HITS, you'll have the drummer and bassist all hit as well at the same time.

Time and time again, from slayer through to megadeth and all bands in between, you'll hear that they're using much less gain than you think.

7 - Thicker wiring and upgraded components wherever possible. Thicker, solid copper wiring will notably improve signal transfer in your guitar between the components. It also adds an extra measure of noise resistance due to the cable diameter. Its all to do with whats called the skin effect, and capacitance. The less of both you have, the better the sound. Upgrading guitar componentry will help too. A better quality jack, better potentiometers, they all count.

The good thing is, if you google RS guitarworks, they sell uprated wiring kits for lots of guitar types, and can even help you put together one for your specific guitar.


Theres a lot of tips here, some more worth doing than others. The last one I would do is 2, because its expensive and its effects are going to be minimal unless you turn out to have some kind of issue with the power plugs or mains in your area. The rest of them, feel free to do them in any order, they'll all be reasonably effective against noise/signal degradation, and lots of them will improve your overall sound in addition.

Any questions, just reply and I'll answer as and when I can.


And dave, you can now feel free to link this post in every thread you reply to for the next couple months.
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Old 02-04-2010, 05:41 PM   #12 (permalink)
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4 - Stompbox order. Look up a guy called pete cornish. He makes the pedalboards Dave Gilmour uses, and he takes painstaking care in using nothing but the absolute most perfect order of pedals in the board. The reason behind this is that different orders give different results. Putting your distortion before or after your wah pedal could mean the difference between quite and loud. Wah pedals are notorious for adding noise to a signal chain. If you send that noise into what is effectively a big signal booster like a distortion or overdrive pedal, it'll amplify the noise. Do it the other way around, and the higher initial signal will work to reduce the amount of noise you hear added by the wah pedal!

And dave, you can now feel free to link this post in every thread you reply to for the next couple months.
an addendum to #4 - pedal order doesn't just affect the levels of ambient noise in your signal chain either. having the distortion before or after a wah will significantly change the overall tone of the effects.

and i'll definitely keep this post in mind next time issues like this one pop up hehehe
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Old 02-04-2010, 06:16 PM   #13 (permalink)
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an addendum to #4 - pedal order doesn't just affect the levels of ambient noise in your signal chain either. having the distortion before or after a wah will significantly change the overall tone of the effects.

and i'll definitely keep this post in mind next time issues like this one pop up hehehe
Thats true, and it did cross my mind to include it, but I figured it was reasonably self explanatory, and the post is already huge, didn't want to add it in and make it even longer.
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Old 02-05-2010, 01:15 AM   #14 (permalink)
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yeah i didn't doubt your knowledge on the situation but it might be new to others, and well... i am the guy who needs a suitcase to carry his pedals around when jamming actually happens hahaha
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Old 02-05-2010, 08:15 AM   #15 (permalink)
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yeah i didn't doubt your knowledge on the situation but it might be new to others, and well... i am the guy who needs a suitcase to carry his pedals around when jamming actually happens hahaha
touche!
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Old 02-09-2010, 02:14 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Thanks GuitarBizarre, the post may have been long, but it was full of really useful info. Especially for shielding. I'll see what I can do to protect the guitar's circuitry from picking up outside noise. The p94 is definitely staying though, its really sensitive to the string movements and has the perfect sound for what I play.
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Old 02-09-2010, 06:02 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Then make sure to be very careful about how you orient the guitar. At soundcheck before gigs, turn the amp up with the guitar plugged in, don't play anything, just wander around identifying where electrical noise creeps in and if turning around stops it or makes it worse. Avoid those places while playing.

Btw, if you found that useful, you may want to have a look through my older posts. Theres one in the bass thread in particular you may find useful, to do with active electronics. Most active pups are actually more sensitive to string vibration than passives, so have a think about that, it'll reduce your noise a huge way, and you'll find a lot of the p90 sound can be had through actives. Theres a reason Dave gilmour uses them.
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Old 02-18-2010, 08:19 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Thanks man, I'll check that out. I just need to be careful during recording, live I don't worry so much about, its all punk so i just try to play as well as i can, with as much energy as possible. I only stress about dialing in the tone if I have time for a good sound check, the rest of the time, I just make sure It sounds pretty good or good enough. Although its only a real big problem with nearby computers. Other electronics at shows are usually far away enough they don't really conjure up too much noise.
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Old 02-19-2010, 06:03 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Thanks man, I'll check that out. I just need to be careful during recording, live I don't worry so much about, its all punk so i just try to play as well as i can, with as much energy as possible. I only stress about dialing in the tone if I have time for a good sound check, the rest of the time, I just make sure It sounds pretty good or good enough. Although its only a real big problem with nearby computers. Other electronics at shows are usually far away enough they don't really conjure up too much noise.
Its flourescents that really kill you at shows. They're staggeringly noisy.
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Old 03-06-2010, 08:41 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Yeah, those are brutal when I play in school.
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