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Thread: Love my CS 54 Pickups but I can't take the buzz

  1. #1
    Tone Member Eamonn's Avatar
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    Default Love my CS 54 Pickups but I can't take the buzz

    I thought my bad soldering skills were to blame so I took the guitar to a pro and had everything re-installed. Even had shielding done. The problem isn't so much the 60 cycle hum as it is the buzz that I get in clubs with bad wiring and airborne hash. I'm not a high gain player; but even with medium gain I get the 'swarm of bees' sound.

    I'm looking for a set of Strat pickups that are similar in sound to the CS54's but with a 'stouter' bridge and I'm not opposed to stacked coils - although I did have a set of DMZ virtual vintage pickups years ago and found them to be blah.

    Sets I am considering:

    Kinmans
    Lace Hot Golds
    Duncan stacked coils
    Fender Hot Noiseless
    DMZ Area's
    ?
    Man who scratches ass should not bite fingernails -Old Chinese Proverb

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    Alnico 6/8 Chickenwings's Avatar
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    Default Re: Love my CS 54 Pickups but I can't take the buzz

    noiseless singles are blah!
    But the hot golds are a nice pickup as far as noiseless pups go.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Love my CS 54 Pickups but I can't take the buzz

    Allota times buzz in clubs comes from transformers(beer signs) and or dimmers.Whenever I get a buzz problem in clubs usually I can remedy it or atleast get it workable by locating and turning off the offending beersign or dimmer lights.
    Also if you use any effects with a three prong plug allways either plug the amp and effects on the same circuit or lift the ground to the effects(still grounded through the shield on your guitar cord through the amp).
    Also allways avoid plugging instruments on the same circuit as your lighting rig.

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    Fuzzy. Guitars the guy who invented fire's Avatar
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    Default Re: Love my CS 54 Pickups but I can't take the buzz

    There is not a pickup on the market, period that sounds like a vintage single coil and has no buzz...none of them nail it but some are close.

    The Duncan Stack Pluses are good if you have to have noiseless...
    If you just read a post by The Guy Who Invented Fire please understand that opinions change, mind sets change and as players our ears mature...not to mention our needs grow and change. With that in mind, today I may or may not agree with the post you just read!

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    Default Re: Love my CS 54 Pickups but I can't take the buzz

    I have an Electro Harmonix Humdebugger and it knocks out the hum and leaves the tone pretty much intact. I think it is either black magic, or voodoo, or even a gift from the Lord. I love it. My house has crappy power and we live under a big rats nest of a transformer / power pole. I hardly ever played my beloved Strat before I got it. The hum was terrible, but now it is gone.

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    Toneologist JohnnyGuitarCA's Avatar
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    Default Re: Love my CS 54 Pickups but I can't take the buzz


    Do not be wise in words - be wise in deeds.

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    Tone Member Eamonn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Love my CS 54 Pickups but I can't take the buzz

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnnyGuitarCA View Post
    60 cycle hum isn't an issue for me. It's the airborne hash that is causing the problem. This Suhr system does nothing for that..but thanks for the suggestion anyway.
    Man who scratches ass should not bite fingernails -Old Chinese Proverb

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    Tone Member Eamonn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Love my CS 54 Pickups but I can't take the buzz

    Quote Originally Posted by wjombat View Post
    I have an Electro Harmonix Humdebugger and it knocks out the hum and leaves the tone pretty much intact. I think it is either black magic, or voodoo, or even a gift from the Lord. I love it. My house has crappy power and we live under a big rats nest of a transformer / power pole. I hardly ever played my beloved Strat before I got it. The hum was terrible, but now it is gone.
    60 cycle hum isn't an issue for me.
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    Sausage Gravy LReese's Avatar
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    Default Re: Love my CS 54 Pickups but I can't take the buzz

    Try shielding the pickup cavities 1st. The way I'm taking your last posts is that the hum goes away when you touch the strings? Either pay a tech to do it or pay careful attention to the technique - It can suck tone (IMO) or you could get a short (not a dangerous one, just no sound) if not done correctly.

    The Suhr system is worthwhile, but pricey. As a less expensive alternative, Vintage Rails or Duckbuckers (Only tried the rails) - I think they're pretty good if you have no issue with the looks.

    Could also be a ground loop somewhere. You using multiple amps, or effects powered by a daisy chain cable? I spent a lot of $$ combating this - loud hum on a EMG based rig.
    Last edited by LReese; 07-04-2010 at 05:10 AM. Reason: BlAh

  10. #10
    Tone Member Eamonn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Love my CS 54 Pickups but I can't take the buzz

    Quote Originally Posted by LReese View Post
    Try shielding the pickup cavities 1st. The way I'm taking your last posts is that the hum goes away when you touch the strings? Either pay a tech to do it or pay careful attention to the technique - It can suck tone (IMO) or you could get a short (not a dangerous one, just no sound) if not done correctly.

    The Suhr system is worthwhile, but pricey. As a less expensive alternative, Vintage Rails or Duckbuckers (Only tried the rails) - I think they're pretty good if you have no issue with the looks.

    Could also be a ground loop somewhere. You using multiple amps, or effects powered by a daisy chain cable? I spent a lot of $$ combating this - loud hum on a EMG based rig.
    ***60 cycle hum is never a problem and the cavities are already shielded by a pro***

    My pedals are powered by a Vlabs PP2 and my amp has a dedicated circuit. The problem I am facing in clubs with bad electricity is causing buzzing (NOT HUM). Does anyone know of a remedy for this? btw, the Suhr system is designed for hum, I appreciate the recommendations for this system, but it is designed to fix something that isn't an issue for me.
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  11. #11
    Toneologist Stef's Avatar
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    Default Re: Love my CS 54 Pickups but I can't take the buzz

    HS-3 -silent (no buzz, hum or whatever...) and great sounding
    I use ssl-1's and the only pup that comes really close is an HS-3
    Maybe you should check the tubes (put some low noise pre tubes) in your amp or try a better guitar cord...

  12. #12
    Tone Member Eamonn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Love my CS 54 Pickups but I can't take the buzz

    Quote Originally Posted by Stef View Post
    HS-3 -silent (no buzz, hum or whatever...) and great sounding
    I use ssl-1's and the only pup that comes really close is an HS-3
    Maybe you should check the tubes (put some low noise pre tubes) in your amp or try a better guitar cord...
    I have a box of tubes that range from NOS to GT's. Cables and patches are all George L with soldered GH showstoppers. I've troubleshooted very carefully and only use high end components. I recall that dave Gilmour switched to EMG's when Floyd did the stadium tours. His problem then was the buzz from the lighting rigs..and I think I might have answered my own question: alnico or ceramics pu's attract hash and it seems that their configuration, be it stacked, single, or side by side, has no real bearing one way or the other either on that type of unwanted noise. I'm going to try some Lace Hot Golds or EMG's.
    Man who scratches ass should not bite fingernails -Old Chinese Proverb

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  13. #13
    25's Nemesis Benjy_26's Avatar
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    Default Re: Love my CS 54 Pickups but I can't take the buzz

    FWIW, Duncan's rails series of pickups are quieter than Lace's non-stacked Sensor series of pickups. The DG-20 set has alnico mags in all three pickups, which might also be a source of noise (what with an alnico bar being basically a metal rod). The Vince Gill set uses S pickups instead os SA's. The S pickup, being ceramic, is a potentially quieter pickup.

    Myself, I love my DG-20 set in my own strat. Clear, quiet, and very powerful. My particular strat is ash with a maple/maple neck, so it's kind of zingy to start with. In an alder body with a mapl/rosewood neck, I'd probably lean more towards the Vince Gill set.
    Ain't nothin' but a G thang, baby.

  14. #14
    Moe's Bluesman Curly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Love my CS 54 Pickups but I can't take the buzz

    Are CS '54s RPRW in the middle position?
    I doubt that they are, for authenticity -- and that likely makes the problem worse.
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  15. #15
    Funkfingers
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    Default Re: Love my CS 54 Pickups but I can't take the buzz

    Quote Originally Posted by Curly View Post
    Are CS '54s RPRW in the middle position?
    No.

    If the OP is willing to consider spending over two hundred dollars on pickups, why not spend that on a noise gating device?

  16. #16
    Looking for Real Life drew_half_empty's Avatar
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    Default Re: Love my CS 54 Pickups but I can't take the buzz

    joe bardens are the closest i've heard

    if you wanna pay that kinda money, that is. I wouldn't do it

  17. #17
    wolf5150
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    Default Re: Love my CS 54 Pickups but I can't take the buzz

    Kinman all the way for me.

    I love them.

    Got them in all my guitars.

  18. #18
    Tone Member LedSabbath's Avatar
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    Default Re: Love my CS 54 Pickups but I can't take the buzz

    Quite simple. There could be many reasons that your pickups are buzzing. The main one being that the pickups might be to close to the strings (source: I have had buzzing problems in Humbuckers that were wax potted). The only other I can think of is that the cables were soldered wrong. Hope this helps.

  19. #19
    Toneologist Stef's Avatar
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    Default Re: Love my CS 54 Pickups but I can't take the buzz

    Quote Originally Posted by Eamonn View Post
    I have a box of tubes that range from NOS to GT's. Cables and patches are all George L with soldered GH showstoppers. I've troubleshooted very carefully and only use high end components. I recall that dave Gilmour switched to EMG's when Floyd did the stadium tours. His problem then was the buzz from the lighting rigs..and I think I might have answered my own question: alnico or ceramics pu's attract hash and it seems that their configuration, be it stacked, single, or side by side, has no real bearing one way or the other either on that type of unwanted noise. I'm going to try some Lace Hot Golds or EMG's.
    I doubt you use a Pink Floyd kind of light. I've had a problem with george l's cables on the first gig I used them - unwanted feedback and hum-buzz from pickups, strings or who knows..maybe it was something else (the tubes, light..) but I stopped using them after that night.

    Lace Sensor uses ceramic magnets and emg DG alnico5, HS-3 is also A5. Inside every pickup there is a magnet!
    Stacked and active pups - less noise (ceramic or alnico)
    true SC's - more noise (ceramic or alnico mags)

  20. #20
    Sausage Gravy LReese's Avatar
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    Default Re: Love my CS 54 Pickups but I can't take the buzz

    Sorry completely skimmed over you had shielding done. That should take care of the "hash" from the pickups assuming its properly done - Even if a pro did the shielding - they're human too.

    Just what you described pickups (Even EMG's - I've had bad buzz even with them, not the fault of the PU's) arent going to solve the problem. Still could be a ground loop. Everything powered from the same circuit? Any AC powered pedals not mentioned (Like a Tube Driver)? Tried a different amp? Any daisy chains off the PP2? Tried a power conditioner/regulator? Sure the outlet you are plugging into has a good ground? You could still have a bad cable in the chain - George L's are good cables, but there's always that possibility. I've had noise issues when the hot and ground are somehow swapped on one of the cables - possible but hard to imagine (much more likely the wires to the jack on the guitar are swapped). How's the hum when you plug straight into the Amp and the amp cranked?

    Just pointing out some possibilities - without the rig actually in front of us its way more difficult to troubleshoot. There's no magic answer - there's going to be a reason and it might take months of experimenting to find the answer. FWIW - I'm running 11 pedals into a Mark IV and just the expected noise from a mostly stock EJ (APS-1 in the middle - no other mods). My Suhr through the same rig is silent as a church mouse. My Axe-FX rig (which is far simpler connection wise) is way noisier. I'm using Bill Lawrence cables with the solderless plugs.
    Last edited by LReese; 07-05-2010 at 06:40 AM.

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