I know that string grounding makes my guitar more silent, but by grounding my strings, I am connecting my self to the amplifier and the grid. This can be dangerous, especially with vintage amps that are not always grounded. So, is it safer to ground my guitar stings or not?

  • It looks like it is actually safer to not have the strings grounded, but the amount of EMF they will pick up (which will then be picked up by the pickups) is so great that not having them grounded is so bad that other safety measures are taken instead. – Todd Wilcox Jun 11 '16 at 17:45
  • Looks like some people might wire in a capacitor or fuse in the string/bridge ground, to prevent low frequency or DC currents from passing through it. – Todd Wilcox Jun 11 '16 at 17:51
  • I reckon your strings are grounded, at least to the chassis of the amp, whether you want it or not. – Tim Jun 11 '16 at 18:22
  • No, you aren't. And if your 'vintage' amp isn't grounded, make sure you have a polarity checker so the hot side isn't connected to neutral on your input jack. – Carl Witthoft Jun 12 '16 at 12:23

Some degree of hum is common with many type pickups when they pick up a 60 cycle hum from other electrical appliances in the environment. Single coil pickups are particularly susceptible whereas "Hum-Buckers" are specifically engineered to minimize this type hum.

But unwanted noise such as humming or buzzing that changes when you touch the strings may very well indicate a problem in your guitar or amplifier or somewhere else in the electrical supply chain that needs to be rectified for your safety.

If you are getting a hum or buzz through your amplifier when your guitar is plugged in, this could be a sign of a faulty ground somewhere in the system. It could be in your amplifier, your extension cord, your A/C supply circuit, your instrument cable or a loose ground wire on your guitar.

If you have 3 minutes to spare, the video below does a great job demonstrating potential ground issues.

Excellent Vid on Grounding issues in the loop

If you want to be sure the electrical circuit in the house (venue) is properly grounded, you might want to throw a polarity checker in your equipment bag (Less than $5.00 US).

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One easy and inexpensive route to silencing your guitar while adding an extra measure of safety is the use of a universal fused string ground like the one pictured below. It's around $20 US and has a fused circuit that will disconnect the strings from the grounding circuit and protect the player in the even too much voltage is sent through the guitar from a faulty ground in the equipment chain. To read more about it click here: Fused String Ground

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Good luck and be safe!

  • might be worth adding that lining the inside of the pocket where the pickups reside with copper tape, and grounding that will go a long way towards reducing RF pickup in the signal leads themselves. – Carl Witthoft Jun 12 '16 at 12:24
  • I started to cover the concept of shielding but decided to keep it short. But thanks for your addition via comments. – Rockin Cowboy Jun 12 '16 at 17:38

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