1) I have noticed that when I leave the metal parts of the guitar and the strings untouched, there is a significant noise when my distortion pedal is on. On touching the strings/tailpiece(I have a LP), the noise used to go away almost completely. I suspect this is a grounding problem on my guitar but any leads on this would help.

2) This is my main problem where I really need an answer. Recently, I have moved into another place. Since then,I have noticed that on touching the strings/tailpiece, the noise reduces to what is probably half. This means in my new house, for some reason there is also noise due to other than the grounding problem I have suspected. What I have found is when I play any note(even very low ones), the noise is completely removed and I can hear the note very well. But like I mentioned, I can hear some noise when all strings are muted/touched. The only thing I have changed in my new house is that I am not using one of those circular extension boxes. Please help! This is my signal chain: Gibson LP Signature T > JHS Angry Charlie > Egnater Tweaker 15 head and cab.

  • You might try a 3-prong outlet tester ( google.com/… ) to ensure you have proper grounding. If you are fixing the ground by touching it, you are the path to ground and that is potentially dangerous. Also, ensure all your equipment is powered off a single outlet.
    – Yorik
    Dec 20, 2016 at 15:40

3 Answers 3


Distortion effects are typically produced by having having very high gain at the low-amplitudes portions of each wave, and lower gain at the higher-amplitude portions. If the guitar is not being played, any stray noises will have low amplitude and thus be maximally amplified. A common solution is to use a noise gating function, either as a stand-alone pedal or integrated with some other function. A noise gate will mute all sounds from an instrument when it has below a certain volume for some length of time (e.g. 1/20 second) and start passing through audio as soon as it exceeds that volume.

If you can solve grounding issues or use a humbucker or pickup arrangement with two out-of-phase coils those approaches may be preferable to using a noise gate, but a noise gate may help deal with other stray noises that grounding fixes wouldn't solve (e.g. sounds from handling the instrument, etc.)


It sounds like you have a grounding problem. The noise will change when you touch any of the metal parts that are connected to pickups.

If the noise is only present when you use distortion pedal, then it might be it that is the problem. Maybe the connector is broken or there is something else lose inside?

The noise in the new house might come from other electrical appliances. Dimmer switches generate a lot of electrical noise, faulty fluorescent tube, and so on. If you have a grounding problem, then this will add noise to you signal.

  • 1
    Re: the second paragraph: the pedal may just be amplifying a ground noise that is always there. Without some sort of noise gate, distortion pedals are super noisy, even when the volume knob is on 1. Also, the particular pedal may have a compressor circuit that could be lifting the volume floor.
    – Yorik
    Dec 20, 2016 at 15:38
  • @Yorik this is more likely, any grounding issue with the guitar will always be much more noticeable when playing through something which compresses the sound.
    – Some_Guy
    Dec 20, 2016 at 17:53

Also, the LP Signature T has coil-splitting capabilities. If you are in single-coil mode, then you are liable to get 60 cycle hum from the electrical devices in your space. Try moving the guitar physically around while not touching the metal. If the "noise" gets better or worse depending on which way you face, then it's probably hum. See what happens if you turn the coil-split on and off...

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