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I have an Ibanez RG220H (IBZ neck pickup, Seymour Duncan bridge pickup) that I've been trying to de-hum, and have run out of ideas/internet searches. The guitar is currently wired with a humbucker pickup connected directly to the output jack, in attempt to rule out all other components. Even with that basic setup, the guitar continues to produce a loud hum.

I've tried grounding the bridge/strings to the output jack shield, have replaced the output jack, and swapped the output jack leads, but still nothing, the guitar continues to hum.

If I connect the bridge pickup, I get the same hum as the neck pickup (maybe slightly louder), but I've noticed that the hum gets much quieter if I rotate the guitar to face a certain direction. When trying this same trick with the neck pickup, the hum doesn't get any quieter.

If I connect a different (and nicer) guitar to my exact same setup, everything is dead silent.

Am I running into a shielding issue? Maybe a busted pickup?

UPDATE: I've since rewired and shielded the heck out of the guitar (all pickup, electrical, and bridge cavities), and I'm now only getting that awful hum from the bridge pickup (neck still has slight grounding hum, but is manageable). The hum goes away if I rotate the guitar about the neck axis. At this point, I'm thinking the issue is an error in the wiring diagram. This is the official diagram from Ibanez, but apparently the VLX91 switch is problematic...

  • Also make sure that your cables don't interfere with any electric transporters or adapters. Sometimes the hum does not come from the guitar. – papakias May 11 '17 at 8:06
  • Sounds like the pickups aren't actually humbuckers, which is odd. Do the pickups have four little wires coming from them or one cable with a shield and center conductor? – Todd Wilcox May 11 '17 at 12:11
  • @papakias what do you mean by electronic transporters or adapters? – Ampp3 May 12 '17 at 18:54
  • @Todd the pickups are indeed humbuckers, I can supply pics if you doubt :) The pickups each have 4 cables coming out of them: white, black, red, and green. Also a ground. – Ampp3 May 12 '17 at 18:55
  • Since they have 4 cables now I do believe they are humbuckers but they are wired to only use one coil. Find the manufacturer's wiring diagram for them and make sure they are wired correctly and not being used in "coil tap" or "split coil" mode. – Todd Wilcox May 12 '17 at 19:46
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Symptoms point to either a ground or shielding issue. You say you have tried working with your ground, but you need to ensure you have a consistent ground all the way through (check each pot for ground - re-do all solder joints if needed.)

Shielding is trickier - most guitars don't need much on the way of additional shielding, but it is often a good idea to shield the cavity anyway. This helps mitigate a poor ground.

Of course it is possible that the issue is within the pickup - and really the only easy way to check this is to swap it out for another one.

  • Do I need to ground the pots even if they aren't part of the circuit? I mentioned that they weren't even part of my circuit, and yet I was still getting noise. I would try to swap out pickups, but BOTH of my pickups are having the issue, which makes me think that they aren't the problem. – Ampp3 May 12 '17 at 18:56
  • Oh, sorry - I misread that bit. If you have pickup directly connected to jack and you have already checked cable and amp, then you really only have pickup, wire to jack, and jack as possible issues. Ground and shielding are still going to be key, but if they don't work then replace your pickup. – Doktor Mayhem May 12 '17 at 18:58
  • Hmm so I guess my question now is: how much noise would an unsheilded humbucker make if the amp has mid-level distortion on? A lot? Very little? I noticed that ALL my other guitars get quieter when you touch the bridge in that scenario, so I'm wondering if my current pickups and the wood they're placed in are just more susceptible to shielding issues. – Ampp3 May 12 '17 at 19:24
  • It can be incredibly noisy – Doktor Mayhem May 12 '17 at 19:40

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