I have used my Ibanez RG350 for roughly 2-3 years now.

I haven't played for a couple of months, and upon picking the guitar back up, the middle humbucker has a humming / fizzing noise while standing idle and playing, it never used to do this.

However, if I point the guitar string to the floor, the humming disappears.

Any idea why this happens?

The noise is only present when the pickup selector is in the middle.

Thanks for the help! If I can provide any more details just let me know.

  • 1
    Have you looked inside the body cavity to see if there are any loose wires?
    – Tama
    Commented Mar 5, 2018 at 18:19
  • 1
    Turning it towards a certain direction in the room will likely make the wiring pick up different EM waves from things like electrical wiring. I've found that amplifiers often cause this, too.
    – user43681
    Commented Mar 6, 2018 at 9:00

3 Answers 3


This is caused by inducted noise. In other words, electrical signals that are picked up from the environment by the guitar, amp tubes and other electronics (wires, pots, etc) on the guitar. Your rig is essentially a big electro magnetic antennae.

Single coil pickups are known for picking up 60Hz (and other) noise from the environment.

The humbucker was invented specifically to address the 60Hz hum issue, but they are not impervious to picking up environmental noise. This is especially true as you add more gain.

There are several things you can do to minimize inducted noise:

First determine if you guitar control cavity is shielded. If it is shielded check to ensure that all sections of the Shield have continuity to ground. You can do this yourself with a multi-meter. Shielding the control cavity can help a lot. Shielding of pickup cavities (when separate from the control cavity) provide a much smaller benefit.

Next get a noise suppressor. Not a noise gate, a suppressor. Suppressors have both a noise filter and a noise gate.

You want a unit that has four 1/4 inch jacks. These allow you to run the guitar input through the unit then to the amp then to also run your effect loop through the pedal. This allows the filter to remove noise that was added to the signal between the guitar input and the effect loop. Two units that I have used are the Boss NS-2 and the ISP Decimator G String.

The ISP is top of the list in my opinion. Very transparent and has really good filtering and the best gate I have ever played on.


A humbucker is wired in a manner where the magnetic fields it picks up from further away cancel in their effect. If your guitar picks up directional noise just on that pickup, it either does so electrically (implying that the electric shielding of this pickup is broken, so check whether there is electric connection of its outsides with the other pickups' outsides), or the humbucker is broken, possibly by one coil getting shorted out.

Now your description is not purely "hum" but also sizzle. That can be a bad connection somewhere, like a cold solder joint. A bad connection may also be susceptible to pointing the guitar to the floor (since then the weight of components pulls into a different direction). A fixed directional problem like I assume in the previous paragraph would likely also change when turning around, not just when pointing the guitar down. The latter would also likely be susceptible to "microphoning", producing noise from the amp when you knock on various parts of your guitar with a suitably hard thing (try a wooden spoon: that is likely hard enough while not likely leaving scratches or dents).


My guitar used to pick up AM Radio when I had a cable with an unshielded connector. It is likely you have a damaged wire somewhere which is allowing that pickup to pick up something else in the room, esp the amp as that is probably the way you face.


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