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I just started dating my H-137 again. I love the P-90 sound so much....this nice kind of twang/chime/bite that humbuckers lack. The Lollars in the guitar are great sounding for sure. I know P90s hum but does anyone out there have ideas about lessening the hum? If I am turned wrong, sometimes I hear the hum over the actual guitar tone. I can use a gate to a degree but you all know how gates are....

My vintage Casino has P90s, but I guess I just learned to live with the hum.

Also, has anyone had any luck with the so called silent P-90s? I know Dimarzio and Duncan make them. I have tried silent strat/tele silent single coils but there is something that ain't quite right about them.

thanks

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1 hour ago, rwinking said:

I just started dating my H-137 again. I love the P-90 sound so much....this nice kind of twang/chime/bite that humbuckers lack. The Lollars in the guitar are great sounding for sure. I know P90s hum but does anyone out there have ideas about lessening the hum? If I am turned wrong, sometimes I hear the hum over the actual guitar tone. I can use a gate to a degree but you all know how gates are....

My vintage Casino has P90s, but I guess I just learned to live with the hum.

Also, has anyone had any luck with the so called silent P-90s? I know Dimarzio and Duncan make them. I have tried silent strat/tele silent single coils but there is something that ain't quite right about them.

thanks

I have one of the HOC 137’s with Mojotone Quiet Coil P-90’s.  Compared to my SG Special, they are really quiet and they still retain that snarly P90 bite.

25CE8BD3-1251-4D2C-A7D2-D7197582B2FC.jpeg

Edited by DetroitBlues
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It's been along time since I've had  p90's ( in a early 60's LP junior with a bunch of pedals).

I don't recall  the hum being a real issue, I guess some are more prone to interference than others? 

 If you're hesitant about replacing the p 90's , I have a fix that works quite well for all single coil pups and should eliminate the most of the hum .

I've been doing this for years  for recording direct and when in close proximity to computers/ work stations.

It would be prudent  to cover the bobbin wire first if it doesn't already have a protective wrap. 

The  pickup is wrapped with a piece of copper foil  (used for cavity shielding) ,  top /sides and around to the bottom plate and is soldered to ground.

If you take your time you can flatten the foil down enough over the pole pieces to allow the cover to go back on properly.

Depending on how tight your cover fits,this may be an option.

 

Screen shot 2020-11-23 at 5.50.41 PM.jpg

Edited by loudtubeamps
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Turn off TVs and computers and any florescent lights, and then turn your body until you hear the least amount of hum. It shouldn't be louder than the signal! 

I've tried all the hum cancelling on P90s (dummy coils, shielding, etc) and IMNSHO, frankly anything that kills the hum, kills the cool edge of a P90. When in 

places where the interference is that bad, play a humbucker guitar, that's what they were designed for!

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I get static hum from P90's and single coil p'ups.  My guitar tech dude recommended shielding the pickguard along with a ground wire.  Maybe this is completely different from the above hum issues, but I thought I'd toss this into the conversation.

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15 hours ago, rockabilly69 said:

Turn off TVs and computers and any florescent lights, and then turn your body until you hear the least amount of hum. It shouldn't be louder than the signal! 

I've tried all the hum cancelling on P90s (dummy coils, shielding, etc) and IMNSHO, frankly anything that kills the hum, kills the cool edge of a P90. When in 

places where the interference is that bad, play a humbucker guitar, that's what they were designed for!

This, This, This!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I have played P-90s for years and years, never had an unmanageable issue.  

Turn the guitar's volume to zero between songs.  When the band kicks in, nobody is going to hear the hum.  Are you using overdrive?.... Nobody is going to hear the hum.

I have used P-90s in Praise Bands (read; quiet & intimate setting) and never had a problem with hum.  I have recorded countless times at home with a modest home recording studio, no noise gates, no hum issues.  Mega, Mega, Successful artists have used single coil guitars to perform & record with and it is part of the charm & tone.... and it is manageable. 

I will concede that I am not performing with neon Bud Light signs all around me, but like Daniel said turn your body till the hum is minimal and turn the guitar's volume off between songs. 

Notice here how Sean Costello uses his volume knob (up & down) between quiet parts of the song.  Also there is weird lighting all over and the hum isn't an issue.  And Sean had THE tone with REAL P-90s!!!!

 

Edited by Kuz
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14 hours ago, Gitfiddler said:

I get static hum from P90's and single coil p'ups.  My guitar tech dude recommended shielding the pickguard along with a ground wire.  Maybe this is completely different from the above hum issues, but I thought I'd toss this into the conversation.

I have been told by several Luthiers that 60 cycle hum can't really be shielded.  It is not a ground hum, it is coming from the pickups.  They really thought shielding for 60 cycle home was basically useless.  Then again, I have bought boutique guitars from luthiers with foil shielding and shielding paint.  Again, since the hum is not an issue for me, I don't know if the shielding made any difference.

 

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You can try shielding the pickup covers, but I don't know if that will do anything. Use copper tape. Make sure the shielding is connected to ground and not touching any of the pickup wires. It's a cheap solution if it works. And it can be easily reversed.

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Thanks everyone! I also see that Dimarzio and DUncan have quiet P-90s. I have played with P-90s in the past when for years I used my trusty old Casino as my main guitar. I guess I had just gotten used to  turning a certain way to keep the noise down, which is easier in the studio than playing live. After the Casino I had switched to a strat for a number of years and had a Rocktron Hush IIc in my rack which worked pretty well. Then I switched to humbuckers and I suppose I had forgotten how noisy single coils and P-90s were and was wondering if there was anything new. I think I will try some new pickups and find out how they sound in comparison. I am somewhat dubious, as there is nothing cooler than "that sound."

I still have the Hush IIc somewhere, but I am tired of adding anything to my rack. Maybe line 6 will come up with a Hush IIc emulation?

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6 hours ago, Kuz said:

I have been told by several Luthiers that 60 cycle hum can't really be shielded.  It is not a ground hum, it is coming from the pickups.  They really thought shielding for 60 cycle home was basically useless.  Then again, I have bought boutique guitars from luthiers with foil shielding and shielding paint.  Again, since the hum is not an issue for me, I don't know if the shielding made any difference.

 

Funny thing Kuz, and some guys aren't going to like what I say, but I've installed shielding kits in some of my guitars where it took some of the magic away from the guitar, as in high end that I previously liked! From here on out, when I do wiring jobs on guitars, I pay very close attention to the solder joints, and keep the leads short on pickups, but other than that no shielding. I have three P90 guitars (1965 ES125, 2010 Historic SG Special, 2019 Historic 1953 reissue Les Paul), and they are fairly quiet, not humbucker quiet, but you know what I mean! The only guitars that I have with shielding in them are my Zemaitis guitars but that is what the metal top on those guitars was designed for.

 

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21 minutes ago, rockabilly69 said:

The only guitars that I have with shielding in them are my Zemaitis guitars but that is what the metal top on those guitars was designed for.

I wonder what  metal top would look like on my H-137?

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Just now, rwinking said:

I wonder what  metal top would look like on my H-137?

How handy are you with metal working tools?  :) My girlfriend and I were actually talking about this the other day. She's quite an accomplished artist and I was thinking about having her draw me out me a custom nice looking design for a metal top, which I would cut out, and then etch. Of course I would practice on a bunch of scrap metal before I actually did the real thing. The hardest part I've seen on these tops is the edging work which looks pretty detailed.

just imagine trying to do something this detailed...

 

 

CS Top.jpg

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I'm also a big fan of Fralin P-92s.  They sound single coil enough for me.

One of my other favorites is this pickup.  It's hum free and produces single coil sounds.  Included are gratuitous bowling ball finish pics. 

 

 

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There are those who can sniff out the differences between these hum-free pickups and a true P-90.  Even I can at high gain.  The price you pay is hum.

I can't always get rid of the 60 hz interference.  There are dimmers, fluorescent bulbs, humidifiers and refrigerators that pop on.

OTOH, humbuckers are not as lively.   

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If the guitar is grounded properly then the #1 culprit for low frequency hum is E.M.Interference / close proximity to amplifier transformers / digital devices and the orientation of the pickups in relation to these sources,(the star wars lightsaber effect) .

If the buzz is at a higher freq. than 60 cycles and is steady state (where orientation of the guitar does nothing to change the amplitude of the hum )then the probable cause is dirty A.C. potentially caused by s.c.r. dimmers and other devices that are on the same A.C. line or the device is in very close proximity to the guitar.

As mentioned wrapping the pup and covering the most susceptible part of the pickup ( the pole pieces) will eliminate most of the interference ( hum).

Nothing new here, Fender , Gibby and others has been doing complete shielding for eons.

The neck pup on a Tele, Firebird and Super Humbuckers, lipstick pickups.......

 Shielding the control cavity and or pickguard yields very minor benefits.

I have experimented  with various single coil configurations by covering part of the poles etc. while comparing top end ( shielded v.s. non shielded )and have come to the conclusion that the tonal change is very minimal and the shielding is time well spent.

 Some may not appreciate the cosmetic appearance of the foil but for my needs, I prefer to have my tools working as reliably and as quietly as possible.

 The shiny copper does dumb down and patina over time.

 

Screen shot 2020-11-25 at 9.22.59 AM.jpg

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  • 2 weeks later...

I’ve never use a power or electrical conditioner but there seem to be many of them out there from cheap to $$$$. You might try one of those. I’ve talked to people that swear by them. Personally I live with the hum. I only have p90 guitars without wax potting now, the 150 GT, a ‘57 es225 and a Tokai LP Special. I cannot bring myself to use a canceling P90s because I’m a pickup snob and I feel they don’t give the tone I like in a p90. One thing that I think helps with hum is not going through pedals like over drives and distortions, they tend to make it worse imo. When I’m not playing a lead my volume is usually around 3-4 so most of the hum is tamed at that point. Between songs the volume is always down but that should be a standard with or without hum issues anyway. P90s are a raunchy beast and they just have an attitude. They allow me to get some really cool tones with a super simple set up and in return I just expect some attitude. 

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I wanted to revisit this question with my answer.

I spent the other night playing my son's Boss Katana amp to show him all the features he's missing out on.

Went to use the high gain channels and realized, my 137 Mojotone are not really noiseless, just quieter than my other P90's.

Wish I could see one of these pulled apart.

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