I've been making CBGs for a few months now.  So far I have 16 that range from simple 3 string acoustic slide guitars to fully fretted 4 string 2 humbucker electric.  I love the hobby and try to do something different with each one but I've hit a snag.  All my electric guitars, other than ones with piezo pickups, have an annoying buzz when I plug them in.

I've tried humbuckers, coil pickups and clip-on acoustic pickups (mounted as a surface mic).  Some I've soldered and some were pre-wired.  No matter what I use, I get that buzz.

Is there something I'm missing?  Shielding, grounding, feedback I'm overlooking?  I just can't get a clean sound when I plug in.

Please help

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Comment by Dan Sleep on November 3, 2015 at 2:46pm

Like CBJ says, it may not be the amp or the guitar. Pick up your stuff and move to another room and plug it all in again, and see if you still get the hum.

Comment by Jittery Jay on November 3, 2015 at 1:16pm

The problem seems to be across the board on the guitars I've installed pickups (any type) in.  My store bought guitars all work fine with the same lead and amp and I've tried different leads and 3 different amps (not counting the 4 amps I've built which also buzz) with the same result.  I'm pretty certain the problem is something I'm doing or not doing.  I understand I may have gotten a bad pickup, but it seems unlikely I got 8 of them in 3 different configurations.

I hadn't considered outside factors like lights or computers.  I'll test it in different areas of the house to see if that helps.

I've tried moving my hands around the guitar and touching different components (strings, bridge, volume pots, jack, etc) in turns, but usually there's no change in the level of hum.

Comment by ChickenboneJohn on November 3, 2015 at 12:51pm

It may be possible that you just have problem with the wiring in your house or workshop - some places are worse than others in terms of inducing hum. Fluorescent lighting (and most bulbs these days are compact fluorescents instead of good old incandescent lighting) is notorious for this, and also computer screens are bad also..if you are anywhere near these you'll as likely as not induce humming with your guitar. Grounding the strings can help   - the hum should disappear or at least reduce when you touch the strings when the guitar is properly grounded.

Is it your amp or lead - do you get the same problem if you plug in a store-boughten electric guitar?  Use a decent guitar lead...you don't need to spend silly money on unbtanium plated jack plugs and such like, but chances are if you are using a typical no-name cheapo lead, that won't help.

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