Buzzing when I touch pickup pole pieces

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Philthy, Jun 29, 2003.

  1. Philthy

    Philthy Supporting Member

    Jun 12, 2001
    Wallington, NJ
    I just installed the Seymour Duncan Musicman replacement system (pickup and preamp) - Alnico p/up - in my Stingray. It was pretty easy to install. I love the sound. However, I've noticed that when I touch the pickup pole pieces with my finger (while not touching anything else like strings, bridge, etc) I hear a buzz. Any idea if this is normal? If not, how can I fix this? Is this common with Alnico pickups?

    I believe that everything is properly shielded and grounded. The pickup cavity, control cavity and pickguard are all shielded. I have the pickup grounded to the volume pot. The input jack is grounded to the bridge.

    Any help would be much appreciated.

  2. Stop touching it, problem solved.

    Could be a bad cable, did you try another?
    Maybe recheck your ground.

    Can you contact S.D. ?

    Does it buzz when you are touching nothing?
  3. mslatter


    Apr 8, 2003
    I had the same problem with my Jazz bass, and asked on alt.guitar.bass. What they reminded me is that the pole piece isn't part of a direct circuit. So, you're not completing a circuit anywhere by touching them. What might be happening is that you are conducting noise through your body, which the pole piece is transmitting to the windings of the pups, thus eventually coming out your amp. One solution is to block out the electrical noise but not touching the pole pieces. I accomplished this by coating my pole pieces with a dab of nail polish. Anothing logical thing to do, though I haven't tried this yet, is to ground the pole pieces themselves, giving the noise a place to go. You can probably see this effect in action by touching a pole piece, and touching a string at the same time. The string's grounded, and thus sucks up the electrical signal from your body. The noise stops. For me, it didn't stop, because, for the first time, I was using coated strings, and was thus not making skin-to-metal contact.