Billy Zoom's Jet Set

Gretsch G6129BZ Pickups too noisy. Suggestions?

1

Hi All,

My first post here. Last April('16) I was fortunate enough to buy a Gretsch G6129BZ Billy Zoom Custom Shop Tribute Silver Jet on eBay. And I absolutely love it! It is my goto guitar and I rehearse and gig with it exclusively. However, the pickups can be quite noisy depending on the environment. Of course, being single coil that is to be expected. I do play with a bit of gain, perhaps 10% more than Billy (just a guess here). I run it through a Mesa Boogie Mark V:35 using the dirty channel to give me tube distortion. Sounds great unless you are in a really 60 Hz noisy place and then it can be overwhelming. That was the case at my gig this past weekend, so I decided I better look into some possible solutions.

I do know all about adding shielding to the cavities of the guitar and I've done this on some of my other guitars, most of the time that really doesn't work because the noise is hitting the pickups and you aren't shielding those. So, what other options are there? I'm considering going to a Filter-tron type pickup, perhaps a TV Jones. Any thoughts/suggestions?

Thanks, Craig

2

Uh oh.

3

You need to build a Faraday cage, big enough to climb into. Make it strong enough to withstand Billy's post which may soon appear.

(The above is written in jest. Billy is no doubt delighted that you like to play his signature model. His brisk and forthright manner reveals a true heart of gold)

TV Jones makes Dynasonic sets with reverse wind, reverse polarity- hum cancelling in the centre position. Billy's not keen on this.

TV Jones makes Filtertrons of various flavours in Dynasonic cases which are a straight swap without routing and retain the normal appearance of the guitar. I am quite, quite certain that Billy doesn't like these pickups.

It's very possible that he'll suggest turning down the master volume between songs.

Maybe have a look at the EHX Hum Debugger. Might get you out of the mire on those occasions when noise becomes a real pest without resorting to guitar surgery-

http://www.ehx.com/products...

Best of luck with the guitar and welcome to you.

4

I know Billy Zoom doesn't like this but you could have the neck pickup reverse wound so the middle position is hum cancelling.

5

Might try a volume pedal or, as ade says, practice right hand technique on your master volume. Foot pedal to switch to 2nd channel at no master volume. I'm on your side, I desire the same sound. But switching to a humbucker will remove the rumble from your overdrive distortion.

6

It's 120hz buzz, not 60hz, but it's either that or lose the single coil tone. Reverse winding only cuts hum in the middle position, which is the only position that doesn't sound good with lots of gain, so what's the point? Mid position twang is better without reverse winding. I've just learned to live with the hum. It's only a real problem in halls that still have SCR dimmer packs for the lights. FWIW, the hum is usually quietest when you face away from the audience and bend over slightly. I think that's Murphey's Law of RF interference.

7

And yes, always spin the Master off between songs, but if you use as much gain as I do, you have to do that anyway to make the guitar stop feeding back.

8

BTW, if you're using a lot of gain, the Seymour magnet springs will feed back unless you put a glob of silicone calk on them.

9

"the hum is usually quietest when you face away from the audience and bend over slightly.

I imagine this this will put an end to the hum.

10

A noise gate like a Rocktron Hush will eliminate noise when you're not playing. I've got one but never use it.

11

I've had good results with the EHX Hum Debugger. And recently I installed Ernie Ball Cobalt strings on a Dynasonic equipped Gretsch, and a normal single coil Telecaster... and for me, that also reduced hum significantly. I can't find anyone else who has had the same experience, but a set of strings is a cheap experiment. I normally use 10 gauge and found 9 gauge Cobalts felt closer to normal. Hope something helps. If it does, please PM me to let me know... good luck!

12

Strings can't make hum. Pickup coils however are like antennas and will pick up any RF in the vicinity, which will then be amplified along with the string vibrations. Hum is usually 120hz, but the RF from SCR's is full bandwidth and extrememly hard to remove. (If you're overseas, line hum will be 100hz.)

13

I've had good results with the EHX Hum Debugger. And recently I installed Ernie Ball Cobalt strings on a Dynasonic equipped Gretsch, and a normal single coil Telecaster... and for me, that also reduced hum significantly. I can't find anyone else who has had the same experience, but a set of strings is a cheap experiment. I normally use 10 gauge and found 9 gauge Cobalts felt closer to normal. Hope something helps. If it does, please PM me to let me know... good luck!

– Daddy Dog

I just installed cobalt .10's Sunday on my dynasonic silver jet! I noticed they have almost no break in time and are super crisp, if these last as long as I've heard, these are my new strings. I also noticed the .10's feel a little stiffer than the D'Addarios I'm used to, maybe I'll try .09's next time around

14

I use a tuner pedal to cut my signal between songs. It is also usefull for tuning...wink wink....

15

I use a tuner pedal to cut my signal between songs. It is also usefull for tuning...wink wink....

– Matt Vogt

Heard that! I mean I understand what you're.... oh well you know what I mean.:)

16

Thanks everyone for all the suggestions. I only like playing through the bridge pickup so a reverse wound neck pickup isn't for me. Yes, I do either switch the tuner on or roll off the volume in between songs (sometime during if there's a lull!!!) and that's fine. No issue with that. And in most venues, that's been adequate.

The place I just gigged at was so bad with the noise it was like my guitar was being hit with a cattle prod! ...and no matter which way I turned nor how far I bent over, there was no taming it .

So perhaps this is sacrilege, but I did order a TV Jones Classic Plus in the DeArmond housing. I want to put it in and see how it sounds. If I don't like it, I'll swap it back out.

I read some reviews of the EHX Hum Debugger. Sounds like it struggles a bit with higher gain scenarios. I'll check out more reviews.

17

I wouldn't want Dynasonics reverse wound either. I prefer the middle position sound on my Duo Jet most of the time and I wouldn't want to do anything to change it. I usually play with just a bit of natural amp overdrive when I play my Duo Jet.

My Casino has a reverse wound Gibson P90 in the neck and that guitar sounds fine in the middle position.

18

Thanks everyone for all the suggestions. I only like playing through the bridge pickup so a reverse wound neck pickup isn't for me. Yes, I do either switch the tuner on or roll off the volume in between songs (sometime during if there's a lull!!!) and that's fine. No issue with that. And in most venues, that's been adequate.

The place I just gigged at was so bad with the noise it was like my guitar was being hit with a cattle prod! ...and no matter which way I turned nor how far I bent over, there was no taming it .

So perhaps this is sacrilege, but I did order a TV Jones Classic Plus in the DeArmond housing. I want to put it in and see how it sounds. If I don't like it, I'll swap it back out.

I read some reviews of the EHX Hum Debugger. Sounds like it struggles a bit with higher gain scenarios. I'll check out more reviews.

– cBroadbo

Maybe the venue had some grounding issues.

19

Maybe the venue had some grounding issues.

– Matt Vogt

Quite possible. If that was the case, would the noise really be coming from/through the amp? Is there a remedy?

The other thing they had was some stage lights overhead that looked like typical lights but were comprise of LEDs. I've read guitarists complaints that cheap poorly shielded LED lights can throw off a lot of noise. Is there any truth to that?

20

LED's shouldn't have any effect. Dimmers and florescent lighting yes.

21

How about a large neon sign, because there was one with the venue name behind the stage about 5' directly above my amp?

23

How about a large neon sign, because there was one with the venue name behind the stage about 5' directly above my amp?

– cBroadbo

Yep, neons are horrible. Also, never leave your cell phone in your pocket when playing.

24

99% of the time, it's the dimmer pack for the lights. It's quietest when the lights are all the way up and get's louder as they turn them down. We've played venues that were so bad, we had to cut the power to the dimmer pack and light the stage with 3 clip lights on mic stands. That was at Bogarts in Cincinnati. First Avenue in Minniapolis was the all time worst. Crystal Ballroom in Portland is another major offender. In all three of these, the hum is louder than the strings and can be heard all through the songs. The hum will change pitch as they turn different colors up and down.

25

Billy, are you talking about dimmer packs on stage lighting or ambient room lighting?


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