Lesson suggestion: How to get rid of hum on single coil guitars

In your videos you play guitars with single coil pickup a lot but I never hear hum. Could you make a video on how to get rid of the hum with single coil pickups? Also could you make a video on how to use the volume and tone controls on an electric guitar.

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you can cover the inside of the pickup cavity with copper tape

That’s less of a technique lesson, and more of a guitar maintenance/modification thing.

I know Justin has previously done some guitar maintenance stuff, but this seems like more of an advanced guitar maintenance topic.

I’m not sure I would see him doing a lesson on this.



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I’ve never found the hum intrusive - in fact I’ve never even noticed it and I have plenty of single coils. I suggest you may have an earthing problem with your guitar

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No one really ever talks about how to get rid of hum in single coil pickups. I guess there is no definitive answer, I just asked thinking maybe there was a technique for dealing with it.

Hum is environmental and, as such, is extremely variable. There will always be some hum, but how much will vary wildly depending on a lot of factors.

It also depends on how sensitive you are to it (again, different people will have different views), and things like whether you play mostly clean or high-gain.

There’s no definitive cure for hum, but there are things you can try that may work for you. The one is the shielding suggested by @LesPaulMoreRay

Fluorescent lights and dimmers are often a source of a lot of hum for some people. Sometimes moving location or even rotating your body can make a huge difference.



Hey Brad
You also mentioned requesting a video on the volume and tone controls. Justin talks about the volume and tone controls in this video lesson if you want to check it out

It’s grade 3, module 15, lesson 7
I’m not sure if that’s what you meant or if it helps :slight_smile:


Thanks JasmineJames. Justin does cover what the volume and tone control does pretty well in that video. I dont think he stresses how important knowing how to use the volume and tone control is to getting your sound. I always found the volume and tone controls on guitars a pain and a needless hassle and wondered why they were even needed till I saw this youtube video: Guitar Volume & Tone Controls: Infinite Tonal POWER! - YouTube and there are a lot of other good videos on youtube on how to use volume and tone on an electric guitar.

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And since were on the subject of requesting videos on achieving tone, I noticed the videos Justin made for covering effects pedals on this site to cover a lot of obscure pedals that most people would never use and does not give an overview of how the most common effects pedals work. I found this playlist on youtube to be outstanding to give a quick but thorough description on how each type of effects pedal works: EFFECTS 101: Chorus - YouTube I am aware though that people are moving away from effects pedals considering most amps have built in effects plugins, like the Boss Katana 50 that Justin recommends that beginners get.

Hi Brad,
Do you mean the chorus ,delay ,distortion ,looper pedals ?
At least those are a few in the past that I’ve seen here,…not to mention the memory and posts of the community members…or do I miss something?


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roger_holland - Im referring to his “Guitar Effect Reviews” section here: https://www.justinguitar.com/modules/guitar-effect-reviews sorry, I should have been more specific

I don`t see any obscure pedals there ?
Hope you find what you need.Good luck

Edit:I see you’ve edited your link…but I think it’s clear there’s quite a lot out there and this link you just posted has been reported to the Team that there are some dead links…it’s being worked on it, and by the way, there are beautiful pedals included… :sunglasses:

I just think that Justin goes too heavy into wah pedals for a beginners site. Many of my favorite guitarists use a wah pedal in their signal chain because it just gives better sound. But still its not a good choice for a beginner.

I think you don’t fully understand some things (and that’s okay)…this is not (only) a beginners site, it continues until you are really good with guitar and many many skills and fly into the wide world…and the link that your post is also not aimed at beginners area but in a general area of ​​the site…
I hope I’m clear :smiley:

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To be brutally honest at your stage I don’t think you should be too concerned about such things until you can play to a level where you need them, it can get to be a major distraction and take you off the road to learning to play. Remember that there is a big difference between want and need, and if you’re serious about learning to play then need must be the way to go.

Having good sound is not a distraction, its part of the ‘cool factor’. I remember when I was 17 (Im 57 now, my parents were too cheap to give me guitar lessons back then so Im starting late in life) and my friend showed me his guitar run through an MXR distortion pedal and I thought it was just so awesome sounding. Learning to play a guitar that sounds like Chet Atkins is just not cool unless you grew up on country music. And now with the plugin technology we have to day there is nothing stopping kids from being able to try out every amp in existence. My advice to any kid starting out is dont spend a dime on amps and pedals and just buy an audio interface and just use free plugins.

I also want to mention that I am also learning piano through online courses. With a piano you cant play nice songs till you know ALL the scales, ALL the 7th chords and All the inversions for those chords and it takes many months to learn all that. As opposed to a guitar, you can play thousands of famous songs with just 2 or 3 chords right away. So your are just sabotaging yourself by not having a good rock guitar sound on your guitar from the start.

single coils have hum… it’s the way it is. I’ts part of the charm of single coils. Unless your talking really bad hum then it’s a shielding or grounding issue or could be interference from lights, computers, ect.

You could change to humbuckers or the noisesless pickups which have two coils wound in opposing directions to cancel the hum.

My Dean Zelinsky is a Strat type. The middle pickup is wound oppositely from the neck and bridge pickups, so if I have the selector switch in the second or fourth position, there’s a noise cancelling effect. No hum. I assumed all Strat types were like that.

I generally play with the neck and middle pickups selected for that reason (except when I want the Robert Cray tone of neck pickup only.)

Vintage Strats and vintage reissues don’t have the centre pickups reverse wound. You also get hum from the transformer in the amp.

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markr31 - I like cheap guitars, and not because Im poor, I really just love my $150 Jackson Dinky and $150 Ephiphone Les Paul because the both sound awesome and feel perfect. Like if I had $1500 to spend on guitars I would buy 10 Jackson Dinkys because they just look, sound and feel great. So Im not going to buy a $150 single coil counter wound Semour Duncan replacement pickup for any $150 guitar I buy.