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newfiesig

Unrelenting Les Paul Static... Bad Wiring?

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Hi guys, long time guitar owner, but first time on this forum.

 

I have a 2017 Gibson Les Paul Classic (bought it used) and have had constant static electricity problems with it. If you're not familiar, there are many discussions on the topic and videos where just by running your hand up and down the neck, or rubbing your hand across the back (more so over the cavity covers) you can hear popping and crackling through your amp.

 

Gibson themselves recommend that you rub dryer sheets to discharge the guitar. Others recommend increasing the relative humidity as dry air exasperates the problem.

 

Here's the thing, I can get rid of the static, but I can't keep it from coming back. There's not enough dryer sheets made to keep the guitar static free.

 

I friend of mine (who has a PhD in physics) said that it actually sounds like a grounding issue with some of the Gibsons. He said that a dryer sheet essentially chemically coats everything you touch it with positively charged ions, which combines with the electrons statically built up and grounds them. Same as the humidifier, the electrons are grounded through the air. All this because the guitar can't ground itself properly.

 

Has anyone else experienced this? Is there a specific weak spot in the wiring that could be causing this?

 

Thanks! Hopefully this will lead to a good discussion.

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I do this with every guitar I buy and decide to keep:

 

Electro-static Guitar Graphite Shielding paint and a ground wire.

 

I got a kit, but you can get any kind of shielding paint. I got a 2oz bottle from a seller on reverb. I painted four guitars and have plenty of pain for another guitar or two.

 

This is what I do. I start by removing the electronics and pickups. Then I paint interior of control cavity and pickup routes. I make sure I get the sides and as much of the wiring routes as I can. Be sure to cover your guitar's finish if you're not good at detail painting. The graphite in the paint will dry in a silvery-like finish that doesn't rub out of the finish on your guitar, so don't make a mess.

I usually put on two coats.

 

I get a few inches of 20-22g wire and a small wood screw. I screw the screw into the cavity somewhere out of the way, and attach one end of wire to the screw. I paint the screw with the graphite paint.

 

Next, I reinstall all the electronics in the manner I want. This is usually when I change out the pots or pickups, etc. Once everything is installed and all set, I then ground the other end of the wire to a pot or other ground in the electronics cavity.

 

I button the control cavity up and give it a run. At my house, I have this annoying overhead LED lighting system in the kitchen. If those lights are on, no matter what, I get hum in my studio that I can hear, and it's super annoying. Once I paint my guitars control cavities and pickup routes with the graphite paint and ground it, I get absolute silence. No hum, no static, nothing. It works awesome.

 

Before I used this paint, I was chasing this hum all over the place. Got new cables, RF filters, got an expensive clean-power double inverter, etc. Nothing worked. Except $10 worth of conductive paint and an hour of my time.

 

I have never used this paint with a PCB setup, but I don't see why it wouldn't work the same way.

 

Good luck!

Edited by Derald

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quite familiar with the problem.

 

doesn't the classic have p90s?

 

 

I have a 2002 standard that was relentless. I wound up having the pickup cavity re-grounded (Wire soldered to all pots, and then to the ground) which vastly improved it. In the dry winter months, it will still be noticeable once in a while. I don't know why some are worse than others, but they seem to be. my 95 Standard was not nearly as problematic as my 2002.

Edited by kidblast

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If it keeps coming back. I would guess the nitro body is still curing.

 

Try cleaning the body /neck with naphtha, that should leave the surface residue free.

 

Dont use polish as that should increase an extra compound .

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It sounds like you are describing 60 cycle hum that you get from a poor AC ground.

 

Does your LP Classic have P-90's? P-90's can be inherently noisy (60 cycle hum), under the wrong conditions, turning your guitar into a powered antenna. You can also get noiseless P-90's.

 

Do you use a lot of overdrive? Back it off a bit.

 

Have you tried an AC hum eliminator?

 

see hum eliminator search

 

I use a Ebtech Hum X.

 

You may need to check your cables that they are all in good condition high quality and patch cables as short as possible.

Edited by mihcmac

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It sounds like you are describing 60 cycle hum that you get from a poor AC ground.

 

Does your LP Classic have P-90's?

 

Do you use a lot of overdrive?

 

Have you tried an AC hum eliminator?

 

see hum eliminator search

 

I use a Ebtech Hum X.

 

You may need to check your cables that they are all in good condition high quality and patch cables as short as possible.

 

It's not the 60 cycle hum I'm referring to, it's crackling and popping from static electricity.

 

My Classic has '57 Classic pups.

 

I went to my local shop today to show my guitar to the tech. He was blown away and never heard of it before. Then we tested a few Gibsons in the shop: a Les Paul Standard, a Les Paul Studio, an Explorer, and a SG... through two different amps.

 

All 4 of the guitars had the same static issues as mine! They were not quite as bad, but they still had it. The tech (and a couple of customers) were shocked (excuse the pun) that they had never heard this before.

 

So at this point I'm going to pull everything apart, add copper shielding and ground to that. I'm in the middle of a very intense course for work, so it will be a couple of weeks before I can get at it.

 

It's pretty sad that I have to finish the production of a 2300 dollar guitar. Without messing with it (like I will have to), it seems the only solution to the problem is to buy a PRS...

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Here we go again

 

I'm a huge fan of Gibson. I really want this guitar to work, however at the same time I am not afraid to call a product out for being flawed. If I can fix the problem (that many of these have) by adding shielding/grounding than it is obviously something to be concerned with.

 

The next 2500 bucks I have lying around will not be drawn from my pocket buy an instrument that was pushed out the door before it was finished.

 

It's common sense.

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I'm a huge fan of Gibson. I really want this guitar to work, however at the same time I am not afraid to call a product out for being flawed. If I can fix the problem (that many of these have) by adding shielding/grounding than it is obviously something to be concerned with.

 

The next 2500 bucks I have lying around will not be drawn from my pocket buy an instrument that was pushed out the door before it was finished.

 

It's common sense.

 

they all do this, SGs Les Pauls, My es-135. I have 6 Gibsons, the only one that doesn't do it is my SJ200. I'm surprised the guys at the store have never noticed before. The only one I had to do something about was the 2002 standard, but once I had all the pots properly grounded, it vastly improved.

 

It really has nothing to do with the QC @ Gibson. The Nitro finish is the culprit.

Edited by kidblast

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I'm a huge fan of Gibson. I really want this guitar to work, however at the same time I am not afraid to call a product out for being flawed. If I can fix the problem (that many of these have) by adding shielding/grounding than it is obviously something to be concerned with.

 

The next 2500 bucks I have lying around will not be drawn from my pocket buy an instrument that was pushed out the door before it was finished.

 

It's common sense.

 

Common sense in this bizarre Guitar World is that new, uncured, nitro guitars tend to be static-y for a while. Take it out, use it, play it, bring it home, put it up wet, it'll be fine and soon, I don't know how long that is, you won't even remember the static.

 

It is also true that they sell guitars to anyone these days, and guys in a guitar shop that are unaware of this "problem" are just the guys to sell them to anyone.

 

rct

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Use an ohm meter on your guitar if you have one to see if your ground is good. If it is there is no reason to add more grounding.

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they all do this, SGs Les Pauls, My es-135. I have 6 Gibsons, the only one that doesn't do it is my SJ200. I'm surprised the guys at the store have never noticed before. The only one I had to do something about was the 2002 standard, but once I had all the pots properly grounded, it vastly improved.

 

It really has nothing to do with the QC @ Gibson. The Nitro finish is the culprit.

 

As you said "once I had all the pots properly grounded, it vastly improved"

 

Does this not imply that it DOES have something to do with the QC @ Gibson?

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I think this is not just a Gibson problem. However I will admit my Epiphones (owned three) all were electrostatic painted in the control cavities and pickup routes and that is where I first noticed NOT hearing static or grounding problems. I’d plug in my Gibson and would hear that annoying noise.

 

The electrostatic paint is cheaper than copper and in my opinion easier to apply and use. Good luck hunting ‘the noise’. Believe me it’s annoying.

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I think this is not just a Gibson problem. However I will admit my Epiphones (owned three) all were electrostatic painted in the control cavities and pickup routes and that is where I first noticed NOT hearing static or grounding problems. I’d plug in my Gibson and would hear that annoying noise.

 

The electrostatic paint is cheaper than copper and in my opinion easier to apply and use. Good luck hunting ‘the noise’. Believe me it’s annoying.

 

I've read that the electrostatic paint doesn't last overly long. Any experience in that?

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As you said "once I had all the pots properly grounded, it vastly improved"

 

Does this not imply that it DOES have something to do with the QC @ Gibson?

 

 

I don't think so, (just my opine) because the guitar itself is spectacular.

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It's the nitro finish. It does this while it's curing and especially when there's low humidity. Some guitars are way worse than others. Not the electronics. The nitro. Save yourself lots of trouble and get past the "it's the grounding" thing. No amount of rewiring or shielding will keep the nitro from building up a charge. Once the nitro cures and the surface gets scuffed up it will get better and eventually disappear. [thumbup] [thumbup]

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It's the nitro finish. It does this while it's curing and especially when there's low humidity. Some guitars are way worse than others. Not the electronics. The nitro. Save yourself lots of trouble and get past the "it's the grounding" thing. No amount of rewiring or shielding will keep the nitro from building up a charge. Once the nitro cures and the surface gets scuffed up it will get better and eventually disappear. [thumbup] [thumbup]

 

My new 2018 Les Paul Traditional did the same thing for a couple of months. I got it in February. Now that it's broken in a bit and we have more humidity in the house, it's not an issue at all. I played it for a couple hours last night and no static.

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Replying to the question regarding durability of the electro static paint. I had no durability problems but of course it’s on the inside of the cavity and pickup routes. Once setup I have no reason to go in there so nothing wears. I haven’t owned a guitar for twenty years so I don’t know how long it would last in that case but again I rarely even open the back once I have my guitar setup the way I want so I see no reason anything should wear the paint.

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It's the nitro finish. It does this while it's curing and especially when there's low humidity. Some guitars are way worse than others. Not the electronics. The nitro. Save yourself lots of trouble and get past the "it's the grounding" thing. No amount of rewiring or shielding will keep the nitro from building up a charge. Once the nitro cures and the surface gets scuffed up it will get better and eventually disappear. [thumbup] [thumbup]

 

I can definitely say that the nitro on my guitar is not cured. When I was testing different things, I temporarily taped the back cavity cover on with painters tape (so as not to put screws in and out, wearing the holes). I even used the yellow painters tape, which is the delicate version of what is meant to not peel paint off the walls.

 

Well, when I pulled it off, the tape had left an indent on the finish! I had to use 3000 grit sand paper and swirl remover to polish it out. You could actually feel the impression when you ran your hand over it!

 

So are you confident that this will go away over time? Respectfully, I've heard so many answers to this question I don't know which way is up...

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