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  • Minor ground static pop

    I'm working on a customers stock Gibson Firebird. The complaint is when not touching the strings or anything metal,when you touch a metal part or the strings to complete the ground there is slight pop. The control cavity has been shielded with copper foil as well as the cover. All the shielding is connected to ground. The rest of the cavities are not shielded,the long route that the switch wire runs under, the pickup cavities and the underside of the pickguard. I noticed that most of my guitars do the same thing. Some of my guitars are fully shielded and some are not. My non shielded guitars the pop is a little louder than my shielded guitars and his Firebird. Is this an impossible problem to solve? Aside from going 9V active pickups.

  • #2
    have you tried putting an anti static dryer sheet under that big ole' pickguard?? silly but sometimes helps. During dryer seasons (like winter when the heat is on in the house) those big plastic pickguards sometimes build up a static charge. works for a few gigging friends.

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    • #3
      Thanks for your reply, I did in fact try that. The problem really isn't a rubbing the pickguard static, it is when you first touch any thing metal on the guitar to complete the ground. I own dozens of guitars, new and vintage. They all seem to have this problem to some degree, my 50's and 60's Fender Strats and Tele's pop louder than most of the newer guitars when you first touch anything metal. Of coarse they are unshielded with single coil pickups.
      Testing my completely shielded guitars they pop less than my unshielded guitars. The odd thing is a few of my shielded guitars do not have this problem at all. The customer that owns this Firebird in question is a home player, he finds this annoying in a low volume setting in his living room. I never really paid much attention to this kind of thing because I'm not constantly letting go of the strings when I'm playing. The only odd thing is I do own a few guitars that are shielded and do not have this ground pop at all. I was about to tell him this is a normal thing, until I found a few of my guitars totally void of this problem.

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      • #4
        Guitar tick

        Your assumption that you are "completing the ground" is incorrect.
        Your body is basically a huge capacitor.
        The tick that you hear is the discharge "into" the ground.
        It does seem to be most prevalent at low relative humidity.
        And yeah , those plastic pick guards can also store static voltage.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Jazz P Bass View Post
          Your assumption that you are "completing the ground" is incorrect.
          Your body is basically a huge capacitor.
          The tick that you hear is the discharge "into" the ground.
          It does seem to be most prevalent at low relative humidity.
          And yeah , those plastic pick guards can also store static voltage.
          Your description of me be a huge capacitor makes sense, I never thought of it that way. I agree with everything you say. What baffles me is that I have tested many of my own guitars in the same setting as the Firebird in question. They all have a static ground pop except for two. The two guitars of mine that do not have this problem are two Gibson SG's with a full pickguard. These SG's are shielded without any dryer sheets under the guard, they will not give me any kind of discharge pop. If every guitar I tried gave me a pop I would just say it is normal. Maybe it is a pickup thing. The SG's have full size humbuckers and the Firebird has mini humbuckers.

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          • #6
            Static Pop

            I was playing my Kramer last night & it was popping, sizzling like crazy.
            I sprayed the pickguard with some anti static spray & it went away.
            I think it has a lot to do with the composition of the pickguard plastic.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Jazz P Bass View Post
              I was playing my Kramer last night & it was popping, sizzling like crazy.
              I sprayed the pickguard with some anti static spray & it went away.
              I think it has a lot to do with the composition of the pickguard plastic.
              My final effort is to just remove the pickguard and test it.

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              • #8
                I removed the pickguard and tested the Firebird yesterday, no improvement same static pop. However today it has been raining heavily here in New England and I retested the guitar in this more humid condition and the static pop is gone. I guess the customer that owns this guitar will just have to play it after his shower in his bathroom if he wants no static pop when he touches metal. Thanks for all your replies.

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                • #9
                  Static Tick

                  Some of the finishes on guitars also contribute to the static.
                  How about a foil shield on the back of the pickguard.
                  Re: OT: Electric Guitar - fix for static noise?

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                  • #10
                    [QUOTE=Jazz P Bass;148621]Some of the finishes on guitars also contribute to the static.
                    How about a foil shield on the back of the pickguard.
                    Re: OT: Electric Guitar - fix for static noise?[/QUOTE

                    I removed the pickguard the other day and the problem was still there. I did try it again today in the rainy New England weather and the problem is gone. Even with the pickguard back on. I returned the guitar to the customer with a copy of the thread from this forum. Thanks Jazz P Bass and axpro for your help.
                    Last edited by Down Time; 02-27-2010, 03:46 AM.

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                    • #11
                      Pickguard Foil Shield

                      The idea with the foil is to collect the static voltage.
                      You should run a ground wire to it.

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