how to reduce hum from single coil pickups

EXPLAINED: How To Reduce Hum From Single Coil Pickups

The use of single coil pickups in guitars can produce a lot of hum which can include feedback during the performance. It can be very annoying at times. This article will provide useful tips on how to reduce hum from single coil pickups.

What Causes Hum From Single Coil Guitar Pickups?

The hum from single coil pickups for guitars is due to the electromagnetic interference (EMI) created when the strings vibrate across a magnetic field. With these types of guitar pickups, the rotation of the string produces a current that generates an opposing magnetic field. This magnetic field is what vibrates the strings producing sound.

The sound from the strings creates an oscillating current that flows across the single coil pickup. This current induces a voltage in other nearby single coil pickups or nearby metal objects causing interference with other frequencies in the signal chain, which creates hum.

Related – physics of guitar pickupshow to make a guitar pickupwhat makes your guitar pickups go microphonic?humbucker pickups vs single coil

How To Reduce Hum From Single Coil Pickups?


This is an excellent DIY option. One of the best ways to reduce hum produced by single coil pickups is to use shielding. The idea behind this is to use a conductive material or ground plane to shield the magnetic field created by the single coil pickups. By shielding it substantially reduces the interference with other signals and reduces hum.

The most common material used for shielding is copper foil tape, which can be purchased from any hardware store or online.

The shielding is simply installed in the route of the guitar body where the pickups are installed. It has to be grounded to eliminate the hum.

The Tone Knob

Another great way to reduce hum from single coil pickups is by using the tone knob on your guitar. The tone knob can be used to roll off the treble of the signal when hum occurs. By rolling off the treble, it reduces the amount of interference and thus reduces hum.

Alternatively, one can also roll down a channel in their amplifier or turn down their volume control depending on how much hum is occurring. This will reduce feedback and provide a better signal for performing music with less noise.

Avoid Using Single Coil Pickups

One thing is to try and reduce the hum from single coil pickups, but this can be very difficult if you have a lot of them. The reason that single coil pickups are used is to achieve a different sound compared to a traditional humbucker, as well as using it will make the signal more audible.

Noise Gate Pedals

The Noise Gate pedals are a great device that can be used to avoid hum on single coil pickups. They consist of an input, output, and a filter. The input is what the guitar signal is connected to.

The output is the pedal signal which has been filtered out of the signal, thus it only shows the original guitar signal without any traces of the hum from single coil pickups.  I would recommend the BOSS NS-2.

Hum Eliminator Boxes

The Hum Elimination Pedals, like the Morley Hum Eliminator, are designed to filter out the hum from the guitar signal. The pedal includes a ground connection, and it also has a high-frequency filter along with an inbuilt impedance matching circuit. This helps to eliminate hum and achieve hum canceling.

Install Noiseless Pickups

The Noiseless Pickups are a relatively new invention. They are designed to eliminate the hum only in single coil pickups, which will leave the hum generated in the other pickups unaffected. They can be installed very easily by simply replacing the existing pickup.  One great example are the Fender Generation 4 Noiseless Stratocaster pickups.

They are made of special materials that eliminate hum completely, and they have an extremely high-sensitivity, which allows them to achieve a sound very close to that of a traditional humbucker.

Single Coil Pickup Noise Reduction Circuit

This circuit provides a way to eliminate hum from single coil pickups using a simple R-C (V-I) amplifier circuit. The output of the amplifier will be a high level because of the R-C network. This is then fed through an equalizer so that it can be boosted to produce sound similar to that of a traditional pickup.

The frequency response from the equalizer can be altered according to a user’s preference, and this will allow them to get the desired sound they are looking for.

Summary To Reduce Hum From Single Coil Pickups?

This article discussed about how to reduce hum from single coil pickups, which is one of the main problems that can arise for musicians when using this type of pickup.

This is why a lot of players prefer to use a humbucker pickup in their guitar as it produces less hum.