Results 1 to 3 of 3

Thread: Ibanez M510E Buzz and Hum Reduction - Experience

  1. #1

    Default Ibanez M510E Buzz and Hum Reduction - Experience

    Summary

    A DiMarzio Cruiser humbucker and running a grounding wire from the tailpiece to the output jack ground greatly reduced this mandolin's buzzing and humming.

    Details

    Since I had trouble finding specific recommendations for dealing with this, I thought I'd post my experience and results, in case someone else runs into the same problem.

    I am picking up a mandolin part in a new project. The Ibanez M510E looked like a cost-effective solution. I have been very pleased with my Ibanez parlor guitar, and this is a similarly impressive value.

    However, at home, there are some EM sources that produce a lot of noise in single-coil pickups, like the ones that came in this mandolin and in my son's low-end Strat, that produce a lot of pickup noise. I was also getting ridiculous levels of 60Hz hum.

    My first attempt to fix the problem was to just run an external grounding wire from the tailpiece to the output jack. The mandolin then sounded a little cleaner at home when I touched the strings, and it was pretty clean altogether at our rehearsal space, but I wanted to clean things up even more in case the issues I have at home occur at a show.

    So... humbucker time. I chose the DiMarzio Cruiser since it's billed as a neck pickup and the M510E pickup is near the neck. Further, since the string spacing of the mandolin is different than a guitar, I was unsure whether a six-post design would provide even sound. The DiMarzio seemed more agnostic to string position. Also, it matched the black coloring of the stock pickup and DiMarzio seems to have a decent reputation.

    The stock M510E pickup looks like it is a standard size, but it is actually narrower than the DiMarzio Cruiser. So, it took a bit of X-acto knife work to widen the opening in the pick guard, almost to the edges of the pickup mounting screw holes. It worked, though.

    I chose the parallel wiring scheme (red/white/ground and green/black tied) since it was described as being cleaner and less noisy.

    I still had noise after the initial installation. Note that I had removed the external grounding wire since it was ugly, in the hope that the humbucker alone would solve the issue. It didn't. I went through a process of eliminating the tone pot and then even the volume pot to isolate the issue. I am left suspicious that my output jack was properly wired at all to start, but, I decided to add back the grounding wire, this time internally.

    I removed the tail piece and drilled a small hole in the far upper right corner of the top surface. I then reinstalled the tail piece and drilled through that hole and through the top of the mandolin. I then fed a wire through that hole and out the output jack hole. (The output jack was hanging outside at this point.)

    I twisted a knot into the tailpiece end of the wire and secured it with some solder. I then soldered the other end to the ground side of the tailpiece jack and reinstalled.

    Now, when my hands are in contact with the strings, the mandolin is as quiet as I could hope. At home, there is still some noise if my hands are off the strings. I attribute this to lack of shielding of the overall signal chain. Also, the noise is now low enough that a reasonably set noise gate suppresses it adequately when my hands are not in contact with the strings.

    Since the tailpiece/string grounding was free, I'd give that a shot first. It wasn't enough in my case, though. The DiMarzio, to my ear, sounds much crisper and cleaner than the stock pickup anyway, so I'm happy. It can be had for ~$72 with a Musician's Friend discount coupon.

    (The other option is to just buy that beautiful Kentucky KM-1050 F-style that you really want and install a piezo pickup, and forget all of this magnetic pickup nonsense. Still under consideration.)

    I hope this helps someone at some point. If I happen to try shielding at some point, I'll follow up. I am not sure how I'd do it, though, with the pretty limited access to the body cavity.


    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	01ht3KrcS+WTd+g7c59q1Q.jpg 
Views:	5 
Size:	312.0 KB 
ID:	170684

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	KWjv+5H9RWmaD0mWZ7kjLQ.jpg 
Views:	5 
Size:	395.3 KB 
ID:	170685

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	fullsizeoutput_f5d0.jpg 
Views:	8 
Size:	708.0 KB 
ID:	170686

  2. #2
    Registered User Tavy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Tavistock UK
    Posts
    3,900

    Default Re: Ibanez M510E Buzz and Hum Reduction - Experience

    Well done, and yes, as you've found, correctly earthing the strings is essential on any electric.

    There is one more thing you could try: to use shielded wire to connect up all the parts. The wire from the pickup is shielded anyway, but if they've used single-core wire to connect up the pots and jack then that's another potential source of noise. After that, shielding the cavity makes only a small difference, unless you have long runs of wires, or complex switching schemes which can't easily be wired up with 2-core/shielded wire.

    Have fun! John.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Ibanez M510E Buzz and Hum Reduction - Experience

    Quote Originally Posted by Tavy View Post
    Well done, and yes, as you've found, correctly earthing the strings is essential on any electric.

    There is one more thing you could try: to use shielded wire to connect up all the parts. The wire from the pickup is shielded anyway, but if they've used single-core wire to connect up the pots and jack then that's another potential source of noise. After that, shielding the cavity makes only a small difference, unless you have long runs of wires, or complex switching schemes which can't easily be wired up with 2-core/shielded wire.

    Have fun! John.

    Thanks, John!

    Now that you mention it, yes, the wiring amongst the pots and output jack looks cheap and poorly shielded. I had noticed that the DiMarzio wires were nicely shielded when stripping the ends for connection. It hadn't occurred to me to replace the others. I'll give it a shot!

    - Patrick
    Last edited by pti; Sep-01-2018 at 11:03am.

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •