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Thread: Electric Ukulele Hum - definitive, technical answer sought (Risa electric ukes)

  1. #1

    Default Electric Ukulele Hum - definitive, technical answer sought (Risa electric ukes)

    I haven't been able to get a satisfactory answer to this so far from just searching and browsing on existing threads, so I'm making this post.

    I have several electrified ukes, including acoustic-electrics and the Risa Uke Stick/Solid.

    I've owned several Risa Sticks over the years, and they all had this same problem.

    Any time I use it through an amplifier that is connected to mains power, it hums like crazy! A noticeably louder hum than all my other electrified instruments. I've had this problem on Roland Microcube, Vox Soundbox, Vox AC tube amp, Vox Pathfinder Bass amp, Fender Acoustic amp, Vox Mini G3, Roland Bass Cube XL 20, etc etc.

    Plug the Risa stick into an amp running on BATTERIES - and the hum magically disappears.


    But here's the dilemma. Why have a dedicated electric ukulele if it is debilitated with such a nasty hum any time I want to use it on an amp connected to mains power? Sure, using the battery powered option is a workaround, but when I'm playing at home, I'd rather be plugging it into powered amps, not battery amps.

    I've tried connecting to amps via effects pedals and preamps and the hum is consistently there if the amplifier itself is connected to mains.




    *** Why does the Risa stick hum WAY MORE than most other electric instruments? ***

    *** Is this fixable in the instrument itself? If I were to take it to a guitar technician, would they be able to solder and wire it up so it doesn't hum? (I'm planning to go and find out soon) ***

  2. #2
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    JoCo, NC (near Raleigh)
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    I’m not an expert but sounds like you have a ground loop. Try plugging the amp into different outlets, particularly outlets on different circuits, and see if that helps. It also might help to plug the uke into a DI box with ground lift and then into the amp, but I don’t think that is a universal cure.
    Ukelele:
    Iriguchi Tenor "Weeble" - Bb, SC SMU
    Blue Star 19" baritone Konablaster - DGBE
    KPK pineapple SLN-GCEA
    Cocobolo 16" SC#1-gCEA, SC SLMU
    Ono #42 19" baritone, Ab, LW
    Imua iET-Bb, M600
    Covered Bridge CLN pineapple - Eb cuatro, SC XLL
    Rogue bari
    Bonanza super tenor, FBL cFAD
    Kala KSLNG-C Lava
    Guitars:
    Cordoba C1m 1/4, TI CF127, G
    Cordoba Mini M, SC F# EFS
    Jupiter #47, TI CF127, G

    Jim's Blog

  3. #3

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    Thanks for your input, but I am more than familiar with those proposed solutions.

    Have attempted them all, as I originally stated (preamps, di boxes).

    Also it is probably not the power itself, as other passive piezo pickups don't hum, or hum significantly less plugged into the same setup. The Risa has the most hum of them all, which is ironic and disappointing.

    I am suspecting it's an instrument shielding issue. Hopefully my guitar tech would have a solution :/

  4. #4
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    JoCo, NC (near Raleigh)
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    You said “effects pedals and preamps” - didn’t mention DI boxes so that’s why I suggested that. And not all DI have the ground lift feature. So there still may be hope for that idea.

    But you’re right that it could be a shielding issue though the fact that you’ve had multiple Sticks exhibit the same behavior suggests something inherent in the design of the Stick’s pickup. I’ll be curious to see what your guitar tech finds.
    Ukelele:
    Iriguchi Tenor "Weeble" - Bb, SC SMU
    Blue Star 19" baritone Konablaster - DGBE
    KPK pineapple SLN-GCEA
    Cocobolo 16" SC#1-gCEA, SC SLMU
    Ono #42 19" baritone, Ab, LW
    Imua iET-Bb, M600
    Covered Bridge CLN pineapple - Eb cuatro, SC XLL
    Rogue bari
    Bonanza super tenor, FBL cFAD
    Kala KSLNG-C Lava
    Guitars:
    Cordoba C1m 1/4, TI CF127, G
    Cordoba Mini M, SC F# EFS
    Jupiter #47, TI CF127, G

    Jim's Blog

  5. #5

    Default

    One of the things I tried it with is a Behringer acoustic DI, which is a preamp and active DI, and has that ground lift feature. Does nothing to help the stick.

    Im no stranger to electric instruments, as I also own multiple electric guitars, basses and acoustic electrics, and an assortment of amps and gadgets.

    Plug the Risa into any BATTERY powered amp, and it is absolutely perfect. But I want that with mains power. Been fighting this issue for over a decade now, specifically with the Risa stick. Still no solution.

    Next step is taking it for a modification - see if the technician can shield the instrument's pickup system or rewire it.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    JoCo, NC (near Raleigh)
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    Sorry I couldn’t help. Good luck and please report back if you find a solution.
    Ukelele:
    Iriguchi Tenor "Weeble" - Bb, SC SMU
    Blue Star 19" baritone Konablaster - DGBE
    KPK pineapple SLN-GCEA
    Cocobolo 16" SC#1-gCEA, SC SLMU
    Ono #42 19" baritone, Ab, LW
    Imua iET-Bb, M600
    Covered Bridge CLN pineapple - Eb cuatro, SC XLL
    Rogue bari
    Bonanza super tenor, FBL cFAD
    Kala KSLNG-C Lava
    Guitars:
    Cordoba C1m 1/4, TI CF127, G
    Cordoba Mini M, SC F# EFS
    Jupiter #47, TI CF127, G

    Jim's Blog

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Location
    Near Lake Okeechobee, Florida
    Posts
    279

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    Have you tried grounding yourself using one of those anti-static belts or wrist straps?
    "Who hears music, feels his solitude Peopled at once -- for how count heart-beats plain / Unless a company, with hearts which beat, / Come close to the musician, seen or no?" - Robert Browning, "Balaustion's Adventure"

  8. #8
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    Upper Hale, Surrey/Hants border, UK.
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    I have a tenor & a concert RISA uke solid/stick, & also use a Roland Micro Cube, but I've never experienced anything like what you are experiencing, so I'd guess it's something local to where you are playing, other than that, I have nothing to suggest.
    Trying to do justice to various musical instruments.

  9. #9

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Croaky Keith View Post
    I have a tenor & a concert RISA uke solid/stick, & also use a Roland Micro Cube, but I've never experienced anything like what you are experiencing, so I'd guess it's something local to where you are playing, other than that, I have nothing to suggest.
    Do you use your Microcube with battery or mains power?

  10. #10
    Join Date
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    Location
    Catskill Mountains, NY
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    1,571

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    Quote Originally Posted by kissing View Post
    *** Is this fixable in the instrument itself? If I were to take it to a guitar technician, would they be able to solder and wire it up so it doesn't hum? (I'm planning to go and find out soon) ***
    That sounds like a good idea. The problem seems to be in the Risa itself,
    Too many ukes, but I can't stop buying!

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