Guitar Guru: Stu G On The Best Advice He's Ever Received - Part 2

Posted by Stu G on 26 January 2015

We asked Stu G - the man who brought Radiohead guitars to the church and raised the songwriting bar - to share the very best advice that he’s ever received. He couldn’t stick to one story though, so this is the second of a two-parter. Tune up, tuck in and enjoy…

I once visited Pete Cornish, the English builder of pedalboards and effects to some of the greatest guitar players in the world.

When I arrived at his Sussex country workshop, he had two of Dave Gilmore’s amps in the workshop that he was trying things out on.

I was enquiring about pedalboards and such like and in the end my curiosity got the better of me, like it does every time.

Most of us electric guitar players gather a few pedals and lump them on a board and power them up with a 9v power supply giving it little thought.

I asked Pete if he used noise gates or hush technology of some sort to reduce hum and noise.
He kind of looked at me as if to say, ‘my dear boy’ and simply said: “we remove the problem at the source. We don’t deal with the symptoms, we remove the problem.”

On a Pete Cornish board every input and output of every pedal is buffered with exactly the right impedance and level to reduce the risk of unwanted noise. Every pedal’s power socket is isolated not allowing dc hum or digital noise to occur.

I’ve never been able to afford a Cornish board but that simple piece of advice has made me work hard at eliminating noise problems before they arise. There’s not much you can do about dirty power from the wall or your single coil pickups roaring like Godzilla because of the hearing aid loop in the church hall, but there is much that can be done to avoid unwanted hums and buzzes and a ton of products out there to help us achieve our dream (or at least useable) tone.

So, as much as possible:
• Don’t run power cables alongside signal cables. Where they need to cross try and do it at 90˚
• Use isolating transformers or adapters for power to Overdrives/fuzzes and high current digital devices
• Use a high quality buffer especially when using longer cable runs such as the Humdinger by TheGigRig.com
• Use high quality low capacitance cable for wiring your board
• Always keep your amp earthed (grounded)

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