Electric Guitar Earthing & Grounding
Earthing / Grounding your Electric Guitar
The subject of electric guitar earthing & grounding, or at least the issues caused when it goes wrong, is a common topic on guitar forums and the Ironstone inbox. Often shrouded in mystery, its not a difficult concept to grasp, once seen as a whole picture, and that is what this article aims to do.
To begin with, some definitions.
The terms grounding and earthing tend to get used interchangeably, but to keep some consistency, this article will stay with the term grounding / ground (or GND). Similarly, two wire signal paths such as those coming from (single coil) guitar pickups, or in a guitar connection lead, will be referred to as comprising a ground (GND) wire and a ‘Hot’ wire. The signal GND wire is electrically known as the negative side (-ve) and the Hot wire known as the positive (+ve). I have used these terms on the diagram that follows in conjunction with some colour coding. This ‘Hot’ is sometimes also called the ‘live’ side of the signal pair, but this article uses ‘Hot’ to differentiate it from the Live part of the mains supply to the amplifier.