Fender Jaguar started distorting. .
My bass has recently started distorting and I'm not sure what may have caused the problem, but I think it might be the electronics in the bass itself. The distortion only occurs when I really dig in (I tend to play very aggressively with my pick and fingers on our heavier songs) but if I stick to a light touch it sounds fine. When I say light touch I am referring to a lighter touch than a normal finger picking touch so playing like this all the time would be an inconvenience. I haven't had the chance to try another bass due to them being at home and me being at college.
I don't remember having any trouble like this before and that's why I'm stumped. I play with the tone and volume on the bass all the way up in passive mode. Having the bass in series or parallel does not make a difference along with having either pickup soloed or both on. I switched out the pickups around 2 years ago with DiMarzio model J pickups. I was thinking it might be the pickup height considering the bridge pickup is a little high, but this was never a problem before and I still get distortion even with that pickup off. Would the output jack have anything to do with this because it sometimes crackles a bit when the cord is wiggled, maybe just a bad connection? My bass has also cut out completely on one occasion for around a minute and after checking all the connections (minus the output jack on the bass) and whatnot I still couldn't find the problem but it soon kicked back on and has never done it again. I have also tried different cords to no avail.
I have tried another cab with the same amp and still ending with the same result. I am using a Hartke LH1000 with a 410 HX cab (I have 2 but only use 1 at a time unless at big shows.) The amp blew before at my first practice and Larry was kind enough to get that taken care of so it was recently fixed (about a year ago which I say is pretty recent considering the insides were replaced and shouldn't be going bad already.) The tube had also gone bad in it so that was replaced a few months ago.The volume stays around 4 and has never needed to get to 6 except maybe once or twice which still seems like a medium volume level. The preamp is set to 4-bass 10-mid 5-treble because of the mids being cut-only and the others being mostly boost on the LH1000. Messing with the preamp didn't seem to help eliminate the distortion at all.
It doesn't sound terrible but I want a clean sound and having random bad luck when it comes to gear, or anything else that involves electricity for that matter, has got me paranoid that that something bad might be happening again. Sorry if this is in the wrong thread, but I think it might be the bass over the amp or cab.
Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
It doesn't sound like you've actually eliminated the amp yet, though. I don't know the bass but distortion in passive mode would be an unusual thing to happen, although it would be possible to get something that sounded like distortion from a bad contact or solder joint.
I would try it with a different amp first...
Something might be wonky with the active circuit and some signal might be running through it. When the battery in the bass starts dying, it produces a dry distorted sound (I know mine does). I suggest either putting in a fresh battery or taking it out to rule out the active circuit.
Have you tried a fresh battery?
Maybe when you changed pickups a while back you soldered connections that are only now less than tight. Vibrations from the bass or amp could gradually shake things loose. Try to open it up and wiggle the wires while you play. My Jaguar [stock] made no sound when the active-passive switch was in the "middle";not really up or down.
I used to be able to distort my squire p bass by moving the pickup dangerously close to the strings. Maybe check the pickup height?
A strong possibility to consider with the Jag are dirty switches. If there's enough dirt in one of it's many slider switches, it could cause an imperfect electrical contact. Or it could be a cold solder joint from your PU replacement that's now on the verge of failing. Or it could be that one of the control pots has turned inside the cavity to be on the verge of a short. The cavities are pretty tight.
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