Bass with Humbuckers for Recording
I have a Indonesian Squier Jazz Bass with DiMarzio DP123 pickups. I love the bass but even though the DP123s are advertised as "hum cancelling" there is a lot of hum when I record with it.
I would like to switch to a bass with humbuckers that is around the same quality/price as my Squier. I'm not a very knowledgeable bassist, neither very picky about my tone. I just like something I can record with. I record singer/songwriter stuff. I do not like muffled, dark, mushy bass. I use the Squier at full treble (where the hum is maximum of course... at full bass, there is no hum) and love the definition I get.
Would any of you be kind enough to throw some brands/models at me for a humbucker bass? The more widely available the better.
You may want to look into what is causing the hum, as Model J's are humbuckers.
Bad wiring? Bad cables? Lights? No shielding?
There are no lights, I even turn off the computer monitor. I will take it to the guitar repair shop for bad wiring. I couldn't think of that.
What is shielding? What am I supposed to do there?
Do you prefer Jazz body/neck
or Precision body/neck?
Damn, man…you beat me to the exact suggestions! :smug:
I would check two things first.
Make sure there actually is a wire connecting the bridge to the volume/tone electronics. Without this basses and guitars that are "humbucking" lose quite a bit of their rejection.
Also be sure there actually is shielding in the control cavity and behind the pickups.
The norm for a lot of Fender style basses is to only shield the back of the scratch plate, not the control cavity and leave the pickup on it's own.
The shielding is usually some kind of metal tape/foil. But apparently graphite/resin works for Musicman basses.
I've owned a Fender P before, and now Squier J. Both are fine, I'm not sure what the differences are even. I like the J I have now, so best solution would be if I could get it fixed.
Didn't know all that wiring and shielding stuff. Hopefully my repairman does and it should be fixed.
Shielding is basically a coating of some kind of conductive material (copper, foil, conductive paint) that lines the control cavity. It's purpose is to "shield" the electronics of the bass from electrical interference. A properly wired and shielded bass should make very little no noise.
If your tech does not know what shielding is take it to someone else. I'm not saying that is what the issue is that you're having, but it's a very basic thing that any decent tech would know.
Not the greatest job I've done, but here is one of my old Stingrays. You can see all of the copper shielding tape in the cavities:
Model J's are killer pickups. My Geddy with Model J's is one of my fave recording basses. That bass should be quiet. Have a good tech fix it as suggested--probably quite simple. If you like how the bass feels and sounds (imagining it without the hum of course) then don't spend money on a new bass. Yours just needs some TLC and it'll be great.
You seem to be otherwise like the sound fixing it is clearly the better option.
What do you mean with "full treble" and "full bass", specifically?
What kind of noise do you get, 50/60 Hz cycle hum or random radio like buzz?
Does it get better when you touch the strings? When you touch the guitar cable plug?
…and it's a pretty darn quiet bass now!
A couple of tips if you should go this route.
I didn't notice that a couple of drops got on the body. I didn't notice them until I went to put on the second coat. Fortunately, what did get on was either on the black portion of the burst finish or would be hidden under the pickguard.
So, in addition to the paint itself, all I needed was some masking tape (I prefer low-adhesion artists tape…you can get it at any decent craft/art supply store), a cheap set of small brushes (same craft store) and some latex gloves. Oh, and a relatively dust-free area to work and let each layer dry.
Thanks guys, you saved me from an unnecessary new purchase or trade. I'm sure my tech knows this stuff but I'll go armed with a bit of knowledge, thanks to you, about what he should be looking into.
I'm not sure how 50/60 Hz cycle hum differs from other kinds of noise. The noise does drop significantly when I have my hands on the bridge or strings. I have a single-coil Tele copy and it doesn't produce the same level of noise as my bass. That suggests there is something wrong with the wiring/shielding as you said.
Gonna take it in tomorrow or soon after and will report back.
Sounds like you have better shielding in the Tele. Otherwise everything seems to work as designed (badly designed, but as designed). The bridge touching thing is normal, this so-called design uses you as a (lame) shield.
Get a P bass to record with.
He has a J bass to record with ;)
There are DIFFERENT kinds of noise and remedies for one will have no effect on the other.
It's unfortunate that you didn't ask this in the Pickups & Electronics forum here as you would have gotten more complete information on addressing your problem.
What you really need to do, though, is find the source of the noise. Then you'll have a better idea of what you need to do.
It should also be said that sometimes the noise is not in the bass at all, but somewhere else in the recording signal chain.
It bears considering that most of the great recordings of the past usually were done on unshielded instruments with single-coil pickups without noise on the record.
Many of the instruments in my studio fit that description, too. If your recording equipment and recording environment are noise-free, you shouldn't have a significant noise problem with your instrument in the first place.
Good luck, friend! ;)
Thanks. I left the bass at the guitar shop. I mentioned everything you guys mentioned in this thread. He knows it all, naturally. He's gonna take a look.
Yes, you are right, I need to identify the source of the noise better. I'll have to do some research. But the noisiest instrument I have is the bass. The others are pretty tolerable, if any noise is present. So, in any case, the bass needs to be inspected.
I got it back from repair today. Dude said previous wiring was all wrong. Pickup level control knobs were push-pull, he said that was unnecessary (I didn't really use that anyway, pulling them up just lowered the volume). He installed new pots as well.
Interestingly, the bridge pickup is completely noiseless now but sounds more dull whereas the neck pickup is noisy even when I'm playing (touching the strings) and sounds better than the bridge pickup. Almost like one is a passive the other is an active pickup, or one is humbucking the other is single-coil.
I uploaded a sound demo. I'll have to take it back because the problem isn't completely fixed, it just became more interesting. Let me know what you think I should do:
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