Is my pickup the problem?? PLEASE Help

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by Fat bob, Mar 20, 2014.

  1. I am getting an amplified buzz from my set up. This buzz is coming from both amplifiers I own (GK 150, GK 700rb & 410 neo)- leading me to believe the problem is with the pickup (Fishman Full Circle)

    The buzz is very bad when I run the bass straight into the amp. When I add fdeck's HPF series 3 the buzz is slightly tamed in the lower notes, but still present- especially on the attack of the notes. The buzz is still persistent on the G and D even with the HPF on.

    I purchased a new RCA to 1/4, troubleshot half the pickup the buzz is still there. I have tried to open the full circle, but two of the screws are really stuck on there.

    I thought I tamed the problem with the HPF, but I think I was just fooled by the mild taming of the low notes. With the amp at a higher volume level, it was apparent the buzz was not gone. It was very prevalent open G up to B.

    Do you think the buzz could be coming from anywhere other than the pickup?

    THANKYOU for your response!
    I have gigs coming up that I must fix this asap, I am about to pull the trigger on a Realist, but it'd hate to do it and have the problem be something I overlooked.
  2. Might be that one of the crystals in the Full Circle is damaged.
    If you can live with a different sound try to turn the Full Circle a bit (about a quarter turn or half turn), the buzz might get away or might become less. Check out different settings.
    But this is only an urgent solution, nothing you would like for a longer time.

    I hope you use the adapter to hook into the strings. Without the signal might be too largeand so might overdrive the attack part of the note.
  3. Thanks DoubleMIDI,

    I wonder if there is a crystal broken in the Full Circle. Any idea what that generally sounds like?

    Concerning the adapter that hooks to the strings: I tried a new 1/4 to RCA, and everything sounded just as it did with the original. I wonder if the original piece is not doing its job??

    I tried the -14 db button for the GK MB 150 input, and then turned up the volume on the amp. The buzz persists.
  4. Mark Gollihur

    Mark Gollihur Supporting Member

    Jul 19, 2000
    Gloucester County, NJ
    Owner/President, Gollihur Music LLC
    My guess? If it were simply broken, I'd think it would just make no sound at all, leaving the other three elements to do all the heavy lifting. But if one is broken in a way that the leads were shorting out, it would BUZZZZZZZZ...
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  6. Thank you Mark,
    It sounds like it could be a broken crystal in the pickup.

    My last thought is that there could be some sort of small buzz in my bass. Either a small open seam or...perhaps a bass bar slightly rattling? I have been listening to the bass up close and I seem to hear a small rattle, maybe the pickup is amplifying the buzz? It hasn't been apparent before, and maybe now I am just hearing things. I swear it was there this morning and now after adjusting the bridge height it is not overly apparent... Also I have been troubleshooting for hours...
    Thank you for your responses
  7. I wanted to update the problem in case anyone else happens to read this that is having a similar issue. The buzz is actually coming from my bass. Though very faint on the majority of the bass, there is a small buzz coming from Who knows where in my bass. A luthier and I looked it over again today, and he confirmed they there is a small buzz coming from the bass itself. The buzz is more noticeable when you are out front, listening to the bottom portion of the bass and not playing it. The Luthier confirmed that this small buzz is most likely what is being amplified as buzz.- sounded like a speaker could be out, an aluminum buzz with my mb150, or even a broken pickup...
    A couple of notes buzz- but I had attributed it to fingerboard noise, either on my behalf or a bad spot b/c fingerboard planing. But those notes just accentuate the buzz coming from the instrument.
    I just finished a duo gig, where I was in constant fear of the buzz, but was able to eq it out and keep the levels low enough to not encourage it.

    I will bring my bass back to where I purchased it new 2 1/2 months ago. I hope, pray, beg borrow or steal that that buzz is gone before my next gig later this week.
  8. MovingPitchers

    MovingPitchers Striving to be better than today. Supporting Member

    Jun 9, 2013
    Vancouver, B.C
    Maybe bad soldering job or ground wires not being grounded properly? IDK.
  9. Not if the buzz is there purely acoustical.
  10. It is definitely coming from the bass. It is not an open seam, it doesn't seem it be the tail piece. After 2 1/2 hours with the Luther, he didn't know where it was coming from either.

    What would a dealer's typical response be to a mystery buzz in a bass purchased 2 1/2 months later? Obviously he will also try to find it , but what if he is also unsuccessful??

    I have the Gollihur sticker "life is too short for bad tone" just staring at me right now.
  11. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology: Protecting the Pocket since 2007
    It's a long shot, but easy and cheap to test: Maybe it's your signal cable.
  12. Thank you Fdeck, I will definitely be purchasing a new instrument cable, though I have tried others and am definitely hearing the buzz acoustically.

    I am definitely getting a "zinging" out of a couple notes that may be coming from the peg box. I had really attributed this to a buzz at the right finger, either poor technique or an inconsistency in the finger board. But there is a definite Zing on low Ab, other Abs and E on the g string.
    I may have 2 different things happening ( a buzz and a zing!) but the luthier said all buzzes are most likely related. He did conclude after 2 1/2 hrs that there was definitely a faint buzz or maybe described as after buzz..from the bass itself.

    Tomorrow I will cancel all plans and drive 4+ hrs to where I purchased the new bass as soon as I speak with him in the morning and make sure he can see it.
  13. Also, I have tightened all screws, changed 3 of the 4 strings, put pressure on- and dampened the tuning pegs while playing, put pressure on tailpiece while playing, slight pressure on the top above sound post while playing. None of these things seem to curtail the buzz or ziiiiing! This thing is really cutting into my shed time. Ah
  14. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology: Protecting the Pocket since 2007
    Another possible source of buzz is the inside portion of the end pin. Try removing the peg altogether.
  15. GeoffBass


    Apr 25, 2012
    I think FDeck might be onto something ... happened to me too ... my endpin is a hollow aluminium tube and it acts like a tuned pipe at some notes ... I ended up fitting a cork into it. good luck!
  16. I have taken the endpin and screw out, the buzz is still there. I have put pressure on the top over the sound post, it does nothing to dampen the buzz. we tried a new bridge, still a buzz.

    Thank you gentlemen for your posts! Keep em coming :) anything else to try before I spend 4 hours in the car 1 way would be very much appreciated, but I don't know what else I could possibly even try. I spoke with the seller/ luthier in Denver, I will drive there 1st thing in the morning to have him take a look at the new Shen 150.
  17. Mark Gollihur

    Mark Gollihur Supporting Member

    Jul 19, 2000
    Gloucester County, NJ
    Owner/President, Gollihur Music LLC
    Something no one else has mentioned - a broken inner winding (or an otherwise bad/defective string) can certainly cause a "buzz" sometimes. Is the buzz mostly (or only) apparent when you play notes on a certain string? You could just have a bad string, and be chasing a wild goose by blaming the bass itself. That would also explain why it's so much more obvious when amplified through the pickup.

    A good way to find a string issue: In a bright room, pluck the string (open) hard. Get down to the side of the fingerboard and watch the string vibration pattern. It should be pretty evenly vibrating throughout the entire length. If you find a spot where the vibration pattern suddenly constricts, you very likely have a broken inner winding.

    Also check the inner post screws on your tuning machines, and any loose, vibrating/rubbing silks in the pegbox, as these are both common culprits for the "zing" problem you mentioned.

    That's a staring contest you'll never win.
  18. I wanted to update this thread just incase it saves someone somewhere the time troubleshooting.

    Simple answer, the neck had moved slightly- a fairly common problem with new Shens from what I understand. Also the fingerboard needed dressing. The buzz came from the strings hitting the fingerboard quite badly- even open strings. The vibration caused the zingy sound acoustically- and the pickup and amp made it really Really bad.

    Now with the fingerboard looking better there is no buzz- an no buzz to amplify- hurray!!

    I also could have not turned the amp up so loud when looking for the buzz, as eventually that makes a speaker buzz of its own- on all basses with all pickups if the gk150 volume (not output) is too high. (Too much gain- especially with the hot fullcircle)

    Thank you All for your replies! Finally back to the woodshed today
  19. MovingPitchers

    MovingPitchers Striving to be better than today. Supporting Member

    Jun 9, 2013
    Vancouver, B.C
    Yeah apparently if you crank up an amp too high, it'll buzz. Glad you found the problem.
  20. If you set the gain too high, you have a built-in fuzz effect (more or less clipping distortion) when it gets a bit louder.
  21. Ok well, bass is fixed. No acoustic buzz. But...

    After 2 gigs this weekend Iam convinced there is a problem with the full circle. It makes an ok, maybe still dark and unrefined sound at low volumes, but when I had it up loud enough to play with drums it really is apparent. No definition, boomy, no eq can fix- i tried EVerything on the gk I could, cutting this and that, boosting this and that. Sounded like poop. Both gigs. I turned the adjuster wheel to look for the sweet spot and it cuts completely out at a certain point. At certain setting with the pickup there is still a buzz coming through- especially on the attack of notes. Low and high, and a certain crackling on certain notes on certain pickup settings. Fishman customer support has been very helpful- they believe the problem tone a broken element which they can confirm once rye get the pickup to look at.

    Not that any body really cares about my problems :) but I just want to update the thread incase there's someone like me spending hours looking through older threads looking for a solution to their problem.

    Only now, what do I do for my next upright gig on wed. Now I see why you more experienced dudes carry that backup (bass max?) in your case.

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