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Strings hitting pole pieces - ouch!

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Jim Nazium, Jan 16, 2014.

  1. Jim Nazium

    Jim Nazium Supporting Member

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    I just got two of my basses back from having setups done and Audere classic preamps installed. They both made these horrible popping sounds when I played hard, and I could see the speaker moving on my amp like it was getting DC voltage. After a little experimenting I saw that it only happened when the strings hit the pickup pole pieces (or maybe just got very close without touching - not sure about that yet).

    Obviously I can lower the pickups, and I will. But is that normal behavior, or do I have some kind of grounding problem?
  2. Nephilymbass

    Nephilymbass Supporting Member

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    I had that problem with some basses i had years ago. Now i have closed pickup covers with no exposed poles for the most part. The only exception is my fretless and i never play hard when playing fretless.
  3. Rusty the Scoob

    Rusty the Scoob

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    This is normal in my experience. I always end up putting scotch tape over the E-A half of all my exposed-pole P-basses to prevent this. It doesn't seem to affect the bass tonally at all, and if you get the "Gift Wrap" style in the purple package it's pretty much invisible from 5' away or in low light. There might be some type of clearcoat you can use instead if you like, but this method has always worked for me.
  4. Wolffgang

    Wolffgang Supporting Member

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    Sounds like strings hitting pole pieces to me.

    I cannot unequivocally state that it has no side effects (though I've not experienced any), but it's become standard practice for me to put some clear nail polish on any exposed pole pieces on my basses. As a side benefit it stops them from rusting, too. Obviously if you're getting a lot of contact it's probably not going to be enough, but I've found it helps dramatically, and will stop that unpleasant pops that can happen when you really dig in.
  5. electracoyote

    electracoyote

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    That's a pretty aggressive transient spike, enough to make the cones pop like that. "Normal" in that it's abnormal and hard on the speakers.
  6. Jim Nazium

    Jim Nazium Supporting Member

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    Oh, I get that. Fortunately it was only my cheapo practice amp. I'm going to make sure it doesn't happen before plugging into my "good" amp.
  7. pfox14

    pfox14

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    You must be hitting the strings in a downward direction pretty hard or the pups are way too high. The strings normally slap the fretboard way before hitting the pups.
  8. Jim Nazium

    Jim Nazium Supporting Member

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    Just found this on the Audere web site:

    "Pops when the string contacts the pole pieces?
    If the strings are grounded and the pole pieces are at the pickup common voltage (1/2 the battery voltage) when the 2 come in contact the preamp output will slew very quickly to the rail creating an extremely loud pop. To fix, remove the pole piece electrical connection from the pickup common normally located on the bottom of the pickup and electrically connect these the pole pieces to ground."

    EDIT - I follwed these directions last night and that fixed the issue. Sounds great, nu hum or buzz, no pops. It's something to be aware of if you're installing an Audere preamp; it's different than the way most onboard pre's are wired.

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