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1960 P Bass Hum

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by None 2 Pleased, Feb 25, 2013.


  1. None 2 Pleased

    None 2 Pleased

    Sep 13, 2012
    Over Here
    I have a 1960 P Bass that has a hum. All original. What is the best way and least intrusive way to help eliminate the buzz.
    I already have a high end cord and a David Eden bass amp.
    I have seen posts about lining the inside of the pickup cavity.
    Would I need to disconnect the pickups?(not going to happen)
    or can I still accomplish this without dismantling the pots/pickups? Best advice please.
     
  2. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Supporting Member

    You wouldn't need to disconnect the pickups to shield. But you will need to do a proper shielding job to get rid of the buzz.

    This will entail putting copper foil tape inside the pickup cavity and control cavity. Possibly adding shielding to the pickup covers and grounding those to the control cavity shielding as well.

    I do not know about the long term effects of copper foil tape on nitro paint jobs, it is the only option though as conductive paint will certainly not come off any easier.

    Do you want to keep it vintage or do you want it have modern sensibility? Shielding will not be visible to others but any collector who may want to buy that bass is going to take the pickguard off immediately upon inspection and see the work.
     
  3. None 2 Pleased

    None 2 Pleased

    Sep 13, 2012
    Over Here
    This seems easy enough. Do chain music shops carry shielding or can I get the at the local hardware store? Radio Shack? Will I need to ground the pickup cavity to the control cavity? would I have to run a separate ground wire to accomplish the bonding of the cavities?
    Love the bass except for the hum and the natural refinish. (see other thread)

    Oh yeah, it's a little heavier than my old P-Bass Lyte.
     
  4. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Owner/Builder @Hopkins Guitars
    I wouldn't count on shielding to solve your hum problem. It is a hum canceling pickup so it should be pretty quiet. I would check to see if you have a grounding issue first.
     
  5. 4StringShooter

    4StringShooter Banned

    Jun 26, 2011
    London, Ontario, Canada
    GBX Member #1
    GROUND the BRIDGE better !!!!
     
  6. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Supporting Member

    If your buzz goes away when you touch metal/strings/bridge you %100 have a shielding issue, a grounding issue would get louder when you touch metal. Typing it in capitals doesn't make a wrong answer any more correct. This will resolve your issue. I assure you.

    OP, you can source copper foil tape locally from stained glass supply shops. Yes you might have to add a wire to ground the cavities, you might not. Just ensure you do the pickguard over the screw holes and the body over the screw holes. When you screw it down it will pierce both sets of foil for maximum contact.

    Any questions feel free to PM me, it is fairly easy. There are plenty of guides on talkbass but if you cannot find one I can e-mail you one for a Marcus Miller Jazz bass. The principles are the same.
     
  7. P-oddz

    P-oddz Supporting Member

    Apr 7, 2009
    Milwaukee, WI
    Here's a good video on shielding (on a Tele, but same logic applies):
     
  8. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Owner/Builder @Hopkins Guitars
    Shielding helps control noise due to outside interference like a flat screen tv or florescent lights.

    If the bass just developed a buzz then shielding isn't the issue. A P bass pickup is humbucking, so it should be silent, shielded or not.

    So maybe you shouldn't be so quick to recommend sticking a bunch of adheasive backed tape to an instrument as valuable as a 60 P bass. I would never recommend sticking any adheasive to that nitro finish



    OP.

    First thing I would do would be to check and recheck all your grounds. If thats not the problem check each coil of the pickup with an ohm meter. If there is a big difference it may be time to rewind the pickup.
     
  9. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Supporting Member

    The OP wanted shielding advice and I offered it. I clearly indicated there might be harm in putting foil onto nitro, I was not sure. Copper foil tape and conductive paint are the only two options as far as I know for shielding and tape was definitely less harmful than paint. I suppose he could try putting a layer of tin foil in there and praying, that might work as well.

    In regards to 4Stringshooter, I never once said I am a professional but I do have lots of experience with shielding. GROUNDING the BRIDGE has nothing to do with shielding. Thanks for calling me a tool, you let the whole world know how classy you are.

    I was not here to diagnose his hum, I assumed he had done that since he was here talking about it and asking for shielding advice. The hum could very well be something else, but P basses are notorious for shielding issues and getting outside interference. Fender especially. It is certainly not out of the realm of possibilities as it is the most common hum problem on talkbass and certainly with P basses.

    Sorry to de-rail your thread OP. As I said earlier if you have any questions about shielding feel free to PM me I have lots of experience with it.
     
  10. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Owner/Builder @Hopkins Guitars
    Your right, he did ask about shielding, I would recommend strongly against it on that bass though. At least as far as other possible problems have been eliminated.
     
  11. SirMjac28

    SirMjac28 Patiently Waiting For The Next British Invasion

    Aug 25, 2010
    The Great Midwest
    I think you need to send that baby to me let me do a complete evaluation it may take anywhere from six to even months.
     
  12. eganbass

    eganbass

    Sep 28, 2004
    Now don't laugh, but does putting aluminum foil under the plastic cover that covers the pots and jack do any good in terms of shielding, particularly for fluorescent lighting?

    Thanks!

    Bruce
     
  13. My '64 P is completely silent - I doubt this is a shielding issue!
     
  14. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Supporting Member

    It potentially could. I used aluminum foil tape before I found out you can buy copper foil tape locally from stained glass supply shops. The foil tape they use for duct work. It did work to successfully shield basses but the conductivity is next to nil, especially when compared to the copper foil. I would imagine there is a possibility for tin foil to work but it would so easily move that it would fail. Copper works much better and gives more consistent results than aluminum in my experience.

    Also, to diagnose a hum, just to confirm it is shielding. Just turn your amp up, crank your gain and let go of the bass. Touch strings/metal/bridge, if the buzz goes away you have a shielding issue and if it gets louder it is a grounding issue. Not all P basses hum Davo, but most do, probably 9/10 Fender P basses excluding active basses. I am quite positive OP is correct that it is a shielding issue.
     
  15. OK, fair enough. My 76P randomly hummed. I could never figure it out. My 64P is blissfully silent.

    Davo
     
  16. tbplayer59

    tbplayer59

    Jan 20, 2013
    None of this really matters if the amp isn't plugged into a well grounded, 3-prong outlet. I didn't see that mentioned. Make sure you check that.

    Also, there's a difference between "hum" and "buzz." OP used both words to describe the problem. A P bass shouldn't have any 60Hz hum because of the pickup design. Buzz is usually used do describe interference from external sources. This is what shielding is designed to protect the bass from.
     
  17. johnson79

    johnson79

    Jan 8, 2010
    Lancaster, PA
    I had some nasty hum on my PJ after I rewired it. I kept checking and resoldering with no improvement. I was sure I fried something.

    Realized that the TV I just installed in the basement was casuing it! I guess I won't be able to watch reruns of American Dad and play bass at the same time.
     
  18. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Supporting Member

    Johnson, give the bass a proper shielding job. Your soldering is probably more than fine.

    The reason I got so educated on shielding was because I changed pickups in my old Fender and the buzz went from the normal Fender buzz to intense, loud buzzing. I had to make it stop somehow.
     
  19. johnson79

    johnson79

    Jan 8, 2010
    Lancaster, PA
    That's my next mod. It was actually comical. I checked and rewired and checked again before I realized it was the TV!

    It is rewarding to do the work myself, regardless of a couple of setbacks.
     
  20. By any chance removed the metal pickguard shield underneath the pickguard? Sixties P's didn't have earthwires running between the pots, grounding was done via that shielding plate. If you don't have that plate, the jack isn't grounded.

    7c89e05d.
     

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