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Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by twinfallsbass, Mar 25, 2020.
Q - why do my basses hum?
A - because they don't know the words.
If you're your amp doesn't have one a ground lift, use a ground lifter plug... put one between your outlet and power cord of your amp.
Try a different cable... If you use pedals, take each one out of of the chain.
If you are only using it in one room, change rooms. There's one light in my practice room will cause that if it's on. Lights with dimmers can cause this.
While it's common to have a small amount of noise when not touching any grounded metal on the bass (including the strings if the bridge is grounded), if it's easily audible when you're playing open strings that is not normal. The only basses I have ever played that do not do this to some extent are those fitted with active EMG setups which do not require the bridge to be grounded.
It's also common to hear static noises when you rub your fingers on the pickguard if the pickguard isn't fully shielded. Nowadays to save money many basses are only shielded under the pickguard where the controls are.
A handy device is a circuit tester. Plugs into outlets and
3 lights give you the status. Handy to have on gigs too where
electrical outlets are scary.
My house, built in 1955, has 3-prong outlets throughout, but not a single one is grounded. All of my basses and guitars have ground hum.
I built and wired the room that was originally my son's bedroom in our basement, and is now my music room.
When I first took it over after he got out on his own things were find. Then I installed a dimmer on the overhead light and had buzzing as well. That dimmer was the push on/off and rotary dial type. I replaced that with the "designer" square style switch, it toggles on/off and has a small slider for dimming. Once I put that in the problem was resolved.
So I'm not sure if it was the type or just lousy quality on the first switch, just might be helpful for the OP.
It’s your dimmer and possibly the lights as well (some older LED lights use a really noisy rectifier to get to DC). The American Legion post we were playing at before everything went bad had a horrific problem with their bar light dimmer. Would cause vicious noise even with my EMG loaded Jazz, which shouldn’t be possible with those pickups. They spent a lot of money on a new fridge and building rewire and then got shut down (with everyone else) a couple of months later. No more buzzy bass! Or guitar! Or keyboards (it was really that bad).
At least they own the building and might come back when all this is said and done.
Easy way to check if you have a good ground all the way from your bass to the outlet and beyond if you have a meter: plug your amp into a double outlet, leaving one outlet empty. Plug in your bass. Turn on your amp and check for continuity between the ground socket of the empty outlet and your bass strings. There should be solid continuity between these two points.
Check your light fixtures or other household loads.
Thanks for all the great advice everyone! I have not had a chance to play with the lights off like I would have liked last night. I did notice that my Spector and Carvin JB5 did not hum as much when placed into active mode ( Spector is always active ). It is a coincidence that this all started after I installed six LED ceiling lights/ dimmer switch recently and did not notice any hum before I did that. I did not know that this combination would cause this issue. I will try and do more troubleshooting in the next couple of days, weekend by latest and report back. Thanks again.
LED dimmers work by very quickly turning the light on and off, varying the length of the off time to dim/brighten. The devices used for this can throw a lot of noise as compared to an old-style resistance dimmer.
I'm curious to know what the OP discovered and the solution.
All modern dimmers (post 1970's) work this way - either by PWMing a DC voltage (LED), or chopping the AC waveform using a TRIAC (old school dimmers).
No one used resistor/rheostat dimmers.
Old school low noise dimmers were miniature variacs, varying the AC voltage to the light bulb.
Maybe it's you. Is there a lot of iron in your diet?
I’ll play with the lights off sometime in the next few days. I’ll report back as soon as I do.
This bass don’t hum