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Amp buzzes, but only when I'm standing in certain places

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by pklopcic4171, May 4, 2015.


  1. pklopcic4171

    pklopcic4171

    May 4, 2015
    Hey guys,


    I have a Carvin BR510 combo bass amp that is gently used. The bass I am using is an LTD B-10 4 string.


    Just the other day while I was playing, I noticed a buzzing from my amp. When I turn with my bass to directly face my amp, however, the buzzing goes away completely. After I heard this, I took the following steps.

    -Replaced the cable I was using (no change)


    -Changed the battery on my bass {I have an active bass} (no change)


    -Unplugged all electronic devices in my room and turned my phone off (no change)


    -Plugged in my acoustic guitar using both the cables I own (the buzzing stopped at this point, so it makes me think there is something wrong with my bass)


    -Plugged my phone into the amp and played some music, testing all the levels on the amp (still no buzz whatsoever)


    -Cleaned the jack {the spot you plug your cable into} on my bass with isopropyl alcohol, (a little bit of dirt came out, but the buzz was still there with my bass)


    -Tested all the dials on my bass, turning them all down and up individually and testing for buzz (no change; buzz is still there)


    Beyond this point, I am stumped. Do you guys have any more suggestions for me?

    QUICK EDIT: I have had this amp for about 2 weeks and just started getting this problem 2 days ago.
    ANOTHER EDIT: There is no buzz from the amp when the volume is turned down completely or when the mute switch is on.
    EDIT #3: I was not clear enough in my original post that I have had this amp for 2 weeks, and I just started having this buzzing issue 2 days ago.
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2015
  2. pklopcic4171

    pklopcic4171

    May 4, 2015
  3. Jim Carr

    Jim Carr Dr. Jim Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2006
    Denton, TX or Kailua, HI
    fEARful Kool-Aid dispensing liberal academic card-carrying union member Musicians Local 72-147
    Your LTD has a P-style pickup, right? You mentioned a battery, is the bass active?
     
  4. pklopcic4171

    pklopcic4171

    May 4, 2015
    Yes, it is a precision bass and has P-style pickups.

    Yes, the bass is active.
     
  5. tbirdsp

    tbirdsp

    Sep 18, 2012
    Omaha, NE
    So it still buzzes even with the volume turned all the way down? You have used this bass with other amps and it doesn't buzz?
     
  6. pklopcic4171

    pklopcic4171

    May 4, 2015
    I should have clarified, there is no buzz when the amp is turned down completely/mute switch on. I haven't gigged on bass in about 4 weeks so I'm not sure but it never buzzed before at all.... but I have a small guitar amp that I am going to test my bass on and see if there is any buzz. I'll get back to you!
     
  7. Jim Carr

    Jim Carr Dr. Jim Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2006
    Denton, TX or Kailua, HI
    fEARful Kool-Aid dispensing liberal academic card-carrying union member Musicians Local 72-147
    @pklopcic4171 — The P pickups are hum canceling, but they aren't perfectly so.

    The result is you get ambient hum (60 cycle and other noise) into your pickup's output signal.
    The pre-amp just passes it along. If your home's outlets aren't properly grounded, or if your neighborhood has old defective ceramic power-line insulators, these will contribute hum and radio frequency (RF) noise.

    My advice is to live with it. Get a reasonably long cable and increase the distance between yourself and your amp, and face at angle that minimizes the hum.

    Basses with hum canceling soap bar-style pick-ups and a properly installed onboard pre-amp exhibit very little hum. Single coil Jazz bass pickups can hum much like what you are describing.
     
  8. pklopcic4171

    pklopcic4171

    May 4, 2015
    This is a good idea, but I'm still wondering why this would happen so suddenly in this case. I've had it for about 2 weeks and it's been running like a dream, but this buzzing started up just two days ago.
     
  9. Jim Carr

    Jim Carr Dr. Jim Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2006
    Denton, TX or Kailua, HI
    fEARful Kool-Aid dispensing liberal academic card-carrying union member Musicians Local 72-147
    You failed to mention that tiny detail...

    Is it possible that only now have you really noticed it?
     
  10. pklopcic4171

    pklopcic4171

    May 4, 2015
    No, it is very prominent when I play. I definitely would have noticed it before if it was there.
     
  11. tbirdsp

    tbirdsp

    Sep 18, 2012
    Omaha, NE
    Sorry - I meant does it buzz when the volume on the bass is turned down?
     
  12. pklopcic4171

    pklopcic4171

    May 4, 2015
    Yes, but the volume of the buzzing changes in accordance with how I make my bass sound. For example, if I turn down the dial that controls the amount of low end in my sound (on the bass), the buzzing will also sound a lot drier.
     
  13. If it happens with the volume on the bass all the way down, but not on other basses, there's probably some sort of grounding issue in your bass. It's hard to know for sure, but if the volume pot is doing its thing, it should do a better job of muting everything.
     
    Short-scale likes this.
  14. pklopcic4171

    pklopcic4171

    May 4, 2015
    If it is a grounding issue, how would I go about fixing it? Would this be something I could figure out on my own or would I be better off taking it to a pro?
     
  15. 2.6kHz

    2.6kHz

    Jul 9, 2014
    Stow, MA
    Touch the strings. Does hum go away? If so, you have some form of a shielding problem on your bass, or the shield on instrument cable is dicey.
     
  16. Remove the back panel and take a look. If you want, take a detailed pic and upload it. Talkbass is pretty good for IDing problems that can be seen with a decent pic.

    I'd be looking for places that there was a connection that there is no longer a connection. Places that there is solder, but no wire connected and wire that is free from any connection. It may not be that simple, but it can be. The preamp is a bit of a problem; that can add a level of complexity that makes it harder to troubleshoot.

    In the end you may need to take it to a tech for final diagnosis, but there's things you can do before then to rule out some possiblilities. And personally I would avoid paying a tech like the plague :).

    Based on your OP you seem to have a decent head for troubleshooting; with some very low level electrical theory, you could probably do most of the troubleshooting yourself.
     
  17. pklopcic4171

    pklopcic4171

    May 4, 2015
    No, the him does not go away if I touch the strings
     
  18. Coolhandjjl

    Coolhandjjl Supporting Member

    Oct 13, 2010
    Appleton
    I have a bass with Geezer Butler PJ's. (Passive, both have hum cancelling coils.) The P pup is totally silent no matter what. The J pup has a peculiar issue, it generates a barely audible hum only when the bass is held flat like a dinner plate, or when playing and I'm standing perpendicular to my rig. (The hum is not the same as the usual bad ground or single coil hum. It is a much quieter different sounding hum.) I even had the dealer replace the pup and I still get the noise. Happens with both of my hybrid style heads.

    When I stand parallel to and stand in front my rig and play, The J pup is as silent as the P pup. There could be some weird EMF or RF issues in my practice place, I haven't taken the rig to another site yet to test this theory.

    Some things are just mysterious.
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2015
  19. Lowbrow

    Lowbrow Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2008
    Pittsburgh PA!
    It's not the amp but a combo of the bass and cable. These interact with electrical wiring, lightbulbs, radio signals and other things. Try looping you cable near the amp input, adding a ferrite magnet clamp filter, shielding your bass cavities, changing your position relative to lightbulbs, etc, but I really suggest getting used to some noise.
     
    Bassamatic likes this.

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