Bass buzzes when hands are near the pickup.

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by AndreasR, Oct 21, 2017.


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  1. AndreasR

    AndreasR

    Oct 23, 2012
    I have a P/J with SD Quarter Pounder pickups in it. When I touch the E and A part of the split coil pickup I get this buzzy, scratchy noise. Even just hovering my hand near it creates some buzz. I sent it to a repair man, and he says it's due to having tapewound strings on it, something about not having enough metal in them? He shot me a message that putting different strings on it helped, but I haven't been able to go check yet.

    Thing is, I don't know how accurate his assessment is, and the last time I sent the bass to the guy he took months for a simple rewiring. I love my tapes but if I actually can't use them, that's sad but acceptable. But right now I'm just wondering if this guy isn't just making stuff up.

    Can anyone tell me if there's any merit to what he's saying?
     
  2. I have put tapes on P/J's and never had that problem.
     
  3. megafiddle

    megafiddle

    May 25, 2011

    Your repair guy might very well be correct that the tapewound strings are contributing to the noise (buzz), but it is not because they "don't have enough metal in them". Tapewound strings can contribute to the noise because the tape wrap is insulating you from ground. And when you are ungrounded, you are a noise source.

    Metal wound strings provide the ground connection to yourself that removes you as a noise source, and so they would reduce the noise in this case, but only while you are touching them.

    The other thing contributing to the noise is the unshielded pickup. The E/A and D/G halves of the pickup are wired in series. So only one half can be grounded. The other half will necessarily be sitting well above ground and therefore be sensitive to noise.

    One solution is to remove the noise source. If you switch to metal wrapped strings, you can avoid the noise by always remaining in contact with them. If you want to use the tapewound strings, or will occasionally lose contact with metal wrapped strings, you can use an alternate method of grounding yourself. Some use a wire from the output jack or cable plug to their own body somewhere.

    Another solution is to remove the sensitivity of the circuit. Shielding the pickups, and/or grounding the pole pieces can help.

    If you only ever touch the E/A half of the pickup, it is also possible to rewire things so that the E/A half is grounded. This moves the problem out of the way, to the D/G half.

    -
     
  4. AndreasR

    AndreasR

    Oct 23, 2012
    I know that sometimes you can have a buzz that only is removed when you touch a metal part and complete the ground. From what I gather this is similar to that, even if the buzzing is only present when I nearly touch the pickup?

    Also, if I understand right he's only offering a workaround when he could have solved my problem better? He could still add extra shielding, move the ground to the other half, or even do both (don't want to bother with having to stick a wire on my body). But more importantly, he can ground the pole pieces? How does one do that, because it sounds like that would take on the problem directly.
     
  5. megafiddle

    megafiddle

    May 25, 2011
    Yes, it simply has to do with your proximity to the bass circuitry. With a completely unshielded bass, and you ungrounded, it can be noisy just by holding it. The closer you get to the circuitry, the noiser it gets. The pickups are typically the most exposed parts of the circuit, and therefore the most sensitive.

    Actually, grounded strings have been a workaround for a long time. That's why most all bridges, and therefore the strings, are grounded.

    There are many topics here about grounding pole pieces, by those that could explain it better than I could. If nothing shows up soon about it, I will try to find them.

    -
     
  6. AndreasR

    AndreasR

    Oct 23, 2012
    Even if it is an ancient workaround, it's still a workaround though. I've been using tapes for years on all kinds of basses, so it's not like they can't work, or at least you'd think so.
     
  7. megafiddle

    megafiddle

    May 25, 2011
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