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Bass volume is too low :(

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by valkyrievf2x, Apr 17, 2016.


  1. valkyrievf2x

    valkyrievf2x

    Oct 14, 2015
    Hi!

    Seem to be having an issue with my Yamaha RBX800. For some reason, the output on it is fairly low--it can barely be heard over my drummer. I am playing through a Trace Elliot Commader 100watt amp, and it is barely present when played at high volumes (maxed out at the amp, maxed at the bass). Yet, it I use my Cort P-Bass with Quarter Pounders, at the same amp settings it makes the wall shake--I actually have to turn the bass down a good bit! Same thing with my active Squier Jaguar (though I don't know how accurate a comparison that would be...).

    I have recently rewired the bass since it had some weird neck volume-master volume--master tone thing going. It got a little louder. Of course, if I run both pickups at full, I do lose a noticeable amount of volume. I seem to get the most volume from just the split coil at the neck (which is as close as I can get to the strings with it). The jazz pick up is a little lower. Seems like the best compromise is neck at 100% and bridge at about 30%. New strings, too (roundwounds).

    As to the question: does this sound like an issue with the pick ups, or am I expecting too much out of the bass (especially when compared to the other two basses)?

    Thanks for your help!
     
  2. AcridSaint

    AcridSaint ベーシスト Supporting Member

    Jan 30, 2012
    Raleigh
    I don't play well.
    Is this the active RBX800a or is it passive? If active, did you change the battery?
     
    shawshank72 likes this.
  3. valkyrievf2x

    valkyrievf2x

    Oct 14, 2015
    It is the passive model.
     
  4. Siggy

    Siggy Supporting Member

    Mar 15, 2003
    Columbus Ohio
    Does the pickup height need adjusted?
     
  5. valkyrievf2x

    valkyrievf2x

    Oct 14, 2015
    The neck pick up is as high as I can get it without touching the strings. The bridge could be raised a bit more... But even with the neck pick up soloed, it is still not terribly loud.
     
  6. DigitalMan

    DigitalMan Owner of seven basses - eligible for 44 TB Clubs Supporting Member

    Nov 30, 2011
    The neck pickup sounds like it's too high.
     
    HolmeBass likes this.
  7. valkyrievf2x

    valkyrievf2x

    Oct 14, 2015
    Wouldn't lowering the neck pick up decrease volume instead of increasing it?
     
  8. AcridSaint

    AcridSaint ベーシスト Supporting Member

    Jan 30, 2012
    Raleigh
    I don't play well.
    Do you have a multimeter to test the pots and the pickups? Anything beyond changing batteries is probably outside of my online troubleshooting skills, but I doubt that you are experiencing normal behavior.
     
    P. Aaron likes this.
  9. mel0dic.bassist

    mel0dic.bassist

    Jul 9, 2014
    Canada
    There's a threshold when it goes past that sweet spot, it does the same affect as when the pickup is too low. Taking into consideration how a magnetic field operates (in simple terms), you ideally (depending on preference of course), want to have the strings where the magnetic field is strongest, which will change the perceived volume/output of your pickups. It's like having them too low, but reversed.

    Some pickups are also just low-output and/or are just not that great, which also affects how it sounds. I am not familiar with the output of your bass, but if you have a multimeter, you can check the output simply enough to determine what the output is, and compare it to the output of other pickups to get a ballpark idea.

     
  10. Clark Dark

    Clark Dark

    Mar 3, 2005
    earth
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2016
  11. DigitalMan

    DigitalMan Owner of seven basses - eligible for 44 TB Clubs Supporting Member

    Nov 30, 2011
    All of this - plus if the pickup is too close the magnetic pull can have an effect on the vibration of the string which can be a significant issue as well.
     
  12. valkyrievf2x

    valkyrievf2x

    Oct 14, 2015
    Alrighty! I will lower the pick up and report back :)
     
  13. valkyrievf2x

    valkyrievf2x

    Oct 14, 2015
    Alrighty... Lowered the neck pick up and it got slightly louder. It is still low compared to the other two, though. Guess the multimeter comes out tonight! Pots are brand new, but I want to see the voltage on the pick up, though. Might have to accept the idea that I might need new pick ups, though. Hmmm....
     
  14. mel0dic.bassist

    mel0dic.bassist

    Jul 9, 2014
    Canada
    You need to measure the resistance of the pickup, output of an instrument is often a confused term. Its measured output impedance (resistance), is the actual "strength" of the signal leaving the pickup, typically most P-style pickups are in the 10-30K range, 30K being a "hot" pickup. The output impedance dictates the required resistance needed by your input source (amp, mixer, fx, etc) need to be able to handle to avoid sending an intensely hot signal to your receiving source, et al, if your bass puts out 15K, your amp/mixer/whatever must be able to handle AT LEAST that value or else you'll end up causing problems like clipping, distortion, artifacts and the like.

    Most Precision-style/split pickups are generally in the 10-15K range from most manufacturers, simply looking at their specs, and through experience.

    To test this, set your multimeter to Ohms 20K setting, plug a cable into your bass, one probe on the Tip, one on the Sleeve, that will give you the output of your pickup. Other items like volume and tone knobs should be left wide open, as these will affect the reading you get.

    On a side note, my Danelectro has twin Lipstick single-coils, their output is around 8-9K, and I can assure you there's nothing quiet about the signal I'm using. It's less compared to my other instruments, but I never have to compensate for it.

    Realistically, if the bass plays great and you like it a lot for whatever reasons, pickups are a very cheap, VERY effective way at improving tone/output/etc.
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2016
    Pyrate likes this.
  15. valkyrievf2x

    valkyrievf2x

    Oct 14, 2015
    Never knew that was how you tested the impedance. Learn something new every day!

    Alrighty... Did as stated, and came out with these measurements (tone was left wide open):
    P style alone: 10K or so (kinda jumped from 9 to 10K--old ohmmeter)
    J style alone: 10K
    Both wide open: 4.5K!

    The last one surprised me. I started turning down the J pickup down until the signal went up to about 8.5, and ended up being about 75% or so. Interesting. By comparison, the Cort P-bass with the Quarter Pounders came in at 12.5K. Guess I should mention the pots in the Yamaha are all 250K's.
     
  16. mel0dic.bassist

    mel0dic.bassist

    Jul 9, 2014
    Canada
    Check the solder joints of your electronics.. Can you post a clear picture of the wiring harness? Sounds like the J pickup might be toast, causing unwanted resistance. Or it could be something else causing it, bad solder joint, bad cap, pot, etc.. Could be anything really.

    Both wide open should yield approximately double the output resistance. Example; my Schecter Omen 6 Extreme is loaded with high-output humbuckers, but also has coil tapping. I get about 16.5K on either humbucker, and about ~8K with coil tapping (using only one of the 2 coils available)

    Point being, the reading you get with both engaged should increase, not decrease. Think of it as having a vehicle with a 3.0L engine.. If you double that, it'll increase performance, maybe not double the original spec, but it should be going up, not down.
     
    MattZilla likes this.
  17. Both pickups on at 100% could very well result in lower output. That is not uncommon. Your bass outpit is low though - check your wiring. Could have a choke point if a wire is barely soldered on. Check your pickup output before the pots.
     
  18. Owen Bacon

    Owen Bacon

    Jul 27, 2015
    Oregon
    I had the same problem with an rbx I had. however, It was my first bass and i wasn't gigging, the bass is long gone by now. Interested in what the solution is.
     
  19. elgecko

    elgecko

    Apr 30, 2007
    Anasleim, CA
    Your other basses can be heard over your drummer with this 100 watt amp? o_O
     
  20. MDBass

    MDBass Supporting Member

    Nov 7, 2012
    Los Angeles, CA
    Endorsing Artist: Dingwall-Fender-Jule-Dunlop-Tech 21-Darkglass-Nordstrand
    A significant drop in volume/output with both pickups evenly blended tells me that your pickups are likely out of phase with each other.