Brubaker Brute MJX-4 hum (shielding?)

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by osha, Jan 17, 2018.

  1. osha


    Jan 17, 2018
    Hello. This is my first post, so thank you in advance for any input I get on this..

    I just purchased a used Brute MJX-4 which the seller claimed to be virtually unplayed since purchase and I have every reason to believe this is true based on the condition. However, once I got it home I noticed a pretty bad hum that I didn't hear when I played it through his amp.

    Based on my understanding of these things, it seem to be a shielding issue as the hum is reduced (though not eliminated) when touching the strings. I can also reduce the hum almost entirely by orienting the bass in a particular way. Shielding, right? Different patch cables didn't change anything and DI into an audio interface didn't change anything. Hum is reduced with the mix pot balanced between the two pickups however overall output is also dramatically reduced.

    I've heard a lot of positive things about the Brutes so this leads me to believe that something isn't right with the electronics. This is my first guitar with active electronics, so I have no experience at all with them. I actually thought it might be quieter! And yes, I threw in a new battery.

    Also, my old ibenez gsr200 that over 10 years or so I've completely butchered with terrible soldering multiple times has less hum and is overall louder output. Again, this was surprising to me, as I expected the active electronics would be a bit hotter..

    Anyway, any thoughts are appreciated.
  2. Paulabass


    Sep 18, 2017
    Part of that is normal for two J pickups, but....I just posted the other day. My Brubacker brute was shielded with paint quite nicely, BUT NOT GROUNDED! Conductive paint must be grounded, and mine wasn't.
    Your Brute should have TONS of output. That is a bigger concern to me than single coil noise. Mine is hot.
    See a good tech.
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2018
  3. osha


    Jan 17, 2018
    Thanks for the insight! I might take a peek inside to see if I confirm the grounding is solid. Otherwise I'll probably be seeing a tech. In the meantime, I'm definitely appreciating the feel of the bass!
  4. Paulabass


    Sep 18, 2017
    It's a nice bass, but mine arrived completely unplayable. I have very good skills, and spent a couple of hours fixing it. I was appalled, and if I didn't see a nice bass under all the flaws it would have gone back immediately.
    Things to look for- high frets. Mine had not been levelled and crowned. Cold solder joints. Really funky neck angle. Mine was actually reverse, the fingerboard pointing down into the instrument, it took a BIG shim to get right.
    I hope you get it all up and running. They have lovely necks, and decent pickups.
  5. osha


    Jan 17, 2018
    Mine saw a luthier before I purchased it so any fret issues were dealt with already. Though I'm probably not as discerning as you.

    Update on my electrical issues: I opened it up and couldn't see anything, not that I would have--the active circuits are beyond me.. I also pulled off the bridge and adjusted the ground wire slightly. Put it all back together, and problem solved! I find it hard to believe that the ground wire wasn't making a connection as it was flattened against the body, so I'm not sure if there was something else that I inadvertently did.. But either way, I'm super stoked that its working and I don't have to bring it to a tech!

    Specifically what changed was this: there is, of course, still the single coil hum that I initially expected but not the overwhelming hum that I'd get when not touching the strings. Secondly, when I have the two pickups balanced there is no longer a significant drop in the signal.

    This thing is fantastic, and now that it's actually working I feel like it was a great purchase.
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