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Buggy Output Jack

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by RHCPelite, Aug 27, 2012.

  1. RHCPelite


    Jun 25, 2007
    The output jack on my bass has been giving we issues since my gig on Saturday. I unscrewed the plate fo the jack assuming it just needed a good cleaning, but unfortunately that was not enough. After I bent in the signal prongs, my bass's signal became stronger but it quickly faded.

    I was considering taking it into the shop because it needs a setup anyway, but I don't feel like spending money on an issue I could potential fix my self. So, I have a few questions:

    Is this something that could be easily fixed?
    If it wore down this easily, should I just replace it anyway?
    If it should be replaced, who makes the best components for this?
    What tonal effects should I expect from particular models/brands of output jacks?

    Thanks :hyper:
  2. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY Supporting Member

    It needs to be re-soldered somewhere I expect. Look at the wires I bet at one of the solders it's hanging on by a strand or two.
  3. megafiddle


    May 25, 2011
    As 96tbird said, a bad connection is a good possibility.

    Also, if you had to bend the contact to get the tension back, the contact has already lost it's springiness and it's best to replace it.

    Switchcraft is good. You can get them in two different bushing lengths, short for pickguard mounting or long for wood tops. The mounting hole for those jacks are 3/8" (.375), your original jack may be slightly smaller.

    There is absolutely no difference in the sound of jacks.
  4. the Arsonaut

    the Arsonaut

    Aug 27, 2012
    Check your cable, rule that out, first...
    For all the people who like to drag their cables, it causes burrs (& collects dirt) on the plug's tip...

    Cable's fine?

    onto the next question:

    What's the rest of your wiring harness (the wires and pots, and you know-stuff) look like?
    Why are we bending things? Who bent it in the first place?

    1/4" jacks do not just lose their springiness...
    Unless it has taken some major dive, you can bend the flange back into place, resolder loose wires to it, and ride off into the sunset.
  5. megafiddle


    May 25, 2011
    Good point about the cable.

    I've seen the really cheap jacks become "sprung", where the tip contact would fail to make good contact with the cable plug. Bending the contact back in works for a couple of plug insersions and then loses contact again.

    True, a better jack won't just lose springiness unless it's damaged. But there are some otherwise decent instruments out there with low quality jacks and controls.

    A simple way to test a jack for a sprung contact, is to see if there is any free movement of the plug when it's plugged in. If the plug spins easily with no resistance or it can be moved slightly into and out of the jack freely, the contact is sprung.
  6. bassman314

    bassman314 I seem to be a verb, an evolutionary process...

    Mar 13, 2005
    Bay Area, CA
    When you cleaned the jack, did you use a contact cleaning solution, or did you just wipe it off?

    De-Oxit is pretty amazing stuff.

    Otherwise, the advice above is solid.
  7. mech

    mech Supporting Member

    Jun 20, 2008
    Meridian, MS, USA
    If it just needs cleaning, a quality brass .25 caliber gun barrel cleaning brush with some contact cleaner works well on an open frame type female jack, if you don't want to take the thing apart. Cleans the inside of the ground sleeve, too. And no, the bristles won't come out and cause problems unless the brush is cheap or worn out.

  8. bassbenj


    Aug 11, 2009
    I don't know what you mean "faded". As a rule jacks either work or don't which means that signal is either there or it's not. IF the cutting in and out takes place fast (as in wiggling the plug) then people usually call it "static" because that is sort of what it sounds like.

    But if you are getting signals that "fade" which is to say get weaker rather than totally gone, you need to look for wires touching the shielding ground (especially if it's conductive paint) that shunts part of the signal off.

    To hunt problems with cavity covers off, and bass plugged in an on, strum a couple of strings and then poke around the cavity trying to find the things that change the signal when you move them.

    All the advice given on fixing jacks is right on. But be aware that sometimes jacks can develop shorts where the pieces are crimped together. The only fix for that is a new jack. They are cheap and if I had to bend the prong, it's a pretty good sign it's time for a new jack. As someone noted, that fix usually doesn't last too long anyway, so given the price of a new jack it's simpler to just slap a new one in there.
  9. mech

    mech Supporting Member

    Jun 20, 2008
    Meridian, MS, USA
    Excellent point. Only seen it once and it's been a while.


    edit: Just remembered a pot on a Fender Jag guitar that had a super small sliver of metal on a tab that is riveted to the element. It would short to the grounded case with temperature changes and intermittently form a high resistance short and lower the instruments volume. The sliver could barely be seen with one of the large lighted magnifying glasses. Called the guy and showed him before I fixed it since he had brought it to me several time with no joy. That was an embarrassing head scratcher.
  10. RHCPelite


    Jun 25, 2007
    Thanks for all the help guys. I'll let you know how it goes.
  11. 1SHOT1HIT


    Feb 17, 2012
    I've been having a similar issue on my Squire CV P, well not similar but mine pops through the amp when the cord is bumped at all.

    I plan to check the soldering tonight, anything else it could be?

    I'll also be cleaning it as well. Hopefully that solves it.

    Oh and good luck to the OP.

    This is what it looks like when someone searches for a thread that already exists to answer their question rather than starting a new one all together, and wouldn't you know it it worked.

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