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Buzz when not touching metal

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Gothic, Sep 11, 2019.


  1. Gothic

    Gothic

    Apr 13, 2008
    Greece
    Hello there

    So, here's the problem. I've a jazz bass, which, as it was before (V/V/T) did not have any buzz/noise when not touching anything metal. I mean, at all. I decided I wanted more "hair" out of my bass, so I did away with the 250k V/V/T pots, wired both pickups in series and had just a single volume pot. And that was that.
    Thing is, the bass is dead quiet when I'm touching the strings (or anything metal on it) but has quite a lot of buzz/hiss/noise when not. The noise does go away if I lower the volume significantly but not entirely, unless the volume is at zero.

    The bass has that conductive paint shielding in the cavity and some foil shielding underneath the pickguard, my connections and grounds are all ok (it's a single pot wiring, after all, can't get any simpler than that!), sound is fine (awesome in series, actually, heh) and everything else seems to be working just fine.
    I've even checked for continuity with a multimeter in every possible spot I could and it seems everything is grounded.

    Also, this does not seem to be a "location" issue, it behaves the same at my place, at the studio, friend's house etc. No change.

    Any suggestions?
    Only thing I can think of is that the shielding's just... well, not enough!
    Another idea was to reverse one pickup but I'm not exactly sure whether that'll make any difference at all, considering the distance between the two.

    Many thanks in advance!
     
  2. Does the cavity shielding have a connection to the pickguard shielding, and in turn the pot? Is the whole cavity shielded, including under the pickups?
     
    Gothic likes this.
  3. Axstar

    Axstar

    Jul 8, 2016
    Scotland.
    Your bass isn't correctly shielded if you have this issue. The noise goes away because the bridge on your bass is grounded. The noise itself could be interference that your body picks up.

    Don't rely on the factory shielding in your bass. I've owned a slew of MIM Fender guitars and basses. They all have some black painted splattered around the control cavity with a grounding eyelet screwed into the middle but none of it was useful for anything. I never got a continuity reading over the surface of this stuff.
     
    Gothic likes this.
  4. Gothic

    Gothic

    Apr 13, 2008
    Greece
    Well, that I never cared to check, to be honest. I'll give it a go for continuity but I'm guessing most likely not. I'm pretty sure the pickup cavities do have that conductive paint slathered around but I'll check anyway. Thanks for the suggestion!

    It's not my body, really, even if I leave it somewhere (on the couch or a stool or something) with the volume turned all the way up, the noise is still there.
    But I do get it, I'll probably have to go ahead and try shielding everything appropriately.

    Although, to be honest, it does baffle me that, when in the previous configuration (parallel, V/V/T) the noise just wasn't there at all. So much noise manifesting just because of the wiring in series and the 500k pot?

    I will, however, try to reverse the neck pickup first, see if that'll make any difference.

    Thanks again for taking the time everyone.
     
  5. Gothic

    Gothic

    Apr 13, 2008
    Greece
    Well, problem solved! It was indeed the shielding. I did a pretty quick job with what I had in hand (stick glue and tin foil) and lo and behold! Quiet as a church mouse! Amazing.

    Thanks again for all the replies!

    Oh, and by the way. CA glue does NOT bond tin foil to wood. Avoid.
     
  6. I've gotten readings as high as 500 Ohms on shielding that actually worked (G&L), but Fender shielding is usually lacking.
    In summary, the shielding doesn't necessarily have to reveal zero Ohms to be effective.
     
  7. Axstar

    Axstar

    Jul 8, 2016
    Scotland.
    I thought you were done here?
     

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