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Can't get rid of the buzz

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by subisina, Feb 28, 2008.

  1. subisina


    Feb 6, 2007
    Hey guys,
    I own 1990 Warwick Streamer Stage 1 with EMG's PJ pick ups and Aguiliar OBP 1 electronics. I have this buzz I can't get rid of. I really tried everything from resoldering to shielding, grounding, changing the amps I plug it in... I mean everything. I tried other basses in the same conditions when the buzz appears (light switch dimmers- when set to on and off position no problem but when the light is dimmed the buzz appears, TV on...) and they were all dead silent (Musicman Stingray, some Aries model, Yamaha TRB...). I thought then the problem lies in electronics or pick ups (maybe they are too old or 'overused' if it is possible) but I was very unpleasently surprised when I came upon other Warwick bass (Corvette Proline with Mec's electronics and pick ups) and the buzz appeared again (is it possible that I came upon two Warwick basses with the same problem accidently?). Is this something about Warwicks or about pick ups or electronics, I really can't figure it out and I really like the sound of my bass. I would like to replace the Emg's with the new EMG's PJ set and EMG's BQCsystem instead of Aguiliar OBP 1 or maybe just one of these that is not functioning right but what should I do to find where the problem lies. Is it possible that these pretty apreciated instruments have such a fault - I didn't hear anybody complaining about this at Warwick forum.
    It doesn't buzz all the time. Only in some situations I mentioned and the most extreme one is when I play in a room with light switch dimmers (not the conventional on-off switch but dimmer). I noticed it at home as well when I turn the TV on but then it is not so loud. It is always in close relation to some electricity consumer because I play for a certain period with no problems and then some consumer turns on and the buzz appears (the only case I figured it out is with these light dimmers and TV ) and then I just can find the position with my body when it doesn't buzz so much and play like that not turning at all (interesting, isn't it?).
    I already checked it all with ohm meter and everything is 0 - 0.05 (strings, bridge, cavity...), so it is fine. Cutting the high frequency helps a lot but imagine the sound then...
  2. let's take a slow approach to this, try only the PJ pickups by themselves, I assume they are active, right. Try with the stock EMG pots using standard wiring, and removing the OBP completely out of the loop. I am not saying the OBP is bad but it is easier to remove it for troubleshooting purposes: less wires.
    then let us know if still buzzes...
  3. smperry

    smperry Administrator Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 3, 2003
    Bay Area, CA
    The last post makes sense.

    Does the buzz go away when your hand is on the strings?

    With the current electronics, it might just be something you'll have to live with. The dimmer issue is common...and common solutions are to get rid of the dimmer (if it's in your home) or change the circuit that your amp is connected (plug it into a different socket). I don't know EMG systems as well as others so I can't discuss replacement.

  4. subisina


    Feb 6, 2007
    Thanks joeyl I'll try it
  5. subisina


    Feb 6, 2007
    No hands on/off don't make difference. If the dimmer issue is common why were these other guitars buzzless?
  6. gafbass02


    Nov 9, 2005
    cheltenham uk
    :crying:I have the same problem HUGE buzz on a few of my basses if a dimmer is on (even at full) anywhere in the house on all my basses with passive pickups and a preamp worst is my KSD my passive basses also suffer but not as loued due to the lower output and only my two fully active ones, a jazz with emgs and a streamer lx with mecs are totally silent at all times. Tried everything to shift the damn buzz and nothing works, (apart from not letting go of the strings at all!)
  7. torkelboy


    Feb 24, 2008
    The problem described here is due to a grounding issue!

    Probably has nothing to do with your bass or amp.
    Allthough some basses could enhance the distortion.
  8. Stealth


    Feb 5, 2008
    Zagreb, Croatia
    Dimmers normally do introduce a lot of noise into the power lines, and having one in the house will generally wreak EMP havoc on anything electrical.

    From what I've seen and heard, plating the pickup chambers with copper foil generally works wonders to reduce the hum - I'm pretty sure there's a manual on it somewhere on TB. I haven't tested the method myself but I intend to in the near future - according to everyone the method works flawlessly and doesn't depend on how you turn yourself against the noise source (as opposed to making your own dummy coil).
  9. jcalo


    Jan 28, 2008
    I can sympathize with this issue.I've experinced the same problem with my Pensa J-4 custom bass. I'm really beginning to think that it's the nature of the beast i.e. introducing active electronic to the mix. I do not experience any buzz with my Fender precision bass 1970 or my Yamaha BB1200 both passive electronics. I've had my Pensa bass completely gutted and tried all new electronics and the problem continues to exist. I'm very frustrated. I will be trying another active electronic bass tomorrow evening at my gig and I'm anxious to see if it has the same amount of buzz. Till then.

  10. subisina


    Feb 6, 2007
    Hope you'll get rid of it. Keep us posted
  11. how about you subisina? did you ever try the EMGs only?
  12. One thing jumps right out at me - the Streamer and the Corvette are both equipped with single coils, right? Whereas the Stingray and the TRB are humbuckers, right? Well, what you're describing is not unexpected to me and is just a consequence of single coil pickups. Single coils PUPs are particularly susceptible to noise.

    Dimmers don't just create noise on power lines, they can also radiate noise through the air. It is VERY common for basses to receive such noise via their pickups and unless your bass has the most ideal humbucking and grounding scheme known to man, it will pass this noise to the amplifier. So, even though the P pups are wired as humbuckers, they don't work as effectively as a true humbucking pickup. And even though the JJ's in the Corvette are effectively humbucking when blended equally, again, they don't work as effectively due to the fact they are so far apart.
  13. evito


    Dec 17, 2006
    Antioch, California
    I had a similar issue with my rig. It turned out that the electricity in the house for that section was not grounded and thats why the buzz was coming out of the amp. If you get the buzz even when there is no bass plugged in, then you have a ground issue in the house.
  14. subisina


    Feb 6, 2007
    Not yet. I'm not sure if I'm going to at all because I started to use my Streamer with bass and treble frequencies fully cut(this means not using the electronics at all I suppose - I just add some bass sometimes). I came to this idea because Lesfunk wrote he uses some of his basses this way and I tried it and it functions so far. I manage the sound colour with the amp eq. and it works fine. Yet, I'm not sure if I've solved my problem before I do another gig at these two places where the buzz appears most extremely. I'll keep you posted.
  15. subisina


    Feb 6, 2007
    This is exactly my problem I'm sure (radiate noise through the air) because I checked everything else. So if this is a case is there anything I can do?
  16. hmm, all active EMGs are humbucking so that should lessen your noise if anything...
  17. You mentionned, you have a pj, does this noise happen when the P-pickup is soloed?

    If the noise issue only appear when the J-pickup is soled or both pickups are on at the same time, it's normal, it's called 60 cycle hum ans is present on all single coil pickups.

    Like jazz basses, they all hum unless both pickups are at the same level. It is that way because two single coils cancel each others noise. On a PJ bass this effect don't happen because the P-pup is already humbucking by itself so it cancels it's own noise but don't cancel the noise of the single coil.
  18. Are they? I'm not so sure. I looked at the catalogue on the website yesterday and they make a point of mentioning that the P is humbucking, but they don't specifically state the same for the J pickup.
  19. I was under the wrong impression for the past 11 years, I cannot find where I was told they were humbucking :eek:
  20. Yeah, I was sort of under a similar impression, but can't find it stated definitively one way or the other.

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