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Classic 50's P bass bad electronics?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by David Silva, May 23, 2017.


  1. David Silva

    David Silva

    May 4, 2017
    Hi all,

    I got a question. I have a Classic 50's P bass, 2 tone with anodized pick guard. My question is I notice that if I have the bass volume set to around 20% the bass is silent as far as electronic noise goes. When I set the volume to 50-80 % it's super noisy. If I turn the volume up to 100%, the bass is silent again? My question is, is this the nature of the beast or do I have an issue with my pots or something? Also it should be noted that I play near a fluorescent light. Do I need better shielding or just need to move to a better location?

    Also question 2.
    When I purchased this bass I noticed one of the pickups is not level, should it be? Currently it is at a bit of an angle. The angle is front to back. I do realize they are offset side to side. I hope this all makes sense.

    Thank you in advance!!
     
  2. That's not normal. The bass should be quiet.

    As I understand, the pickups are tilted toward the neck or bridge, rather than flat, in that direction? That can be caused by uneven packing of foam, or the foam sitting on top of a thick wire or ground lug. As the pickups are adjustable, this is not a concern. The tilt in the other direction (bass to treble side) should be set for equal string response.
     
    Rattman and David Silva like this.
  3. David Silva

    David Silva

    May 4, 2017
    Thank you very much for the info. That's exactly what I have going on. I put my big boy pants on and I ventured underneath the pickgaurd and I found that the foam was installed at a funky angle causing a nasty tilt toward the neck. It still sounds great just looks dumb. I also took the bridge off and the ground wire was not making the greatest contact with the bridge. I stripped more wire and made sure it makes perfect contact now. I also looked at the cavity for the pickups and pots. Absolutely no shielding. zero. I bought this bass new in April so I wonder if there would be any warranty coverage for this??? If not, what is the best procedure for shielding? I have copper tape I could line everything with or is shielding paint a better way to go? I will be taking a weekend and doing a shielding job as well as fixing the pickup foam. Any tips on shielding???
     
    Rattman likes this.
  4. Copper tape is superior to shielding paint. The reason being that it has better conductivity. It's usually cheaper, as well.

    Before shielding, you should make sure that shielding will actually be effective for the kind of noise that you are hearing. Shielding reduces high frequency whine, but does nothing for 60Hz hum. Is that what you are hearing?
     
    LoveThatBass and David Silva like this.
  5. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Supporting Member

    Fender will not cover shielding/RF interference. Additionally, your bass is a repro from the 50s. That bass shouldn't have proper shielding, only a brass plate under the pickup. You are best to do shielding yourself, it is very easy. Everything I know on the subject can be read in the link in my signature, including a simple test to determine if RF interference is the issue.
     
    David Silva likes this.
  6. David Silva

    David Silva

    May 4, 2017
    So it's a p bass so please correct me if I am wrong, but doesn't the split style p bass coil cancel out the hum? I am pretty sure it's from shielding because when I touch the strings it goes away by 90 percent. Would that make it shielding or 60 cycle? I'm new to this stuff so please be patient with my descriptions.
     
    DavC likes this.
  7. David Silva

    David Silva

    May 4, 2017
    Great! I will be checking out the link to determine if it' rf or 60 cycle hum. You are amazing. Great info man!
     
  8. George Himmel

    George Himmel

    May 16, 2009
    The east coast?
    Former Manager, Bass San Diego
    If it's cutting the noise when you touch the strings it's most likely a grounding issue rather than a shielding issue. You might have to get a little more adventurous and look under the PG!

    Oh, and 60 cycle hum would be pretty weird on a P for the reason that the split pickups are wired against themselves to cancel hum. It would be very unusual for reversed/uneven pickup wiring to be the problem.
     
    HEADbass likes this.
  9. David Silva

    David Silva

    May 4, 2017
    Right on. I thought on a split p style, the hum would cancel out, thanks for that. I checked under the bridge and I made sure the ground wire is making contact with the bridge. From what I am finding, sounds like if I touch the bridge or strings and the noise goes away, it's shielding. If it get's louder it's a ground issue. If it never goes away, it's a bigger problem yet. Thanks for your input. I am going to try shielding first since I have some in my supply box. I think it will be pretty fun actually. I am looking forward to it.
     
    DiabolusInMusic likes this.
  10. George Himmel

    George Himmel

    May 16, 2009
    The east coast?
    Former Manager, Bass San Diego
    Have fun! Shielding can get nice and zen, but noise reduction when strings/hardware are touched is usually indicative of something not being grounded. Could be the bridge--I know you checked the wire, but sometimes the finish on a bridge will hinder conductivity from the ground wire, so I usually abrade the contact on the back of the bridge (especially true with chromed/plated high-mass bridges, which wouldn't be on a '58 style P).

    If the PG is the aluminum one, that should be grounded too. It could be something else, but those points, followed by other components being grounded, would be the first place I'd check. If you're planning on shielding with copper tape, you can run some over the route onto the front of the body to contact the PG, especially if you run a narrow strip into a screw hole. Again, just what I'd try first :)
     
  11. LoveThatBass

    LoveThatBass

    Jun 28, 2004
    I like putting a piece of copper shielding on the body under the bridge and soldering the ground wire to it in the recessed area. I usually make it slightly smaller than the bridge. This lends more surface area contacting the bridge Maybe overkill but has worked well for me.
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2017
  12. David Silva

    David Silva

    May 4, 2017
    That's a great idea. I will definitely be roughing up the bridge a bit to make sure the wire is making good conductivity. Also by using my multimeter on the ohms setting, that should reveal if the bridge is getting ground. By the way, I love this forum, such great advise!
     
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  13. David Silva

    David Silva

    May 4, 2017
    Yeah, I tend to overkill things as well, so out comes the soldering iron! This bass is so nice even though I have buzz right now. Sounds KILLER!!
     
    LoveThatBass likes this.
  14. DavC

    DavC Supporting Member

    May 17, 2005
    Tallmadge , Ohio
    is this New w/Warranty .?

    split pup = no noise ( shouldn't really require shielding like normal single coils, but , it can't hurt )

    bad ground .? something touching something it shouldn't . ? loose wire .? bad pot . ? installing the copper tape might help with grounding continuity .?!
     
  15. David Silva

    David Silva

    May 4, 2017
    Thanks,

    So if I touch the strings the noise almost 99% goes away. It was purchased in April, so it's in warranty. I will double check all the grounds with a multimeter before anything else. How do I determine a bad pot? With the volume to 100% the noise is pretty quiet. at 50% volume super noisy. You think it could be a bad volume pot? I still plan on shielding anyway but I am trying to learn all I can !!
     
  16. StudioGC

    StudioGC

    Sep 20, 2015
    London
    I shielded my 50's P bass. That shielding combined with the anodised pick guard makes for one of the quietest basses I've ever owned.
    IMG_2580.
     
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  17. Pbassmanca

    Pbassmanca In the pocket n' thumpy. So woody, so greasy...

    In my opinion, the classic 50s P Bass is the best sounding mass production Precision bass that Fender has made in the last 15 years or more. I have yet to get my hands on one, but I posted on TalkBass before about how I let one go that was literally the best sounding P bass I've ever heard. Big mistake. :banghead:
     
    TN WOODMAN and David Silva like this.
  18. David Silva

    David Silva

    May 4, 2017
    Boy oh boy,

    Great job on the shielding! I plan on doing mine this weekend. I will post pics as well. Thank you very much for that. I am 99.9% positive that's what's going on with my axe too. I can't wait to do the job, looks like I need to wait until Saturday morning....
    I will post my bass pics as well as the sound results. Thanks again Pbassmanca!
     
  19. David Silva

    David Silva

    May 4, 2017
    By the way,

    I need to move my pickup foam when I shield this bad boy. What do you all stick it back on with? Super glue?
     
  20. StudioGC

    StudioGC

    Sep 20, 2015
    London
    There's usually enough "stickiness" left to make it adhere enough. Once you start tightening the pick ups down it's not going anywhere.
     
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