Clicking when I pick above my jazz pickups

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by jazznut, Sep 24, 2016.

  1. jazznut


    Sep 20, 2016
    I have a Marcus Miller bass (pictured in avatar) & I took off the chrome neck pickup gaurd because I tend to want to pluck directly above the neck pickup.

    I get a prominant clicking noise when I pluck, particularly when soloing. How prominant? A guy in the audience of a recent performance (who knows a lot about gear) approached me & asked me if there is something wrong with my pickups. (Of course when soloing I have about a 2-3 db boost, & I pluck harder to play out, but I have a fairly light touch.

    The pickups are not set high relative to the strings & I reiterate that I am not particularly strong or aggressive when plucking.

    My other bass has Carvin JVAs pickups that are set even higher in relationship to the strings. No click at all. Same technique, same eq settings.

    The only discernable difference is that on the MM bass the pole pieces are exposed. The one with the Carvin pickups has plastic covered blade magnets.

    Does the clicking have anything to do with the exposed pole pieces, and will covering the Fender pickups (& pole pieces) with a plastic cover ameliorate the clicking?
    SirMjac28 likes this.
  2. elgecko


    Apr 30, 2007
    Anasleim, CA
    Sounds like your strings are contacting your pole pieces. You can lower your pickup(s) and/or lighten your picking. Covering the poles might work too.
    lz4005 and ThuzzleFump like this.
  3. Jloch86


    Aug 1, 2016
    I had the same problem. Adjusting the saddle height of the string in question fixed it.
  4. jazznut


    Sep 20, 2016
    I seriously doubt the strings will hit the pole pieces but will lower the anyway.

    And of course, I meant to write thst I pluck really close to the pickup, not absolutely above them, otherwise my fingers would strike the pickup.

    As for plucking, I have the strings set as low as the 7.5" radius allows @ 4/64" for the G string @ the 12th fret. If my technique wasnt pretty light the fret buzz would be apparent when I pluck away from the pickup.
  5. jazznut


    Sep 20, 2016
    But it goes w/o saying that I will lower the pickup AND add a plastic cover before considering putting the chrome guard back on. It looks like the pickups aren't bad, otherwise they sound good. I have always wondered what Miller's reason for leaving his guard on is, & if the problem is common with exposed poles.
  6. Torrente Cro

    Torrente Cro

    Sep 5, 2013
    Try puting some duct tape over pole pieces to check if it is a contact issue.

    I have Marcus Miller Fender and it works fine, it is not a standard feature ;-)
    Bill Whitehurst likes this.
  7. Torrente Cro

    Torrente Cro

    Sep 5, 2013
    Where did you get a tort pickguard? It looks great!
  8. jazznut


    Sep 20, 2016
    Not Tort, red pearl. I got the blank material on eBay & had my Luthier cut it.

    Always thought black doesn't go well with ash, even in the case of Louis Johnson's ash Sting Ray. It was between cinnamon or red pearl for me
    Torrente Cro likes this.
  9. Looks like a Red Tort pickguard which I think looks much better than the typical old brown tort
    cheechi likes this.
  10. Stewie


    Jul 3, 2013
    Near Boston
    Are the strings smacking the frets when you solo? I would never be able to play a bass with the action that low, but I tend to play the bass like I'm trying to break it. I bet if you raise the strings a bit, you'll lose the popping.
  11. radioface


    May 2, 2013
    I had the same problem with one of my P basses. I lowered the pickups and the problem clicks were history.
  12. jazznut


    Sep 20, 2016

    Pearloid always looks better than tortoise shell IMO, that's why I chose pearloid over tort. Don't discount cinnamon pearloid.
    cheechi and Beavisplaysbass like this.
  13. jazznut


    Sep 20, 2016

    I have a relatively light touch & because I have jazz aspirations, couldn't play the bass as if I were trying to break it. Speed is a fairly essential component to jazz, & I am not innately fast (& a late bloomer). So the frets must be low to facilitate easy left hand technique. As for the left hand, I can't pluck too hard. As a matter of fact when soloing & the volume of the drums & guitar don't go down & I have to dig in too much to be heard, my fingers virtually freeze up.

    At home I play full range through my audio system subwoofer, no tweeter. Tomorrow I perform with my outdoor rig that has a Foster Horn. I will lower those pickups even more & my foster home will let me know if it still clicks
  14. Bodeanly


    Mar 20, 2015
    If you went through foh, is it possible that the sound guy could have cranked the highs, thus resulting in typical strings-against-the-frets sounding like a bunch of pellets in a tin can?
  15. Ewo

    Ewo a/k/a Steve Cooper Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2008
    Huntington WV
    If the clicking is not mechanical in origin (string smacking pole piece, fret rattle), I wonder if the transients might be clipping your amp. What's your rig?
  16. tbplayer59


    Jan 20, 2013
    "When soloing." To me, this means playing above the 14th fret. Lower that neck pickup.
  17. jazznut


    Sep 20, 2016

    First thing I will try, but it is fairly low & about the same height as the Carvin pickups on my fretless.
  18. TJH3113

    TJH3113 Supporting Member

    Jun 15, 2015
    New Windsor, NY
    I agree, string hitting the pole piece on the p/u. I thought of electrical tape on my bass, but didn't want the sticky residue, so I went with a drop of my wife's clear nail polish which seems to work fine.
  19. jazznut


    Sep 20, 2016

    Right now my rig is an Ampeg B2Re (lousy amp) SWR Goliath III.

    BUT at similar volumes my fretless doesn't do it. The difference is Carvin JVA pickups, & an Aguilar 2 band onboard preamp (6.5K treble) vs. the MMs faux Bartolini (10k treble).

    My normal rig has a Hartke LH-500 which will be ready in a few weeks. We don't play too loud in these venues.
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2016
  20. jazznut


    Sep 20, 2016
    Sound guys are a luxury we can't afford. I control my own volume & Foster Horn level about -8 db.