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Directional noise w/ Fender Vintage Noiseless?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Bakkster_Man, Mar 20, 2013.

  1. Bakkster_Man


    Jan 15, 2006
    I bought my MIM Deluxe Active Jazz a little over a month ago, and hadn't had any issues until last night. Suddenly it had noticable (at least, with IEMs) directional noise.

    I'm still not sure this is going to be a persistent issue, but any ideas why this should be happening with humbucking pickups? Just an unusually strong noise source? Could an internal wire have come loose? There's noise only with the volume up, but noise (of slightly different tone) on both pickups. Could it even be as simple as the battery going flat in the preamp?

    I'm going to start troubleshooting, and would appreciate any advice or places to look. Thanks.
  2. khutch

    khutch Praise Harp

    Aug 20, 2011
    suburban Chicago
    I have one of those too. It is quiet at home but has some noise at church which goes away when I touch the strings. I can't tell that it is directional. I also have a Reggie Hamilton bass which has essentially the same preamp and it also has the noise. I believe it has the same noiseless bridge pickup as the DAJ but it has a P Bass neck pickup and the noise is there even with the neck pickup soloed. So I think it is not coming through the pickups or if it is it affects a P pickup as much as it does the noiseless J.

    My suspicion is that the shielding needs to be upgraded. My DAJ has a well done shielding paint job. It is well done in the respect that it is complete and properly grounded. The back of the pickguard is not shielded though and I don't really know how well the bridge pickup route is shielded. The person who applied the shielding paint to my RH on the other hand just wasn't into it that day. I'd say the preamp and neck pickup cavities are maybe 60% covered....

    So, the factory Fender shielding leaves some to much to be desired. I'd have done an upgrade by now but it is far easier to just keep one hand on the strings at all times!

  3. Bakkster_Man


    Jan 15, 2006
    Yeah, I'm not sure if it was just the first time I noticed it, or it's a new noise source. We play in a repurposed warehouse, my back is right up to what used to be the loading dock. I'm sure there's tons of EMI.

    I can deal with needing to touch the strings, and that's generally a shielding thing. The directional though... shouldn't be happening. At least that was my expectation.
  4. Bakkster_Man


    Jan 15, 2006
    Took a look inside and found what I believe is the issue. A bit of a lackluster shielding paint job, and too much resistance between the ground lug and the paint (measured 1kOhm, tightening the screw got it to 250Ohm, still high). It looks like the hum is coming from the preamp, which just so happens to be underneath the unshielded pickguard rather than fully in the control cavity. So, looks like mostly standard shielding work for me.
  5. Bakkster_Man


    Jan 15, 2006
    Alright, shielding is done. Copper foil throughout, and the noise when I'm not touching the strings is gone, as expected.

    I'm still getting a directional hum, though. The cavity above the preamp is shielded, though I haven't checked for continuity yet (need to figure out how to get the probe there). Are these Fender preamps known for being noisy and picking up hum? There's a bit moreshielding that can be done between the preamp and neck pup cavity, and at the battery compartment, but otherwise I'm at a loss. The noise didn't seem to change intensity at all.

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