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Fender Mustang PJ noisy J pickup

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by soulitude, Jan 24, 2020.


  1. soulitude

    soulitude

    Jan 14, 2020
    I just bought a new Fender Mustang PJ, and I really like it. So fun to play.

    I’m using it almost exclusively to record with, in front of a computer and studio monitors - and there’s some obvious humming going on from the J pickup, - so now my mission is to make it hum free.

    I’m definitely not super knowledgeable about this stuff, so I’d love some suggestions.

    I want to keep the cost down to as low as possible, cause tbh I’m probably going to use the P pickup mostly anyway - and it doesn’t hum at all.

    I guess I’ll choose between these two paths:
    1 Shield all cavities with copper tape
    2 Replace the J pickup with the Dimarzio Area J (which is the cheapest noiseless pickup that still seem to sound okay that I’ve found)

    I read that the Area J has a very low output, so I’m not sure if the blend mode between J and P would make a good balance?
     
  2. The hum is not constant in every place. Try to change your position, or sit further back from the monitor. Maybe it will help. I guess you could also experiment with metal shielding between the bass and electronic devices in your studio, but I never tried it.

    Area J: You can optimize the output of pickups by screwing the louder pickup into the cavity, further from the strigns. Talkbass coleagues will probably tell you the pickup must be as close to the strings as possible, but my experience is exactly opposite: the further the pickup from the strings, the better dynamic response of the bass. Don't be afraid to try.

    Another tip: I have PJ with Bartolini pickups, and the J don't hum enough to pay my attention to it. I never thought whether it is a good pickup or good something else. The cavity is painted with some graphite color.

    Worthless personal opinion: the hum and J pickup somehow fit together. If the music needs to be that clean, maybe it doesn't want the J pickup at all. Or maybe some noise gate effect, or EQ, can sort your problem better and cheaper.

    Squier experience: one of my student bought a cheap Squier PJ, and the J pickup really hums a lot. Surprised me. But since the P pickup sound way better, I told him (considerately) not to use J pickup at all.
     
  3. funkinbottom

    funkinbottom Supporting Member

    Apr 23, 2006
    Northern CA.
    Get rid of that single coil and replace with a split (dual) coil Jazz pickup. My Bartolini's are dead silent. As were the Seymour Duncans in the Jaguar P/J I had. Most the major brands have a hum canceling (split coil) Jazz PU's.
    Delano, Nordstand, EMG and Aguilar. Just depends on what flavor you like. I believe Fender makes one as well.
     
    Lownote38 and Zoobiedood like this.
  4. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism

    Given your two paths, only the pickup swap will resolve the noise. You are getting 60hz/single coil noise from the J pickup. The only solution is to equal the amount of coils. Adding shielding will resolve RF interference, noise that stops when you touch metal on the bass. They are two different solutions for two different issues. That being said, you should have good shielding AND humbuckers if you want a noise free bass.
     
  5. Slater

    Slater Leave that thing alone.

    Apr 17, 2000
    The Great Lakes State
    The Dimarzio Model J should cost the same as the Area J and will have more output. Only you will know if it will “sound okay”.
     
  6. soulitude

    soulitude

    Jan 14, 2020
    Thanks for all replies!
    I think I'll try with the Area J pickup first and then see if I could do some more improvement with shielding the cavities.
     
  7. Lownote38

    Lownote38

    Aug 8, 2013
    Nashville, TN
    Jazz Bass buzzing? Rotate left (or right) until it goes away. Otherwise, get something that isn't single coil to put in there.
     
  8. Slater

    Slater Leave that thing alone.

    Apr 17, 2000
    The Great Lakes State
    The Area J is hum canceling.
     
  9. Lownote38

    Lownote38

    Aug 8, 2013
    Nashville, TN
    Isn't it stacked, though? I like the split coil idea better.
     
  10. Slater

    Slater Leave that thing alone.

    Apr 17, 2000
    The Great Lakes State
    The Dimarzio website doesn’t seem to say. Best Bass Gear describes them as split coil. Also, when they first came out, I seem to recall reading about them being split coil.
     
  11. soulitude

    soulitude

    Jan 14, 2020
    Yeah, so I bought a Area J bridge pickup - and now I immediately got stuck with the wiring. I don't get the diagram.

    So the original pickup just has the black wire (ground) that goes to the bottom of the tone pot, and the white wire that goes to the toggle switch. Easy.

    The Area J has 5 different wires - white, black, red, purple and green.
    Can a friendly soul please explain to a noob like me which wire I would solder to where?
     
  12. Lownote38

    Lownote38

    Aug 8, 2013
    Nashville, TN
    Split can mean stacked. That's usually when you have 4 wires like the Area J's have. They are usually lower output as well.
     
  13. Lownote38

    Lownote38

    Aug 8, 2013
    Nashville, TN
    The diagram should be pretty straight forward. What don't you get?
     
  14. Slater

    Slater Leave that thing alone.

    Apr 17, 2000
    The Great Lakes State
    The 4 wires are irrelevant in regards to coil orientation with Dimarzio pickups, as all of Dimarzio bass pickups have 4 wires to allow for different coil manipulation.
     
  15. soulitude

    soulitude

    Jan 14, 2020
    I've only found wiring diagrams for other purposes, not exactly for this PJ setup - so I was just hoping someone could guide me. I guess the black and the white wires goes to the same places the previous pickup went to? But after that I'm pretty much lost.
     
  16. Slater

    Slater Leave that thing alone.

    Apr 17, 2000
    The Great Lakes State
    For normal (series) wiring:
    Red=Hot, connect to your toggle switch.
    Green=Ground, usually soldered to the back of a pot.
    Purple (I believe Dimarzio calls it Grey)=Shielding, which goes to Ground.
    Black and White are soldered together and connected to nothing.
     
  17. soulitude

    soulitude

    Jan 14, 2020
    Thanks a lot! That's very helpful of you.

    I replaced it just now and it's working fine! However, instead of the previous hum I now have got some RF interference instead, so I'll have to check again after some bad solder joints or something.
    I had the grey wire go to the same place as the green one, but I guess that's not it?
     
    Slater likes this.
  18. Slater

    Slater Leave that thing alone.

    Apr 17, 2000
    The Great Lakes State
    You have the grey wire connected correctly. Bad solder joints should have little to do with RF interference, unless the connection is to the shielding. To get the instrument totally quiet, you might have to explore your #1 option.
     
  19. Lownote38

    Lownote38

    Aug 8, 2013
    Nashville, TN
    Okay. Well the stacked double coils from Seymour Duncan have 4 wires, but the dual coil (1 coil for each set of 2 strings) has 2 wires. The stacked I tried had a much lower output than the more modern split coil design.
     
  20. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

     
    Apr 12, 2021

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