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Ground hum or cheap pickup problem?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by YosemiteSam, Aug 10, 2005.

  1. YosemiteSam


    Jun 8, 2005
    Chatham, MA
    One of my basses is an Ibanez ASB140 semi-hollow which has a pretty bad hum/pop problem when I'm not touching the strings. When I do touch the strings I get a good solid >snick< through the amp, and then its quiet -- until I break contact with the strings (or bridge) again. It does not hum when I turn the volume down.

    Should I be looking at wiring to determine if I've got a bad ground, or is this a function of a cheap pickup? I tend to think the ground connections are OK, since the buzz goes away when I'm acting as the ground conductor, but then even after playing for 30+ years I'm amazed at the stuff I don't know about these instruments.

    The pickup is a MM-style humbucker, but it is stock equipment on a $350 guitar, so it likely could be the culprit.

    Suggestions? Thanks in advance,

    -- Sam
  2. jointus


    Sep 20, 2003
    Here's a link you might check out:link
    I would check the ground connections and the ground at the bridge, check your jack too.
  3. That sounds somewhat more sinister than a ground loop or poor shielding. It could in fact be the case that there is a voltage offset present on your strings. This often happens to microphones in pubs and clubs - ever felt your lips tingling as you're singing into a mic?! It can actually be very dangerous in the worst cases.

    I would suggest that you need to look at the wiring of the guitar. In particular, check that there's still a good ground connection to the bridge if there was one there to begin with. Check all the other grounds in your system, cables, pedals etc etc.
  4. YosemiteSam


    Jun 8, 2005
    Chatham, MA
    Indeed, with this bass I get that very same "tingle effect" from the mics at our rehearsal space. I suspect the house wiring is flaky, but there's something going on with the the bass, too, as it also does this at home, with my practice amp (to a lesser extent).

    Of course, since it's a semi-hollow it makes life really interesting, getting at all the wiring connections...

    Thanks for the tips. Feel free to post others.

    -- Sam