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(HELP!) Have no idea what’s going on with my bass amp

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Harujima, Apr 17, 2021.


  1. Harujima

    Harujima

    Apr 17, 2021
    Houston, Texas
    Just made an account, so pardon any irregularities, but lately I’ve had massive trouble with my bass amp. After I don’t use it for a while and I turn it in it’s somewhat fine but then I hear this building fuzzy noise and the longer I play, the louder it gets. Then once that happens, the audio starts cutting out, and then finally, it starts doing this really weird noise that I’m not sure how to describe, it’s like a kind of screechy POP sound with weird in-betweens of what it sounds like when there’s harsh cold wind outside. I just want to hear any advice or input before I try to fix it or just buy a new once, since I know next to nothing at knowing anything about gear and its issues. Any help or responses would be appreciated, thanks.
     
    teh-slb likes this.
  2. rickdog

    rickdog Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 27, 2010
    It would help to know what kind of amp it is.
     
    el murdoque and Killing Floor like this.
  3. Lobster11

    Lobster11 Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2006
    Williamsburg, VA
    Agreed. It would also be important to know that you're ruled out the possibility that the problem is not in the bass or elsewhere in the signal chain.
     
  4. AGCurry

    AGCurry Supporting Member

    Jun 29, 2005
    St. Louis
    Regardless of any answers you may get here, you're going to have to take it to a repairperson. So why not let that person answer your questions? Once s/he diagnoses the problem, your decision will be: Is it worth it?
     
  5. rickdog

    rickdog Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 27, 2010
    OP said "I know next to nothing at knowing anything about gear." There may be some simple troubleshooting that can identify a simple problem he can fix himself with a little guidance.
     
  6. Element Zero

    Element Zero Supporting Member

    Dec 14, 2016
    California
    Tried a different instrument cable? A different bass? Does your Bass have an active preamp? Have you changed the battery? Have you tried plugging the amp into another socket somewhere else in your house? Lots of questions need answering.
     
    Cirk, Frankie Fender, gebass6 and 7 others like this.
  7. Harujima

    Harujima

    Apr 17, 2021
    Houston, Texas
    Different cable, yes, the result is the same
    Different bass, no, I only have one unfortunately
    Different outlets, yes, same result
    I haven’t changed the battery yet, still looking if there’s any more immediate solution to whatever the issue may be
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2021
  8. Harujima

    Harujima

    Apr 17, 2021
    Houston, Texas
    Sorry for lack of specification, I got it secondhand from a friend, but here’s a picture
     

    Attached Files:

    Killing Floor likes this.
  9. StraightSix

    StraightSix

    Nov 23, 2011
    For the sake of a couple of bucks, I would try a new battery in the bass next...
     
  10. bherman

    bherman Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2009
    Grand Junction, CO
    do this next for sure change the preamp battery, if its weak it can definitely cause strange noises. And if you know anyone else with a bass, try that next (different bass into the amp to see if the problem occurs). That would rule out anything else but the amp, in which case your only recourse is a repair shop.
     
  11. DrThumpenstein

    DrThumpenstein Living for the groove Supporting Member

    Feb 8, 2015
    St Louis, MO
    Dying battery was the first thing to come to mind. If you need one, get two, if you need two, get four.

    Oh, and welcome to Talkbass!
     
  12. abarson

    abarson

    Nov 6, 2003
    Santa Cruz
    Welcome to TB!
    I think people are making a bit of a muddle trying to be helpful.
    If your bass has a preamplifier in it, then by all means change the battery. If your bass is passive ie it doesn’t have a preamplifier, there’s no battery to change. What bass are you using?

    To be clear, there are no batteries in your amplifier.

    Your combo amp appears to be a Kustom KBA 20 from the 80’s. It’s a small 20 watt practice combo with an 8-inch speaker, worth maybe $20-25 in working condition. As much as gifted equipment is appreciated, I think it would be more expensive to repair than to buy a working replacement.
     
    Cirk, Fishheadjoe, red_rhino and 20 others like this.
  13. spatters

    spatters

    Mar 25, 2002
    Try it with a different instrument and a different cable, even a guitar, and see if it does the same thing.
    If it does, throw it in the trash and get something else.
    Even better, give it away free on craigslist to someone who likes to tinker with stuff.

    As @abarson said, it's a low-power practice amp that's nearly 40 years old and worth perhaps $20 if it works perfectly. Any amp tech will generally charge $50 just to take a look at it.

    Meanwhile, you can buy a replacement for $40 shipped, $25 with a new bass at glarrymusic. But honestly if you're just practicing at home, I'd buy a Zoom B1 and practice on headphones or your home speakers.
     
    Dubious Aa and Gearhead17 like this.
  14. These would be my problem solving steps:
    1. If you can safely access the area where the amp's electronics are, check to see if everything looks OK. I was once given an old combo to use as a practise amp and (no joke) the circuit board in it was sitting under about half a centimetre of dust. As well as interfering with the working of the amp, it's a potential fire hazard.

    2. As others have said, if you're using an active bass, try changing the battery. They are notorious for causing odd noises when the power gets low. They're cheap, and if it turns out not to be the problem then you've got a spare battery that you're still going to need some day anyway.

    3. After that, rule out any other possible points of failure by removing everything from the signal chain except the bass, an instrument cable you trust (make sure it's not a speaker cable) and the amp.

    4. If it's still making odd noises after that, then it's probably time to have a technician look at it. But first, you need to make a call as to whether the amp is worth having professionally repaired. Generally I'd not want to spend $500 to repair an amp that's worth $250.

      [Edit] Just see some other people's estimations of the amp's value. Looks like it's almost certainly not worth having it repaired.
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2021
    BBassBassington likes this.
  15. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2020
    Austin, TX
    Good luck. If the bass is active replace the battery. Might not be it. But a simple test.

    Welcome to TalkBass. We’re mostly friendly here, not me, that’s why is said “mostly”.
     
  16. pbass74

    pbass74

    Sep 19, 2015
    Sunland, CA
    Also, make sure your cell phone is not on top of your amp. That will cause weird noises too.
     
    red_rhino, mikecd1, Fishtude and 3 others like this.
  17. It sounds like it is something simple.
    Something in it is marginal and works until it warms up a little.
    The bad news is that finding what it is will cost more than a replacement.
    You can use this as an excuse to upgrade (hey this is TB after all),
    but as I hate to see anything wasted,
    try to find someone like an electronics major in his last semester at a nearby Community College who might like the practice.
     
  18. RichSnyder

    RichSnyder Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Jun 19, 2003
    If you have an active bass, I would absolutely try a new battery first. The bad news - repairing the amp (if it is the amp) will cost more than purchasing a new, similar amp.
     
    DrMole likes this.
  19. agedhorse

    agedhorse Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 12, 2006
    Davis, CA (USA)
    Development Engineer-Mesa, Product Support-Genz Benz
    Getting electrocuted while poking around inside something you know nothing about will also be more expensive than replacing it... then there's all the paperwork! ;)
     
    Cirk, lug, J-Bassomatic and 17 others like this.
  20. bbh

    bbh Supporting Member

    Sep 27, 2011
    It’s not worth what it would cost to get a diagnostic. It’s seriously time to get a small upgrade. Ampeg makes a tiny kickback that would work well for you if you need to stay small.
     
    Cirk, MrHeadfirst, downunder and 2 others like this.
  21. 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.

     
    May 6, 2021

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