Help with my sabre p'ups

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Irie01, Aug 1, 2002.

  1. Irie01


    Jan 22, 2002
    Alright, I have just got what I think is about an 83 Musicman Sabre. I hope someone here has a decent amount of knowledge about these beasts. It is the 3band eq with the 5-way selector switch,closed pole p'ups..

    The problem that I have is a lot of static noise coming from the bass when it is on and I have the treble knob turned up anywhere past flat. This happens when it is in any of the pickup positions. The weird thing is that when I touch the bridge, strings,metal plate, any knobs or any metal on the bass it gets lower and almost goes away but it is still subtely there.When I have it switched to the position where only the 3rd coil is on I get a distorted sound and buzz noise.(which is the coil that is closest to the bridge on the neck pickup).

    I took the bass to a local guitar tech in my town and he seemed to be a little suprised too. He thought that it might be a sheilding or loose ground problem but he checked it out and said that he did not think it was that. He even took the bridge off and pulled the wire up some to make sure it was making good contact with the bridge. It had been covered with some laquer from the finish. His opinion was that the problem was coming from that 3rd coil in the neck p'up. He said that because of its age that the neck p'up has become microphonic and is picking up energy like crazy from things such as the flourescent lights. The noise will be there as long as the switch position involves that coil which is a pretty vital one. He thought that there really was nothing I could do but live with it. It is truthfully not the nost unbearable thing because I do usually cut the treble and my fingers are usually in contact with the strings when I play so that buzz settles down, but I do like to boost the treble and get a wide variety of tones which this bass undoubtedly has(especially that funky slap sound when the switch is on that third coil neck p'up alone)
    I need your guys help on a couple of things. First, is anyones opinions on the problems that I am having and what I could possibly do to fix it. This bass and its tone is really unique to me and is definetly a vintage so I dont know what I should do as far as considering a pickup replacement. Im afraid of losing that quality and classic original MM tone. Would it be a bad idea to replace the original pickups? If I were to consider replacing the pickup, should I only replace the neck one that the tech thinks the problem is coming from? What would be anyone's suggestions on a replacement pickup if I were to try this? I greatly appreciate evryone's help on what to do. I think it is important and I pretty detremental decision to the bass. Thanx.
  2. bdgotoh

    bdgotoh Supporting Member

    Aug 6, 2002
    Pacific NW
    I don't know of any pickups that will fit into the Sabre route, they are smaller than the Stingray pups so replacement with something other than original Sabre pups is not likely.
    You still have several options, though. I bought a NOS Sabre bridge pup direct from EB/MM last year to replace a missing one in my '89 Sabre, which has the same setup as yours. I don't know if they have any neck pups left, but that's an option. Unfortunately, the cost was $100!
    The other thing they mentioned was if the pickup is dead (or possibly damaged as yours may be) they can rewind it at the factory. I didn't have the original pup so that wasn't an option for me, but you may be able to go that route cheaper, especially if only one coil is bad and the other is okay. I think the name of the guy I dealt with was something like Dan MacPherson, but I don't see his name on the list anymore. I'd email EB at this address for more info:
    The last possibility is eBay, there is a set of Sabre pups up for grabs right now, but I can tell you I plan to get them if I can, so they probably won't be any cheaper than if you go directly to EB/MM. The auction is:
    Good luck, I hope you get this worked out, the Sabre is a great bass!