Is this an amp or bass problem?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Raider30, Feb 26, 2006.

  1. Greetings,

    I just yesterday picked up a new amp. I'm a new player(I played for a few months 5 years ago, now Ive started again), so I don't feel that I need an expensive piece of equipment. That being said however, the amp I did have, a Fender Frontman15B from 5 years ago just didn't sound all that good to me, kind of tinny or something(I don't really know the terminology to describe the sound).

    Long story short, went to the local guitar shop and tried out a relatively inexpensive amp they had there - it sounded great. It had a very mellow sound to it which I liked a lot. After reading a whole bunch of user reviews on some other site that a buddy found for me I decided to get it.

    Today I bought it. Yeah, GAS alleviated for a week or two at least.

    Its a Fender Bassman 25. What are your thoughts on this amp, if any of you have any experience with it. Its not the new style, this model is a few years old, I heard the newer one and frankly even to my musically untrained ears it had nowhere near the sound this one does.

    Ok, here's the question. I get um...fuzz or buzz for lack of a better term when its on. I suppose I expect a little low grade hum from the amp(or should it be pretty much totally silent? If I push the mute button it does go totally silent.) When I actually plug the bass into it and play notes it gets even worse. Like every note has this sort of (lacking the words here) electronic fuzz/buzz to it.

    I've got a Fender Squire P-Bass Special, also from about 5 years ago. I know the reputation on these instruments, I've seen enough reviews online to know that it can be hit or miss with the quality on them. As far as I know I did ok by mine. The grounding appears to be done adequately as I've never noticed any noise that goes away when I touch the strings. The one issue that I've noticed is the plug in jack gets a little loose every once in awhile.

    So what could be making that fuzz/buzz noise and why would it increase when a note is played from the bass? I would have assumed that any 'normal' amp noise would be cut out when the instrument begins playing over it, instead it seems to amplify it(no pun intended).

    Could I have a bad cord from the bass to the amp?(I've only got 1 cord so I can't swap out to test).

    That noise just seems so friggin' loud. Obviously I'm going to take it and my bass into the shop on Monday to see if we can narrow down the issue, but was hoping to have some ideas before I went in.

    Oh one more thing, a buddy of mine bought the exact same amp, literally the night before and I played his amp about 30 minutes before I went in and bought mine. My bass, my cord his amp at his house and it sounded great. I didn't notice any excess noise at all.

    Thanks for any help you guys can offer.

    - Beau
  2. Scottgun


    Jan 24, 2004
    This would seem to eliminate the bass as the culprit. Sounds like from your description that the fuzz is present even without playing. That would probably eliminate blown speaker. So I would say it is in the amp but could not say what--bad shielding? Bad transformer? The fact that the buddy's amp plays fine indicates something is wrong with yours.
  3. Dbassmon


    Oct 2, 2004
    Rutherford, NJ
    A couple of things to check out.
    1) Single coil passive pickup are suseptable to RF (radio frequencies) 60 cycle hum which is buzz associated with magnetic fields around electrical equiptment. Walk with your bass next to a computer monitor and you'll get a good example of that.
    2) Buzz can be a failing cable that's losing sheilding
    3) passive basses are noisy in many eviroments
    4) Check your gain structure. Does your amp have a channel volume and master volume? If so, you may be driving the preamp too hard, lower the channel volume and increase the master volume.
    5) Any chance you fried the speaker?

    What to do? Buy quality cables, walk around the room till you find a quite spot not effected by magnetic fields. You might have a qualified luthier look into better shielding your Squire but saving for a better bass might be money wiser in the longer run. A/B same bass with a different Amp.
  4. Spector_Ray


    Aug 8, 2004
    There could be some kind of electrical interference in your house that's causing the buzzing. Take your complete setup to your buddy's house to see if you experience the same noise as at your house.

    Not necessarily. The fact that it plays fine in his house could be the qualifier.
  5. Greetings,

    1) Without knowing the reasoning behind it I kind of came up with the same thought. I had the amp set up within two feet of the computer(hey the computer chair comfortable what can I say), so I did move it out into the living room where there isn't so much as a tv within 20 feet. Same problem as before unfortunately.

    2) Cable, check. Wish I had a spare to check with. :(

    3) Now I had the same passive bass with the old amp, if that were the cause does that mean that this particular amp is just that much more sensitive to the environmental noises?(not that my house is very noisy at all). Unfortunately if thats the case that means I'd either a) have to return the amp and swap back for my old one, b) replace the pickup(from what I've read it tends to be the jazz one that can be troublesome) or c) buy a completely new bass. Did I miss an option?

    4) It only has a main volume and then an aux level volume. I messed with both of them. When turning up the aux level volume knob it made the static louder.(nothing was in the aux input btw). Could that indicate a problem with the auxillary in this amp, like it is stuck in the 'on' position even with nothing coming in?

    5) I can't see any way I fried the speaker. I broke the staples on the box and pulled it from the packaging myself. Plugged it in and immediately set the volumen switch to just below 2(out of 10) as my 3yr old was sleeping and I didn't want to wake him up. So it was nice and quiet.

    Of course I've been thinking now of the advantages vs. disadvantages of getting a new bass or trying to upgrade this one with new pickup and/or bridge to see if that helps. Though I'm still hoping its just a goofy amp. I'll find out tomorrow though I suppose. Problem is I'm left handed so the likely hood of finding anything within my price range locally is probably slim. If you guys have thoughts on that as well I'd certainly like to hear 'em.

    Thanks for all the help so far,

    - Beau
  6. Greetings,

    Took the amp in today along with my bass and cord. Turns out I am not going crazy, there was a definite buzz in the amp which did not go away when playing notes. Hooked up to another amp of the same style and things were just fine.

    Store swapped out the amp and threw in a new cord as well.

    - Beau