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Is this an urban legend? (TV remote + pickups)

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by iamapirate, Mar 17, 2009.

  1. Apparently if you put a tv remote against or near bass pickups and press buttons on it it will start to make wierd noises. Is this true? I have just got a really nice new J-Bass so I'm a little hesitant to do this in case it overloads the circuits or something strange happens!


  2. I get a strange ticking noise from my bass when my n*xtel phone gets anywhere near the active pickups.
  3. Tired_Thumb

    Tired_Thumb Guest

    Nope, not an urban legend, I've heard it happen. I've also seen it work with an electric metronome. That said, I don't see how it could damage your bass unless the signal was so strong that it caused a circuit to fry, and that'd be a pathetically strong remote!
  4. jimmy rocket

    jimmy rocket

    Jan 24, 2008
    Ayden, NC
    cell phones can cause all sorts of sonic interference in bass equipment so I wouldn't be surprised to hear that remotes can as well.

    I was playing in a pit orchestra for Godspell about a year ago and I sat my phone right next to my amp head. Just as I was about to break out into a funky opening riff my amp starts letting out these god awful beeps. Turns out it was interference from my phone.

    Not my shining moment as a musician.
  5. 73jbass

    73jbass Supporting Member

    Apr 17, 2004
    My question is,why would you be sticking a tv remote next to your pickups to begin with? :D
  6. HamOnTheCob

    HamOnTheCob Supporting Member

    Nov 21, 2004
    Cambridge, Ohio, USA
    Endorsing Artist for Warwick, Mesa Boogie, Joyo, Dr. J, Levy's Leathers
    Yes it happens. Same idea as an eBow I think.
  7. poppinsmac


    Aug 10, 2007
    There is no danger at all to the pickups.
    It does make a noise, but as fair as cool noises go it's kinda boring.
  8. It's true. You can also get wicked bad feedback if you hold it the wrong way with a cordless phone. Heh.
  9. msiner


    Sep 2, 2008
    Tucson, AZ
    I think just about any electronic device will create some sort of sound when it is near a magnetic pickup. The cell phone is a good example. When I am at work, I set my cell next to my laptop and usually plug my headphones in not too far from that. When I get a call, sometimes I hear sounds like morse code in my headphones right before my phone starts to ring. A TV remote is probably similar because both devices are transmitting data. So instead of just a hum like you get when you are too close to a power supply, you can discern some sort of variation of pattern in the noise. I am just a software engineer. I let my coworkers deal with the electronics, so take my words with a handful of grains of salt.
  10. JTE

    JTE Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2008
    Central Illinois, USA
    Duh- the PUP works by creating an alternating current from disturbances in the magnetic field around it. Anything that sends out magnetic information is going to make noises that are audible in the amp. I was practicing one day right after a bike ride, and heard this strange ticking sound from the amp.

    I still had my heart-rate monitor on...

  11. lowendblues

    lowendblues Supporting Member

    Oct 8, 2004
    I was setting up my Rickenbacker once, and while intonating, kept getting an "occilation" type of overtone when I would tune with harmonics. It drove me crazy for over an hour, I finally sat the bass down walked out of the room, and when I returned I noticed that I was sitting directly under a ceiling fan.

    Yep, the bass was picking up the occilation of the ceiling fan! I shut the fan off, and the problem went away.

    True story, believe it or not.
  12. For a good example of how "noisy" cell phones can be -

    I've seen a "push to talk phone" trip a GFCI outlet - just by being "talked" to while sitting on a counter 3' away from the GFCI. No physical connection at all.
  13. thanks for the help, guys! Do you think it could sound cool going through a wah and a fuzz? :p l0l!

    Thanks for the help,

  14. HamOnTheCob

    HamOnTheCob Supporting Member

    Nov 21, 2004
    Cambridge, Ohio, USA
    Endorsing Artist for Warwick, Mesa Boogie, Joyo, Dr. J, Levy's Leathers
    Pirate, I'm not sure it'll be the magnificent discovery you're hoping for. As mentioned before, it's a pretty boring event, and people have been doing this sort of thing for a couple decades now, so the "cool" factor of it would be pretty minimal. A wah and fuzz won't add much to the magic. You'd be better off adding that wah and fuzz to a bassline. hehe :)
  15. Weird noises...

    When I travel with my Ampeg BA115HPT loaded in the backseat (the amp is loaded, not me...) it whistles when the engine is on. I suspect that it's picking up noise from the fuel pump. I haven't listened closely enough to tell if it's coming only the horn....

    Pretty odd, since the amp is unplugged.
  16. hbarcat

    hbarcat Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2006
    Rochelle, Illinois
    Remember kids, that holding your cell phone too close to your guitar pickups will result in considerable electromagnetic interference which will distort your sound, so don't do it.

    Make sure you keep holding your cell phone right up against the side of your head where it belongs.


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