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Issues with EMG GZR PJ Pickups

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by NetRngr, Oct 20, 2017.

  1. NetRngr


    Oct 20, 2017
    Darlington, SC
    It was suggested that I split a thread I posted earlier into different areas so here goes.
    I am upgrading my Yamaha bass I have the following two issues after installing my new pickups.

    (1) I purchased the EMG Geezer Butler Signature PJ set (GZR-PJ) from them. Great kit for the price. The issue I have is that I am getting a static buzz if I touch the adjustment screw or the cover on the top split pickup on the neck. This "buzz" goes away if I touch the strings. the bridge and lower split pickup are dead quiet when I touch them. I have spoken with a support tech at EMG and he has seen my wiring and all is well there. (The solderless setup on the pots is pretty stupid proof when connecting the wires.) He has verified all is connected properly and I show a ground throughout the setup. Again it is only this side of the split pickup. nothing else makes a peep. My question before I tear the bass apart and shield the entire thing hoping this fixes it is this...
    As this is the only pickup, of the three on this bass, without the EMG logo on it would it be possible that I have it installed 180 deg rotated? If so do you think this would cause the issue?

    (2) The last thing that worries me is this... If I turn the volume all the way down on the split pickups the "buzz" goes away, and I get really nice sound through the bridge pickup. If I turn the bridge down all the way and turn up the neck split pickup the buzz returns when I touch the cover/adjustment screw as noted above. what worries me is that when I pluck the strings I get no sound at all other than the buzz if I touch the cover/screw. This leads me to believe that either the top pickup is 180 deg out and the magnetic fields are doing something wonky to mess with the signal capture or the pot is the culprit.

    Im really lost on this one.Any help would be great.
  2. Slater

    Slater Leave that thing alone. Supporting Member

    Apr 17, 2000
    The Great Lakes State
    You have probably already done this, but...
    Meticulously inspect all of your connections and make sure that the connectors are pushed on all the way, and none of them are reversed.
  3. NetRngr


    Oct 20, 2017
    Darlington, SC
    Yep. I also took pics and sent to the EMG tech. He said everything looks good throughout the system. I mean the wiring diagram and connectors are pretty dang straight forward. I was impressed.I am an IT guy as a profession and the connectors even have stamped arrows so you get the right pinout.
    Its not a huge issue to me at the moment as I have parts inbound and this Bass will be getting a full makeover from paint to hardware but I couldn't stand having these pickups in a cabinet and not installing them hahah.
    My temp solution has been to simply put a piece of painters tape over the area I rest my thumb on when playing and it pretty much has taken care of the buzz. Going to take a Dremel to the cavities when I go to sand for painting and when painted and polished will add the copper foil tape to properly shield everything and step back through the wiring.
    If you guys have any "Hey try this" type things let me know and I will. Once this bass, the 1980's MiM Squire, that says Fender Squier Series on the headstock, Jazz bass are done I'll toss up before and after pics. Hell will even toss up pics of the Bullet Strat Im converting over to HHS including a hot rail. Body and headstock are being painted this weekend.
    Thanks for the input Slater!
  4. ^^^^^
    this for starters.

    I had a dead E & A neck pickup when I put mine in.

    The culprit turned out to be one wire wasn't pushed in far enough on that pickup.

    There was only about 1/32 of an inch more that it had to be pushed.
  5. NetRngr


    Oct 20, 2017
    Darlington, SC
    Will give this a shot. will be taking this bass apart to shield the cavities soon. EMG sent me another pot to test and see if that may be the issue but still no joy. My best guess is a faulty connection some place as you have stated. I have been tempted to solder each connection and use some heatshrink to prevent any accidental contact. I also have a set of pots around and worst case is I use the leads that attach to the pickups and just solder them to the old pots as they were fine. I,ll get it working some way. nothing was "wrong" with the bass to start. I had these for another project but changed my mind and threw them in the Yamaha because I had them laying around. Yeah I know if it ain't broke... but seriously if you had a brand new set of EMGs just laying around what would YOU do hahaha.
  6. Vinnie Boombatz

    Vinnie Boombatz

    May 26, 2010
    Make sure that little snap adapter that you feed the wires into and crimp for the ground actually has the plastic cover removed from the wires so that it's all metal touching metal when you crimp that thing down. I thought I stripped back enough wire but apparently didn't and the crimp button they include isn't string enough to piece through the plastic cover in the wires. I got rid of that snap adapter and just soldered the ground wires together and problem solved. Those GZR pickups should be dead silent.

    Also, as already stated, make sure all of your connections are pushed in all the way.
  7. NetRngr


    Oct 20, 2017
    Darlington, SC
    Yeah that little button was junk. I used one of the connectors i used in my audio inatall for my truck. I plan on replacing that as well when sheilding the cavities.
    I may look at hardening the connections a bit as well. Ill get it worked out eventually but still would like to reitterate how helpful those guys have been. Gteat to see and will definately ise EMG again.
    TN WOODMAN likes this.
  8. NetRngr


    Oct 20, 2017
    Darlington, SC
    Just wanted to give one last update. Issue resolved! Not sure which one it was but Im assuming there is/was a faulty connection somewhere in the mix, Last night I got off my lazy arse and shielded both pickup cavities with the copper shielding tape I ran a thing gauge copper wire from each cavity and soldered them to the shielding and pigtailed everything together and soldered that joint as well. Capped everything off with shrink wrap to make it all neat and tidy.
    Then I reset pickup height and tuned her up.
    I played for about 5 hours just because it was dead quiet until I hit a note and let me tell ya. These pickups are nasty sounding! Very nice growl out of them with balanced mids and highs to go along with the punchy lows. I love this set. I also want to say again how helpful EMG was with this. Kept in touch with me and even sent a replacement pot just in case. I mean yeah its like a 17 dollar part but they sent it to me free of charge to make sure it wasn't defective. Definitely stand behind their product and I cant wait to purchase my next set from them. Awesome company.
    Lastly thanks to you guys for the suggestions you offered. I still need to shield the electronics compartment but that ca wait as I said I get zero noise out of this set now so not really looking to mess with a good thing lol.
    JimmyM and BasturdBlaster like this.

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