Jazz Bass pickups noise when I touch pickup poles

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by jokergio, Jun 29, 2021.


  1. jokergio

    jokergio

    Jun 25, 2021
    Hello,

    I'm new here. I've been lurking for one year, reading and learning a lot of things because of you and because of this great place. I'm a guitar player but I've been into bass and bass modding since I discovered this forum. I've been searching all over the forum for a solution, but I can't seem to find it.

    I own a 10 yo unbranded jazz bass, bought for 150 euros approx. I wanted to do some modding just for fun, so I bought a pair of Wilkinson M series pickups, cause I heard they are cheap and they sound good. Since the whole thing is just for fun I wanted to spend for pickups less than the bass value.
    The bass has always had problems with noise, even with stock Pups, so I decided to do wiring and shielding from scratch. I did the shieldind with copper adhesive foil and grounding everything. I replaced every cable inside the control, following Jazz bass diagrams. But I'm still having a big problem with Noise.

    Whenever I touch pickup poles I get a noise like the one you get when you touch a guitar Jack connected to an amp.
    It is strongest on the bridge pickup, way less on the neck one, but I get the noise on both. I checked the grounding e did the soldering two times, but the problem is still there. You would tell me "don't touch the pickup poles", but the problem is that even though my fingers are close to the pickup, I hear noise. The noise stops if I touch metal parts, but it doesn't completely stop. This makes the bass pretty much unusable.

    Is there any way I can solve the problem?

    Thank you very much and sorry if I have been long-winded!
     
  2. XLunacy

    XLunacy

    Nov 28, 2013
    France
    Did you make sure that the bridge is grounded as well ?
     
    Dennis Davis likes this.
  3. Slater

    Slater Leave that thing alone.

    Apr 17, 2000
    The Great Lakes State
    Try grounding the pole pieces on the bottom of the pickups with some copper tape.

    upload_2021-6-29_13-36-17.jpeg
     
  4. jokergio

    jokergio

    Jun 25, 2021
    I think it is properly grounded, cause whenever I touch the bridge the noise decreases.
     
  5. jokergio

    jokergio

    Jun 25, 2021
    How can I do this when the pole pieces are not accessible from the bottom?

    I attached a picture of the bottom of the pickup.
     

    Attached Files:

    BlueTalon and Slater like this.
  6. Slater

    Slater Leave that thing alone.

    Apr 17, 2000
    The Great Lakes State
    Ah…I assumed the Wilkinson pickups had traditional “vintage” construction. Those glued on bar magnets are an obstacle where pole piece grounding is concerned. :meh:
     
  7. jokergio

    jokergio

    Jun 25, 2021
    oh, bad luck for me! :( Anyway thanks a lot for the help!
     
    Slater likes this.
  8. BlueTalon

    BlueTalon Happy Cynic Supporting Member

    Mar 20, 2011
    Inland Northwest
    Endorsing Artist: Turnstyle Switch
    You might try grounding the tops of the poles with copper tape, and then put the covers on (if they can still fit). If you can do that much successfully, you'd also need to connect that copper tape to the rest of the shielding.
     
    dwizum likes this.
  9. dwizum

    dwizum

    Dec 21, 2018
    That's a good idea. You may also be able to put a strip of tape along the inside top of the cover too. Or, heck, right on top of the pickup, if you want copper colored pickups. :D

    Or, if you're brave, pop the magnets off, put some copper tape on, and glue the magnets back on.

    Or coat the tops of the pole pieces with clear nail polish or some other clear insulating material. Like, a strip of clear tape - you could use the kind used as chip protector material for cars, it's clear and very durable. Or even just packing tape.

    Or switch to solid covers with no holes for the poles.
     
    BlueTalon and XLunacy like this.
  10. ex-tension

    ex-tension

    Jun 11, 2009
    Sounds like some parts of the pickup coils are touching to the polepieces. Can you measure the resistance between the pole pieces and pickup coil connections?
     
  11. dwizum

    dwizum

    Dec 21, 2018
    That's not necessarily the problem. The pole pieces are electrically conductive. Your body is picking up electrical noise from the environment. When you touch the pole piece, the pole piece is in a circuit with your body, and the noise you're picking up is causing a current in the pole piece. That current radiates from the pole piece, which is right in the worst possible place from a noise perspective - in the middle of the coil. The coil picks up the radiated signal.

    Essentially, when you touch the pole piece, it acts like a tiny noise antenna and creates a noise signal in the middle of the pickup.

    If you ground the pole piece, then the noise signal your body injects just goes to ground instead of radiating from the pole piece.

    Many Fender style pickups do not have grounded pole pieces and they will predictably cause noise when you touch the pole pieces. It's a mystery to me why a manufacturer wouldn't ground the pole pieces, but many don't.

    Of course, if the pole piece IS actually in contact with an uninsulated section of the coil wire, then you will get noise that way, too, but IME that's much less common. That's a legitimate failure versus just bad design.
     
    BlueTalon likes this.
  12. jokergio

    jokergio

    Jun 25, 2021
    Yess, it worked!! I did exactly like this. It wasn't so easy but it's working!
    I covered the inside of the pickup cover too, just in case some of the copper foil had taken off near the poles.
    Thanks to all of you for your quick and helpful replies! :thumbsup:
     
    dwizum and BlueTalon like this.
  13. BlueTalon

    BlueTalon Happy Cynic Supporting Member

    Mar 20, 2011
    Inland Northwest
    Endorsing Artist: Turnstyle Switch
    Glad we could help!

    May I ask where you're from?
     
  14. jokergio

    jokergio

    Jun 25, 2021
    I'm from Naples, Italy! The city of pizza and spaghetti :laugh:
     
    johnnynitro, ctmullins and BlueTalon like this.
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