Jazz Single Coil Hiss

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by floatingaxe, Apr 14, 2012.

  1. I just got a Squier Affinity Jazz as a backup.
    If I roll off either pup i get a good amount of hiss.
    Is this normal for single coils, or I just need to add shielding?
    If I want quiet pups do I need to look for single-coil shaped humbuckers?
  2. Ragnor


    Jan 21, 2011
    Belgium, Herent
    It is quite normal for single coils. You probably won't notice it while playing though.
    You'll not be able to shield it enough to remove all the hissing, but move around in the room you play in and you'll probably find spots where there's less hissing.

    Single-coil shaped humbuckers buck the hum, yes, but they lose the single coil sound.
  3. I thought so, I just wanted confirmation since this is my first single-coil bass.
    Um, but when the song stops I don't want all this nasty noise coming through the system.
    That's a great idea, except that when I'm on a stage I don't have that freedom.
    I hear good things about the current stacked Carvins, but I don't know from experience yet.

    Thanks for the input, if it is the way it is then I'll just suck it up for now. It's not my main bass so I'm not going to go crazy modding it.
  4. Single coil noise is fairly common but not what I would call normal. Good pickups shouldn't be so noisy that you hear them hiss when you are not playing! It may have something to do with the fact you are playing a very entry level bass with cheap electronics! Even upgrading to some inexpensive but better quality pickups like GFS would probably be a big improvement. I have modded several basses with GFS pickups and they have all been very quiet.
  5. I'll keep that in mind. I wouldn't want to spend very much on it at this point. I knew I was getting low end when I bought it.
    If I spend the time to properly shield it, will shielding the pup cavities be worth the extra hassle, or I'll be OK just doing the control cavity?
  6. I have one, 5 string j bass. I put SCN and shielded with copper tape. I think it's worthy to mod this axe, it's nice and reliable. And I bought it to be a backup as well, but it turned to be my main bass, I even sold the other one, wich I think it's the only risk you take modding it!!
  7. sevdog

    sevdog Supporting Member

    Mar 2, 2008
    When solo'ed a true single coil will produce noise--hiss. No matter if it's a $100000000000 bass. It's the nature of using a single coil.

    Like one poster said, standing in different places, pointing the bass a different direction, etc. can reduce it. And along the same lines, different rooms will cause it more than others.

    I'm not a tech expert so I can't explain the why just the what and the how.

    If you think it's that big of a deal, in between songs then I'd recommend just turning the volume of that pickup down or the other one up until the next song starts, that's what I do anyway. BTW, I use Seymour duncan and Nordstrand single coils, neither are considered cheap or poorly made and, when solo'd both hiss like an angry bee's nest in most rooms.
    Syl_Funky_bass likes this.
  8. Steve


    Aug 10, 2001
    If you run the pickups evenly, they will buck hum.

    If you don't run the pickups evenly but you run them the same way most of the time, rather than using the volume or blend knob, you can get to the same place by raising or lowering the pickups to get the same relative output and they will still buck hum.

    If you are a knob twidler, learn to love the hum
  9. +1. That's true, I've tried and recorded with some expensive J-basses, all of them had that lovely 60 cicle hum. That was the main reason I traded stock picukps for SCN (of course, also SCN sounded way better than the Affinity's stocks).
  10. I'm not a twidler. Not on the fretted anyway.
    This is my current plan. I'm going to swap the 250 tone knob for a 500 (should get things a little brighter) and adjust the pickup hights to favor the bridge a little more. That should get me close to what I'm after tone-wise.
  11. Jefenator

    Jefenator Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2008
    If there's room to raise the pickup closer to the strings, that might help. The stronger the music signal is, the less you need to boost it in the amp (which also of course boosts the hum). This won't clear it up completely of course, but it might make it less distracting.
  12. kreider204


    Nov 29, 2008
    You might try a noise gate pedal to kibosh the noise between songs. Then as long as you can't hear it when you're playing, it won't be so annoying.
  13. Metania


    Oct 15, 2011
    I hate food!
    I got a Boss Noise Reduction pedal, that I used to run my Jazzies through. Then I'd just hit it between songs - or you can use it as a muter - very practical. If you don't overdo the settings, you don't lose too much tone.
    But I solved the problem through having my bass tech shield and wire everything properly, as well as I now use Seymour Duncan Vintages in my (Former) "Fender Hizz Bass" (MIM Classic 2010) - and they killed what was left of any hiss.
    My Corona (US Std.'99) still has it's stock "Noiseless" pups, and they are really really quiet, but full bodied tonally still, and I like them stock. In my Marcus Miller 4, my bass tech killed the hiss through shielding, as in my fretless JB (MIM 2011). I just dropped a set of Seymour Duncans in my Fender P Bass (MIM Classic 2011), and that one is quiet now too, after shielding! Sounds really cool btw!
    I should say, that as has been said, the single pups have like a back drop SOUND, that you can't kill, but it stopped bothering me, when the hiss was gone.
    So all my Jazzes, and my PB are quiet now - no more hiss! :)
  14. Ragnor


    Jan 21, 2011
    Belgium, Herent
    It IS normal. A single-coil pickup on it's own is bound to pick up some of the interference that's everywhere.
    HOW MUCH it picks up, on the other hand, depends on how good the design is.

    It's not THAT bad, really. I'll try to do some recordings with my Fender later today or tomorrow. Record a few different pickup and tone settings, a few distances from sources of interference, etc...
  15. Thanks, but that's not necessary.
    I actually found something in another thread that helped.
    As I said I'm new to single coils. Most of the sound change turning down one of the pups is from 10 to 8, and most of the noise is from 8-1. So if I only turn down the volume of one of the pups a little I get most of the effect I want and not alot of noise.
    I still plan to do a good shielding job.
  16. bassbenj


    Aug 11, 2009
    Come on noobs. Haven't you been reading TB? Single coil noise (it's virtually never "hiss", which is what active circuits do with treble up max) is normal. Only hum-cancelling pickups will get rid of it.

    But Dig. There are TWO types of noise pickup. There is the kind that changes or goes away when you touch ground such as strings or jack body. THAT kind of hum can be fixed with shielding. Then there is the kind that does not go away touching ground but does change with orientation of bass. THAT is single coil hum usually obvious with single coil jazz pickups when singled. When both are on max (or equal volume) they act as a humbucker and cancel that noise.

    Playing an "entry level bass" has NOTHING to do with single coil noise. It has to do with having single coil pickups! Duh! The reason people like and use them is because of the clarity of tone they provide. Humbuckers tend to have a broader less defined (people like to call it "mud" but that is an exaggeration) tone. Bottom line if you want that single coil clarity you put up with noise.

    However, there are also hum cancelling pickups. For example I put a set of SCN pickups in my Jazz V and they are absolutely great. They never quite make it to single coil clarity, but they don't hum. Nordstrands are great too ($$$). Some hum canceling pickups are not so great. The original Fender "noiseless" pickups in my Jazz V had pretty bad tone, but no hum.

    So the noise problem is all one big compromise. Only YOU can decide what sounds good and what you'll put up with and what you'll spend to reduce noise. There is no real answer that does it all here.

    Note that there are differences between pickups. GFS pickups were mentioned. They are very hot but still single coil. They still have noise, but the added output tends to cover it up. But over-wound pickups changes the tone and strong magnets will interfere with string vibration. In life there are no free rides.

    Note also that single coil noise usually comes from higher current devices like lamp dimmers and amp power supplies. Therefore, moving to a different location can greatly reduce (or increase) your noise level.
  17. Ragnor


    Jan 21, 2011
    Belgium, Herent
    There's a pretty good thread about shielding J-basses here somewhere.
  18. Shielding doesn't do it. Pickups are antennas. LF says you'd have to shield on TOP of the pickup, which of course is where the strings go.

    Stacked coils lose a lot. So do side by side coils.

    If you want to make single coil sounds, you have to keep them.

    But you can lose the noise with this: http://fralinpickups.com/bpncs.asp

    You have to have both pickups wound in the same direction. Then the coil is wound in the opposite direction. It picks up the same noise as the pickups so it can cancel it. The coil is huge, so resistance is minimal, and it doesn't change the sound.

    As LF says, you'd have to send your pickguard in to be routed for the coil, because whereas Fender made one Tele pickguard, they made like 5 Jazz pickguards, all different. He can stock Tele pickguards, but not Jazz. But the guy doesn't mind doing custom installs.

    And the unit costs $250-270. The inventor took care to patent it. He's the only one doing it.

    I think it's worth it for me. I want the kind of thick sound I'm only going to get out of SC pickups. LF 5% over pickups, this coil, and a Stellartone. Like $560 worth of passive circuitry for a $200 bass. Hah.