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List Your Bass Malfunctions!

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by john nam, Dec 31, 2011.


  1. I think the electric bass is one the most rugged, maintenance-free instruments out there, but I'd like to hear what others have to say. I'll go first:

    Broken nut, happened out of the blue on a less than one year old bass, forgot what bass it was, SX? Since then, I do see value in graphite or brass nuts.

    Scratchy pots on a Sadowsky NYC, 3 yrs old, anti-oxidation spray fixed it right up.

    Other than that, never had a broken string or had to fix anything in my 17 yrs of playing. In fact, my 13 yr old MIM Jazz 5 which is what I practice on, has slightly darkened marks on the frets, but no identation on the frets at all!
     
  2. DanGouge

    DanGouge

    May 25, 2000
    Canada!
    Some bad jacks... That's all that comes to mind.
     
  3. Bongolation

    Bongolation

    Nov 9, 2001
    California
    No Bogus Endorsements
    Depends on the bass. I've worked on them for over forty years and have seen them literally self-destruct on their own. Relatively recently, too.
     
  4. Bongolation, came you name a few of the more common malfunctions you've seen?
     
  5. tjh

    tjh Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2006
    Minnesota
    Every bass I own has the same malfunction ... me :)

    ... pretty standard stuff, jacks, pots, maybe a strap button loosening, etc ... an issue with J's that is not really a malfunction, but something that needs to be dealt with (in some rooms more than others) is the hum/buzz from the lack of hum cancelling pups ...
     
  6. dechristimo

    dechristimo

    Oct 24, 2011
    Pittsburgh
    Just a student working at The Music Mart
    My volume knob only works from 0-2 and then it's at full volume, and the rest does nothing.
     
  7. fourfinger

    fourfinger Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 17, 2003
    Central Ohio
    Removed the 9-volt battery. Part of the battery clip came off with it!
     
  8. Bongolation

    Bongolation

    Nov 9, 2001
    California
    No Bogus Endorsements
    Heads breaking off at the least provocation on non-scarf-jointed setbacks.

    Stopbars spontaneously parting from the bass.

    Necks warping/twisting.

    Finishes shedding.

    Etc. And these just on vintage Gibsons, off the top of my head.

    Lots more.
     
  9. great response, bongolation, I just looked up scarf jointed necks and learned a few things. any more?
     
  10. GreenWithEnvy

    GreenWithEnvy

    Dec 20, 2011
    The P pick-up in my Hot Rod P-bass just shorted out and my guitar tech says he can't fix it for some reason. Don't know where I'm going to find another P pick-up for it dammit since the pick-ups were made just for that bass and the bass was only manufactured for two years. I shouldn't mention the HR in a thread with Bongolation present, but....it's a malfunction.
     
  11. Bongolation

    Bongolation

    Nov 9, 2001
    California
    No Bogus Endorsements
    Try to find a slot-head EB-0 that hasn't been glued back together at least twice. ;)
    My favorite:

    Losing the tops off of SCPB pickups ('51RI, Sting) in the middle of a song! Glorious!

    Sweat-killed exposed pickup coils (pickup covers do serve a function!).

    Improperly-seated nuts breaking at the worst possible moment

    There are some basses so badly conceived that they will eventually fail sitting in the box. The worst one I've ever seen being the v1.0 Italia Mondial, a jaw-droppingly defective design in which the goofy half-body flexes until it splits up into kindling.

    Danelectro basses using cheap guitar machines, with predictable results. :rolleyes:

    Spontaneous failures in active electronics [spit!], especially in cheap micro-SMT boards.

    Stuck/jammed/stripped trussrods, including ones that came that way from the factory.

    Strap button screws pulling out at the worst possible moment, the failures often caused by straplocks [spit!]

    Pocket finish/wood splits caused by this moronic quest for "tight-pocket" bolt-on necks (bolt-on-necks should always have a little clearance on the sides).
     
  12. Scratchy pots is about as bad as it gets for me. Not sure it it's a malfunction or the nature of the preamp/pickups but when I boost the mids on my Jazz at 250Hz there is a pretty significant volume increase. I love it.
     
  13. 30 odd years and a lot of instruments. My only current one is the jack on my active Westone Thunder IIb is flaky. Easy fix, but it's always the mechanics car that gets the least attention ;)
     
  14. bongolation, what did you mean by straplock failures? I'm using Dunlop straplocks right now, should I be worried?
     
  15. Had to lol at that one. I am a mechanic and that expresion is so true, I work on everyone elses no time for my own.

    As for me so far strap buttons pulling out and scratchy pots.
     
  16. I had the button on one if my stap locks pull out but that was because it did not have a big enough screw. Apparently when I used the screw that came with the locks it was not large enough to get a good bite. Not sure if that was what bongolation was talking about though? I would also be interested in hearing what happened.
     
  17. Dave W

    Dave W Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    I've had a few bad jacks after years of using them. That's it.
     
  18. danomite64

    danomite64

    Nov 16, 2004
    Tampa, Florida
    The side-mount output jacks used on most G&L and Ibanez basses wear out way faster than the standard kind, and the jacks on Musicman basses wear out almost as fast. The only other issues I have had were caused by me; mainly I'd install something new (pickups, preamp, bridge, etc) hours before a gig, then use the altered bass on the gig, having not fully checked my work before. Usually I brought a backup bass that covered my mistakes, and I creatively got the bass to work the few times I had no spare.......:D
     
  19. tabdog

    tabdog

    Feb 9, 2011
    My first solid body electric bass was a Westone Electra
    X640N. I used to break strings when I was younger.

    Sense 1984, nothing has ever been adjusted or changed,
    or fixed. It has scratchy pots and a broken switch handle.

    It is still the best playing and sounding bass I have ever
    had.

    Tabdog
     
  20. Wesley R

    Wesley R Supporting Member

    Ampeg Baby Bass, low output. That's about it.
     

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