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Loss of bass from my... bass!

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Musky, Jan 6, 2006.

  1. Musky


    Nov 5, 2005
    I've got an old Aria Cardinal bass - it's a cheapy, but I currently use it as my number 1 bass in preference to my Ricks. It has an incredibly powerful, ballsy sound, like a precision on steroids.

    My problem is that it has suddenly and inexplicably developed a very middley sound which emphasises the percussive edge to it's sound. My first thought was that there was a poor connection somewhere, but opening it up reveals that the wiring seems fine, with no change in sound when poking about with the wires.

    Anyone got any ideas what the problem could be? It seems unlikely that it could be a dry joint (unless they can develop after 25 or so years) and I've never heard of a pickup just developing a mid range emphasis. I'm at a loss, so any advice is welcome.
  2. luknfur


    Jan 14, 2004

    don't know the bass, don't know if it's stock, don't know the controls, don't even know if it has a P-pup for that matter. Do know it's a Cardinal Aria. So I'm guessing pretty minimal: passive single pup with volume/tone control/jack which doesn't leave much to go wrong. If it's an HB pup with series/parallel switch that's a probable source to me.

    The first thing to do is isolate the problem so that it's known the bass itself is the source, not cord, amp, etc. I've thrown a switch on my amp before and come back the next day only to forget I'd done so - wondering what was up till I remembered the switch.

    If the problem is undeniably in the bass, I'd check everything with a meter first just for the remote possibility of a non-invasive long shot quick fix diagnosis. The checks will be limited and not all inclusive but one never know do one. If that indicated a problem I felt confident in (meter readings are only as good as the contact that's being made), I'd swap the component out.

    More likely than not, nothing would come from the above and I'd desolder the pup leads and check them with a meter. If that was good to go I'd wire the pup straight to the jack and see if anything changes for the better amplified. If it does, the problem is probably elsewhere - which doesn't leave much. If it doesn't, it's probably in the jack if the pup tested fine to the meter - so I'd replace the jack and recheck. If the pup didn't check fine by the meter, the pup is probably the source. However I'd probably have wired the pup to the jack anyway instead of pulling it for inspection first cause there's more work involved in pulling the pup than just soldering and desoldering it from the jack. I use meters as a partial diagnostic tool but I don't bank on meter readings alone.

    So if the problem wasn't the pup or jack I'd replace one pot at a time (probably tone first since that's the issue sounds like) and recheck. That should cover all basses.

    Pots wear out, caps fail, jacks wear out, old pups deteriorate - especially if they're not epoxy potted but sometimes even if they were. Cheap components just feeds into that scenario.
  3. christoph h.

    christoph h.

    Mar 26, 2001
    what about the strings? strings tend to loose a lot of bottom when wearing out.