Marcus Miller 4 MIJ crackling pickguard

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by daveonbass, Jul 24, 2009.

  1. daveonbass

    daveonbass Supporting Member

    Apr 5, 2001
    Waupun, WI
    OK, I just got my second MM MIJ 4-string bass used. I bought one of the first ones that came out when they were first issued years ago and got rid of it because when I touched the pickguard with my hand it crackled which drove me nuts. I like the look and sound of the MM basses though so I got another one - same thing. I can't be the only one who's ever had this problem... anyone know of a way to get rid of it? You can actually touch the pickguard and run your hand over it and it'll just crackle like you're making popcorn. Sheesh. Must be some kind of a grounding problem - never had this happen on ANY other bass, but now it's 2 for 2 on the MM basses...

  2. J. Crawford

    J. Crawford Supporting Member

    Feb 15, 2008
    Youre a Lakland endorser, just get a Lakland rendition. :D

    Do you mean crackling as in electrical popping, or the pickguard itself breaking under you touch?
  3. I had the same thing happen to my L2500, except it was the rear preamp cover that I touched & it crackled. After about a year of it driving me nuts and me trying to look for a loose wire (none found) and then just dealing with it ("I'll have it fixed one day...)...I couldn't take it anymore.

    Problem in my bass was the tin-foil shielding that I installed in 1997, was starting to peel away and was touching one of the hot connections (I'm guessing) in the control cavity. And every time I touched the screws or even just the cover itself, I'd get these random static pops.

    got rid of all the shielding tape that I installed...problem went away.

    Most likely there is some sort of shielding issue there...
  4. daveonbass

    daveonbass Supporting Member

    Apr 5, 2001
    Waupun, WI
    Electrical static crackling sound through the amp...
  5. daveonbass

    daveonbass Supporting Member

    Apr 5, 2001
    Waupun, WI
    Yeah, just trying to make it go away I guess. After owning probably 50+ basses over the years and only having TWO with this same problem, both the MMMIJ 4-strings... it has to be a known issue, I'm just hoping somebody found a work around...
  6. daveonbass

    daveonbass Supporting Member

    Apr 5, 2001
    Waupun, WI
    This isn't really random - touch the pickguard and it'll create crackling EVERY time, like I said - you can move your hand over the pickguard and listen to crackling all day if you want. Maybe even start some crazy new bass crackling fad that everyone will want to copy!

  7. chris.gotfunk


    Mar 21, 2007
    Ashburn, Va
    This is a VERY common thing with these. I have owned 3 or 4 MM's and they all do it. It is something to do with the grounding and the preamp I believe. It is static building up and just being discharged when you touch it. I just got used to it over time, but I can understand how it annoys you. Sadly, I don't remember how to fix it. I true tech would be able to tell you.

    Post this question or search in the repair forum and you should get a good answer.

  8. daveonbass

    daveonbass Supporting Member

    Apr 5, 2001
    Waupun, WI
    Whoop! Didn't even know there was a repair forum - too bad I can't just move this thread... well, if no-one has an idea that'll fix it in here I'll repost there :)
  9. daveonbass

    daveonbass Supporting Member

    Apr 5, 2001
    Waupun, WI
  10. daveonbass

    daveonbass Supporting Member

    Apr 5, 2001
    Waupun, WI
    Another person with the same issue, but no solution:

  11. daveonbass

    daveonbass Supporting Member

    Apr 5, 2001
    Waupun, WI
    This problem weighed heavily on me as I went to bed last night... and I woke up this morning with a solution in my head:


    Problem solved :rolleyes:

    Sheesh. Doesn't look as nice to me, but I can't stand that crackling!

  12. tat2jim


    Sep 13, 2007
    ATL via NYC
    Ever think of posting it :bag:
  13. MIJ-VI

    MIJ-VI Inactive Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2009
    My MIJ Fender VI did this too when I was living on the 3rd floor of a dry building. Since moving to a basement apartment it hasn't.

    I expect that shielding the pick-guard and connecting its shield to ground would solve the crackling noise caused by electrostatic discharge.

    Either that, or avoid polyester pick-guards... :D
  14. 82Daion


    Nov 14, 2006
    Use a dryer sheet to get rid of the static.
  15. chris.gotfunk


    Mar 21, 2007
    Ashburn, Va
    I actually think that was one persons solution. Good call!!
  16. zombywoof5050


    Dec 20, 2001
    Take the pickguard off and shield the underside of it with self-adhesive copper foil, which can be found at stained-glass shops for about $4 per 12"x12" sheet. Make sure that the shielding goes underneath the pots so that they are grounded to the shielding. I recommend doing the entire underside of the pickguard, though I've heard some people say that you don't have to do the whole thing.

    I did this to my CIJ Precision, which had the same problem with crackling noise due to static electricity building up on the pickguard, and the problem has been totally eliminated. I did the entire underside of my pickguard, just to be safe.

    Good luck.
  17. daveonbass

    daveonbass Supporting Member

    Apr 5, 2001
    Waupun, WI
    Thanks for all the info. I'm OK with just taking the pickguard off which is the fast easy way to stop the crackling for now :)
  18. sacbut


    Apr 15, 2012
    It's funny that this is happening to the MM series, I just purchased a Ken Smith Design Proto-J 5 string a month ago, and the crackling is there as well. If I'm not mistaken, these two basses have similar designs and electronics. The crackling definitely gets distracting, especially for those of us who like to slap/pop. This thread has been really enlightening.
  19. Zanderwestcoast

    Zanderwestcoast Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2010
    Victoria, BC Canada
    Very true......I did the same thing on my Nordy VJ5 and it worked perfect. Very important that it is shielded properly though.

    Any other crackling due to pots etc.....I would also suggest always keeping a oil free contact cleaner around to use in the control cavity. They were great also.....
  20. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism

    I bet you my bottom dollar that a good shielding job completely removes the issue.

    If you want a guide actually done specifically for the MM 4 string, PM me your e-mail, I'll gladly send a PDF. I use this guide for a shielding reference, the fellow happens to have done it on a MM 4 string in this guide.

    I had a similar issue with my EBMM StingRay classic, and apparently Les Pauls have the issue commonly as well, it is static electricity build up. My Stingray also picked up a crazy amount of outside noise so that is why I shielded it, it also removed the static pop.

    Seriously, that is a great sounding bass and less than $10 in material will make you fall in love all over again.