Most efficient way to test if a pickup is properly installed?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by PNC7, Oct 5, 2017.

  1. PNC7


    Sep 2, 2017
    I'm pretty new to electronics and am working on a P Bass where I installed a Seymour Duncan QP and have a lot of buzzing when treble is turned up, so I'm trying to narrow down the problem (planning on swapping it and trying with another bass if my connections look fine). Is there an accurate way I can test it without reattaching the pick guard and screwing everything in? When I plug in before everything is reattached and secure, I get a variety of buzzing and silence when I touch the pots, or if the pots touch the walls of the cavity, etc. But I'd hate to waste the time reattaching everything over and over and then finding my problem is still there, only to have to unscrew everything again. Any tips or is that just the way it has to be? Thanks!
  2. Zoobiedood

    Zoobiedood Commercial User

    Sep 1, 2015
    Writer/Ambassador/Artist/Resident Bass Expert for Seymour Duncan
    If you are getting a lot of buzzing, my guess is that there is a cold solder joint to ground somewhere. Make sure all the parts are grounded that should be grounded, and you have the jack wired properly- I've actually done this, and it causes a lot of buzzing. Also try the bass in different rooms in your place, to eliminate any kind of electrical interference from wiring.
  3. PNC7


    Sep 2, 2017
    Is there a good way to test the bass without fully screwing everything back in? Or is that the only way to really know how it's gonna sound?
  4. Bruce Johnson

    Bruce Johnson Commercial User

    Feb 4, 2011
    Fillmore, CA
    Professional Luthier
    I use a tuning fork. Tap it on the edge of the workbench and hold it close over the pickup. The pickup thinks it's a string, and you should get a nice clear A out of the output jack. That's how I test harnesses before they go into the bass, making sure the volume and tone controls work.
    PNC7, Loring, digmeout and 1 other person like this.
  5. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism

    Put some electrical tape around the pots to prevent any contact with the shielding. If the bass is working fine other than a hum that stops when you touch the pots/strings/bridge, your bass just needs some shielding. If the hum only stops when you touch the pots and nothing else, it is likely a grounding issue with the pots.
    PNC7 likes this.
  6. Zoobiedood

    Zoobiedood Commercial User

    Sep 1, 2015
    Writer/Ambassador/Artist/Resident Bass Expert for Seymour Duncan
    The tuning fork thing works, but so does tapping on the pickups with a screwdriver (lightly). However, you won't hear the tone of the pickups that way. You can, however, test if the pickup is working and hear if there is any background noise when you crank it up. Otherwise, you gotta put it all back together and play it.
    PNC7 likes this.
  7. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

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