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My bass started making weird, rhythmic noises--what's happening?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Soidanae, Apr 10, 2014.

  1. Soidanae


    Apr 10, 2014

    Here's a link to a video which shows what's happening:

    The bass did this with that pedal setup, with that same setup but different cables, plugged directly into that amp, plugged directly into a different amp, and plugged into my friend's pedalboard then a different amp. His guitar did not make these noises.

    At some point in the video I move the lower eq knob, that affects the frequency of the tone. Top eq does nothing. Volume also does not, nor the pickup knob. The tone does, however, affect the tone.

    With all the pedals on, I can play over it, but once I stop its right back to the noise.

    Also, the noise doesn't begin right away: It happens after a few seconds.

    Can anyone tell me what might be going wrong? I haven't opened it up yet to look inside.

    Its an ibanez SR375.
  2. EoganDubh


    Apr 3, 2014
    Harrisburg PA
    That's crazy!

    Have you checked the batteries and such? Is the amp that you're plugged into clipping or anything? I've had my bass make some odd sounds when the batteries are going in the active electronics, but usually it just gets quieter and starts cutting in and out. Might be something to try?

    That, or get an exorcist.
  3. Lobster11

    Lobster11 Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2006
    Williamsburg, VA
    You seem to have done the appropriate tests to confirm that the problem is in the bass itself, not in the pedal chain or amp. Seems to me the obvious suspect would be the preamp, but beyond that I don't know enough about electronics to hazard a guess.

    I'm curious now, though, so I'll be staying tuned in hopes someone else can explain it!
  4. Soidanae


    Apr 10, 2014
    I did change out the 9-volt battery for the active pickup, but it was to a brand new one, and it wasn't happening with the old, pre-used battery.--I'll try a different battery too I guess?
  5. Well, good news is, you don't need a drummer in the band anymore. Or spend money on a tremolo pedal. ;)

    In all earnest though, I think it's problem in the preamp. Probably something with chipsoldering being loose, but my guess is that it's micro-electrical.

    EDIT: AND it's in the start of the chain as well.

    EDIT #2: It's the battery allright. a battery either over or underpowering the pickups.
  6. Are the pedals running out of batteries?
  7. Slowgypsy

    Slowgypsy 4 Fretless Strings

    Dec 12, 2006
    NY & MA
    It's very possible to get a brand new battery that's a dud. I'd load in another new battery and see what happens.
  8. squirefan


    Nov 22, 2009
    Lansing, Ks.
    That's not a bass... it's a geiger counter:rolleyes:

    Anyway, just a swag, it kind of sounds like some kind of airwave interference.
  9. Soidanae


    Apr 10, 2014
    So last night played again, tried to drain the battery a bit too. but I'd forgotten to bring a new one.

    Bass played fine for max 15 minutes, but not a hint. Then it started clipping, and gradually that turned into the same staccato noise above. This time I had a big bass amp that had a "mute" button, so I had it muted for while we planned out the song. When I un-muted it the staccato was more pronounced and faster frequency than it ever reaches in the video above.

    I changed it out for the only other 9-v we had, but it was dead, so still no word on that.

    Guy on youtube mentions it might be the pre-amp.

    Assuming it's not just the battery, is this something I with minimal electronics experience could open up the bass and fix myself, or will I need to shell out for diagnostic and repair?
  10. BawanaRik


    Mar 6, 2012
    New Jersey
    I have a Fuzz Face clone that I used to be able to listen to radio stations back in the day.

    Different cables different stations.
  11. I'd try running the pickups direct to the jack if that's possible.

    My Dunlop GCB-95 does that.
  12. Dominic DeCosa

    Dominic DeCosa Habitual Line-Stepper Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 9, 2008
    Vero Beach, Florida
    DiCosimo Audio
    I have a guitar with a built in speaker that does that when the battery is dying.
  13. Technotitclan

    Technotitclan Lurking TB from work

    Mar 1, 2012
    Rochester, NY
    Try another battery. Alternatively you can check how good a battery is by licking the two contacts. No, I'm not joking and no it won't hurt you. I use this method a lot. The stronger the tickle on your tongue the stronger the batt.

    It does sound like its the preamp. The stock pre in those are pretty rudimentary. You can pull it out and inspect it to see if there's a poor solder joint or lifted trace but I suspect its not really repairable. You can take pics and upload them here if you like for us to analyze. Show very close ups of both sides of the board.

    As a work around you can remove the pre and wire the pups right to the volume and balance knobs then direct out to the jack. I have an SR500 wired like this currently. Just know it will sound a little bit different. More than likely if you want to keep a pre on that bass you will need to buy a replacement. If you like the stock I still have my stock pre that you might be able to use that I can possibly sell you, I'm not sure what I'm doing with it currently.
  14. Lobster11

    Lobster11 Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2006
    Williamsburg, VA
    If it's not the battery, it's hard to imagine how it could be anything other than the preamp.

    If you get a similar or identical replacement preamp, swapping out the one for the other should be a straightforward job that doesn't require any great knowledge of electronics. I think the only real skill you'd need is the ability to solder.
  15. devnulljp

    devnulljp Supporting Member

    Oct 13, 2009
    BC, Canada
    Admin on the D*A*M Forum
    I had an old Maestro Fuzz that did something similar -- turned out there was a short between the input and output. Bad cap might do that too, no?
  16. EXILE03


    Jan 19, 2013
    Vancouver, BC
    Douse your preamp in holy water immediately.
  17. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    When reading the title the first thing that came to mind was, did your drummer try to play it?
  18. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    That sounds pretty cool - I'd leave it as-is. Just write some music around it. You're not going to get that from any other bass.
  19. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    I convert 4 string Rickenbackers to 5 string basses.
    First replace the battery ...
    Second check for wiring problems ...
    Also try a different instrument cable.
    If it is not one of those problems then it could be a bad preamp.
  20. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Why not just change the battery?