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my basses are driving me crazy! venting....

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by letsgethandsome, Mar 25, 2014.

  1. So, I have 2 basses. A 2005 Fender American Deluxe P, and a MM Sterling as a back-up...

    The Fender electronics have been kind of wonky the last year. I've had a couple different techs look at it and we've replaced a couple different pots. It's working better, but it's still just too dang noisy. Ground buzz when not touching the strings, and if you touch any of the poles on the pups you get a horrible noise. Short of chasing a ghost forever I'm half tempted to rip out all the electronics and pups and replace everything.... But that ain't cheap.

    The Sterling was getting more action due to the condition of the Fender so I decided to buy a nice aftermarket replacement pup from a very reputable pick-up manufacturer.... Now it is noisier than it was before (it was dead quiet) and I can't tell a huge difference in sound...

    I'm half tempted to sell them both and start over. Ugh. Sorry. Just needed to vent.
  2. SirMjac28

    SirMjac28 Patiently Waiting For The Next British Invasion

    Aug 25, 2010
    The Great Midwest
    I go through the same thing from time to time I mean there are days I want to throw a couple of them out the window it seems once you start noticing buzz it gets in your head and it's sometimes impossible to get out. I had to train myself to ignore some of it and it doesn't bother me as much now.
  3. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Supporting Member

    Not chasing a ghost at all, you just need better techs. Most techs are baffled by shielding though, plenty will tell you just to live with the noise as their is nothing you can do. You can do something.

    Noise that goes away when you touch metal/strings/bridge indicates a shielding issue. If the noise gets louder when you touch metal it indicates a grounding issue. A proper shielding job will remove the noise, if you still have the issue when touching pole pieces after that, the leads are probably reversed to the pickup.

    The noise from the Sterling, is it affected by touching metal/strings/bridge? It is probably a shielding issue again but I would need more information to confirm.
  4. BassCliff


    May 17, 2012
    So. Cal.

    Are there any capacitors that you can replace? Checked all solder connections? No cold solder joints? Maybe it's time for a trip back to the factory?

    Good luck.

    Thank you for your indulgence,

  5. jlepre

    jlepre Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2007
    Parsippany, NJ
    I would just put the original pup back in the Sterling, and call it a day. Never mess with perfection.
  6. Lownote38


    Aug 8, 2013
    Nashville, TN
    A P Bass shouldn't buzz even without shielding. I've never had that problem unless the wiring was messed up.
  7. This this this this this this.
  8. I think I may just do that. I was hoping it would give it just a little more umph......
  9. temmrich

    temmrich Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2012
    Dayton, Ohio
    This guy had it right. Start with checking grounds and properly shielding cavities.
  10. rumblinbass


    Aug 22, 2003
    Wimberley, TX
    have you replaced the jack. they to go bad over time.
  11. So, it's quite possible better techs would help. Both of the people that have worked on these basses are real tech's, not buddy's or hacks....

    Leaving aside the issues with the MM for a moment, because 1) I just got the bass back, and 2) I may just drop the old pup back in...

    The buzzing with the Fender. Let me describe it better.... There were other issues too that fixing some solder joints, etc. seems to have corrected but presently:

    There is a slight buzzing sound if you are not touching any metal on the bass that goes away when you touch any metal (strings, bridge, etc.). If you are touching metal and touch the pick-up poles, nothing happens. If you touch ONLY the pick-up pole, there is horrible buzzing. On another note there seems to be some interference if you wave your hand over the pick-ups not touching anything. It's not loud, but you can create some interference that way....

    I hadn't even considered sending it back to Fender... I would even ship it to a really really good tech if I knew these things would be fixed.

    I understand that with electronics there are lots of things that can cause and create noise, but it does seem to be above what would be an acceptable level...
  12. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Supporting Member

    I have had at least six Fender and Squier Ps with shielding issues. Rather common problem actually, particularly Fender.
  13. Seems like maybe a good shielding job might do the trick? I hope so...

    Thanks guys!
  14. temmrich

    temmrich Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2012
    Dayton, Ohio
    That's why your body position (your hand in front of the pickup) makes a change. You are changing the radio frequencies that can get to the bass. Copper foil should solve the largest part of your issues.
  15. StuartV

    StuartV Finally figuring out what I really like Supporting Member

    Jul 27, 2006
    Manassas, VA
    My SB-2 had a noise recently very similar to what you're describing with your P. A bit of buzzing when I took my hands off the bass that got quieter when I put my fingers on the strings and went away completely if I put a finger firmly on the bridge.

    I took the bridge off, put a piece of copper tape (from StewMac.com) on the bass body then put another piece of copper tape on top of the first one, sandwiching the bridge ground wire in between them. I made sure the tape was positioned so it wouldn't show once the bridge was back on. I also made sure at least one of the bridge screws went through the copper tape, but I really don't think that was necessary at all.

    No more noise.

    A P bass pickup is hum-canceling by nature. It should not need any special shielding to be quiet. Just good grounding.

    Now, as for your Sterling, it is HARD for me to imagine anyone every playing an EBMM Sterling and thinking that it needed more oomph. Assuming there is nothing actually wrong with it, the only explanation I can think of for that would be if the pickup is way too low under the strings. Mine was that way and I didn't realize it. I played another one at GC and it had way more balls than mine. I tracked it down to the pickup on mine being way lower than the factory spec (which is something like 5/64" below the lowest string, I think). I raised my pickup up (just eyeballed it to approx 1/4") and that cured it. ALL BALLS.
  16. Maxdusty


    Mar 9, 2012
    Michigan USA
    Very likely shielding like posts above have mentioned but also want to add, perhaps try a different guitar cord as well- trust me, it can also make a big difference.
  17. StuartV

    StuartV Finally figuring out what I really like Supporting Member

    Jul 27, 2006
    Manassas, VA
    They also can just get dirty, which makes them appear/sound as if they have gone bad. I would always try a good cleaning before replacing one.

    However, in this particular case, with the OP's P, I would definitely start with making sure the bridge ground is very solid. Then, if the noise is still there, check all the other ground connections.

    A bridge ground wire can pretty easily get pressed into the wood underneath the bridge, making a bit of a dent, which results in a not-so-good connection to the bridge over time.
  18. StuartV

    StuartV Finally figuring out what I really like Supporting Member

    Jul 27, 2006
    Manassas, VA
    This. My guess is that any noisy P bass that was "fixed" by shielding was actually fixed as a result of improved ground connections that were made by the shielding job.

    Non-hum-canceling single coil pickups are where you need to be concerned with shielding.
  19. OK.... Let me clarify. It's not an EBMM Sterling, it's a Sterling by Music Man. I didn't want to name the exact model because it might give away the pick-up manufacturer and I didn't come here to bad mouth anyone... The issue may NOT be the pup. Although the tech did mention one thing that he thought was weird (and I did too but what do I know?) - and that was that the ground wire was a completely bare wire.... That seemed odd to him...

    Anyway. I think on the Fender I'll get it shielded and have them check the bridge ground and see if those things fix the issues...
  20. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician, and Contractor to Club Bass and Guitar - Toronto
    It's still worth shielding a P-bass though. The pickups are hum cancelling, but the internal wiring of the bass isn't. It needs protection from interference as well.