Mysterious problem with Sterling bass

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by grazamataz, Jun 12, 2020.

  1. grazamataz


    May 2, 2020
    Or maybe it's not mysterious. I don't know guitar electronics well.

    I have a Sterling Ray 34 that I picked up "new" from a seller on Reverb about a month ago. I put new in quotes because it arrived with all the plastic wrap on it but had a fair amount of dust on it and the volume pot was making noise when I turned it. Figured it was just dirty.

    Had my local shop set it up and clean the volume pot. Everything seemed peachy until a couple days ago, when the bass started making lots of scratchy/static noise intermittently, with some pops mixed in. Didn't matter if I was touching the strings or not.

    I changed the 9V battery for a new one but it didn't stop. Playing without a battery resulted in no scratchy sounds. Today, I was playing and there was a pop and the sound cut out completely. The volume knob was also making a scratchy noise again when I turned it.

    I took the battery out and the sound was normal through the amp but it was very low volume. Also, if I pulled the cord out just a little bit, the full volume would come back.

    Tried my other bass and it worked fine, so it's not an amp or cord issue. I just don't have any idea what it is. Could it be a bad volume pot? Or is it the plug?

    Thank you in advance.
  2. The output jack is the most likely culprit. There may also be some cold/bad solder joints to ground (usually soldered to the back of the volume or tone pots). So basically if you (or your local tech) changes the jack, touch up the ground solder joints while you're in there.
    RSBBass likes this.
  3. RSBBass


    Jun 11, 2011
    I agree, it sounds like a bad jack. Unless its a bad cord.
  4. grazamataz


    May 2, 2020
    Alright I’ll check that out before I mess with anything else. Hopefully that’s all it is. Frustrating that’s happening on a new bass.

    Thank you!
  5. Beej


    Feb 10, 2007
    Vancouver Island
    Also sounds like it could be something intermittently grounding out in cavity? Check to ensure nothing's touching anything else. :thumbsup:
  6. grazamataz


    May 2, 2020
    So the problem went away for a couple weeks, and then it came back full on. It's consistent enough now that I can accurately pinpoint the symptoms.

    When I turn the bass EQ knob past about 30%, the sound completely cuts out from the bass - nothing comes out. It just stops at a certain point. When I turn the bass EQ knob back down, the sound comes back on. It's like an on/off switch. And there's the scratching sound when I turn the knob. So there's something wrong there.

    I've emailed Sterling about getting a warranty claim started and heard nothing after 4 days so I'm getting frustrated. I'm probably going to just bring it to a local shop this week and forget about the warranty, and perhaps not buy a Sterling again in the future.
  7. grazamataz


    May 2, 2020
    Edit: They finally reached out and are arranging to have the bass fixed at no cost to me. Good to go. Thanks for the input everyone!