Noiseless 3 Jazz pickups sometimes noisy - looking for alternatives

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by BassManLou, May 27, 2018.

  1. I purchased a Fender American Deluxe Jazz Bass 2013 with active/passive mini-toggle switch. On certain venues, I get a slight buzz sound which although bugs me but I'm able to tolerate it, but some venues, it gets to the point the sound man will not allow me to play the bass because the buzz is way to loud. Even with a sound gate, as soon as I play the first note, the sound of the buzz is almost as loud as the note.

    The problem seems, my bass is very sensitive to inadequate electrical connections, mainly found in older venues. I was told that the Noiseless 3 pickups are stacked single coil which should cancel out buzz. Would it be wise to swap out the N3 pickups and replace them with hum-cancelling DiMarzio Model J (dp123)? Would those pickups reduce the buzz more than the N3's? The Nordstrand NJ4SV pickups were my second choice.

    I also tried playing with black nylon strings and it made the case worse. I was told that nylon strings do not ground the bridge because they're not metal. I love playing this bass, paid prime dollar for it and I'd hate to give it up because of buzzing. My technician said to go with EMG's but I'm afraid it will stray too fare from the Fender tone. His second choice was to strip out the stock pre-amp and go passive. Not sure it will cure the buzz completely in crappy venues.

    Any thoughts and/or experience with this issue would be appreciated.

  2. Jim C

    Jim C I believe in the trilogy; Fender, Stingray, + G&L Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2008
    Bethesda, MD
    Model J's sound nothing like a single coil J pickup but they are silent; at least with a passive set up.
    Are the cavities shielded with copper tape and are all the grounds good?
    If so, try without the preamp; free and possibly a great diagnostic tool.
  3. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    the issue is likely not the pickups themselves but rather the shielding in the bass, there was a run of these where you had excessive background buzz.

    the fix is to get it shielded properly.
  4. I had the whole cavities shielded with copper, compliments of Fender and they also changed my bridge pickup because it was faulty. If I'm not mistaken, (Jim C), my pickups are not single coil, I have N3 which I think are stacked.

    Unfortunately, at the technician's lab, the sound is perfect, no buz, most likely because the electrical wires in the outlets are perfect. The issue only happens when I'm in a badly (electrically) configured venue.

    I can ask the technician to bypass the pre-amp, but then I have to find a place to test it out. rrghhh.
  5. Slater

    Slater Leave that thing alone.

    Apr 17, 2000
    The Great Lakes State
    If these venues are worth playing, EMGs may be the best solution.
  6. Jim C

    Jim C I believe in the trilogy; Fender, Stingray, + G&L Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2008
    Bethesda, MD
    I had a shop fix my Ashdown ABM 500.
    They had me try it and it hummed like crazy.
    Back on the bench it was super quiet.
    Turned out the first outlet was on the same circuit of an outlet in another room.
    Not sure what the problem was but it's quiet at home and on a gig.
    OTOH my J with single coils hums when pups are solo'd at home yet are quiet at our rehearsal space.
    The pre-amp can also use the shielding (assuming it was done correctly).
    Have others posted this issue?
  7. Nedmundo

    Nedmundo Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2005
    Is the noise the same in active and passive modes? I used to have a G&L L-1500 that picked up radio stations and other noise in active mode, but was dead silent in passive.

    I doubt the pickups are the problem, but if you want vintage J-bass tone with no noise, DiMarzio's Area J are great, and much less expensive than the boutiques. I bet they would sound better than those N3s.
  8. joebar


    Jan 10, 2010
    My elite jazz is noisy too-
    Pisses me off being an expensive axe.
    I think it’s the preamp Though and not the PU’s
    Sam Dingle likes this.
  9. Not quite the same. Most of the threads I read was grounding issues where it buzzes all the time. My case, it's like you said, quiet in certain places and loud in others where the soundman says I shouldn't play with that bass. Could you image if I had single coil?

  10. Jim C

    Jim C I believe in the trilogy; Fender, Stingray, + G&L Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2008
    Bethesda, MD
    The noise is usually from RF (radio frequency) or dirty power.
    The switching power suplies on some computers are very noisey.
    You could be plugged in in one room and that circuit could also be polluted by something plugged in at an adjacent room.

    If the base is shielded and the grounds are good, then the isssue is most likely in the pre-amp or pups.
  11. Hi Nedmundo, yes it happens to both active and passive, although the active mode is slightly louder. I was considering replacing the pickups, either DiMarzio Model J ($140cdn) and Normstrand NJ4SV ($300cdn). It does suck when you spend $2K on a bass and you have to replace stock parts.

  12. The Fender certified technician claims both are good. Do you think a Power Conditioner for my amp could do the trick? And how much does an amp contribute to sensitive basses? There seems to be quite a few variables and I was hoping an experienced technician would be able to troubleshoot and pin-point the root cause.

  13. Jim C

    Jim C I believe in the trilogy; Fender, Stingray, + G&L Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2008
    Bethesda, MD
    I think that over 90% of the time, the amp has a very well designed power supply that will filter as good or better than an outboard unit.
    Walterw could probably offer more on this subject.
    What brand and model of amp?
  14. Would anyone know if the stock pre-amp can be bypassed when switching to passive mode (wiring to bypass pre-amp)?

  15. That's a good question, how can you know if it's the pre-amp and not the pick-ups?

    joebar likes this.
  16. Gallien Krueger mb500 head with 2x10 cab and 1x15 cab.
  17. Jim C

    Jim C I believe in the trilogy; Fender, Stingray, + G&L Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2008
    Bethesda, MD
    I had an MB500; it had a small switch problem under warranty but ended up changing to an MB800.
    Now have a MB800 Fusion
    All were quiet as a mouse at all locations I used it at.
    GK build high quality amps; unless there is something wrong, it's not the power supply.
    Other than an authorized repair shop, I doubt that many (including myself) have any buisness trying to trouble shoot that amp.
  18. Hi JimC, that's interesting. I'll follow up with Gallien Krueger and check it out. So you're saying before the fix, it was noisy?


  19. Jim C

    Jim C I believe in the trilogy; Fender, Stingray, + G&L Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2008
    Bethesda, MD
    No, it was never noisy
    I'm told that very early production models had an issue that the knobs that are push to select (other features like contour, bright, etc.) did not work well. Turns out that the folks doing assembly needed more training on how to assemble.
    Zero issues with a return and they wanted to ship a new unit before I returned the original. Asked them to hold off, got the seller involved (authorized GK) and they gave me a full credit towards the 800. I think they paid return shipping too.
    They also apologized for the inconvenience; fantastic customer service.

    All 3 amps were very quiet.
  20. I doubt it's the pickups. Sounds like you need to try shielding/regrounding the bass as you may have a bad ground or try ground lifting your amp. I swapped the pickups out of both of my American Deluxe Jazzes for Aguilar 60's and SD 60's and installed Audere preamps. I shielded everything with copper tape and both basses run silent with both pickups on and still very quiet when I solo a pickup.
    rockinrayduke likes this.

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