Noisy Jazz Bass

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by kewleb, May 18, 2005.

  1. kewleb


    May 18, 2005
    Liverpool, England
    I recently bought a brand new Geddy Lee signature Fender Jazz Bass. The bass is really nice and well made, but the electronics seem to be horrendously noisy! For example, when I play near the neck pickup, I sometimes get a sort of scratching noise coming through the amp. Also, there seems to be other noise or interference present, but which stops when i touch the strings. Is this some sort of earth problem? Also, the overall output of the bass seems quite low. On my Trace elliot head, I need to have the red input gain knob on around 9, to get the amber light to come fully on.
    I've basically come to the conclusion that the electronics are a bit cheap and nasty. The bass is fine in every other way, but I've realised that I may need to upgrade the pickups. I don't know much about these issues and would love to hear from someone who does. I would also like to hear from anyone else who has one of these basses and whether they've had similar problems.... :meh:
  2. danomite64


    Nov 16, 2004
    Tampa, Florida
    If you bought it brand new, then it has a warranty. The GL Jazzes I've come across haven't had any problems, and those pickups are pretty nice (I think they're '62 reissue pups). Just take it back to the store you got it from and try to recreate the problem and let them fix it.
  3. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    Have you had previous experience with other J basses ? Passive, single coils that are attempting to re-create the 60's & 70's tone J pup's aren't generally very hot. If you are comparing the output of your Geddy against say an active bass you're very likely going to find a drop in output.

    Are you running 1 pup at a time or both on at the same level. These are single coil pups and they are noisy when the pup's aren't both on at the same volume level. They basically work as a humbucker with both coils full up.

    If the pup's are full up and you're still getting a lot of noise and you are playing this bass in an environment where other basses are quiet you may have a grounding problem. This specifically relates to the symtom of having to ground by touching the strings. I've seen a number of J basses with a faulty bridge ground. That is fairly easy to test with a meter. If it's a problem and you purchased your GL new or with some warranty from the shop, they should fix it for you.

    On your Trace, do you have an input pad or and Active / Passive button ? If so, turn them off (Have your amp's input volume down when you do this lest you be blowing up drivers and such ...) On my pre, there are active & passive inputs. If I don't use the correct one things do not sound as they should.

    Last thought - there is a pretty active aftermarket in J bass pickups. The Fenders aren't all that well thought of although they aren't bottom of the barrel either. I run Duncan's vintage pup's in my passive J's as they are pretty close to the old school 60's vibe that I like. THere are lot's of other choices out there. That isn't for no reason, eh ?
  4. Are you playing with coated strings and a feedthrough the body bass?
  5. kewleb


    May 18, 2005
    Liverpool, England
    Hi 4MAL
    You're right in that I was playing an active bass before I got the GL. I did anticipate that there'd be a drop in level.It all makes sense. I do use the passive input on my Trace.

    The noise happens regardless of how many pups I'm running at once (I prefer to have both on full volume) I definitely think that this is a grounding problem, as you say. Your comments about a "faulty bridge ground" are interesting; Sometimes when I touch the bridge, I get the noise, like a scratching sound. The same sound occurs when I play near the pups. When I let go of the strings, i get a faint hissing noise. The bass was an ebay buy, so I don't think I'll get much joy from the seller. I'd much rather get the problem fixed myself. The bass is perfect in every other way. it's just a bit disappointing to get the noise/interference, when you've laid out your cash, as you can imagine. Can you give me any tips on how to solve this? I must also add, by the way, that at gig volume, the problem is obviously un-noticeable and the bass sounds fantastic! i just wish it could be quiet when i'm not playing....
  6. HMZ

    HMZ Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2003
    Just install as set of DiMarzio Model J pickups and you will have all the growl and out put you need and there very quit. :D
  7. drd07


    Jan 19, 2003
    You might want to try to shield the cavity and pick up routing and check the bass for ground loops. Here is an excellent website on how to shield your bass properly:

    It's for a strat, but it can easily be translated to bass.
  8. gilbert46


    Sep 21, 2004
    Sacramento, CA
    are the pickups to close the strings? I dont know how close "too cloase" is though. Ive gotten basses outa the box without adjusting and when playing to hard the string wacks a pole and make some noise.
  9. kewleb


    May 18, 2005
    Liverpool, England
    Thanks for the advice and the link on how to shield the guitar. The pickups aren't too high, i don't think that the strings have ever touched the poles. My problem is almost definitely a grounding/shielding one. Thanks again for the advice
  10. bikeplate

    bikeplate Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2001
    Upstate NY

    Install Sadowsky hum cancelling pickups or DiMarzio ultra J's. You might also want to try a Sadowsky outboard floor pre. SMOKIN! Tons of tight, thick bass and sparkling highs