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Not your average grounding problem... HELP PLEASE!

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Geej, Feb 7, 2005.

  1. Before you get mad, I searched the forums for grounding issues... and took about every piece of advice from them... that I would be willing to risk.. ya know, change the power point, hold the strings to check if its string grounding, take off the back cover and check the wiring to the pots... yes yes yes, checked and double checked... The wiring is fine... holding the strings and changing power point made no difference...

    There seems to be a constant buzz... but at lower volumes it is inaudible, but when I crank the amp... (which i prolly wont ever need to but its nice to have working gear isnt it?) it just goes mad... distortion, and im not even playing... now what I figure is the boost/cut bass knob... because, it boosts and cuts the bass :eyebrow: ... when you crank that either side, whicked hyper buzz with extra buzz, and a side serving of buzz.... upsized....

    Its not the amp, ive run it through 2 different amps...
    My PASSIVE pickups ibanez doesnt get any buzz at all, which leads me... most regretfully to assume, its my ACTIVE pickups on my yammie...

    Now, I sent my Yamaha back to the original store when it was under warranty to get a much more bewildering problem fixed...
    I assume this was also related to grounding... My bass was actually receiving radio signals :eyebrow: ... but I could definetly see that some of the wiring in the back lift off section was loose, one even, completely off...

    THE STORE FIXED THAT... no more radio bass, SOOOOOO isnt it fair to assume that my buzz problem isnt related to the wiring near the pickup and pots etc...

    The bad thing, then its prolly my pickups right? Has this happened to anyone else, is it fixable? or will I be forking out more money on brand new pickups...

    By the way, this isnt a new problem... but i always thought it was my amp :crying: ... so when i encountered the same problem through my new amp..... its time to take ackshione!
  2. A bit more information might help the experts.

    It is posssible that you are picking up the transformer field from your amp, or something similar, like signals from a PC close by. Your previous bass may be less sensitive, or may have a humbucking pick up.

    What have electrical stuff you got within three feet of you when you get this effect (don't forget the stuff on the other side of any wall that you are close to)?
  3. ShamrayBass

    ShamrayBass The Bass Custom Shop

    Dec 29, 2004
    Moscow. RUSSIA
    Exactly what model of Yamaha is it? Chances are it doesnt have "Active pickups" at all... more likely just an "active preamp" that the pickups are feeding into.

    Inexpensive bass preamps are notorious for adding noise and hiss to the signal when you start turning those EQ knobs up!
  4. MODEL: RBX 765A
    oh yea... well, on the otherside of the wall, there is the TV cabinet, with tv, foxtel and vhs always on

    in my room is the computer, which is usually on... so, what turn everything off and give it a whirl?

    and im sorry shamray but I dont fully understand your post :confused: ... are we still talking about my guitar here... i thought it had active pickups because thats what the guy at the store said... and isnt that why it takes a battery
  5. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    just because your bass takes a battery does not mean the pickups are active. you said you had active eq on the bass so you definitely have a preamp which requires a battery, but the pickups may still be passive.
    does the bass have 2 pickups and does the buzzing get worse if both of them arent on? in that case you have single coil pickups which are prone to hum. still it sounds like there is a lack of sheilding and or proper grounding in the bass.
  6. Yea it has two pickups... and i dont know how to turn them off? and that knob i was talkin about might be the changing between the pickups... but i dont know how to turn them both off
  7. Yea sorry guys... turning the computer off made a considerable difference...

    As did turning the drive gain and compression down on the amp... as far as noise when volume is maxed out...

    So thats about 60% of the noise gone, which I'm happy about :hyper:

    But there is still the noise from switching between pickups (assuming thats what it does)... when the knob is dead centre, theres no noise... and turning it to either side makes it progressively more noisy until u have it maxed then the noise is just... BUZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ... :mad:
  8. Rav


    Dec 29, 2004
    Aurora, IL
    Try a different instrument cable. If you have a defecitve sheild in the cable it can act like an antena and pick up tons of bad stuff. Its one of the ways your computer could have acffected the bass. Also check your power for a grounding fault. Its another way your computer could have affected it.

    I know your isolating the bass for problems but its always good to check the other easy to isolate potential issues while your at it.

  9. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    So, when both pickups are on full, you get no noise, but when you solo either one, you get buzz?

    Those are single coil pickups, and that is one drawback to them. If there is any source of RF, electrical or magnetic noise, single coil pickups will find it.

    This is something you are going to have to live with, unless you want to replace the pickups in your bass.

    Shielding will help, but as long as you are using single coils, there will always be some noise.
  10. Its not the grounding at the powerpoint because Ive used alot of different powerpoints...
    Its not the cable, I tried 3 different ones, but thanks for the suggestions

    But in so far as replacing the pickups goes... is it very expensive to get the "better" pickups that dont have this problem? Or should I take it back to the music store and ask them to shield it first?
  11. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    If there are aftermarket pickups that fit your bass, it won't be too expensive. If Dimarzio Model Js will fit, they are around $100 for a set of two, and are humbucking.

    I personally love the sound of single coils, so I live with the noise.

    As far as shielding goes, like I said, it may or may not help. But it will probably cost at least as much to shield the bass as new pickups. Don't expect the store to shield it for free. Single coils are known for hum, and that is not covered by any warranty.

    I would take the bass to a store that sells the same model, and see if yours hums more than any of the others. If it does, there could be something wrong with it. If it doesn't, and is quieter at the store than it is at your house, then the problem is something in your house. Wiring, magnetic fields, RF noise, etc.
  12. We'll thanks guys, I'll check it out... I'll be able to test it at my friends house anyway, because we usually jam there... so I'll see if its any different... but if it isnt something to do with magnetic fields in my house... then im pretty sure its not a normal hum, because the amount of noise that comes pretty much renders the knob useless and I keep it on dead centre
  13. Nobody has actually said what is happening here, and that might help you understand the good and bad sides of your setup.

    Single coil pickups are magnets, with a coil wound round them. If you disturb the magnetic field with a moving metal string, the coil picks up the disturbance and sends it to the amp. The advantage of a simple pickup is the tone that it gives you, but the disadvantage is that TV, PC screens, amp transformers etc will also disturb the magnetic field, so the pickup will pick them up too.

    The simplest fix for manufacturers is to use two pickups, and reverse the magnets in one of them. So, they both work as they did before when soloed, but when you put the blend control at its mid point, they don't add together, they subtract. This gets rid of anything that both pickups have picked up (like hum and some of the bass sound) and builds on the things that each pickup has seen separately (like the rest of the bass sound). So you get no hum or buzz, and you get the slightly nasal scooped bass sound.

    Having said all that, I have a 4 year old RBX 765A, and it has soapbar pickups, each of which are humbucking. I practice in front of a 120 Watt amp, and about 2 feet from a PC screen, and I don't have a hum problem on any pickup blend setting.

    Yamaha seem to jump between pickup types from year to year, so if your bass has jazz pickups, they are probably single coil, but if you have soapbars, it sounds as if the guy that cured your radio problem may have disconnected and/or rewired your pickups, and stopped them being humbucking.
  14. lol man... mottle congrats on the post and thanks, u made it a whole lot clearer... :) so the recommended course of action is ... try it somewhere other than my house if that doesnt help: try the same model bass at the store... and if the difference is considerable, ask them to take a look at the pickup wiring... that about right?

    Last time I got it fixed it was just to get a wire resoldered (thats what was causing the radio problem), one had come loose and I didnt have an iron, and my bass was still under warranty... That seems like a real simple fix... the buzz thing might have started then... but come to think of it i cant put my finger on when it started :confused:
  15. Yes, that is what I would do.