Older bass owners: How long before your electronics have given out?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by creativitis, Jul 20, 2009.

  1. creativitis


    Apr 17, 2009
    How many years should a bass guitar's electronics (pickups and preamp) last before failing or needing replacement?

    I own a '95 Pedulla Rapture and just plugged in to play, and it gave no signal. Not even enough response for a tuner (Korg TuneJack) to tune. Completely dead, even after putting in a fresh battery. The guitar wasn't dropped or traumatized in any way, and the guitar was working fine just a few days prior. Tested it on several other amps, cables, etc, and took a peek inside to see no loose wires, broken solder, loose input jack, or anything.

    Looking more and more like the pre-amp or the pickup has died... and it makes me (and my wallet) sad. Is this something normal to happen to older basses? I know that with owning an older bass comes added maintenance... but always thought that the internal components were supposed to last at least a couple of decades...:( thoughts?
  2. I have a Vigier from 1992 and a MM from 1991 and both electronics and pickups are still working
  3. vbasscustom


    Sep 8, 2008
    well hey man, i know of some 50s Ps that still work great with original electros. so it might have been a problem that was always there and just decided to happen now.
  4. mikezimmerman

    mikezimmerman Supporting Member

    Apr 29, 2001
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Electronics shouldn't normally just "give out" as they get older. I believe there are components that can fail over time, like capacitors, but my impression is that even that is rare fairly rare.

    What seems more likely to fail are components that move and are subject to wear and tear, like output jacks or battery connectors. That would be what I'd look at fairly closely. I've had many basses at least as old as your Pedulla--many with active Bart circuits--and I don't remember any preamps failing, but have had sveral output jacks go bad.

  5. Hiya,

    I have 3 active basses. so far, EMG (22), Peavey (20) and Status (19) years with only changing duracells.

    I repaired pinball machines and juke boxes on the side when I was in college. It depends on what type of components are used as to the life span. Did you check to see if the battery voltage was getting to the preamp? The 9v battery adapter is normally the troublesome part in a 9v system, check it carefully.


    Afterthought: Have you checked the output jack for tension on the contact clips, most active systems use one of the contacts on the jack to connect the battery into the circuit and if there isn't a solid connection, it won't provide the proper voltage.
  6. 82Daion


    Nov 14, 2006
    The oldest bass I've owned was a '75 Alembic Series I, and the electronics worked just fine except for a couple tiny dead spots in one of the filter control pots.
  7. Barkless Dog

    Barkless Dog Barkless to a point

    Jan 19, 2007
    I have 30 year old RD, which I ordered new.
    No electronic problems ever!

  8. Basdyret

    Basdyret A repatriated Dane

    Aug 6, 2007
    Billund, Denmark
    My old Fenders have never had any problems of any kind, and the Precision has been played almost daily in its 46 years of existence (although only a small part of that by me).

    Of course, the more electronics you have in a bass, the more can go wrong, and it doesn't get much simpler than a Precision :p

    I'd try changing the battery on that Pedulla (which you have done) and then plug in the jack with the amp turned on and slowly twist it around a bit to see if you can catch some noise that way (which would mean a loose spring in the socket), and also twist all knobs in all directions. If none of that helped, I'd give it to a tech for examination.

    I actually once played an 80's Rick which I at first thought was completely dead, as I had no signal - then I changed the cable to a Planetwaves (with the small springs on the plugs) and I suddenly had perfect sound coming from it. It was just a weak spring in the socket, and that happens when you use it a lot - and especially if you leave the cable in when the bass is in the stand (don't do that!).
  9. jmain

    jmain Oo, Uhn't uh, Yes!

    Apr 23, 2005
    Alexandria, VA
    Electronics are good, but as an older bass owner it seems my body is giving out! :D

    Usual cleaning and maybe repairing a loose connection here and there seems to be infrequent maintenance.
  10. creativitis


    Apr 17, 2009
    Thanks for the input y'all! took my bass down to Mike Pedulla's shop (I live in southern MA), and I was wrong about the electronics - as some of you mentioned, it was the battery box that was loose! a quick replace by the master luthier (and a replaced aging input jack for preventative measures), and the bass is good as new.

    hope the electronics themselves never give out... :bassist: from what i hear (about Pedullas, and all quality electronics/builds in general), they shouldn't.

    PS - if you live in MA, highly recommend going to pay Michael Pedulla a visit in Rockland. He is a class act and a living legend, IMO. :cool:
  11. mikezimmerman

    mikezimmerman Supporting Member

    Apr 29, 2001
    Omaha, Nebraska
    I'm glad (but not surprised) that it was something so simple!

  12. steve4765630


    Feb 27, 2006
    Man, he's the best. Really a great guy. I'm glad it was something simple and cheap.