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p-bass pickups

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Mr_Shrapnel, Apr 3, 2005.

  1. Mr_Shrapnel

    Mr_Shrapnel Guest

    Mar 20, 2004
    Hey, I’ve got two problems, and if anyone could help, that’d be super dope. The first is that I get a really loud humming sound coming through my bass whenever it passes close to any mains light sources. And I mean REALLY loud! A guy in a bass shop told me that there was nothing wrong with my bass, its just the standard p-bass pickups - they always do that. That doesn’t quite seem right to me. Has anyone else found this?

    If this is the case, I may have to consider getting new pickups because, I just cant take the humming anymore! So does anyone have any good suggestions for p-bass picks which have a good solid smooth sound?

    Thanks very much!
  2. bigbeefdog

    bigbeefdog Who let the dogs in?

    Jul 7, 2003
    Mandeville, LA
    Happens a lot. And I don't know of any P-bass pups that are guaranteed not to hum.

    The best plan of attack is to shield the cavity inside your bass. StewMac sells shielding paint and copper shielding tape (I used the tape on mine), which you can use to improve the "barrier" between your pups and the electrical/electronic devices causing the hum. If you like the sound of your pups, it's better to shield them than swap out to something you might not like, and which might hum just as bad or worse.

    Of course, getting (and staying) as far away from those light sources is helpful, too.
  3. Nedmundo

    Nedmundo Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2005
    DiMarzio makes a model called the "Split P," and each of the segments is a complete humbucker. Apparently it's designed to extend the high and low end response for a more modern sound, and of course it should eliminate hum. But I'd try the shielding route first, unless you're after something like the DiMarzio tonally.
  4. luknfur


    Jan 14, 2004

    I had an SD hot P once and couldn't shut that sucker up - not cause of external sources - it just hummed period. It was pretty decent in conjunction with a hotstack so I copper shielded and ran ground plates. No change. Back against the wall with no expectation but nothing to lose, the next time I had it out I dipped it - which in my recollection is supposed to be more for external interference than internal. No change. Until I pulled them for a while and when I reinstalled them - no hum.

    Have no idea what the source of resolution was. But dipping them preceded the hum stopping for a fact - and they had hummed for nearly two years before that.

    If you do a general google search there's instructions on the process. Long after the dipping I ran across a piece that stated the dipping needed to be for "EIGHT" hours to get full saturation. That wasn't in the instructions I had and not what I did. 8 hours would make a simple procedure a royal pain. But just for your info. As it was, I'd never dipped a pup so it was kinda fun. A LOT MORE FUN THAN SHIELDING CAVITIES - which sucks!

    But now you've got another option anyway - that may or may not work.
  5. If you mean dipping in wax, that solves mechanical movement probs, when a pickupn goes microphonic.

    Shielding IS the best solution. Use either paint or foil but not both, as this will cause capacitance and actually increase the buzz. Ground the shielded wall of the pickup rout to the back of one of the pots (screw a wire into the paint/foil and solder the other end to the back of the pot).

    Sheilding is effective if done carefully.

    On the other hand, other pups, like the DiMarzio, are quieter. EMG pickups are completely quiet, but then you have the disadvantage of actie pickups (i.e., they are not passive!)
  6. Mr_Shrapnel

    Mr_Shrapnel Guest

    Mar 20, 2004
    Ok thanks. That all sounds pretty useful. Tbh im sure that it is the sheilding, but everytime i take it into a shop, the guy just says it not that! So im gona try the sheilding for sure, cos its just not acceptable!

    But i may consider some new pickups too, cos mine are getting a little smashed now (theyve been goin since 1989!) but i dont wana loose the classic sound, so does anyone know if the DiMarzio split p really sounds anything like the good ol' p-bass pickup?

    Or does anyone else know of some other good ones which will cut out hum, but keep the classic tone?

  7. honeyboy


    Oct 31, 2004
    I put some SD Quarterpounders in my '83 P-Bass Squire. They don't hum, but neither did the originals. My Geddy Lee J Bass has shielding in the pot control cavities and it doesn't hum using any or all pick-ups.
  8. Mine from my '65 p don't hum. Prolly all that salt around them. ;) If there is a fluorescent light on in a nearby room our g#%&@$ player's axe will hum like mad. "Buzz lights" he calls 'em. Might be one of his 6 billion effects on the board from hell though. One never know, do one?
  9. Bartolini 8S

    Bartolini 8CBP

    Seymour Duncan's

    If you cavity is not shielded It will pickup hum...I don't care what the guy tells you....It is like an Antenna.

    Stewmac's Conductive Paint

    Be sure and run a ground wire to a screw that is screwed into the conductive painted cavity.
  10. gapupten


    Dec 29, 2004
    I have swapped out pups for Bartolini 8S pups.
    Proper grounding but no change in shielding.
    Result no hum noise, great deep classic thump.
    Good luck