Pickup Noise

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by alack, Feb 25, 2001.

  1. alack


    Nov 20, 2000
    I have a Hamer Cruise bass with a 2TEK bridge and Duncan vintage J bass pickups. Just recently I noticed what would appear to be a ground problem. In many clubs I play the bass buzzes noticeably. Of course it quiets down considerably when my hands are on the strings. I play with both pickups at full volume. Originally I thought it had much to do with bad wiring, florescent lights, beer coolers and other electrical gremlins commonly found in bars. It never buzzed in my home or a controlled environment such as a recording studio, or so I thought. Earlier today I removed the control cavity cover hoping that some obvious problem would present itself to my novice eye. Seeing none I began screwing the plate back on. It was then I noticed a faint crackling sound coming from the amp. When I touched the plate with my other hand the noise stopped. The cavity is shielded and the pickups are single coils. There is a ground wire connected to the bridge. Any suggestions short of replacing the electronics?

    I also have a Vintage Reissue 57 P Bass with the original split humbucker. There is no shielding that I can tell. The instrument is completely stock. There has never been a noise problem with that instrument except when my fingers come in contact with one of the poles on the pickup. The instrument then produces a noticeable buzz that stops when contact with my hand stops. Since I play over the pickup the noise was unavoidable and unacceptable. As a temporary (or permanent solution) I placed a piece of electrical tape over the pickups.

    Any help, advise or insight into the cause and/or solution of these problems would be greatly appreciated.
  2. Check that ground wire to the Bridge. I had the same problem with an old Rick I used to have, and it turned out to be a simple connection problem. The only other thing I can suggest is that you get some shielding in the control cavity.
  3. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    The "taking my hands off the strings" thing is typically the telltale sign of electrostatic noise. Electomagnetic is a 60Hz hum and electrostatic is a buzzing sound more around 120-180Hz. (Annoying as a telemarketer, ain't it?)

    It takes total shielding of not only the control cavity AND the pickups. Sometimes things LOOK shielded but the shielding isn't connected to ground. What happens then is that the shielding, which was intended to eliminate potential hum, becomes a hum magnet!!!

    I'm one of those people who know a little about these kinds of things but don't have the expertise to fix them. I'd have to take it to a tech.

    Sorry I don't have a quick fix.