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Problems with my Sadowsky

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Rvl, Jun 15, 2004.

  1. Rvl


    Dec 23, 2003
    Aomori Japan
    I am having some trouble with my Sadowsky bass when I switch to active mode on the bass.

    At first I thought it was a problem with one of the effect pedals getting overloaded. Spent an hour going over the whole chain with the CWA headphone amp, no luck.

    Played the bass straight through and it played OK on passive. I set up the onboard eq for the solos and then I could hear an intermittent buzzing.
    Figured it could be a weak battery so I replaced it. Nope , still intermittent buzzing.
    Cleaned the cable connections. No luck.
    I noticed the static came from the A and E string only when the treble was boosted and just sometimes.
    Tried touching the strings to see if there was static or popping . Nothing.
    Played some more and the static ocassionaly came up.
    I noticed that the static came on just before I plucked the string when playing over the bridge pickup.

    Aaaaaah when my finger brushes the raised pickup pole piece on the A and E string on the bridge or neck pickup it causes the buzzing.

    There is no sound if I touch the G and D pole piece only the A and E. And it doesnt make any difference if my left hand is touching the strings or not.

    Any ideas or is this normal for the Sadowsky humbucking jazz pickups and bass electronics ?


    Robert VanLane
  2. Mike Money

    Mike Money Banned

    Mar 18, 2003
    Bakersfield California
    Avatar Speakers Endorsing Hooligan
    Give roger a call... I hear he is the epitome of customer service.
  3. frederic b. hodshon

    frederic b. hodshon

    May 10, 2000
    Redmond, WA
    Microsoft Product Designer
    ah HA, you need a rosewood board!!!


    seriously, Roger will get this fixed. you buy it used?

  4. Rvl


    Dec 23, 2003
    Aomori Japan
    It was bought new.
    At present I am looking for a rosewood girlfriend , his present gal isnt up to to my standards.

    MAJOR METAL The Beagle Father Staff Member Supporting Member

  6. Nino Valenti

    Nino Valenti Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 2, 2001
    Staten Island NYC
    Builder: Valenti Basses
    It seems like you have the older pickups.
    That problem was fixed with our newer pickups.
    The old pickups you have do not have a ground for the pole peices whereas the new pickups do.

    My Blue Sadowsky Jazz & my Geddy Lee Jazz (and I believe my Red Valenti Jazz but I can't recall) have the same pickups as you have & (thankfully) I don't notice this but that could just be because we have different playing style.
  7. Rvl


    Dec 23, 2003
    Aomori Japan
    I just got a email from Roger and a couple of other people telling me this was a problem with some of the earlier pickups and original owners will get free replacement pickups.
    Now if I can find a 5 year old receipt I get some free pickups.


    Robert VanLane
  8. frederic b. hodshon

    frederic b. hodshon

    May 10, 2000
    Redmond, WA
    Microsoft Product Designer
    sounds like a typically excellent RS solution.

    another point for Roger.


    MAJOR METAL The Beagle Father Staff Member Supporting Member

    Did you find the receipt?, if not i am sure Roger would have it on file that you are the first owner of the bass.
  10. That's a sweet deal, nice job Roger!
  11. No kiddin, I've never heard any negative comments about him.

    MAJOR METAL The Beagle Father Staff Member Supporting Member

    Roger is the man in the bass world. :hyper: :bassist:
  13. andysvec

    andysvec Supporting Member

    I hate to rehash an old thread, but in doing a search for my problem I came upon this. I'm having this problem with my '75 fender jazz. I pulled it out to use on some gigs and I noticed this problem at my first rehearsal last night, if I rest my thumb on the pickup and it touches the pole and string at the same time it will buzz, but if my left hand touches the strings it will stop. All my grounding wires are intact, can I add another ground for this or is this something I can fix? Epoxy over the pole pieces? (I hate to modify much, it's all original).
  14. Rvl


    Dec 23, 2003
    Aomori Japan
    I sent my bass into Sadowsky's and they took a look at it.
    The found the problem was that I was using Elixir strings.
    The strings are coated and it was causing a problem with grounding.

    To make sure it didnt happen again I painted the top of the polepeiece with clear nail polish.

    But I would check the grounding again.
    On my older basses the wire under the bridge starts to corrode from sweat and causes problems with grounding.
    Clean up the wire and then wire brush the bottom of the bridge.

    Painting the inside of the cavity with black grounding paint and then soldering everything to a central ground (ie a metal washer) works quite well.


    Robert VanLane
  15. Sadowsky

    Sadowsky Commercial User

    Nov 1, 2000
    Owner: Sadowsky Guitars Ltd.
    On single coil pickups, the pickup wire is insulated with a lacquer type material. If this breaks down on the wire making actual contact with the polepices (usually the outside pole pieces) it causes hum when you touch the poles. Short of replacing the pickups, I recommend you put a piece of electrical tape over the pole pieces. You can do this under the cover or over the cover.

    Roger Sadowsky
  16. ksukev


    Aug 24, 2004
    The prior post is one of the reasons that Roger's the best. He takes care of people. Everyone should be so lucky to be one of his patrons...I know I am.

  17. andysvec

    andysvec Supporting Member

    - again, I apologize for hijacking this old thread with my similar problem on my 75 fender jazz -

    Thanks for the replies, especially Mr. Sadowsky himself! I have a '88 tobias and '92 modulus that both have been sent to his shop in the past and had his onboard preamp installed, so I do know how great he and his crew really are!

    But getting back to my question, Rvl - yes I think I will go over the grounding once more and check everything again and give the underside of the bridge a good scruff and check that wire once more.

    So I take it that electrical tape over the pole pieces won't affect the output or sound that much? I always thought that since it is used on live wires to prevent any current from going through that it would greatly diminish any signal that it is covering. Don't think I could get electrical tape to stay on the outside of the pickup cover, but I can try and stretch some over the pole pieces underneath and get the cover back on.

    thanks again, I'll post my results once I get to this in the next few days.
  18. Lyle Caldwell

    Lyle Caldwell

    Sep 7, 2004
    Clear nail polish will also work. Sticks better than electrical tape, is "invisible," can easily be removed with nail polish remover (with a Qtip - don't dunk the pickup), won't affect the sound, and it will insulate the polepieces from your fingers.
  19. For what it's worth, this didn't work for me with my cheap Yamaha. I checked that the nail polish was indeed insulating the pole pieces, but there's still a noise if I touch a pole piece. I wonder if this might be a capactitaive effect...
  20. luknfur


    Jan 14, 2004
    I'm guessing that since Roger recommended it that it won't affect either to any conseuqence if at all, but appearance wise is not ideal. You can find out in short order by doing it with nothing to loose since it's reversable. If it does, you might be able to get by with teflon tape (like it used in plumbing) as it is paper thin and will readily conform to the shape of the poles - although you may have to replace it in time from wearing through it. Teflon would probably provide the needed barrier I'd guess. For that matter, plastic wrap or even scotch tape may even work and they're transparent. I could see where the nail polish may work in some instances. Also seems a ground plate would do it and that would retain the normal appearance of the pups.

    Also recall some post stating a similar thing with only half the poles being an issue and it seemed it was because only half of the poles were grounded by design of the pup. Seems a manufacturer gave the response to that.