Roscoe Beck bass noisy?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by John Bigboote, Jan 26, 2013.

  1. Just got a '97 RBV, and found that it's quite noisy/buzzy. Has anyone else noticed this about their RBV or RBIV? If I don't roll the treble off by half, or put the coil tap switches in the middle position, it's pretty obnoxious. I always figgered that, with the two humbuckers, hum wouldn't be an issue. Possible it's not properly grounded, or maybe it's just how they are. Please let me know.


  2. Dluxe


    Jan 9, 2011
    Austin, TX
    When I bought mine it made the same noise and my tech found a loose ground wire. That would probably be the case with yours. Should be an easy fix.
  3. Phalex

    Phalex Semper Gumby Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2006
    G.R. MI
    I know a guy that has (had?) one! He brought it into the shop because it was super noisey. The technician couldn't fix it, and he ended up sending it back to the factory. When he got it back, it was still noisey.

    I haven't seen it, or heard about it in 10 years or better. Not sure if he still has it or not, but if he does he never gigs with it.
  4. ShoeManiac

    ShoeManiac Supporting Member

    Jan 19, 2006
    New Jersey
    I've got a '98 RB5, so I might be able to help here. The bass WILL be noisy given certain settings of both the pickup selector switch (the 3 position blade switch) and the 2 x coil tap switches. And that's because in certain settings you're using single coil configurations. And single coil pickups are inherently a little bit noisy.

    Here's a rundown of the function of the switches:

    3-Position Blade Pickup Selector Switch:
    Position 1. (Bridge Side), Bridge Pickup
    Position 2. (Middle), Bridge and Neck Pickups
    Position 3. (Neck Side), Neck Pickup

    2-Mini-Toggle Coil Selector Switches.

    Mini-Toggle Switch 1:
    Position 1. (Bridge Side), Both Coils of Neck Pickup in Series Humbucking
    Position 2. (Middle), Front Coil of Neck Pickup
    Position 3. (Neck Side), Both Coils of Neck Pickup in Parallel Humbucking

    Mini-Toggle Switch 2:
    Position 1. (Bridge Side), Both Coils of Bridge Pickup in Series Humbucking
    Position 2. (Middle), Front Coil of Bridge Pickup
    Position 3. (Neck Side), Both Coils of Bridge Pickup in Parallel Humbucking, Push/Pull Mid-Shaping Tone Switch/Pot
  5. Yeah, you know, that's what's weird. The bass seems to be most quiet when both tap switches are in the middle position. You'd think that would be when it's noisiest. Also, it's pretty noisy when the pup selector is in the middle position.

    I'm thinking the wiring's totally buggered.

    All that notwithstanding, the bass really is a tone monster. If I can just get it to behave...


    P.S.: Then there's the bridge saddle that broke right in my hand. Next issue to deal with...
  6. bdgotoh

    bdgotoh Supporting Member

    Aug 6, 2002
    Pacific NW
    I've had 3 RBIVs and they were all very quiet, even in single coil mode. How is the shielding on the RBVs?
  7. Well, the electronics are the same. Once I get it back from the luthier (fret dressing, and diagnosing the noise), I plan to shield it and replace the pickguard. Reckon I'll have to double-check the wiring to see if somethin's goin' where 't'ain't s'posed to.

  8. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Banned Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    My RBV is dead quiet. I have never noticed a noise from it. Even when recording it's quiet. And I usually leave the tone knob dimed (only because passive tone controls are pretty much "not there" when wide open, and they roll of tone when dialed back.) I just let the tone of the bass/pickups shine through and do my EQing with the amp, fingers, and pickup selector switch.

    Gotta be a bug somewhere.
  9. ShoeManiac

    ShoeManiac Supporting Member

    Jan 19, 2006
    New Jersey
    Really? Because when you have the pickup selector in the center position, and the coil taps are in the center position too, you're basically running the RB5 like a Jazz bass. Having both single coils running like that should have a noise cancelling effect.

    Your pickup wiring might be off. I take it you bought this bass used?
  10. There you go. Seems to me, this bass *should* only buzz when one pickup or the other is soloed, and when the coil tap is in single mode.

    That's when the pickup selector is in the center position... This phenomenon is when individual pups are selected. That's *got* to be buggered wiring.

    Well, yeah, I just got it... not too many of these out there to be gotten new.