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Scratchy noises...

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by xolin, Jan 20, 2004.


  1. Hey, this may have to go to miscellaneous, but I thought this was closest. Anyway, I have a six string bass and I was using some cables and every once in a while when i moved it would make this horrible loud scratchy static noise through the amp. I thought it was because the cables were worn (as does happen). So with a new cable, it still happens sometimes, but not when I used someone elses bass. Its passive system, could it be the bass?

    New to bass repair...so have no clue:confused:
     
  2. Eric Moesle

    Eric Moesle Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2001
    Columbus OH
    I'd suspect that your input jack isn't making tight connection with your cord. Jacks are cheap, replace it and see if it remedies your problem.
     
  3. pkr2

    pkr2

    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.
    Sometime just cleaning the jack with a good contact cleaner will correct the problem. Its easy to introduce crud into the jack from dirty cable plugs.

    A surefire fix is to do as Eric said: just replace the jack. :)

    Harrell S.
     
  4. So i just go to a music store and get it replaced or buy a new one? How much are they? And I have had some dirt on my cables which I cleaned off the cables, but didnt think about the jack. What should i use for the jack?

    Thanks a lot, btw!
     
  5. pkr2

    pkr2

    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.
    If you are going to pay someone to do the work, you should go with cleaning the jack first. Much less expensive and usually works.

    Just go to Radio Shack and get a spray can of tuner/contact cleaner. Shoot a short burst of cleaner into the jack and plug and unplug the jack a few times. WD-40 will work pretty well. Just dont use more than a short burst or two. WD-40 contains petroleum products and is not real friendly to wood and finishes.

    If you don't already, be sure to run your cord under the strap to eleminate any strain and movement in the plug/jack connection. Will really add life to your jack.

    Hope this helps, Harrell S.
     
  6. Thank you again. I will try that.
     
  7. skie`

    skie`

    May 4, 2003
    Corvallis, OR
    I have a pretty similar problem... after 10-20 minutes of playing, it starts getting staticy, and when I flip the amp off it makes a very loud pop... its not an amp connection problem, I've used different sources to go through the amp without a problem, and I've used two seperate cables to my bass. Theres also quite a bit of static just when the bass is plugged in. I tried your suggestion of a little bit of WD-40, didn't seem to do anything at all. Would a real contact cleaner be a good thing to try, or could this be another problem?
     
  8. pkr2

    pkr2

    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.
    Because the problem only shows up after the amp warms up, your problem is probably temperature related. Very little chance that cleaning the jack would help in your case.

    Some amps will always pop at turn off. My SWR 4004 does if I don't remember to turn off the speaker switch.

    Hope this helps.

    Harrell S.
     
  9. skie`

    skie`

    May 4, 2003
    Corvallis, OR
    the problem seems to be only with the bass though... I can use other things through the amp for any amount of time ith no problem... no pop or anything. If it was a temperature problem, though, is the only solution to replace the amp?
     
  10. pkr2

    pkr2

    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.
    Amps can usually be repaired. If your bass is active (has a battery) there could be a problem with the preamp.

    you may be better off taking your bass to a good repair person. Troubleshooting electronics is a whole field and is usually beyond the capabilities of the average player. Good luck.

    Harrell S.
     
  11. zombywoof5050

    zombywoof5050

    Dec 20, 2001
    Static electricity can build up on the pickguard (if the pickguard is not shielded) and cause static scratchy noise, especially when you touch or rub your hand on the pickguard. It also varies from person to person because some people don't generate as much static electricity as others. This problem is most common with Fender Strat guitars but it can happen with any instrument, I suppose.

    To see if this is your problem, try rubbing your hand around on the pickguard in the area between your pickups and control knobs. When I did this on my Precision it produced static every time. When I play, I pluck the strings in all different areas, sometimes anchoring my thumb above the pickup and sometimes using my thumb with my fingers anchored on the pickguard under the pickup, so this was very critical for me. Some players that never touch the pickguard may never even notice if their pickguard would produce this static. Different weather conditions can have an effect on this too, as well as what shoes you are wearing and what kind of carpet you are walking on, etc. We're talking about static here, so all these factors can have an effect.

    A quick fix for this static cracking problem is to rub the pickguard with a static dryer sheet (like Bounce). But this is only temporary, I've heard that one rubbing may last as long as a couple of days. A permanent fix is to shield the back of the pickguard. To do this, some people apply spray adhesive and then put a layer of heavy-duty aluminum foil on it. When you put the pots back on it makes contact with the foil for a proper ground (the shielding must be connected to ground to be effective).

    My preferred method to shield the pickguard is to use a 12"x12" sheet of copper foil with adhesive backing (can be bought at stained glass shops for $4 each).

    My CIJ Precision had static scratchiness generated by the unshielded pickguard and I totally eliminated it this way. Using the 12"x12" copper foil sheet, I was able to cover all but about 1.5" of the tip of the lower horn (of the pickguard) with one continuous piece. I then just put another small piece on that tip of the horn, though it wasn't really necessary. I think it may only really be necessary to shield the areas over the control/pickup cavities and wire routes, but I wanted to do the entire pickguard. The static scratchiness and popping which was generated by the unshielded pickguard is totally gone now.

    Of course this may not be your problem at all, but it's worth looking into.
     
  12. Well, that really can't be the trouble as I dont have a pickguard, but thank you anyways, i'll keep that in mind in the future!