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Scratcy sound...what..

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by MovingPitchers, Jan 4, 2014.

  1. My p bass is fine except:

    whenever I adjust the volume or tone knob while the pickups are actively doing what they're named after, there's this scratchy sound that rrrreeeaaallllllyyyyy did not sound too fancy but when nothing is being played, there is no scratchy sound when I move the volume knob or tone knob.

    Furthermore, my output jack is wonky....
    Hear me out
    when it's connected to an amp, it works fine
    whenever I go to wrap the 1/4'' around my strap to prevent me from tripping and falling on my face, the sound cuts out. Like when I tap the cable upwards towards my body, the sound cuts out.

    I checked the soldering joints and it's fine: everything is rock-solid connected.

    I'm guessing the pots are dirty or in need of replacing hence the scratchy noise?

    But the output jack.....
  2. pfox14


    Dec 22, 2013
    Definitely sounds like some dirty pots. I use electronics spray cleaner from Radio Shack to clean pots. As far as the other problem, I would tend to think it's the cord that's the problem. Have you tried another one to see if that's it?
  3. FunkHead

    FunkHead Supporting Member

    Mar 10, 2007
    Stewartsville, NJ
    +1 to dirty pots. The Output Jack may just need a slight bend added to the positive contact(where the tip of your cord touches).
  4. Do I need to unsolder the wires that are connected to the back of the pots?
  5. two fingers

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

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Nope. Just do it without the bass plugged in and let it dry for a little while before you plug and play again. Plus, NYCbassists suggestion about bending the "long" part of your input jack inward a tiny bit is a good one as well. Also, spray some contact cleaner on that bad boy too. Couldn't hurt to hit the end of your cable with cleaner as well. Contact cleaner won't hurt anything.

    I'm a bit of an electronics dork so I like Deoxit. It is a bit pricey but a can usually lasts a long time. And it is much better than what you can get at Radio Shack or Lowe's.
  6. two fingers

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

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Check out the pic of this pot. See the little hole just under "No:" in "Store No: 604978"? There should be a hole or two in your pots as well. (They may be in different places and look a little different, but you get the point.) Just squirt your contact cleaner in those little holes and then turn the know back and forth a few times. That should do the trick.
  7. two fingers

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

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Now, see this input jack? Yours should look something like this. The longer part (the part pointing downward in this pic) can over time kind of "lean away" from the contact it is supposed to make with your 1/4" cable. GENTLY bend that sucker back in a little bit. And, again, hit it with contact cleaner as well.

    Also, as always, the FIRST step in this process would be to try a KNOWN good cable to make sure you aren't dealing with a bad cable. But ,to me, cleaning your electronics on your bass should be done regularly and can't hurt anyway.
  8. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    the jack is easily fixed or replaced.

    the pots are probably not just dirty, but need to be replaced, too.

    i've heard this effect many times, where they scratch if you move them while sound is coming out of the bass but are silent otherwise.

    it's something about DC voltage showing up on the pots.
  9. Great advice, everybody.
    Not sure about what contact cleaner is...like can anyone link me a URL of an example of one please so I don't totally screw up buying the wrong thing.

    Definitely not the cable. Tried the cable on my jazz bass; nothing happens but smooth change in volumes and tone.

    Never thought about the longer part leaning away; will definitely give that a look.

    I would gladly install new pots and new output jack but I truly and dearly suck at soldering; I completely destroyed my only soldering iron because I forgot to tin it before I soldered, during soldering, and after I finished and was ready to pack it up. Oops.

    EDIT: I just blew on it with my breath....worked fine...hope it won't damage the pots...