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Static coming from amp when playing my new fretless. NEED HELP!!

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by MistaMarko, Feb 25, 2008.

  1. MistaMarko


    Feb 3, 2006
    Alright, so I bought a used '88 MIJ Fender Jazz Fretless the other day. One of the best 4-string basses I've ever played. Regardless,

    I finally take it home and plug it in. I notice that when the amp is on and everything's all turned up, a faint static/buzzing noise comes from my amp, but as soon as I touch the strings, it stops. I immediately assume it's a grounding problem from an electronics standpoint. I remove my hands from the strings, and it buzzes again. Then I touch the metal dot things on the top of the pickups and it buzzes EXTREMELY LOUD, but as soon as I touch the strings, it stops. There is a thin piece of copper or metal going from the bridge pup to the bridge..and that's how that pup is grounded. When I turn the neck pickup off, some different sounding buzzing/static comes, but the original problem goes away. So I take my bass back up to the music store where I work, and I tell them. They tell me to go plug it in on one of their amps. I do so. NOTHING HAPPENS. Perfect sound, no buzzing what so ever PERIOD. I'm like...***?..So they suggested it might be a bad cable. But both of the cables I have work fine on my active pup bass, but I tried both cables on this fretless and both still have the same result. So what now..is this a problem with my amp?

    *NOTE* I had an electrician examine my electronics and said everything looked fine and grounded properly. In order to show him, I had to obviously take the pick-guard off and stuff..and when I tried out my bass on their amp the time when it didnt have the buzzing problem, the pickguard wasnt on there..but I didn't think that a pickguard would be responsible for that problem..

    Anyone have any idea whats wrong? I'm bewildered :eyebrow:
  2. single coils have that noise (aka "hum")...good shielding will help a lot, but not eliminate it...the only way to eliminate it is to go "hum-cancelling", either via stack-coil or a split-coil design

    the buzzing generally is from low-frequency electric interference such as from neon or flouro lighting...noisy grounds and ground loops from things like dimmer packs and noisy power supplies can also cause noise...

    its a common problem...first...improve your shielding (lots of info in the forum about doing that)...then once you've done that, see where you need to go from there...

    and oh yeah...check your cable...a bad cable can act like an antenna and just make things 100 times worse...
  3. MistaMarko


    Feb 3, 2006
    Yeah..but I don't understand why the same amp I have at a guitar store works fine..and I don't think BOTH of my guitar cables have gone bad.
  4. it's not the amp...it's the LOCATION....

    at the guitar store, the ground is probably quiet and there is probably little background interference that the pickups can pickup (and cable)...

    at home, it's probably a different story...

    you go to 5 places, you will get 5 different noise levels...that's just the way it is...
  5. MistaMarko


    Feb 3, 2006
    Well, I've ruled out some things:

    It's not the bass.
    It's not my guitar cables (have tried more than one)
    It's not the room I'm in (I tried different room)
    It's not my pedals.

    Only thing left is, the amp. I tried the bass on an amp at a music store and there was no problem what so ever. The only other amp I've tried is mine, which has the buzzing.

    When I say I tried it in another room, I went into the living room as compared to my bedroom.
  6. slaerts


    Aug 3, 2006
    To truly test your problem you may have to take the amp from the music store to your bedroom or your amp to the music store. It may be that your amp is better able to pick up minor buzz from your guitar that the other amp did not. I had a similar problem with a pre-amp. No buzzing without it and buzzing with it. It turned out that the preamp was picking up buzzing in my guitar that the amp couldn't do by itself. Maybe your amp does the same thing.
    Did you have a mobile phone in your pocket at home? Were you near neon or fleuro lights at home? All kinds of electrical devices can be picked up by your single coil pickups.
    Your living room also may have all kinds of electrical equipment TV, sound systems, spinning disco ball lighting, video games... any of which your single coils could pickup and get interferance from.

  7. agreed...this is the point I was trying to make...you explained it much better than me...(I get hung up on the techno mumbo jumbo)
  8. MistaMarko


    Feb 3, 2006
    Interesting. I moved my amp to my school, and it didn't buzz there. Then I moved the amp to the other side of the room, and it did it. Very...strange.
  9. Crabby


    Dec 22, 2004
    I know this sounds funny but the material your pickguard is made out of could be causing static. I have a passive Jazz with a custom pickguard made out of vintage red torte material. When I run my fingers across the pickguard there is a static sound from the amp that sounds like something is not wired properly.

    After having the bass fully examined and no wiring issues founf, I was advised that this old plastic used for the pickuard is known to cause static. The solution believe it or not is to take a clothes dryer sheet (Bounce sheet) and buff the pickguard with it. This actually works and I am now static free with no noise or hum. Worked like a dream!!!
  10. MistaMarko


    Feb 3, 2006
    Well, I've taken my pickguard off and it still buzzed..
  11. scottbass

    scottbass Bass lines like a big, funky giant

    Jul 13, 2004
    Southern MN
  12. MistaMarko


    Feb 3, 2006
    Why are single coil pickups that way : /
  13. scottbass

    scottbass Bass lines like a big, funky giant

    Jul 13, 2004
    Southern MN
    Single coils are very sensitive to electromagnetic noise in the environment - from the powerline, radio stations, nearby lights, electric motors, etc. The guitarist in my band plays a strat which picks up clicks from his electric wristwatch.

    Double coil (humbucking) pickups were invented to deal with this. A humbucker consists of two single coils, side by side, which are wound in opposite directions. If electrical interference causes one coil to produce a noise spike with a positive polarity, a nearly identical noise spike with the reverse polarity will be produced by the other coil. Add the two together (electrically connecting them) results in the two signals cancelling each other. End result: much less noise and much less sensitivity to nearby interference.

    So why does anyone still use single coils? They have a different sound. While the two coils of a humbucker combine to cancel out noise, they also combine to cancel out some of the frequencies of the vibrating string. This can be compensated with tone pots, capacitors, EQ, etc., but the fact remains that single coil pickups tend to sound "clearer" to most people.
  14. DavidRavenMoon

    DavidRavenMoon Banned

    Oct 20, 2004
    Could be bad grounds on the outlets. Could be picking up noise from some source in the room.

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