String and Pickup Popping Problems

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by mnadelin, Apr 6, 2003.

  1. mnadelin


    Apr 6, 2003
    Kalamazoo, MI
    Hi, I ordered a Mexican-Made Fender Jazz bass about a month ago. When it came, I had my dad take it to a local guitar tech and he put D'Addario Slow-wound strings on there. They sound a lot better than the standard issue strings, in my opinion, but they have a problem. When I pluck in between the pickups, mainly, but anywhere really, theres this popping sound. The problem is, the strings slam on the pickups. It makes any kind of slightly more aggressive plucking or slapping impossible. I'm wondering how I would correct this. It mainly only happens on the E and especially the A. I'm suspecting that it's the strings on there. Could raising the action fix it?

    Thanks in advance for the help,
  2. Ben Mishler

    Ben Mishler

    Jan 22, 2003
    San Jose
    I doubt that you need higher action, it sounds to me like you pickups need to be lowered. Either the cavity routed for them is now deep enough, or they just need to be screwed in a little tighter.
  3. Do you pluck hard? It could be a technique issue rather than your strings or pickups.
  4. mnadelin


    Apr 6, 2003
    Kalamazoo, MI
    Not really. It happens sometimes when I play softly too.
  5. I second this. What's the distance between your strings and pickup polepieces? (To measure this, hold the bass in playing position and don't apply any pressure to the strings. You should have something like 1/4".)
  6. JFN

    JFN Supporting Member

    Feb 24, 2003
    Hi, I'm Mark's dad (I bought him the bass). I play bass too, and I hear the problem he is talking about when I pluck the strings moderately aggressive. With softer plucking, the tone is fine.

    When I start to dig in, there is a percussive clicking sound produced which gets in the way of the note itself. I plugged his bass in yesterday and listened through phones and watched the strings above the pickups. I really don't think the strings are hitting the pickups.

    I know technique is an issue, however, it seems like he should be able to pluck moderately aggressive and still get a good tone. I have a Fender Jazz V FMT and I have to really wank on the strings hard to get a similar effect.

    Curiously, I just got the Victor Bailey Jazz Bass and it doesn't seem to produce this same clunky/percussive tone even when plucked aggressively. Only difference is, it still has the stock Fender strings while Mark's MIM Jazz and my FMT 5 string have the D'Addario slow wounds

    Sorry to ramble, but any insight you can provide is appreciated.

  7. jdombrow

    jdombrow Supporting Member

    Jan 16, 2002
    Colorado Springs, CO
    I agree with earlier posts, that the pickups probably need to be lowered. Or, perhaps there is a problem in the wiring. Is this an active or passive bass?
  8. mikezimmerman

    mikezimmerman Supporting Member

    Apr 29, 2001
    Omaha, Nebraska
    If the strings aren't hitting the pickups, I'd check the neck relief. Too little relief can give you that "click" when the strings hit the frets even if the action is high enough that the strings don't actually buzz, and changing the strings can give you different tension on the neck which might require a slight truss rod adjustment.

    Of course, newer brighter-sounding strings can make things like strings hitting the frets much more audible in general. It may be that the setup hasn't changed at all, but the brighter tone of the strings is just bringing out something that couldn't be heard so well before. You can still probably fix it with a little bit of setup adjustment, though.