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String distortion

Discussion in 'Electric Upright Basses (EUB's) [DB]' started by Guimdonatron, Mar 5, 2013.


  1. I recently received my first electric upright, a BSX T-model four string bass. The thing looks great, feels great, and is a blast a play! That is... until I plug it up to an amp. Don't get me wrong, the tone is groovy, however, the D string is popping and distorting pretty heavily.

    I know about the trim pots to adjust the levels and even when I turn the D string's volume all the way down it still pops and distorts. I contacted the seller about this and was told that this is "normal" for electric uprights and that I probably have too heavy of a finger. So his suggestion is to adjust my technique. Problem is, is I don't have a severely heavy hand. In addition, I can put three times as much force on any other string and they won't buzz at all...

    I contacted Dino, the maker of BSX basses, and he is suggesting that I need to send it in to fix the trim pot and/or transducer.

    However, I want to know have some more opinions before deciding what to do because I don't want to ship the bass in to find out I'm just playing the bass wrong and lose that money and I also don't want to lose my bass for however long it would take to get fixed.

    I just want to groove but this buzzing is keeping me from it... :(


    Note: I plan to record a sample of the bass to let you guys hear it when I get home and have time after classes.
     
  2. Bob Gollihur

    Bob Gollihur GollihurMusic.com

    Mar 22, 2000
    Cape of New Jersey
    Big Cheese Emeritus: Gollihur Music (retired)
    Since the instrument is producing a signal directly from a string resting on a transducer, using your hand to dampen certain parts of the instrument is my first move. If you press gently on the string/pickup junction will the buzz go away? I don't know the construction of this particular instrument, but get to the cavity so you can similarly try dampening other points that could be vibrating and creating the buzz or vibration that is creating this signal. I've seen this with URB pickups, wires too close together that vibrate only to certain frequencies.

    That said, you mention "pops" in additional to distortion, which could indicate an electronic issue, so if it does sound electronic, the above points are likely moot.

    Good luck!
     
  3. I'm thinking it's electronic, but I'll try dampening. It's a certain amount of pressure that causes the string to distort and buzz like a cheap fuzz pedal or distortion pedal. The bad thing, is that it's a relatively low pressure point that causes this. It's as if the signal is peaking and clipping/distorting.

    But if it was just too much output from the string, you'd think it would go away when I turned the string down, but it doesn't. Very frustrating.

    I'm about to record the bass so you cats can hear it.
     
  4. Bob Gollihur

    Bob Gollihur GollihurMusic.com

    Mar 22, 2000
    Cape of New Jersey
    Big Cheese Emeritus: Gollihur Music (retired)
    Sounds like a road trip for a Dino repair may be necessary.
     
  5. https://soundcloud.com/user8008821/bsx-electric-upright

    Yeah... the problem is, is this bass literally just arrived last Friday and was sounding like this out of the bag. In the recording it's kind of hard to hear the pop when I pluck around, but it's there and it's even more prominent when I run through an amp.

    At first it's tone controls flat, then all the way down, bass 50%, mids 50%, and then again all flat for the groove.

    Nevertheless, I'm not sure what to do since the seller is just saying I should play lighter. I definitely love this bass aside from the D string, but sending it to be repaired right after purchase sucks!
     
  6. I don't know the pickups on your bass, but if you have individual pickups for each string, and which are piezos, I guess one of the cables might have only loose contact with the piezo (broken solder point). Just a quick guess. This can happen during transport (it should not, and probably was broken before, but who knows...).
    If the instrument uses thin piezo disks, the ceramic part of the disk might be broken causing the distortion/pop up from a certain vibrational intensity. Then the disk needs to be replaced, you cannot repair it.
    If you cannot repair this yourself, it might be best to send the instrument in for repair.
     
  7. lowfreqguy

    lowfreqguy

    Oct 18, 2000
    Baltimore, MD
    I have a BSX T5 and can say that these things cans stand up to a fairly heavy plucking hand. Sounds like a component that has gone bad. Dino is the man, and will treat you right.
     
  8. It's a Bartolini pickup and preamp. And yeah, I'm certain it's an electronic issue.
    Hopefully I can get this settled relatively quick so I can throw this into the jazz ensemble!
     
  9. OK, you have magnetic pickups. Send it in.
     

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