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Tape wound and 60hz Noise

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Way1994, Feb 25, 2017.

  1. Looking for some suggestions regarding eliminating the 60 cycle hum when tape wound strings are installed.

    Oh, I have done the search and found a lot of information but I still feel I need some help.

    Here is my situation:

    Bass guitar; Fender Jazz Select, Labella black tape wound strings, body cavity and pickup cut outs are shielded.

    Noise is reduced when I only have the bridge pickup on.
    Noise is reduced when I touch the bridge.
    Noise increases when I touch the poll pieces of the neck pickup but not when I touch the poll pieces of the bridge pickup. (Both pickup up on full)
    When everything is wide open, full open, hum is present but less than any single pickup. The tone control does reduce the noise a lot turned down.

    What should I be looking for at this point. I don't understand why when I touch the poll pieces of the neck pickup the noise increases.

    Thank you all in advance of your help. I have a skin issue which requires me not to use round wound strings. I have been using Labella flats and TI's up until now and wanted something different.
  2. dhbailey52


    Feb 20, 2017
    It sounds like a grounding issue -- have you put an old set of strings back on to see if it's really the strings that are somehow causing the issue? The issue may be coincidental to putting on the tape-wound strings, and not caused by them. Try putting the old strings back and if the problem persists it's something in the wiring.
  3. dhbailey52 thank you for responding. Here is what I have done since my first post.

    I took the tapewounds off and put the old Labella DTF back on. Noise is reduced, but here is the issue:

    If I touch the neck pickup pole piece with my hand and nothing else the hum gets much louder. If I touch the strings with my left hand and touch the neck pole pieces with my right hand no change in noise however much less than touching just the pole piece. The bridge pole pieces are dead quite all the time, but it does work. Do I have a pickup or volume pot problem, something else? Attached is the controls as is from the factory.

    JAZZ Controls.jpg
  4. I would try cleaning the pots. Make sure your grounds have good connections and there aren't any cold solder joints.
  5. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism

    60hz hum is what you get from favouring one single coil pickup. This is resolved with humbuckers. The noise you have that stops when you touch metal/strings/bridge is RF interference and it is remedied through proper shielding. The noise you get when you touch the pole pieces is due to a lack of ground. You can either ground the pole pieces or cover them with tape or nail polish.

    If your bass makes no noise with both volumes balanced then everything is functioning properly. If you still have hum with both pickups on and the hum stops when you touch metal/strings/bridge then you need shielding (I always recommend double-checking the bridge ground connection as well). If the bass makes no noise until you favour one pickup, the bass is functioning normally.

    Tape wounds do not cause noise. Roundwounds can allow you to complete the circuit whereas coated strings do not. If you get issues with tapewound then the issue is an internal one within the bass. I would not recommend spraying anything into your pots unless you actually have dirty pots and you have tried everything else to remove the dirt.

    I hope that helps with your issue. Everything I know on shielding and RF interference can be read in the link in my signature. I have linked a thread from @mech regarding grounding pole pieces.

    Pole Piece Hum: A Grounding Tutorial
    yodedude2 likes this.
  6. Thank you for the information regarding grounding of pole pieces. I will address that next and see how I do. I believe my bass is acting normal except for the pole piece grounding issue.
  7. bassdude51

    bassdude51 "You never even called me by my name." Supporting Member

    Nov 1, 2008
    Central Ohio
    Tape wounds are coated and do not ground out when we play them, touch them. Metal strings ground out because they are connected to the bridge and the bridge is connected to the pots via a grounding wire.

    What can you do for grounding when playing taped strings?

    Looks like ya gotta a Jazz Bass. Run a ground wire from the guts of your electronics to the neck pickup, feed the wire to the screw hole for your chrome cover (assuming you have the chrome cover) put the chrome cover on with the grounding screw making contact with the chrome cover and then play your bass with your thumb or finger or palm of hand touching the chrome cover. This will give you grounding. This should kill your 60 cycle hum.

    Other than this.................ditch the taped strings and play some really dead flat wounds.

    I love taped strings but they are noisy!!!!!!!!!!! No ground to the hands.
    iiipopes and CapnSev like this.
  8. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism

    Doing the above would have no impact on 60hz hum but it would eliminate RF interference. You need humbuckers or a dummy coil to remove 60hz hum. While it would work, I would probably just go with a proper shielding job and use the strings of your choice without worrying about hand placement.
  9. petrus61

    petrus61 Supporting Member

    iiipopes, Garret Graves and CapnSev like this.
  10. CapnSev


    Aug 19, 2006
    Coeur d'Alene
    Unfortunately, it is an inherent attribute of tapes. They negate the bridge ground in your circuit since the conductive metal strings complete the circuit. It will hum unless you yourself touch metal on your bass or elsewhere.

    Some bass/amp combinations will hum more than others with tapes (I don't know why), but in the end they all hum to some degree or another.

    The only real solution I've ever come across are EMG active pickups since they do not require a bridge ground. My favorite pickup/string combination of all time is actually tapewounds with the EMG JVX pickups.
    iiipopes and el_Bajo_Verde like this.
  11. bassdude51

    bassdude51 "You never even called me by my name." Supporting Member

    Nov 1, 2008
    Central Ohio
    Absolutely 100% correct. ^

    When both jazz bass pickup are on full, they act as a humbucker because one pickup is wound clock wise and the other counter clockwise with the magnets' n and s being reversed. Of course, when one pickup or the other is rolled off..........60 cycle hum.

    And, it is possible the Tber/original thread might have a bad ground somewhere in his bass which should be checked out first before going any farther.
    DiabolusInMusic likes this.
  12. Bodeeni

    Bodeeni Supporting Member

    Jan 13, 2010
    I switched to Delano humbuckers on my fretless jazz with tapes and shielded the cavities. No hum. Also these delanos have no exposed pole pieces which eliminated the clicks from touching the poles when playing
    DiabolusInMusic likes this.
  13. ale29


    May 25, 2008
    As DiabolusInMusic suggested, just apply some transparent nail polish on the pole pickups (putting it on the E side, where you're most likely to place your finger, may be enough). Works perfectly and is totally reversible and unobtrusive
    DiabolusInMusic likes this.
  14. Indeed, I can confirm this! I have a Schecter with active EMG 40DC and 40J pickups, and there is no noise with my tapewounds. And I live in a house with the world's worst wiring, and everything is still completely silent.
    iiipopes likes this.
  15. iiipopes

    iiipopes Supporting Member

    May 4, 2009
    Yes. It is the strings, not the bass. No grounding. I play La Bella white nylon standard gauge. I went to the full EMG setup on my Ibby 5-string, with a 40CS in the mid position and a 40JX (flipped around so the coil is in the proper place for a J-bridge setup) in the bridge, as EMG actives do not use a bridge ground. Hum and noise gone. My sound tech loves the >100 dB noise floor on our digital board.
  16. GoLeafsGo

    GoLeafsGo Not Quite Right!

    Oct 25, 2013
    Ajax Ontario
    This. My Schecter C4 Custom has the EMG pickups, I have black tapes on it, house is 70 years old with questionable wiring, and it is totally silent.
  17. Nighttrain1127

    Nighttrain1127 Supporting Member

    Nov 27, 2004
    Near Worcester MA
    How about just cutting the tape away where the string sits in the saddle this has worked for me in the past . And does not effect the string in any way
  18. Bill Thorsberg

    Bill Thorsberg Supporting Member

    Aug 2, 2019
    I have just noticed this issue as I put a set of fresh tapes on my pbass and I've played them on my jazz bass for a few years. I thought about finding a metal thumb rest that could be grounded to the bridge etc as a possible solution also. The information included here is super helpful!
  19. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    Apr 10, 2021

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