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Tapewound noise experiment

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by CM63, Oct 25, 2013.


  1. CM63

    CM63

    Feb 9, 2013
    Walnut Creek, Ca
    So my passive MiKro has a noise issue, I thought it was because of the tapewound strings (They make the miKro sound HUGE!), So I changed them out for SS 1/2 rounds, thinking that would ground better and the noise would stop. No change at all, so I put the tapes back on.
    Seems like proof to me that tapes do not effect the grounding of my bass (and the MiKro needs some sheilding).

    Anyone using tapewounds with an active bass? Any issues?
    Just got me an ibanez SR500PB that I ordered some laBella tapes for.
     
  2. dougazbass

    dougazbass Supporting Member

    May 6, 2011
    Mesa, AZ
    Using labella white tapes on 3 active basses and no noise issues.
     
  3. Doctor_Clock

    Doctor_Clock The Moon Machine Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2013
    Brooklyn, NY
    used D'Addario Tapewound on my MM Stingray, sound awesome no noise at all
     
  4. CM63

    CM63

    Feb 9, 2013
    Walnut Creek, Ca
    Coolest beans ever!
    So do you find the need to tweak the tone controls more? The Sr500 is so "modern" sounding even with reg flats (a piece of foam at the bridge helps).
     
  5. Before I got my Ibanez SR500PB, I tried desperately to find someone who used tape wounds on an SR500, all to no avail. I am thrilled to hear about someone’s results with an SR500 and Tape wounds.
     
  6. Doctor_Clock

    Doctor_Clock The Moon Machine Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2013
    Brooklyn, NY
    Also, just a note. the reason I used D'Addario was because I was told that some tape wounds can be a little big for some nuts but the D'Addario's are usually fine. I don't know how true that is, since I have only used the D'Addarios
     
  7. CM63

    CM63

    Feb 9, 2013
    Walnut Creek, Ca
    Yeah some tapes are 110's or 115's- crazy would be curious about them though, maybe not enough to file my nuts!
     
  8. CM63

    CM63

    Feb 9, 2013
    Walnut Creek, Ca
    Still waiting on the tapes for my Sr but will post results asap.
    So you haven't tried them yet?

    P.S. the PB is beautiful aint it!?
     
  9. I am still running the original Elixirs, and my GF bought a spare set so I do not see a change coming anytime soon.

    I truly love the looks, feel & sound of my SR500PB. The budget that my GF had for buying me a bass was multiple times what the PB cost, yet that is the machine that spoke to me. It was and still is an instant connection.
     
  10. WoodyG3

    WoodyG3

    May 6, 2003
    Colorado, USA
    Tapes will prevent noise ground noise from being diminished by touching the strings. That's not the only source of noise, though, so it depends on where the noise is coming from.
     
  11. CM63

    CM63

    Feb 9, 2013
    Walnut Creek, Ca
    I'm sure most of the noise is from lack of sheilding. No Sheilding paint/ foil at all under the MiKros pickups.
    I should have mentioned that I had LaBella tapewounds on before the 1/2wounds, and then put Daddario tapes on , all equally noisey, as if there was no difference between the tapes and the non-tapes.
     
  12. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Supporting Member

    If the noise was unaffected by touching metal/strings/bridge, especially with the rounds on, the issue is not a shielding issue. It does sound like the bass needs shielding but a shielding issue will go quiet when you touch metal/strings/bridge, a grounding issue will get louder. The fact yours remains constant means it could be something deep, but I would start with the ground wire under the bridge. Also, if they are truly active pickups, they should not need shielding to my understanding. If it is passive pickups with an active preamp, it could need shielding.

    I have heard people state that tapewounds will defeat your shielding and if you put tapewounds on it will make any bass buzz, but seeing as my basses do not buzz when they have no strings on, I have a hard time believing this claim. I am pretty sure Sadowsky did a big essay on the subject and they published it in a bass mag.
     
  13. khutch

    khutch Praise Harp

    Aug 20, 2011
    suburban Chicago
    Neither tapewounds nor any other string nor the lack of strings entirely will affect the grounding of your bass. Tapewounds will prevent you from being properly grounded however, but only if your bridge has a ground wire. And under the right circumstances you will either pick up noise yourself or more probably enhance the coupling of noise into the circuits inside your bass. Active or passive it doesn't really matter, both types of basses can be susceptible to this.

    Your experiment isn't conclusive until you do more work. You need to determine if your bridge is properly grounded. Perhaps the easiest way is to touch the bridge while the noise is present. Then touch the metal part of the output jack or the metal housing of the amp cable connector plugged into it. If touching the amp cable/jack makes the noise go away but touching the bridge does not then the bridge is not grounded. You could also measure the continuity between the bridge and the output jack with a meter to see if they are connected. In this case grounding the bridge will make the noise go away while you are touching the strings, but only if you use uncoated metal strings. When I play at church my active and passive basses both pick up some noise from the electronic drum kit I stand next to unless I keep one hand on the strings. Some coated strings and tapewounds will insulate you from the bridge and prevent the noise reduction that should occur when you touch the strings.

    If touching the ground does not make the noise go away then whether the bridge ground is there or not it won't fix your noise problem, whether you use metal strings or not. Shielding should help, unless your bass is already well shielded. Shielding may help even if you don't have a bridge ground wire but it may not be enough.

    Roger Sadowsky does recommend against using tape wounds. He claims to shield his basses extremely well and yet he still has customers complain about noise pickup that goes away when they use metal (or exposed metal to be more accurate) strings and keep one hand on those strings. Using exposed metal strings will certainly work but telling people they cannot use strings that they love is not good for business. If I ever run into this issue I would rather put a copper tape strip up the back of the neck and ground that so that I could keep one hand on a grounded metal strip and still use tape wounds. If I used tape wounds that is, so far I do not.

    So if you really want to use tape wounds the bridge wire won't really help even if touching a grounded metal piece does kill the noise. You would have to use something that will keep you grounded while playing. As I said a grounded metal strip up the back of the neck could work. Some people are comfortable wearing a grounded electrostatic wrist strap while playing and that also works. But the normal solution is exposed metal strings and a bridge ground wire. Unless better shielding works and in many cases it will.
     
  14. CM63

    CM63

    Feb 9, 2013
    Walnut Creek, Ca
    I seem to be confusing everyone- apologies!
    The experiment was on the passive Ibanez Mikro bass.
     
  15. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    Colorado
    I Grow Organic Carrots
    Where do you get tapewound strings for a bass with a really short scale like the Mikro?

    Also the bridge pickup on that bass is single coil. Turn the bridge volume down to 0 and see if it si still noisy. Also check your ground wire.
     
  16. CM63

    CM63

    Feb 9, 2013
    Walnut Creek, Ca
    http://www.bassstringsonline.com/30--31-inch-Short-Scale_c_587.html

    The best place on Earth!

    Of course you are right! That is exactly what happens! So no amonut of ground or sheilding will stop the noise without turning down the bridge pick up?
     
  17. CM63

    CM63

    Feb 9, 2013
    Walnut Creek, Ca
    I wil try the ground idea about touching the bridge and the jack- all good info! Thanks!
     
  18. khutch

    khutch Praise Harp

    Aug 20, 2011
    suburban Chicago
    Yeah, if what you are hearing is single coil hum that goes away when the bridge pickup is turned down then shielding may help some but probably not enough to get you noise free in all environments. Maybe enough to solve the problem where you normally play. I don't know if the Mikro uses standard sized Jazz pickups or not. If it does you could replace the bridge pickup with a split coil Jazz pickup that will reject the single coil hum you are getting now.
     
  19. CM63

    CM63

    Feb 9, 2013
    Walnut Creek, Ca
    Thanks, and yes- the only thing that works so far is turning the bridge Vol down 1/2 way- off.
    I was thinking of replacing the pups with Dimarzios anyway!
     
  20. LoveThatBass

    LoveThatBass

    Jun 28, 2004
    If you get noise by using tape wounds on a through the body settup you can ground the string ferrels to the bottom side of the bridge in some manner. I did this once by carefully removing the string ferrell and running a small bare stranded wire down , sandwiching it between the ferrel and the body wood and up under the bridge so that it contacts the bridge. If you don't like the idea of removing the ferrels then connect the wire to the ball of the string and let it contact the bridge saddle at some point.
     
    Coriolis likes this.

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