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weird buzzing fuzy noise?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by WholeLottaLovin, Sep 11, 2008.

  1. hello all- I've only been playing since March so excuse my ignorance on the topic! :help: :help: :help:

    I went away over the summer for almost 2 straight months going to different places... I brought my bass (VB100 from Rogue) and my pedal (BP80) to practice with. When I got home, I plugged into my amp (orange crush 35) and my bp 80 pedal and noticed a buzz/fuzz noise. My first thought was it was my cables, so I switched them out (I have 4 in total) and tried different combos etc. Nothing seemed to change the fuzz/buzz, so I tried taking the pedal out of the mix and noticed the buzzing went away but not completely... I also noticed the volume level of my bass (which isn't terribly high to begin with) was a little bit lower than normal.

    I thought it was just my cables or whatever until I went to my bass lesson today (first time since I've been away) and noticed the same buzzing on my teacher's amp and cable. He noticed it but didn't have any idea as to what it was from, at first he didn't think it was my bass until I explained what I just told all of you guys. He still has no idea as to what it is, its hard to describe... he said it sounded like a UFO or something, and it doesn't happen 100% of the time, just when it feels like it. Any ideas? :help:

    thanks in advance for any help!
  2. XylemBassGuitar

    XylemBassGuitar Supporting Member Commercial User

    Aug 14, 2008
    Durango, CO
    Owner and Operator, Xylem Handmade Basses and Guitars
    Sounds like a loose connection in the wiring of the bass.

    It could be a bad solder connection that, when moved or jiggled, lowers the signal and causes the buzz (hence the bass only buzzing "when it feels like it").

    Could also be that a bare/exposed wire is touching a ground wire a little bit, causing some of the signal to go to ground (lowering output and/or causing buzz).

    A third possibility is that a grounding connection has been corrupted.

    Let me ask, when the bass buzzes, does it only buzz when you play the strings, or all the time?

    For that matter, does the buzz go away when you touch the strings?

    Let me know and we'll try to figure it out!
  3. thanks for your help man! i've been going crazy trying to figure this out.

    when I was at my lesson yesterday, we were running through some new reggae lines and it started buzzing when I was playing, but then it stopped also while I was playing the same line. Then a few minutes later it came back when I was talking to my teacher with the bass lying in my lap. I didn't have my cell on me or anything else that could have caused any feedback so I'm sure its got to be the wiring.

    I talked to a sound tech at my school(I'm in high school) and his first guess was that the cavity where the wiring is isn't well insulated...?

    What do I do to get this fixed? local mom & pop music shop? or attempt to fix it myself?

    thanks again for your help, I really appreciate it!
  4. XylemBassGuitar

    XylemBassGuitar Supporting Member Commercial User

    Aug 14, 2008
    Durango, CO
    Owner and Operator, Xylem Handmade Basses and Guitars
    Well, there's a couple of things you could do to get it fixed, it depends on what's actually wrong.

    First, you have to ask yourself how handy you are at do-it-yourself type projects. If you're confident in finding the problem and maybe doing a little soldering, I'd look over the wiring yourself before you take the bass to a music store.

    If you aren't confident in your own ability to fix the bass (or just don't have the time), I would take it to a repair tech at a musc store. If you have any way of hearing about the repuation of the repair tech or the music store's track record with repairs, find out; it's good to know the skill level of the person you're sending your instrument to. A competent tech should be able to fix the problem for $40 or less, unless it is a serious problem.

    The fact that your bass didn't start buzzing until after your trip makes me think that it's not a shielding problem (this is the "insulation" problem the sound tech at your school mentioned), but it is a possibility.

    I would look in the electronics cavity first. Look for loose connections or bare wires that might be able to shift and touch something metal. If you find a loose connection, you can try to solder it back together, or point it out to a repair tech. You may be able to fix a bare wire touching another component by wrapping it with a thin strip of electrical tape.

    If that doesn't help and you want to shield it yourself, buy some copper shielding tape (stewmac.com is a good place), take out your electronics and cover the entire inside of the cavity with the tape (including the inside of the cover). You can also take out the pickups and shield those cavities as well.

    If all else fails, take some snapshots of the electronics (pickups, wiring, etc) and post them on the forum.

    Good luck!
  5. Ah thanks a lot man. My dad and I (I'm 17) do a lot of computer repairs (I do the simple stuff, replacing memory/ wiping hard drives/ changing screens) but my dad does a lot of soldering and system boards/ etc so maybe he could help me, I don't know how confident he is in music gear though.

    A little update, I feel like the tone is totally off from what it normally is- even running the same settings. I had taken my bass to school yesterday since I had about an hour to just sit and play, and I was hoping to talk to our music teacher but he was out of school yesterday.

    I agree with you on the shielding, I should have been getting this all along if that was the case... I did take off the cover for the switches yesterday and nothing looks loose to me, but what do I know.. I'll have my dad give it a look and then we'll check under the pickups.

    thanks a lot for your help, & btw the basses that you make are amazing.... :eek:

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