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Weird Hum (Bass vs. practice room)

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by bigjames, Sep 11, 2019.

  1. bigjames

    bigjames Player of Smooth Lines

    Jan 25, 2005
    Burnaby, Canada
    Hey all,

    The group I play with has moved to a new practice venue. It is an office space that is part of a commercial complex. Here is my issue: when I play my FBass in this venue, I get a loud hum that changes as my bass moves through the environment, e.g. if I aim the neck down, the hum reduces, as I change direction the hum changes. Nothing makes it stop.

    Note: when I play my Sadowsky in the same venue on the same amp with the same cables...no hum at all.

    Second note: when I play the FBass at home or any other venue (to date)...no hum at all.

    I generally play my FBass through a Zoom B3 (for reverb)...I tried lifting ground on both the amp and the pedal (together an individually). Still humming.

    I removed the pedal and went direct to the amp. Still humming.

    Is this a byproduct of less than perfect wiring in the practice environment? I don't understand why it only affects one bass and not the other.

    Is this poor shielding on the FBass? Then why does it only happen in this room?

    Any suggestions? As of now I just don't rehearse with my FBass, but it would be nice if I could solve this so it would be an option.

  2. promdates


    Jun 2, 2019
    Slidell, LA
    If you're using the same equipment and the only variable is the bass, it's something in the bass picking up outside interference. If it only happens at that one space, chances are it's something about the electrical in that room/building causing the issue.
    biguglyman, s0c9 and bigjames like this.
  3. bigjames

    bigjames Player of Smooth Lines

    Jan 25, 2005
    Burnaby, Canada
    That was my thought as well. Obviously, besides shielding (both bases appear to be well shielded) the electronics are different and the FBass has one more string. Also, realizing right now that the Fbass has stainless steel roundwounds and the Sadowsky has the Blue Label strings, which might be nickel...I wonder if that is a factor.

    Edit: scratch that...the Blue Labels from Sadowsky are stainless too.
  4. tshapiro

    tshapiro Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2015
    Jax Florida
    If the hum reduces when you face the neck down than you're likely to be picking up interference from a fixture or from other electronic devices in the practice space. In an ideal situation, your bass is properly grounded as are all the pieces of gear in your signal chain as are the outlets. If you haven't already, find a YouTube vid on how to properly shield and ground an electric guitar. That being said, some basses are just going to be better at resisting interference. I've gone as far as completely replacing the pickups and all electronics in a bass to rid it of its antennae characteristics. EMG pickups and electronics are good at resisting interference, but, they bring a certain tone that you may or may not like. There other good options as well (Fralin, Aguilar, etc.)
    bigjames and s0c9 like this.
  5. biguglyman


    Jul 27, 2017
    Rochester, NY
    Fluorescent lighting in the new space? That will do it...
    bigjames likes this.
  6. bigjames

    bigjames Player of Smooth Lines

    Jan 25, 2005
    Burnaby, Canada
    Whoa. I think that’s it. I’ll try killing the lights next time and see what happens.
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