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noisy pickups

Discussion in 'Recording' started by billlee, Jan 16, 2002.

  1. billlee

    billlee Guest

    I have been tracking some bass gtr for a project.
    I am having a hard time eliminating noise from the bass guitar's pickups. The bass is a 70's Fender Jazz. With both volumes up all the way and the tone down all the way, everything is fine. When I adjust the tone control to anything but zero, I hear all kinds of hum, and when I take my hands off of the bass gtr, the hum is accentuated plus I sometimes get clicks. While tracking, as long as the player keeps his hands in contact with the bass gtr, the noise level is acceptable, but as soon as his hands move off of the strings for a breif moment I can hear the hum return. So far I have tried a couple of different things, I borrowed an EB Tech hum eliminator to see if it was a ground loop problem or a problem with balanced/unbalanced signals. This did not seem to make a difference. The problem was still present. I did have some success with a ground strap attached to the bass players wrist, and the other end taped to the screw on the input jack of the bass. This technique cut the noise in half and virtually eliminated the clicking sounds in most cases. On occasion I could still hear clicks, but in most cases I was able to lay down a whole track without problem. To try to narrow this problem down, I plugged in different gtrs (Tele,Les Paul) and while the hum was a little quieter, it was still present. Does anybody have any ideas that I might try to eliminate this problem? I am currently tracking with the gtr running directly into my board. Could this just be noisy pickups/tone pots? If it is a problem with a ground loop, does anybody have any suggestions on how to fix? Any help would be appreciated.
  2. daniel_c

    daniel_c Guest

    mm yes i've had recorded a couple of 70's Jazz basses that always seem to pick up hum.
    Most of the time its an environmental thing. There could be something in your studio producing a magnatic field thats radiating across the room and being picked up by the pickups. :p The next time u are recording the bass try turning off any computer monitors , lights with dimmers ... things like that.

    Sometimes it works.
  3. homerg

    homerg Guest

    I agree with Daniel. Florecent lights, dimmers, and monitor screens can contribute to this. If possible, you can remove the pickguard on the bass and line the area around the pick ups with aluminum foil. There may be better material for this, but this is how I did my 72 Strat. It helped a lot. Also, use a DI box that has a ground lift on it, or if not, use a 2 prong adapter (defeater) and flip the power cord around on the amp to see if cuts back on the noise.
    Bottom line is, Fender guitars are noisy but they sound great. You can also have the bass player move around the room until the noise goes away and have him stand there while recording. There is always a spot where the noise goes away.
  4. Bluemoon

    Bluemoon Guest

    I don't have a definitive solution for you, but I posted a similar question earlier this week in another forum. With my bass even if the computer monitor is turned off there is still hum coming through it, don't know why, but if the bass is at a 90' angle to the monitor the hum from the screen is greatly reduced. I also have unplugged the alarm clock in my room and the cordless telephone and recieved a little better results.

  5. It's normal for a Jazz to be a bit more hum prone when the two volumes are not all the way up. Usually that's not a problem in the context of a track. Do you have this problem even when using only a DI feed as opposed to an amp + DI ? That would rule out the possibility of a ground loop between the two feeds. Have you try moving the instrument around a bit? Especially out of the way of any computer display. Maybe the grounding inside the instrument is defective? My fave bass gtr for recording is a '63 Jazz a friend of mine owns. It's not the cleanest and hottest output but what a deep, sweet tone!

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