Built in distortion! Not so cool!

Built in distortion! Not so cool!

Postby dukeplaysbass » Tue Apr 06, 2010 11:59 pm

I picked up a StingRay locally on the cheap. Probably about a 1995 model. It's been thrashed a bit, but it's fine as a player. Bigger problem is that it has something wrong electronically -- almost like it has built-in distortion. Basically, the thing sounds like it's overdriving all the time.

I replaced the battery and pulled the bridge to make sure the ground contact is good. It also looks fine under the hood (seller did say he had EB re-do the electronics and it worked fine a week ago....)

Any ideas? These are not my usual tinker toys, so any help is appreciated....
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Re: Built in distortion! Not so cool!

Postby Rod Trussbroken » Wed Apr 07, 2010 1:47 am

I suspect a faulty jack. If you have a 2EQ pre-amp it's soldered directly to the circuit board and you'd have to be handy with a solder gun to replace it. On the 3EQ it's seperate from the board and a lot easier.

But first, check the following:

You've checked the guitar lead and main power amp?

Are the control knobs working correctly? Vol still can go up and down, bass & treble adjustments etc still ok?

Below are the schematics. Top is the 2 band and bottom is the 3 band. Make sure the leads to and from the circuit boards are ok. With the 3 band make sure the wires are connected to the jack correctly.

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Re: Built in distortion! Not so cool!

Postby bdgotoh » Wed Apr 07, 2010 6:56 am

My guesses are either battery or something wrong with the preamp. I've had an MM bass do that and just swapping in a new battery didn't fix it. I had to get some metal polish and clean up the copper battery contacts really well, then bend them up slightly so they'd make proper contact with the battery. Also, make sure you put the battery in the proper way, they can go in 180 and cause all sorts of problems. There's a little + sign cast into the battery holder.

If it's the preamp that's a bigger deal, makes me wonder why the seller sent it back to EB.
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Re: Built in distortion! Not so cool!

Postby harleyyy » Wed Apr 07, 2010 6:59 am

bdgotoh wrote: If it's the preamp that's a bigger deal, makes me wonder why the seller sent it back to EB.


You can call EB, and see what it when in for if it's not an east fix.
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Re: Built in distortion! Not so cool!

Postby dukeplaysbass » Wed Apr 07, 2010 9:29 am

Thanks, guys. It's a 3EQ. I know the battery is getting some contact because, which the guitar was plugged into the amp, I pulled the battery and the bass stopped working entirely. Reinserted the battery and it was going again. Tried to jiggle the battery around and it made it sound even worse. I guess it could be the battery contact isn't great but enough to get sound so I can try to pull it out and bend the tabs and make sure I get 100% contact. I tried the 180 degree trick, too.

I didn't specifically check, but I'm pretty sure the vol and tone knobs all work.

The leads to the pup and to the jack look OK, as does the jack itself. But here's one weird note. If you pull the 1/4" cable out, and then reinsert it, for a split second it sounds OK, then goes to fuzz again. Won't happen unless you pull the cable entirely.

I'm going to start by replacing the jack -- it is anything special? Or can I just get any Switchcraft jack for an active axe with 4 pins?
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Re: Built in distortion! Not so cool!

Postby Rod Trussbroken » Wed Apr 07, 2010 2:59 pm

dukeplaysbass wrote:
The leads to the pup and to the jack look OK, as does the jack itself. But here's one weird note. If you pull the 1/4" cable out, and then reinsert it, for a split second it sounds OK, then goes to fuzz again. Won't happen unless you pull the cable entirely.

I'm going to start by replacing the jack -- it is anything special? Or can I just get any Switchcraft jack for an active axe with 4 pins?


A fairly good indication it's the jack. You can't just get any Switchcraft. Email Ernie ball customer service and order one:

musicman_customerservice@ernieball.com

The part number is M05160.

When you install it make sure you orientate the hookup leads correctly (one side of casing is angled..see schematic above).
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Re: Built in distortion! Not so cool!

Postby Rod Trussbroken » Wed Apr 07, 2010 3:37 pm

...and remove battery before soldering.
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Re: Built in distortion! Not so cool!

Postby dukeplaysbass » Tue Apr 20, 2010 8:25 am

Spoke to the customer service cats at EB. They asked me to pull the preamp and send it to them, which I did. They told me the preamp was bad. I had them send me another preamp, plus a new jack (just to be safe). All in, about $93.

Wired it all up last night and it works!!!! Actually sounds pretty good, too. I strung it up BEAD to see how that would sound and it was promising (it was 1am when I finished, so I didn't fool with it too much before heading to bed....)

Will post a few pix in a day or two.
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Re: Built in distortion! Not so cool!

Postby bdgotoh » Tue Apr 20, 2010 4:48 pm

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Re: Built in distortion! Not so cool!

Postby Rod Trussbroken » Wed Apr 21, 2010 1:46 am

Good to here the problem's solved [smilie=grinning-smiley-003.gif]
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Re: Built in distortion! Not so cool!

Postby higher1 » Mon May 17, 2010 2:36 pm

I Too am having a similar issue with my '92 SR5 (the one pictured with me in my avatar), my favorite. I am going to dissect it this week and check all leads before I go for the pre-amp. But I'm pretty positive the pre-amp will need replacing as well... [smilie=fun_84.gif]
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Re: Built in distortion! Not so cool!

Postby Rod Trussbroken » Tue May 18, 2010 2:24 am

higher1 wrote:I Too am having a similar issue with my '92 SR5 (the one pictured with me in my avatar), my favorite. I am going to dissect it this week and check all leads before I go for the pre-amp. But I'm pretty positive the pre-amp will need replacing as well... [smilie=fun_84.gif]


I should have a schematic here if you need one for reference.
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Re: Built in distortion! Not so cool!

Postby higher1 » Tue May 18, 2010 8:15 am

Gav,

Yes please. That would be very helpful! Thanks [smilie=food-smiley-004.gif]
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Re: Built in distortion! Not so cool!

Postby Rod Trussbroken » Wed May 19, 2010 1:20 am

higher1 wrote:Gav,

Yes please. That would be very helpful! Thanks [smilie=food-smiley-004.gif]


This should be it:

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