Pickup "fuzzy" & weak output.

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Pickup "fuzzy" & weak output.

Postby felig » Fri Nov 02, 2012 10:51 am

I've got a '62 Jazz that I got about 6 years ago that has spent most of its time hanging on the wall. It's got a V/V/T configuration and is pretty much all original, although I was told by the seller (kids of the original owner) that in '72 or so got a new set of pots--I haven't check the pot codes to see if all were newer.

Problem I am having is the neck pickup has sort of a fuzzy (not really distorted, just sort of wooly) as the sound of a note decays. The treble pickup sounds great. The neck pickup has about 1/3 less output than the treble pickup. The wiring is all cloth wiring, but a wire leading to the neck volume pot has been spliced and the splice covered by some kind of tape. All visible solder joints look good and I gave each a little jiggle to see if the connections were secure. I squirted some pot cleaner in all 3 pots & on the jack.

Bottom line, anyone ever have this problem? I'm trying to figure out if I'm dealing with a pot, pickup, or wiring/solder joint issue.
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felig
 
Location: Fort Myers, Florida

Re: Pickup "fuzzy" & weak output.

Postby felig » Fri Nov 02, 2012 11:11 am

Okay, now it's even weirder---I ran the bass through a Fulltone Fat-Boost at different settings & the "fuzzy" decay issue went away completely. I also did several different cables and ran through two different amps. Then, I switched the Fulltone into bypass & the "fuzzy" decay was still gone, the pickup sounded great (although maybe with a 15 to 20% lower output than the treble pickup). However, when I unplugged the Fulltone & ran the bass straight into the amp, the fuzzy problem was back. Now, I'm wondering if somehow there is a shielding issue with the bass pickup that was somehow fixed by the metal enclosure of the Fulltone.

Oh, and I haven't been drinking, smoking, or otherwise ingesting any conscious-altering substances.
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felig
 
Location: Fort Myers, Florida

Re: Pickup "fuzzy" & weak output.

Postby basswinn » Fri Nov 02, 2012 9:46 pm

Since there is already a solder repair, do you have another PU to swap? At least that would isolate the problem. If it turns out to be in the winding, send to Fralin. He did an undetectable repair on my 66 J neck PU. It was exhibiting somewhat similar symptoms. The coil wire insulation was breaking down.
basswinn
 
Location: Greensboro, NC

Re: Pickup "fuzzy" & weak output.

Postby hoytbasses » Sat Nov 03, 2012 5:14 am

My suspicion would be a Funky ground: cut off the heat shrink or tape on that splice and look at it carefully. The leads might be starting to degrade where the wires attach to the pickup, or the ground solder joint on the pot can look fine but over the decades a just o.k. solder joint can become funky.

and finally, degrading coil wire can definitely contribute to a weaker signal....I know there are some Fedner historians that know stuff like "watch out for pickups made in may of 72......Hector, the pickup winder had gout"... or that they changed types of wire or whaddevah.

it's probably overkill to mention this but is the pickup height adjusted properly?

good luck on your search. if it's a gigging bass, yank it out and save it , put in a better pickup and get to the gig

happy weekend, all

kfh
There's nothing Passive about Passive pickups!
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Re: Pickup "fuzzy" & weak output.

Postby felig » Sat Nov 03, 2012 7:12 am

Thanks, I'll try your suggestions. This has not been a gigging bass, but I've been planning to use it as such. Last year, I traded a '66 Jazz away. It had a lower output than I liked, but since it otherwise sounded good I figured that was the nature of the beast. The recipient of the bass had it checked out & told me that both pickups were "blown" (he's a good friend & a standup guy & it did not impact the trade, he was reporting back for my info only). I believe he was able to fix it by unwinding some of the coil wire back to the point of the defect in the wire.

The '65 Jazz that I bought new developed a lot of micro phonics by the mid-80s--it would squeal like Ned Beatty in "Deliverance" if I got within ten feet of my SVT.

I'll report back with my findings on this one. The only other thought was that the bass volume pot might be bad or wrong value. I'm also confused as to why using the Fulltone pedal seems to fix most of the problem.
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felig
 
Location: Fort Myers, Florida

Re: Pickup "fuzzy" & weak output--solved

Postby felig » Sat Nov 03, 2012 11:29 am

Okay, I think I fixed it--thanks guys. I looked more closely & realized that whoever worked on it last left off two ground wires. There was no grounding at the jack (although I'm pretty sure I have seen jacks with no ground wire) & although the neck pickup was grounded to the volume pot, the volume pot itself had no ground--other than what was naturally occurring by the neck volume pot making contact with the metal control plate. Any way I ran a wire from the jack and another from the neck pickup case & soldered them both to the back of the bridge pickup which was already grounded to the brass control cavity shield. The neck pickup is as loud as the treble & the fuzziness from the bass pickup decay was gone. Off tomorrow to test it with the full band.

Thanks again.
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felig
 
Location: Fort Myers, Florida

Re: Pickup "fuzzy" & weak output.

Postby hoytbasses » Sat Nov 03, 2012 1:36 pm

grounding issues can be perplexing but looks like you figured it out! bravo!

kfh
There's nothing Passive about Passive pickups!
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Re: Pickup "fuzzy" & weak output.

Postby felig » Thu Nov 08, 2012 8:48 am

I was a bit premature, but have since fixed it right this time. Turns out there was a bad connection between the hot lead from the bass pickup and the bass volume pot. The solder joint seemed good but there might have been some breakdown of the lead near the solder joint causing the sound to be weak & fuzzy when the wire was flexed. Also, I discovered in my initial work, I had mixed up the hot & ground leads from the pickup, causing the bass to be "in phase" when both pickups where full on--that didn't impact the original problem, but now it sounds like a jazz bass should when using both pickups.
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felig
 
Location: Fort Myers, Florida


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