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buzz that changes as I turn

Postby nathanscribe » Fri Oct 26, 2012 3:24 pm

I picked up a bass about a year ago, and have not recorded much with it due to lack of time and skill... however, I'm noticing some hum/buzz that seems to increase/decrease depending where I am in the room, and which way I face. Because I record everything myself, it's handy to be sitting at the computer; I'm DI-ing the bass and listening through speakers. Unfortunately, facing the quietest direction means pointing my back to the recording kit, and space is a bit tight for spinning round all the time.

Is this something common, and is there a way to remedy it (other than facing a different way, that is)? I'm guessing it's to do with the pickups and radiated magnetic field? I know very little about guitars and how they interact with this stuff... it's not really been a problem just noodling around, but I want to try to solve it before I get any further into wanting to record with this instrument.
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Re: buzz that changes as I turn

Postby Dave n w 2 » Sat Oct 27, 2012 7:25 am

I have exactly the same problem!

Became more noticeable when I got a new guitar the other day. Certain parts of the room are fine, move a bit and there's a nasty buzz. It's a ground loop thingy isn't it?

Hope someone can help.
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Re: buzz that changes as I turn

Postby turbodave » Sat Oct 27, 2012 8:49 am

Hi, Not a guitarist, but have you got any dimmer switches about or electrical implements nearby (washing machine etc). Sometimes those recessed bulbs can cause this issue. Dave
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Re: buzz that changes as I turn

Postby paleface » Sat Oct 27, 2012 9:10 am

hello nathan
i used to have the exact same problem a few years ago

i got around it by tying a piece of wire to my big toe and the other end to the metal underneath
the volume pot on my gtr

sounds silly but it did actually work
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Re: buzz that changes as I turn

Postby Folderol » Sat Oct 27, 2012 12:03 pm

Usual question... does it change if you touch the strings? If so, suspect bad earthing within the guitar.
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Re: buzz that changes as I turn

Postby zenguitar » Sat Oct 27, 2012 12:07 pm

Here is a link to the thread where paleface previously suggested a wire on the toe. Read the entire thread, and pay very close attention to the replies that explain some correct solutions and why paleface's solution is both wrong and potentially very dangerous.

Tell us more about your guitar, make, model, type of pick-ups etc. It is almost certain to be a screening/grounding issue in the guitar itself and there are a number of possible solutions that are both effective and safe.

Andy
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Re: buzz that changes as I turn

Postby nathanscribe » Sat Oct 27, 2012 12:11 pm

No dimmer switches or large white goods etc. nearby; noise doesn't change when strings are touched - it seems to depend on which way I'm facing and when it's there, it's there beneath the notes as well as between them. Got a clean recording last night by facing away from the setup, so that's something.

EDIT: Aha, Zen, you posted while I was typing!

It's a 70's japanese (non-Fender) passive jazz bass, single coil pickups, two level pots and a tone pot; I think yesterday I had just the bridge dialled in and the tone rolled off just a touch. I was DI-ing via a UA 710, into the insert of my mixer/interface.
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Re: buzz that changes as I turn

Postby ef37a » Sat Oct 27, 2012 12:14 pm

This is very common and forms a subset of that well known phenomenon, Sod's Law.

Most often seen where a good signal can only be recieved on an indoor aerial just where you can't fekkin' have it!

Not a hum loop, that can only happen with two earthed devices, very commonly a PC and powered monitors. This is almost all magnetically induced pickup from the house wiring or possibly a nearby transformer. Screening the guitar pup cavity is a good idea but I doubt that it will improve matters much. This is what humbucker pickups were invented for!

One cheap solution is a 15quid wireless keyboard and mouse and back off ten feet!

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Re: buzz that changes as I turn

Postby nathanscribe » Sat Oct 27, 2012 12:17 pm

Haha, Dave, I see my facing away is even cheaper!
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Re: buzz that changes as I turn

Postby ef37a » Sat Oct 27, 2012 12:27 pm

nathanscribe wrote:Haha, Dave, I see my facing away is even cheaper!

You came here for a "technical" solution?

You bloody got one cheapskate!

Heh!

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Re: buzz that changes as I turn

Postby nathanscribe » Sat Oct 27, 2012 1:21 pm



@Zen: thanks for the link. There's no way I'd be strapping bits of myself to the mains, so no worries there.
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Re: buzz that changes as I turn

Postby Magic Matt » Wed Nov 14, 2012 11:56 pm

I wear an earthing strap into the mains if playing my guitar near my PC. THis is a professional earthing strap for working on static sensitive devices, not just a bit of wire - it comprises of a long coiled lead, specialist plug, and wrist strap. I bought it from RS Components, and all I can say is it works well enough to remove the issue when near my laptop. It's not a 100% fix, but enough for me to practice etc. without getting totally annoyed.
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