#1
Hello everyone,
I'm quite the noob when it comes to the mechanics/wiring of the guitar/bass so I'm in need of a lot of help here.

I got a second hand bass guitar and when I plug it into the amp I'm hardly getting any volume from the lower frequencies. Higher frequencies aren't great but still...

So, I've been trying a few things to figure out the problem and I found that all the poles on the pickups are magnetic, but NOT the ones under the E and A strings at located at the neck pickups.

I then took a screwdriver and tapped each pole in turn and found that the tapping is extremely loud through the amp on all of them apart from the ones that have no magnetism, they make a very, very faint sound but the others gave a huge pop when I tapped them very lightly.

I know there's a lot of things to do here but if someone can get me on the right track that would be great. Is it a wiring issue? Do the pickups need to be replaced?

Also, if the pickups do need to be replaced I wouldn't know where to begin when it comes to even finding ones that will fit let alone anything else.

So, please... anything you guys can tell me would be great and don't be afraid about being patronising or anything like that; when it comes to this I am a pure noob and need to be spoken to as such, haha.

Thanks for reading, I look forward to hearing any solutions you can provide!
#2
I respect your humility.

If the two outside pole pieces are not magnetic and you've made sure that is the case, then that does kind of sound like the pickup has gone bad, but it is hard to know for sure based on what you're describing.

Are all the guitar's volume/tone controls wide open? If the guitar has active pickups, replace the battery and check again.

If those two things are fine and the problem persists, then that does make it seem more likely that the pickup has failed.
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#3
Thanks for the response DeepBlue.
They are passive pickups so it's not a battery situation, everything else (the cable, the amp e.t.c.) is in full working order.

In this case then, is it a pickup issue rather than faulty wiring or something? (sorry if that's a stupid question)

I believe that the bass I have is this one: http://www.staggmusic.com/en/product_detail/b300-bk.html?backp=1 if that helps anyone at all.
#4
Oh god, a Stagg! Kill it with fire before it lays eggs!

My first guitar was a Stagg and it was the foulest I've ever played.

Coincidentally, the pickups in that guitar were also not assembled properly. They were very microphonic from not having enough wax potting, so any amount of gain on the amp would make the guitar screech horribly. And I've seen a better quality fit & finish from a high school machine shop project. I'm not even joking, it was that bad. Almost Devries level bad.

I wouldn't completely exclude the possibility of it being a wiring problem though. Check all of the solder connections for dry joints. If its anything like mine was, there's going to be dry joints everywhere with crappy mini pots, crappy switches, and crappy hardware in general. These guitars are just plain cheap and nasty.
Roses are red
Violets are blue
Omae wa mou
Shindeiru



Quote by Axelfox
Reeeeeeeeeeeeeeee
Last edited by T00DEEPBLUE at May 1, 2015,
#5
Quote by SaferL
Thanks for the response DeepBlue.
They are passive pickups so it's not a battery situation, everything else (the cable, the amp e.t.c.) is in full working order.

In this case then, is it a pickup issue rather than faulty wiring or something? (sorry if that's a stupid question)


That is kind of a stupid question
But as a noob you wouldn't know that so don't worry about it

The pole pieces themselves are actually magnets so if they are no longer magnetic, they won't work and you need a new pickup


To get a bit more technical...
It's the string moving in the magnetic field that creates the current that goes to the amp. So if the magnets don't work then any sound you get from the E and A strings is coming from the magnets that are working (the pole peices for the D and G strings) which are obviously much further away so will only produce a very weak current and so a very weak (maybe inaudible, especially for the E) sound

That's not to say that there won't be dodgy wiring as well, but the pickup would be the cause of this problem
Last edited by xnameisonx at May 1, 2015,
#6
Quote by SaferL


Also, if the pickups do need to be replaced I wouldn't know where to begin when it comes to even finding ones that will fit let alone anything else.


Bass pickups generally come in three types
Jazz, precision and humbucker

You'll tell them apart easily by looking at pictures of potential replacements
Your bass (the one in the link) has jazz pickups so any set of jazz bass pickups will fit

Humbuckers are twice as wide and precision pickups come in two halves so as I said, very distinctive
Hope this helps
#7
Thanks everybody, you've all been a real help.

You've all confirmed what I was thinking too so I've ordered some new pickups (turns out I need jazz bass pickups like xnameisonx said) and they're on their way.

I'm not a fan of Stagg instruments by any means. I played a few Stagg guitars when I was a kid but recently I wanted to get into bass and somebody offered me a Stagg. I think it was a good way for me to decide if it's something I want to stick with before I invest in something better.

I'm really enjoying playing bass so I am sure I will be upgrading before long (money permitting that is).

Thanks again everyone, you've saved the day for me!
#8
In pickups I have dismantled, the magnet is sometimes a single item and the poles thread into it (or a piece of steel next to the magnet). Also, the coil is common to the entire pickup and not (at least I have never seen it) a single coil for each string.

My first suspicion is that the pickup is okay and that you might have a poor connection on a volume control (most likely) or a solder connection. The loss of low frequencies can mean that the connection is open but physically close enough to be capacitive and permit highs to get through. I would need to hear it myself to be sure of that.

On one occasion I discovered a loose rivet on a volume control contact that introduced resistance and had made the guitar unreliable (some good days, some bad days) for years and I always assumed it was the amp. Fixing that gave the instrument a whole new life.

That is not to say that you should not invest in new pickups, of course, but try a spray of some pot cleaner and inspect the circuitry more before blaming the old ones, just to be sure.
#9
I'm sort of with Blademaster2 on this one.
It's likely something quite simple, given that most of that pickup is working just fine. IOW, the construction of the pickup really doesn't lend itself to one bit going bad and the rest working unless it IS something pretty basic and (likely) easy to fix.
#10
Quote by Blademaster2
In pickups I have dismantled, the magnet is sometimes a single item and the poles thread into it (or a piece of steel next to the magnet). Also, the coil is common to the entire pickup and not (at least I have never seen it) a single coil for each string.



The coil is common to the whole pickup but each string still needs individual pole pieces.
I was under the impression that in jazz pickups the poles are the magnets like in single coil guitar pickups? Or at least that's the most common way jazz pickups are made?
#11
Quote by SaferL


So, I've been trying a few things to figure out the problem and I found that all the poles on the pickups are magnetic, but NOT the ones under the E and A strings at located at the neck pickups.

I then took a screwdriver and tapped each pole in turn and found that the tapping is extremely loud through the amp on all of them apart from the ones that have no magnetism, they make a very, very faint sound but the others gave a huge pop when I tapped them very lightly.



This is the part that tells me that the pickups (or at least the neck pickup) need changing.

Would probably be worth redoing the rest of the wiring while installing new ones, and then you're covering all the bases
#12
I'm left wondering what kind of misadventure could have completely killed the poles under two ff the strings and not the other four.

FWIW, If that is indeed the problem, I would bought a couple of big RE button magnets and had a go at re-magnetising them. Even if it didn't work, those big RE buttons make fabulous fridge magnets. - You can hold about three month's worth of unpaid bills under just one of them.
#13
That's what's been bugging me too. How would just two of the poles be bad? I've never seen that, if a pickup goes, the whole things goes. This may just be a weird case...

I agree with checking the wiring and pots, contact cleaner, but if tapping with a screwdriver gets no sound, the pickup is likely bad. Even if it's really weird and only half of it is bad. It's possible the magnet underneath could be broken in half, I've seen that. Replaced one pickup in an old off brand guitar and opened it up to take a look, magnet snapped in half.

And by the way, the only stupid question is the one you don't ask.
Hmmm...I wonder what this button does...