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Beat the Buzz: How To Shield Your Bass pickups

BY SCOTT WOODWARD

Well this is an area I’m not too familiar with but–par for the course–that didn’t stop me from just diving in. Let me start from the beginning…

I bought a very inexpensive Fender Squire 5 string bass. Now, this bass costs around two hundred dollars. I got it to use as a spare to travel with. My thinking was if anything happened to it I could get another one fairly easy.

Well, I can never leave well enough alone. I tricked it out with an aluminum bridge from Hipshot, an active pre-amp from Audere and for vanity sake I got three different color custom pick guards for it. And of course the black Dunlop strap locks.

What was I thinking? This is a two hundred dollar spare bass.

Well to me this bass plays really good, it sounds way better than when I bought it and kind of looks cool.

Now the only thing is that I get that annoying hum from single-coil pickups. I thought by adding the active preamp that it would get rid of it, oh no, it did not. A friend asked me if I had thought about shielding the pickup cavities (the holes in the bass where the pickups sit), I replied with “I don’t have the slightest idea of what you’re talking about”

He proceeded to tell me what he meant. Basically you’re covering the holes in the body of the bass where the pickups sit with copper tape, and then soldering a ground wire from the copper tape to the ground wire in your bass. Now you need to make sure this wire goes over all the seams of the tape. I did not solder any additional ground wire on this one. I’m terrible at it and would have probably messed up the bass somehow.

One thing I will say is 97% of the time it’s silent, even without the ground wire. Once in a while when I use it in older venues or casinos with a lot of neon I get a little buzz. I plan on soldering the ground wire to the copper tape but that’s for next time.
Be sure to check out my video on this whole process. Till next time…

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Scott Woodward

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