Cheap-ish bass with humbuckers - wise? possible?

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SnagsSnags Frets: 133
I am not a bassist. But sometimes I have to pretend.

The place where I pretend has extended their induction loop and it now interferes like crazy with anything single-coil loaded. Including my less than stellar second-hand Peavy cheapo bass. My bass also has some damage on the next joint which I think is just cosmetic but may be a more fundamental crack.

So I'm half-heartedly toying with keeping an eye out for something "OK" to replace it with, but needs to be cheap as chips (£150-ish) and ideally not be stitched up by the induction loop. This is for strictly clean sounds only, just bog-standard bass playing to accompany simple stuff.

Is that possible? Are humbuckers on a bass a dumb idea?  I know nothing ...
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  • LegionreturnsLegionreturns Frets: 4361
    Have you tried putting a compressor or something in line? Even a cheap bass mfx unit might settle the single coils down. 

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  • SnagsSnags Frets: 133
    Nope, to be fair I haven't.  Because it's a God-botherer situation it's not too bad generally - spin the volumes down when not playing, whack them up before next song when talky person has shut their trap. The main interference issue comes if you don't spin both pickups up/down together - in that situation it's awful.

    I mostly cope and work around it, because I pay attention. But I sometimes lend it to other people who don't seem capable of that :)
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  • BridgehouseBridgehouse Frets: 13660
    Don’t forget a P bass pickup is humbucking...
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  • pintspillerpintspiller Frets: 495
    Instead of lowering volume, use a floor tuner.
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  • FunkfingersFunkfingers Frets: 2964
    edited June 23
    Snags said:
    interferes like crazy with anything single-coil loaded, including my less than stellar second-hand Peavey cheapo bass. 
    I'm guessing that this is one of Peavey's Chinese or Vietnamese-made instruments with Jazz Bass type pickups and a three knob, volume/volume/tone control layout.

    Normally, £150 ought to be enough to purchase a pre-owned pair of noise-cancelling replacement pickups. Given the suspect neck joint, you are probably wise to seek a replacement instrument. 

    Don’t forget, a P bass pickup is humbucking.
    Good thinking, Bridgeman. 

    If the Peavey bass guitar has a pickguard covering much of its front, it is possible that the cavity for the pickup nearer the neck is a one-size-fits-all rectangle, capable of accommodating different pickup shapes for different models within the range.

    @Snags Take a look. Measure or photograph the pickup cavity. Report back. 

    It is possible that you can persuade a noise-cancelling replacement pickup into the cavity. If this is the case, the pickguard might need modification or replacement.

    I fear the Geeks, even when they bear GIFs.
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  • BridgehouseBridgehouse Frets: 13660
    For the hassle and for £150 I’d just get a used Squier P bass and be done with it!
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  • FunkfingersFunkfingers Frets: 2964
    Snags said:
    My bass also has some damage on the neck joint which I think is just cosmetic but may be a more fundamental crack.
    Impossible to comment without seeing photographs of it.

    If the Peavey bass is one of their models with a *photoflame* top, it is possible that the sheet of plastic with the grain effect has come adrift from the wood beneath and/or the varnish above. Kinda like a worn original Paisley or Floral Telecaster, only considerably less valuable or cool.
    I fear the Geeks, even when they bear GIFs.
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  • LegionreturnsLegionreturns Frets: 4361
    For the hassle and for £150 I’d just get a used Squier P bass and be done with it!
    Or for a few quid more, a brand new squire Jag like mine, which, thanks to association with me, will soon become priceless ;) 

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  • SnagsSnags Frets: 133
    Thanks all. I'll do some investigating. Probably won't be reporting back for a couple of weeks as about to be working away for a bit, but that's encouraging and gives me some stuff to work with.

    The Peavy is indeed a 2 volume 1 tone jobby, but solid colour. If it is servicable it's long overdue new strings, so I'll strip it down on my return, which will also show whether the crack is just in the finish or the edge of the neck pocket.
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 31193
    Almost all basses do actually have some hum cancellation as standard.

    Even a cheap Jazz Bass copy *should* be hum-cancelling when both pickups are up full - the pickups are a RWRP pair - but sometimes it doesn't work well enough because the pickups are quite widely separated, not balanced well enough, or in very cheap ones may not actually be RWRP at all. (And an induction loop is about as severe a situation as possible, so it will reveal any weakness.)

    If it's a P/J-setup then the P pickup alone should be hum-cancelling if you turn off the J pickup, but both together won't be because the single J pickup isn't.

    The only basses I can think of easily that don't have hum-cancellation are Rickenbackers or copies of them, the Fender '51-style P-Bass and the Fender/Squier Musicmaster/Bronco bass, but Jazz-style ones are still probably best avoided since it does increase the chances of problems.
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone."
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  • SnagsSnags Frets: 133
    Yeah, it does cancel when everything is up, the issue is if someone-who-isn't-me plays it they invariably turn the pickups up/down individually, rather than as a pair.

    I suppose I could just re-wire the pots.  But it's not exactly a guitar I love, so it's almost as much an excuse to replace it as anything :)
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  • FunkfingersFunkfingers Frets: 2964
    Snags said:
    I suppose I could just re-wire the pots. 
    Reconfiguring the controls to volume, tone and a series/parallel mode switch would solve the hum problem. Mostly.

    Snags said:
    it's not exactly a guitar I love, so it's almost as much an excuse to replace it as anything :)
    Provided that the neck joint is not in a state of collapse, somebody on this forum could probably take your Peavey bass on as a project. Try listing it in the Bass £ ads section.

    If the playability is good, it might be worth sourcing the body half of another Peavey bass from the same series. Just choose one with either a Precision type pickup or a 3.5 x 1.5 inches *soapbar* pickup.

    Legionreturns said:
    Squier Jag 
    There is one in the Bass £ ads right now for about £150. (Not one of mine!) In noisy venues, just play on the P pickup. Problem solved.
    I fear the Geeks, even when they bear GIFs.
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  • crunchmancrunchman Frets: 3504
    Snags said:
    Yeah, it does cancel when everything is up, the issue is if someone-who-isn't-me plays it they invariably turn the pickups up/down individually, rather than as a pair.

    I suppose I could just re-wire the pots.  But it's not exactly a guitar I love, so it's almost as much an excuse to replace it as anything


    I don't like both pickups on full on a Jazz style anyway.  I don't like that hollow kind of sound.  I'd echo the advice to get a Precision with a split coil.  It will sound better anyway.

    If I were you I'd talk to the sound guys and the church leadership.  It won't just be affecting you.  If you have a guitarist with a Tele or Strat (or anything else with single coils) it will affect them.  It will be worse for them if they use overdrive as the extra gain will make them squeal horribly.

    We had similar problems at our church.  We ended up deciding to turn the loop off during the music and turn it on during the talking, and put a notice up for anyone with a hearing aid to say that the loop wouldn't be on during the music.  We don't have anyone in our church who currently uses a hearing aid, so it tends to stay turned off all the time.  If someone requested it, we would turn it on for the talking.

    We did experiment with the position of the wire for the loop, but our building isn't big enough to be able to find a location where it doesn't interfere.

    For us, I think we can justify the position we have taken.  The drums are acoustic anyway, and not in the PA, so we can legitimately argue that  the music will sound better through the hearing aid's internal mic, and then we turn it on for the talking.

    If it isn't politically acceptable to turn it off for parts of the service, you could look at what channels you route through the loop.  Restricting it to only the talking channels would mean that it shouldn't be an issue during the music.  If you do have electric guitar, you will definitely have to keep it out of the feed to the loop as any single coil (or coil tap) will feedback horribly as soon as you put any gain on it.

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  • SnagsSnags Frets: 133
    Thanks all.  About to be away from the homestead for a wee while (and @crunchman apologies for the lengthy PM you've received :) ) but will follow up on these on my return.
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  • guitarfishbayguitarfishbay Frets: 6880
    Don’t forget a P bass pickup is humbucking...

    Yep, that would be my suggestion too
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 31193
    crunchman said:

    I don't like both pickups on full on a Jazz style anyway.  I don't like that hollow kind of sound.  I'd echo the advice to get a Precision with a split coil.  It will sound better anyway.
    Rewiring them in series is a good way to fix that if you need a quick solution to this problem - it's thicker and less hollow-sounding than parallel.

    Ideally what Funkfingers suggested with a series/parallel switch so you could have both options, but if it's just to stop other people causing problems by turning down one pickup I'd be inclined to just wire it up to prevent that and not worry too much about it.

    But that defeats the excuse for buying a new bass, so is probably not the right solution :).
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone."
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  • BridgehouseBridgehouse Frets: 13660
    ICBM said:
    crunchman said:

    I don't like both pickups on full on a Jazz style anyway.  I don't like that hollow kind of sound.  I'd echo the advice to get a Precision with a split coil.  It will sound better anyway.
    Rewiring them in series is a good way to fix that if you need a quick solution to this problem - it's thicker and less hollow-sounding than parallel.

    Ideally what Funkfingers suggested with a series/parallel switch so you could have both options, but if it's just to stop other people causing problems by turning down one pickup I'd be inclined to just wire it up to prevent that and not worry too much about it.

    But that defeats the excuse for buying a new bass, so is probably not the right solution :).
    Ehh.. this Jazz thing with multiple knobs and selectors and all that “jazz”

    Meh. Precision simplicity rules again. 1 pickup, 1 volume, 1 tone.. 
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