Bass guitar cavity shielding to deal with buzz Ibanez TMB100 (with video)
Video of it in operation:
A poorly Ibanez TMB100 bass guitar turned up at my house in need of some help because it was buzzing terribly.
After a bunch of testing I figured out it was electromagnetic interference, and I decided I’d see if shielding the cavity made a difference. Turns out it did! Still not perfect, but better.
I did a few other setup chores on the bass as well, including
- Fret clean+polish
- Fretboard clean+treatment
- Nut lubrication
- Cleaned all contacts
- Lined electronics cavity with copper foil
- Grounded copper foil
- Put electrical tape around the electronics
- Use shielded cable on bridge pup hot signal (it got a bit messy with the soldering, sorry, those cables are fatter than the pup is designed for)
- Tested circuitry
- Added strap locks
- Replaced old battery (was reading 6.6v, should be 9v)
- Replace battery
- Adjust neck profile
- Lower action (it’s incredibly high!)
- Adjust intonation
- Set pickup height
Now, I am an absolute rank amateur, do not take any of this as “the way to do anything”!! Always go to the pros.
I had some hairy moment with the j-type pickup, I ended up melting part of the pickup casing that held the eyelet for the pickup wire and had to do some crazy shenanigans to resolve that. Also, I found out that setting up a bass is harder than I thought; I’d got false confidence from how well setting up the Telecaster I built with my kids went.
I think that I put about 5 or 6 hours into this project, probably more like 8 including all the research I did.
Hopefully the bass’s owner will be happy with the results! I’d recommend she prefer the P-type pickup over the J-type; at least blend towards the P-type, and don’t push the treble on the onboard EQ too high as it’ll amplify noise as well as signal.
If I were to take this further, I’d probably replace the active stuff with pure passive, but that’s just my personal preference :-)