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Old 04-13-2010, 06:53 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Connection problem with bass & amp?

I've got a problem with my bass and amp and I'm not sure if it's the amp that is playing up or the actual bass.

Basically, I'm having connection problems, pretty much like when your guitar lead dies and the connection between the instrument and the amp is all crackled and cuts out or sometimes doesn't work at all. At first I thought it was that all my leads had died, so I bought a bunch of new leads but then realised they are not the problem.

I think it may be the amplifier because when I fiddle with the input at the amp's end it tends to crackle and cut out. It's a very shitty beginners amp, low watts etc. But then talking to one of my mates they said it could be the bass.

Is there any way how I could find this out or go about fixing this? I'm hoping it is the amp that is stuffed because I want to purchase a new, better amplifier but I don't want to go and buy a new one if it is in fact the bass that is playing up.

If anyone can offer any tips or advice it would be great because I am totally hopeless when it comes to instrument equipment and technological problems... thanks so much.
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Old 04-13-2010, 06:59 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Lateralus View Post
I've got a problem with my bass and amp and I'm not sure if it's the amp that is playing up or the actual bass.

Basically, I'm having connection problems, pretty much like when your guitar lead dies and the connection between the instrument and the amp is all crackled and cuts out or sometimes doesn't work at all. At first I thought it was that all my leads had died, so I bought a bunch of new leads but then realised they are not the problem.

I think it may be the amplifier because when I fiddle with the input at the amp's end it tends to crackle and cut out. It's a very shitty beginners amp, low watts etc. But then talking to one of my mates they said it could be the bass.

Is there any way how I could find this out or go about fixing this? I'm hoping it is the amp that is stuffed because I want to purchase a new, better amplifier but I don't want to go and buy a new one if it is in fact the bass that is playing up.

If anyone can offer any tips or advice it would be great because I am totally hopeless when it comes to instrument equipment and technological problems... thanks so much.
It's probably the pots on the amp itself as you said the amp would act up when you fiddled with the settings. I'd bring your bass over to an instrument store and play through an amp just to be sure though.

Ps. I'd just clean the pots in the beginner's amp if you want to keep it.
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Old 04-13-2010, 07:13 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks for the help How do I clean the 'pots'?
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Old 04-13-2010, 07:16 PM   #4 (permalink)
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like LLSS said, it's probably the input jack in the amp.

if you're mostly concerned about the bass and its electronics try plugging it into anything else and see if you still get the signal interruption.

the easiest way to check the line is to run your fingers along the length of your signal chain, along the entirety of the cables from the instrument straight through to the amp. the crackling will be worse the closer it gets to the source of the issue. in your case it definitely sounds like the amp.

more often than not it's due to dust or rust. if you've moved it around (or from Aus to NZ) and it's gotten cruddy i'd start with some compressed air into the input then some kind of moistened cotton swab (like for cleaning your ears) and rub it around in there to clean anything stuck on the contacts.

if it's rust then you can use a pen and some fine sandpaper. just wrap the sandpaper around the pen / pencil, stick it in the hole and twirl it around a few times to grind away the rust. it'll work for the instrument just as well as the amp. although it's generally got to be a pretty old and neglected piece of gear to get rusty.

unfortunately it's easier to fix a crappy input jack in an instrument than it is in an amp. you'll likely need to bring it to an electronics repair shop if it's something internal. your local music store should be able to refer you to a local business that can handle your issue if you want to take things that far.
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Old 04-13-2010, 07:18 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Thanks mr dave, lifesaver!

I am going to attempt to give the amp a clean, like you said it might have gotten cruddy due to being moved. If I can't seem to rectify the problem I'll test the bass out in other amps and see if it works and if all else fails I'll take it to a music store to get some advice.

Thanks so much for the help guys.
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Old 04-13-2010, 07:32 PM   #6 (permalink)
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no worries, let us know how it plays out.
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Old 04-14-2010, 03:51 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I'm cursed with faulty instrument jacks... they generally lead (no pun intended) to me swearing my head off when I'm playing. Sometimes it's just a case of a loose wire which can easily be remedied with a bit of soldering.

Sounds like your problem is on the amp end. But if it is on the instrument end, a short term solution is to use a lead with an angled connector and wrap it around the strap so that it doesn't jiggle around too much. I suppose you could try a similar approach on the other end if the problem lies with the amp jack.
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