A Fender Precision style Satellite P Bass guitar repair…
A friend of mine, who plays in a Portsmouth-based Psychedelic Garage Rock & Roll band, brought in a Satellite Bass Guitar with a few issues. Firstly the volume control was noisy and crackly and secondly, it was a little quiet. Not good for those moments where you need to go one higher, to eleven.
Opening up the compartment behind volume, tone and jack plug socket revealed messy wiring and dodgy connections. The owner had already supplied a replacement potentiometer for the volume control, so all I had to do was replace the one fitted, re-make the poor connections and give the wiring a general tidy-up.
The guitar has Dimarzio ‘Model P’ pick-ups which can be wired many different ways, depending on the application and musical taste. This particular guitar, circa 1976, is a Fender Precision style Satellite bass (P-Bass) and has a modified ‘through neck’.
Testing the guitar before commencing work revealed a slightly quiet, but mainly crackly output from the amplifier, the tone control was fine. The owner had also complained that the bass sometimes cut-out, mid song. Not ideal.
Removing the volume control was straightforward and only required a spanner to remove the nut, after pulling off the volume knob. The rest of the job just involved careful de-soldering, cutting out the poor wiring and replacing it with new wiring where needed and some heat shrink to tidy things up. Having not repaired an electric guitar before, I did make a quick wiring diagram for reference!
Once completed, I hooked it up to the amplifier again which revealed a much cleaner, crackle free note. Sadly, I can’t play the guitar, so I wasn’t able to test it properly!
Cost of a new bass: Name a price. Cost of the repair; about £2.00 plus tinker time.
A colleague of mine came in with a broken microphone, which is part of a Lucky Voice karaoke set and retails for about £60.00 on Amazon. The microphone had worked pretty well, but recently had lost its ‘X-Factor’ somewhat.
The microphone is fairly standard fare and connects to a standard XLR plug and socket arrangement. As this part is usually under the most stress as the singer moves about, it seemed sensible to have a look at that first. Upon connection to my amp, there was a huge amount of crackling which seemed to coincide with cable movements at the microphone end. Swapping the lead for a known good one I had proved that the microphone was fine, but the lead not so fine.
Only one screw holds the plug together and straightaway, the problem presented itself.
The main core had detached from the connector, as the outer cable sheathing has come away from the XLR connector body clamp. Not ideal.
A quick strip back and solder job and the wires were connected back where they needed to be. A little dab of hot-melt glue on the cable grip and a re-tighten and the cable was not going to move anyway.
FixItWorkshop, Oct’17, X-Factor Microphone.
FixItWorkshop, Oct’17, X-Factor Microphone, XLR.
With the plug re-assembled and the screw put back, the microphone tested perfectly on the amp, ready for karaoke once more.
Cost of a new similar lead: £10, Cost of repair: 15 minutes, dab of glue and solder. Nice.