Crackling and Muddy Bass Notes



  • Has anyone experienced any muddiness and crackling on low e bass notes?

    I noticed that when using the neck pickup on three of my five guitars, there was noticeable crackling on bass notes around the fifth fret down. The muddiness, I can work out with an EQ pedal, and the bassy tone of the amp is recognized. It's the crackling that accompanies notes that is pretty much intolerable.

    Let me state that all of these instruments are in good electrical condition with no issues, and all have different pickups. Again, most noticeable on the neck pickup, and on most settings or amp models, although it can be worked out to some degree on the amp models. Obviously, it's more evident on a clean amp setting, and you can hear the crackling on the low e string. The amplifier gets very clear as you work across the strings, and loses the crackling and the muddiness.

    The odd thing is that three guitars have the issue. This is the rundown of the guitars:

    Guitars

    1. Japanese Crews Standard Les Paul with K&T NFS Weep Pickups
    2. Japanese Electra X330 Les Paul with Super Magnaflux Pickups
    3. American Standard FSR Stratocaster with Seymour Duncan Lipstick Pickups
    4. Mexican Classic 50's Stratocaster with Fender Vintage 50's pickups
    5. SX Custom Vintage Series Stratocaster, pickups unknown.

    Of these five guitars, the first three all exhibited the characteristics with that crackling bass note, present on the neck pickups on all three guitars, and less noticeable on the middle/bridge pickups

    The Mexican and SX strats did not exhibit this issue, although it seemed to be a bit muddier on the bottom strings than they sound on traditional tube amps. That may be due to the darker sounding nature of my Spark.

    Lowering levels on the guitar or the amp can mitigate this to a point, but is limiting in some respects, as to my ear, it loses a bit of its presence.

    None of these guitars exhibit this behavior on any of the other amps I've owned or used.

    If I can resolve this issue, it would be awesome. I love a lot of the features and versatility of the Spark, but don't like being limited to what instruments I can freely use on it without this issue.

    Any info that could help would be appreciated.