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Thread: Bongo 5 HH Problems

  1. #1

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    Bongo 5 HH Problems

    Hey guys! I've had the left handed Bongo 5 HH Stealth for a few years now and I love it! I recently checked the FAQ on Music Man site and it said the bridge pickup is supposed to be closer to the strings. For me to get equal volume, I have to drop the bridge pickup into the body and raise the neck pickup almost all the way to the strings- the opposite of what the site says. The neck is significantly lower in output volume than the bridge. I checked the ohms on each pickup and the bridge is sitting at about 2.15 ohms and the neck is at 1.47. I called Ernie Ball and they are both supposed to be around 2.2 ohms.

    Does anyone know what could possible cause this problem with normal use of a pickup and also how to fix it? I've literally NEVER encountered this issue with active or passive electronics in my life and I certainly never expected it from such an expensive and quality bass like a Bongo. Any help would be amazing!

  2. #2

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    I would call or email customer service back, and see what they say. Has the volume issue always been there, or is it a recent development? Also, did you purchase the bass new or used?
    2007 Stingray 5 HS Cherry Burst / Maple FB / 3 Band EQ / Ceramic Pickups
    2012 Stingray 5 H Pearl Blue / Rosewood FB / 3 Band EQ/ AlNiCo Pickup
    2012 Steve Morse Morse Blueburst / Rosewood FB
    2012 Luke III SSH Vintage Sunburst / Rosewood Neck

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by tbonesullivan View Post
    I would call or email customer service back, and see what they say. Has the volume issue always been there, or is it a recent development? Also, did you purchase the bass new or used?
    I did, they basically said I had to pay for a new pickup and it's like $125 for a new pickup. I have to fill out a product replacement form, send them the pickup first so I'll be without a pickup, and then once they receive it, they will sell me an new one and ship it out so I'm stuck without my neck pickup for at least a week. And then, if for some reason the pickup doesnt make it there, I just have to go without a neck pickup in my bongo entirely. I'd much rather diagnose the problem and fix it myself as that would be was less of a hassle than going through all of that.

    I did buy it used btw, but it has always been like this. I inspected the bass when I first got it and it looked brand new. Absolutely ZERO cosmetic damage or signs of wear, I looked inside the cavity and all the wiring was clean. I pull the neck pickup out and all the active circuitry looked clean. I cant think of any real logical reason it would be acting this way. Again, I've never had this problem with a pickup, active or passive, in 20 years.

  4. #4

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    That is odd, definitely. Doesn't sound like the previous owner (s) did anything to it. And I only asked that because sometimes PO's don't like to disclose things, like that they somehow spilled soda on a pickup.

    Are there any markings on the bottom of the pickups? Have you tried pulling off the pickup cover? Is there any 60hz hum from the neck pickup? It sounds like one of the coils may not be active, so it could be a simple fix.
    2007 Stingray 5 HS Cherry Burst / Maple FB / 3 Band EQ / Ceramic Pickups
    2012 Stingray 5 H Pearl Blue / Rosewood FB / 3 Band EQ/ AlNiCo Pickup
    2012 Steve Morse Morse Blueburst / Rosewood FB
    2012 Luke III SSH Vintage Sunburst / Rosewood Neck

  5. #5

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    Hard to say. Maybe you have a ground fault on one of the coils. I just dealt with this issue with a new Seymour Duncan pickup I bought on Ebay. I would have had to ship it back to the dealer who would then work with SD to replace the pickup but I wasn't sure I could trust the dealer so I took a chance on fixing it myself. But I actually knew what the problem was beforehand because SD support helped me diagnose the problem over the phone...and I accepted the fact that I might completely ruin the thing. Luckily I was able to fix it without too much difficulty. However, the problem you're describing sounds less clear-cut than the issue I was dealing with.

    Personally, I'd just ship it back to EBMM and trust them to replace it. Use a shipping method that has tracking and insurance and you should be good. If you want to try fixing it yourself I'd suggest asking EBMM support if they'll still offer to replace it for $125 if you completely wreck it. If so then I guess you could try to fix it yourself first. All in all, waiting a week or two for a replacement is not unreasonable or a very long time to wait.

    My two cents.

    Bongo 5H, BFR Roasted, Black Sugar
    Bongo 5Hp Fretless, Mahogany, Roasted, Honey Burst

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by tbonesullivan View Post
    That is odd, definitely. Doesn't sound like the previous owner (s) did anything to it. And I only asked that because sometimes PO's don't like to disclose things, like that they somehow spilled soda on a pickup.

    Are there any markings on the bottom of the pickups? Have you tried pulling off the pickup cover? Is there any 60hz hum from the neck pickup? It sounds like one of the coils may not be active, so it could be a simple fix.
    Yeah, I unscrewed the pickup and there wasn't anything odd when I pulled it out. No residue or markings or anything. Those pickups dont really have a cover per se. The cover is actually the housing for the pickup, there are just open coils, PC board, and individual magnets under each pole piece. I've honestly never seen a pickup constructed like these.

  7. #7

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    Hi. Just as a site note: I bought a used SR5 from 2015 back in 2017. During a gig the Pickup just died. I had to order a replacement for 150 Euro. Threw it into the bass and it did not work. Shipped it to the German Distributor and they confirmed that the brand new replacement was delivered broken, too. This time they replaced it for free, even though I had to cover shipping costs one way.

    In 2015 I had bought a Big Al 5 SSS new old stock at Music Store in Cologne. Guess what? The neck PU was broken. I had to wait for 8 weeks until I received an obviously used replacement that was - guess - broken, too.

    With this is mind I just keep hoping non of the Pubs in my other Musicman basses will ever fail. I can not understand they are asking to ship the broken parts first before sending a replacement. In my humbled opinion this is not acceptable and companies like Sandberg have a completely different approach here in Germany.

    Just take it as an experience report from my end. Despite being unhappy with this I have continued to buy EBMM basses because besides the two mentioned fails they are usually coming flawlessly.
    2015 Bongo 5 HH, Sterling Silver, Rosewood Neck
    2015 Bongo 5 H, Neptune Blue, Birdseye Maple
    2017 StingRay 5, 30th Anniversary, Flammed Maple
    Xotic XJ 1T5, Natural, Maple
    Sandberg TT5p passive, Maple

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