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Old 01-24-2015, 07:20 PM   #1
StaticBacon
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Microphonic pickups

I bought a used guitar that is very nice but the pickups are microphonic. It is terrible when I play through my roland cube amp but not noticeable when I play through my 40w marshall tube amp, so its not really bothering me that much. I play at bedroom volume though with the master volume on 2. The guitar is
Custom made and has epiphone pickups with gold covers. I researched a bit and I understand about wax potting and how it removes the air bubbles in the coils but I also saw something about how the cover can vibrate causing the same effect. Do I have this problem? If so can someone please explain it to me and how to fix it?

Thanks
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Old 01-24-2015, 08:20 PM   #2
TheStig1214
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Pickups going microphonic are usually cause by some sort of metal in the pickup's magnetic field vibrating uncontrollably and causing the pickups to pick up the vibration and squeal. Could be the covers, could be an impossibly tiny piece of metal stuck on the baseplate of the pickup or in the coils.

You can try taking off the covers (they probably are attached via soldering) and seeing if that helps.
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Old 01-24-2015, 09:00 PM   #3
dspellman
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StaticBacon
I researched a bit and I understand about wax potting and how it removes the air bubbles in the coils but I also saw something about how the cover can vibrate causing the same effect.



Wax potting has nothing to do with air bubbles.

If the coils of wire in a pickup are a bit loose, they can be set to moving if the volume of the amp is high and the pickups are very close to the amp. Slightly microphonic pickups are actually sort of cool sounding, and Gibson often ships aftermarket pickups that are NOT potted.

Wax potting (there are other ways to "pot" a pickup and other materials to use) doesn't eliminate air bubbles. It simply helps prevent the individual coils of wire from moving around in response to a lot of sound. Sticks them together a bit.

You CAN get a pickup cover vibrating -- that broad flat plane on the top. Most good pickup winders will put a small dab of clear silicon caulk on top of the bobbin before putting the cover on and soldering it down. This prevents the "banging" of the cover on the bobbin.

Check what happens at the .39 second mark:



Other pickup winders will put a small piece of felt or other material between the cover and the bobbin to do the same thing.
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Old 01-24-2015, 10:02 PM   #4
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Is the problem definitely confined to this guitar? That is have you tried other guitars through the same set up? - I'm just a bit surprised at the big difference between the two amps.
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Old 01-24-2015, 10:20 PM   #5
StaticBacon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Done
Is the problem definitely confined to this guitar? That is have you tried other guitars through the same set up? - I'm just a bit surprised at the big difference between the two amps.


Yes, its just this guitar. I was surprised too. The pickups were just as bad through my friends fender G-DEC Junior. I have an Ibanez which I switched out the pickups in and it there is no squeal through any amps, with the same lead, settings, distance away, etc.
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Old 01-25-2015, 07:50 PM   #6
StaticBacon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheStig1214
Pickups going microphonic are usually cause by some sort of metal in the pickup's magnetic field vibrating uncontrollably and causing the pickups to pick up the vibration and squeal. Could be the covers, could be an impossibly tiny piece of metal stuck on the baseplate of the pickup or in the coils.

You can try taking off the covers (they probably are attached via soldering) and seeing if that helps.


Is that alright to do? It wont damage the pickups will it?
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Old 01-25-2015, 08:46 PM   #7
TheStig1214
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StaticBacon
Is that alright to do? It wont damage the pickups will it?


Not at all.
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Old 01-25-2015, 11:13 PM   #8
StaticBacon
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Originally Posted by TheStig1214
Not at all.


Ok, but can I do it with the pickups still soldered to the pots? I'd rather not have to remove them.
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Old 01-25-2015, 11:18 PM   #9
TheStig1214
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StaticBacon
Ok, but can I do it with the pickups still soldered to the pots? I'd rather not have to remove them.


Yup.
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