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Old 10-07-2007, 07:10 PM   #1
ICANSEEYOU7687
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Wax Potting Tutorial. Including adding covers *Picture Heavy*

I decided to use some various other articles and compose a guide on how to wax pot. Mainly because all the ones ive fond never went into detail about adding a pickup cover. So here it goes.

Wax potting actually helps with two things. First and foremost it reduces microphonic feedback, and also helps protect the inner coils from corrosion. So if your having feedback problems, or putting on metal covers, this maybe be desired, especially for adding metal covers.

If done properly, the wax will soak into the pole peices, in between the coils, the magnent. With the metal cover, the wax also fills the gaps. If this is not done, the gaps between the metal cover and the pickup may allow the cover to "shake" which would be picked up and put through the amp.

*EDIT* Corduroy posted this and he knows what he is talking about. Wax potting can affect your tone

Quote:
Originally Posted by CorduroyEW
wax potting does change the tone, but so does shellac, epoxy, or lacquer. Potting with epoxy or wax is going to make the pickup sound less airy than shellac or lacquer because epoxy and wax hold the wires absolutly solid. Epoxy will give you better top end than wax too. Something like shellac will give you more mellow airy tone with slightly rolled off high end. It's very vintage sounding. Lacquer doesn't roll off the high end as much as shellac. So the best potting depends on your aplication. I look at potting as a way to manipulate your tone. If done right it won't rob your tone away, it just changes it


==============================
Things you need:


First things first. What is used is a double boiler, or in this case, a vault can with the top cut out inside a pot of water, this helps control the temperature so it does not burn

*Double Boiler
* Paraffin Wax
*Bee's Wax
*Pliers
*Rubber Bands
*Thermometer

=============================

Step One: Break up the slabs of Wax:



The easiest way to do this is to break the wax into cubes. Unfortunately since im at college, money is a bit short, and I wish I had a nice sharp nice, but I had some nice dull scissors, so my chunks where a bit of a mess.

Start by heating the water, and filling your coke can with paraffin wax junks. At first where you fill the can up, it has a tendency to float, just hold it down, or place anything heavy on top of it. Once you start filling it up more and more, the cans weight will eventually stay submerged on its own.

========================

Step two: start melting the wax




The thing to remember is that you dont want you pickups comming in contact with anything hotter then 150 degrees Fahrenheit, but to move along the melting process, I made the water and the wax a little hotter, and backed the temperature down when it was time to insert the pickup

You also want to start adding the bees wax, which is a great additive in making the wax solution much more pliable. The typical portions are usually 80% paraffin wax, and 20% beeswax. But this doesnt have to be exact

=======================

Step three: wrap rubber bands around the pickup and submerge it.



The tape around the coils needs to stay on the pickup. The rubber bands keep them in place. The glue on them can also melt and leave this nasty residue... the rubber bands bring this threat down to a minimum. This is anothe reason while your pickup is submerged, the wax should not be hotter then 150 degrees Fahrenheit.

The goal here is to saturate the coils with wax. Submerge the pickup, and hold it at different angles. Bubbles should arise, this is good, it means that wax is entering the coils which is exactly what you want.

================================

Step four: Clean off the wax

Pretty straight forward....


CAREFUL! the thing is going to be pretty hot. But the wax is much easier to clean with a paper towel while the wax is warm. Once it hardens you have to scrape.

If your not adding a cover, You can stop here. But please read the last notes also

==============================
Step five: Put on the cover if your adding one and submerge the covered pickup into the wax again

Note: I did not solder the covers to the pickup here, I waited, and the wax seemed to really make it a lot harder to solder. Id recommend soldering the cover to the pickup to ensure a good ground connection







Here you dont have to saturate any coils. All your trying to do is fill the gap between the cover and the actual pickup. This part should not take nearly as long for all the bubbles to stop as the first time you wax potted

==============================

Almost done....

Clean up again!


========================


Final Notes
Wax is flammable, if your using an open flame stove be very careful. An electric one is preferable...

You basically done. Make sure the the covers are also soldered to the base of the pickup to ensure a good ground. I tried soldering after the potting, and it made it very difficult.

I also like to draw a wiring diagram before I take the pickups out of my guitar

Save the wax when your done! the coke can is good, and let the wax dry. If you ever need to pot again, you got plenty of wax ready to go! The coke can is also nice, because it take less wax to be able to submerge the pickup entirely.


As always, while I did make this to help people, I will not take responsibilty for anything you do to your pickups
Sources I used....
http://projectguitar.com/tut/dip.htm
CorduroyEW also helped me out a lot, and helped me where I was confused
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Last edited by ICANSEEYOU7687 : 06-04-2008 at 03:35 PM.
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Old 10-07-2007, 07:10 PM   #2
ICANSEEYOU7687
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If you wanna know where I got my stuff...
The only way you can really mess up your pickups is if the temperature of the wax exceed's 150 degree's Fahrenheit. To melt the wax I made it about 160-170 degrees Fahrenheit, but that was only to help melt the wax, I turned off the heat and let it cool to 150 degrees after it was all melted

I got the slab of bees wax, 1lb, from Michaels, they have an entire section made to candle making, although the only thing I saw that would be enough paraffin wax was an 11 lb slab of it, and that was way to much. Also Michaels didnt have the candle stuff listen online.

The paraffin wax I got from some random site that I found by searching froogle for gulf wax. I also remember seeing some on ebay. Although any old paraffin wax will do.

The thermometer I got from publix for a few bucks. I found the rubber bands, and the pliers just lying around.

And the pup is a SH-5 seymour duncan, just in case you where curious
And it sounds almost identical with the cover on, I plan on putting a chrome cover on my pup in the bridge
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Last edited by ICANSEEYOU7687 : 10-13-2007 at 11:40 PM.
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Old 10-07-2007, 07:59 PM   #3
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wow, very insightful and very intresting, great job
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Old 10-07-2007, 09:27 PM   #4
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I love the way the setup works with the double boiler. Thinking about it, it sounds a lot better than just straight heating the wax. Plus, you can just throw the can away when you're done.

Great tutorial!

EDIT: On second thought, what was the beeswax for? I don't see it used anywhere in the tutorial. Is it just a suitable alternative to the other wax?
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Old 10-07-2007, 09:43 PM   #5
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oh I forgot to mention that ill edit and add it. But it makes the wax much more pliable, and easier to work with. The wax I got came from michaels. But it was kinda expensive, like 12$.... You could probably find some bees wax candles off the internet for a lot cheaper and the same amount, although after shipping cost it would probably come out to be close to the same price
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Old 10-07-2007, 09:57 PM   #6
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what exactly does wax potting do?
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Old 10-07-2007, 10:01 PM   #7
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^reduce microphonics. mine's wax potted by corduroyEW. definitely no microphonics. my BJ's volume 12, MV 8, tubescreamer on full with tone 10, i was 2 feet from the speaker and i had no microphonics.

(ofcourse i had my attenuator though. and at MV 12, i got microphonics but that was at 2 feet from my amp.)
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Old 10-07-2007, 10:28 PM   #8
ICANSEEYOU7687
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corduroyEW had a really good shellac potting tutorial. Which I sent him a few pm's and he really helped me. Shellac is a great way to go, but from what corduroyEW told me, wax potting is better if your trying to add a humbucker cover
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Old 10-08-2007, 03:55 PM   #9
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*bump*
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Ted Weber Mass100 attenuator
EHX Small Clone
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DIY Modded tubescreamer
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Wax Potting tutorial
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Old 10-08-2007, 04:11 PM   #10
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Don't bump. It's against the rules.
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Old 10-08-2007, 04:14 PM   #11
ICANSEEYOU7687
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I thought there was a 24 hour time before you could bump again...I just read through it my bad...

Ive seen so many threads about people wanting to add humbucker covers. But ill just let it die if no one is interested
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Wax Potting tutorial

Last edited by ICANSEEYOU7687 : 10-08-2007 at 04:18 PM.
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Old 10-08-2007, 04:23 PM   #12
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Pics don't work for me...
But the written partis excellent, nice tutorial.


I would make a little note on the top saying what potting is for, some noobs might not know what it is...

Edit: Now the pics work... Must of been my computer
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Old 10-13-2007, 05:35 PM   #13
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those are black covers right? Can you solder black pickup covers to a pickup?
Quote:
Originally Posted by ICANSEEYOU7687
I did note solder the covers to the pickup here, I waited, and the wax seemed to really make it a lot harder to solder. Id recommend soldering the cover to the pickup to ensure a good ground connection

is that supposed to say not?
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Old 10-13-2007, 10:32 PM   #14
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You might wanna add that your temperature is 150 fahrenheit, which is roughly 66 celsius. It might sorta throw people off if they're trying to shoot for a little below 150C, since that's 1) impossible and 2) way too much.
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Old 10-13-2007, 11:32 PM   #15
ICANSEEYOU7687
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GnGonzalesjoe
those are black covers right? Can you solder black pickup covers to a pickup?

is that supposed to say not?


color doesnt matter, as long as they are made of a metal that will accept solder. And with the cover I got, only the outside is black.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pikka Bird
You might wanna add that your temperature is 150 fahrenheit, which is roughly 66 celsius. It might sorta throw people off if they're trying to shoot for a little below 150C, since that's 1) impossible and 2) way too much.


yea, thanks, ill make sure to add that its in Fahrenheit, and bold it to make sure people see it
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Seymour Duncan SH-5 in bridge
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Ted Weber Mass100 attenuator
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Old 10-13-2007, 11:34 PM   #16
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does wax potting muffle the sound?
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Old 10-13-2007, 11:39 PM   #17
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^^ Good, but you might wanna add the celsius temperature too, just in case the reader doesn't know the conversion, and is a ****** at Google.
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Old 10-13-2007, 11:47 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ECistheBest
does wax potting muffle the sound?



no, it doesnt affect your tone at all...
If your having feedback problems, or adding a cover, you might want to consider this. But if not... well if it aint broke dont fix it :P
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Old 10-13-2007, 11:51 PM   #19
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^Eric Johnson would be able to tell the difference...

Well, this is getting better and better. Now, if you just added brackets with the celsius temperature, I'd call it close to perfect.
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Old 10-13-2007, 11:52 PM   #20
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^i see. well mine has been wax potted when i bought mine. but i was wondering.
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