Did I melt my pickup?!? - Jemsite
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 03-07-2005, 11:22 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 500
Did I melt my pickup?!?

Hi all. I've recently started working on my own guitars, and in my quest to break everything, I think I've done it again...

I just bought a used bridge pickup for my Ibanez project guitar (1991 EX) that I attempted to install tonight. Unfortunately, the screw width did not match the hole width on the pickup mounting bracket. "No problem," I thought, "I'll just solder the proper size nut on top of the hole to fit the screw" (the hole was too wide for the screw, so this would have worked perfectly. Anyway, I start soldering until I smell something like melted crayons. "WTF! What's that goo oozing out the side of the pickup?!?" Yep, the thing got so hot that some wax started to melt and come out the side.

So my question to you all: Do you think I've killed it? I'm waiting until tomorrow when I have the right size screw to actually finish installing it. I'll obviously have the answer then. Anyway, I'm sure I've changed the sound quality of the pickup.

I'm sure many of you know this, but apparently (at least according to http://www.provide.net/~cfh/pickups.html) the wax in pickups is meant to minimize vibration so the pickup feeds back less, and sounds less like a microphone. That's good to know!

Hopefully no one else has had the same misadventures as me.
giannifive is offline  
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 03-07-2005, 11:31 PM
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Canada
Posts: 4,215
Re: Did I melt my pickup?!?

Pickups are potted in wax to reduce microphonic squeal caused by the coils sympathetically vibrating to external sound. You may now have a slightly squealy pickup at high volume, but it should work, presuming the heat you applied didn't fry any of the pickup's wires or solder connections.
darren wilson is offline  
post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 03-08-2005, 12:06 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 500
Re: Did I melt my pickup?!?

Thanks for the reply. Yeah, I think I only melted a little of the wax near the ends of the pickup, since those are the only parts that got hot. Hopefully the squeal won't be too bad. At the very least it's a learning experience!
giannifive is offline  
post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 03-09-2005, 12:10 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 500
Re: Did I melt my pickup?!?

Well, I got the right size screws, installed it, and it seems to work fine.

The only problem I'm having is that when the neck and bridge pickups are both on (i.e., 3-way selector switch in the middle), the sound is EXTREMELY thin, although it gives amazing harmonics. Either I've wired it wrong, or it's just a mismatch of the pickups. The bridge is an Ibanez V8, and the neck is a mega piece of crap, bottom-of-the-line, not even potted in wax, stock Ibanez pickup. I wired in the V8 the same way the pickup I replaced was wired: ground is grounded, and the hot lead that gave the largest DC resistance is connected to the selector switch. The other lead (which I assume gives one coil when used with the ground, since its DC resistance is ~8kOhm, and the other lead was ~16kOhm) is not connected to anything.

I've seen some of Ibanez's wiring diagrams that show one of the hot leads from a humbucker grounded (e.g., the 1994 540R). It seems to me that this would just give you a single coil instead of a humbucker, but I'm sure I'm misunderstanding something about the way this particular humbucker is wired.
giannifive is offline  

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