Gold Poles on DiMarzio Single Coils (Proof of Concept) - Jemsite
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-21-2016, 03:25 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2016
Location: East London
Posts: 30
Gold Poles on DiMarzio Single Coils (Proof of Concept)

Hi guys,

Something that's always bugged me is that DiMarzio don't offer gold poles on their single coils. I find it especially weird that the ISCV2 on the Jem 7V-WH doesn't match the Evos.

I have an Air Norton, True Velvet Middle, Tone Zone combo in my S1540 and wanted to make the middle pickup match the gold on the humbuckers. At first I imported a Gold Rush single coil but I found that the pickup was too tall to fit into the S1540's cavity and didn't want to route the body.

So instead, I decided to brush up on my electrochemistry and attempt to gold plate it. Since the pickup poles are alnico, I figured that there should be enough nickel in the alloy to allow for a good plate. After some trial and error, I managed to get a good result and a proof of concept.

It's had no effect on the tone of the pickup whatsoever (I mean what's a few microns of gold going to do?)

I'm tempted to make a bulk order of white ISCV2 pickups to plate and sell them on to OCD Jem owners.

Last edited by mahogany_sabre; 01-29-2017 at 06:11 PM. Reason: URL edit for Gold Rush Pickup
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-21-2016, 03:54 PM
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Oxford, UK
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Re: Gold Poles on DiMarzio Single Coils (Proof of Concept)

good work.
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-21-2016, 03:55 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2016
Location: East London
Posts: 30
Re: Gold Poles on DiMarzio Single Coils (Proof of Concept)

The method for those who are interested, I first cleaned the pickup with some soapy water and wire wool to get a good shine on the poles (be sure to wipe away the filings which have stuck with a cloth).

I then placed the pickup with the poles facing down onto the centre of a dessert plate. This is because as it has a slight shallow curve and the gold plating solution can accumulate in the centre.

I then pipetted about 5ml of my gold plating solution till the solution adequately covered the poles and was just up to the bobbin (you wouldn't want this solution getting inside the pickup). The solution I used was 5% potassium gold cyanide (be very careful, highly toxic!)

I then plugged in a power supply and set it at 12V. I hooked the anode (-) up to a carbon rod and sat that in the solution next to the pickup.

I then touched the positive terminal onto the underside of each pole essentially making the pickup pole the cathode. During this process, aqueous gold cations (Au+) from the solution are attracted to pickup pole where they are reduced to solid gold by gaining an electron. The reaction also gave off hydrogen gas (an indicator that plating was happening).

I spent about 2 minutes on each pole before moving onto the next one and it resulted in a fairly decent coat of gold (it didn't rub off when I wiped it with my finger). I wasn't too worried about making it too thick as they're not prone to getting worn (after all, nothing will be touching them).

After plating, I then wiped the pickup dry using a paper towel and cleaned it again with water as it still had traces of cyanide on it and wanted to ensure it was clean

It goes without saying that I did all this wearing gloves, in a very well ventilated room and covered my working area with newspaper in case there were any spillages. Be very careful if you aim of attempting this yourself. On the bottle I used, the gold plating solution stated "fatal if in contact with skin"!

Last edited by mahogany_sabre; 02-23-2016 at 02:31 PM.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-21-2016, 04:40 PM
Join Date: Mar 2008
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Re: Gold Poles on DiMarzio Single Coils (Proof of Concept)

This kind of process is not for everyone. Great job.
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-21-2016, 04:57 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2016
Location: East London
Posts: 30
Re: Gold Poles on DiMarzio Single Coils (Proof of Concept)


Last edited by mahogany_sabre; 03-18-2017 at 09:54 AM.
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-22-2016, 01:44 AM
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: El Paso, TX
Posts: 2,647
Re: Gold Poles on DiMarzio Single Coils (Proof of Concept)

you scienced the sh+t out of gold plating. Good job.

i watched this video the other day and found it quite interesting. Not related to guitars but given the subject you may find it interesting.
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-22-2016, 11:34 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2016
Location: East London
Posts: 30
Re: Gold Poles on DiMarzio Single Coils (Proof of Concept)

The process of metal refining is certainly very interesting.

By the way, if anybody in the UK wishes to have their single coils plated, I am more than happy to do them for a small fee (as well as covering shipping costs). I may be able to plate single coils for those in Europe, but if you're from the US, shipping and import costs may be too high.

Just to note, this only works with alnico single coil magnets as nickle is needed for the gold to sick. I have successfully plated an FS1, an ISCV2 and a True Velvet set which all utilise alnico 5 pole magnets. I'm pretty sure other alnico single coils can be plated successfully too as alnico 5 is the alloy which uses the least amount of nickle.

Alnico 1: 21% nickle
Alnico 2: 19% nickle
Alnico 3: 25% nickle
Alnico 5: 14% nickle

Just drop me a PM and I'll get back to you ASAP.

Last edited by mahogany_sabre; 03-19-2017 at 03:16 PM.
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dimarzio , gold , gold plating , plating , poles

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