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What to do with microphonic vintage pickups

Posted: Wed Nov 24, 2021 12:08 pm
by johnnysomersett
So, the pickups in my '67 Jaguar are highly microphonic. And I mean painfully so. Totally unusable at any volume outside of home practice the second you kick in any gain/overdrive. I tried putting a blob of wax on the bottom to steady the claws, then some thin self-adhesive weatherstripping/foam. Neither helped at all.

So, I guess I have two options if I want to use this how I'd like to (ie: loud and distorted)...

1) Get the originals wax potted. This obviously means I have to disturb the original solder and technically 'mod' the originals.

2) Buy and install some pickups that would be already potted. This still requires the solder being disturbed, and changes the character of the guitar but saves messing with the original pickups.

So, what would your suggestions be? If the second option, have you any period-correct-sounding-but-potted recommendations?

Thanks in advance

Re: What to do with microphonic vintage pickups

Posted: Wed Nov 24, 2021 12:16 pm
by MatthewK
If the original pickups are functionally unusable there’s no point keeping them pristine. If you get a small heating plate you might be able to pot them without disturbing the solder? Or are they soldered to the glazier points in the tubs there?

Re: What to do with microphonic vintage pickups

Posted: Wed Nov 24, 2021 12:18 pm
by johnnysomersett
MatthewK wrote:
Wed Nov 24, 2021 12:16 pm
If the original pickups are functionally unusable there’s no point keeping them pristine. If you get a small heating plate you might be able to pot them without disturbing the solder? Or are they soldered to the glazier points in the tubs there?
To the tubs, inconveniently.

Image

Re: What to do with microphonic vintage pickups

Posted: Wed Nov 24, 2021 12:49 pm
by ludobag1
you maybe can try lacquer instead of wax ? advantage no need of heating just swap them in and after some times let them dry outside ,with the all pups soaked in the lacquer can penetrate the bobin and fix the wiring (need to pull out the cover)
,you haven't to desoldier them too if you have enought wire to put them in a little box on the body
depend of the gain you use for sure it will not be as waxpoting but will retain more the sound of them and made them less pron to squealing

as i don't waxpot my pups (find it to much complicated more over i play clean or crunch ,no heavy distortion)i use lacquer(gomme laque ,the product for french polishing),i soak them after (1 hour) they are made and use them the day after when is dry
i try compare before and after ,the are less microphonic but the sound stay more or less the same

Re: What to do with microphonic vintage pickups

Posted: Wed Nov 24, 2021 4:33 pm
by adamrobertt
They should already be potted. By the late 60s they were lacquer potting them, they stopped using wax around 1964. But they are likely already potted.

Edit: To clarify, lacquer potting wasn't as effective as wax potting. Don't know why they switched, probably an easier or cheaper process. But either way, potting them may not be a viable solution because the coils are likely already impregnated with lacquer. I'd advise just swapping new pickups in, and keeping the originals, after making absolutely sure it isn't the claw causing the problem.

Re: What to do with microphonic vintage pickups

Posted: Wed Nov 24, 2021 9:49 pm
by MatthewK
Another thought, vibrations between the plastic covers and the pickup bobbins, maybe a little soft wax under the covers? or pickguard rubbing the claws?
You might be able to get a handle on what's doing it by plugging in and carefully tapping around the place - even get a metal rod, hold an earbud playing sound against the far end and go exploring with the other end around the pickups. (Bringing an earbud close to the pickup would obviously just magnetically activate the pickup coil.)

Re: What to do with microphonic vintage pickups

Posted: Thu Nov 25, 2021 2:20 am
by johnnysomersett
Yeah, I'm going to do some deeper tests when it gets back today/tomorrow from a fret dress. My AV65 had been a dick recently too and the claws touching the pickguard a little were the culprit...so many little things can cause it! So frustrating