'51 Nocaster pickup microphonic?

Discussion in 'Just Pickups' started by fiveightandten, Oct 26, 2021.

  1. fiveightandten

    fiveightandten TDPRI Member

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    I picked up a '51 Nocaster bridge pickup but it's quite microphonic. It rings, and it will howl at stage volume with my boost pedal engaged. Is this typical of these pickups or did I get a bad one?

    I'll have to pot this one, but I wasn't sure if it's worth trying another, or if they all tend to be noisy.
     
  2. Dacious

    Dacious Doctor of Teleocity

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    No. They can do this with age. Repotting with wax will cure it. My 69 Thinline RI did this at about 20 years old. Boiled in wax - all.good. if you get this done the whole assembly including copper-clad baseplate should go in.

    Sometimes the copper-clad baseplate comes loose and that can cause it. A couple of drops of melted candle wax dropped in the join can cure this.
     
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  3. skradlee

    skradlee Tele-Meister

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    I have the same pickup and mine is also extremely microphonic as well. I like the sound of it as is, so I just reserve that guitar/pickup for clean stuff. It screams like a banshee when I even look at any of my drive/boost pedals. haha
     
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  4. SnidelyWhiplash

    SnidelyWhiplash Friend of Leo's

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    Pot it, if need be. :cool:
     
  5. Timbresmith1

    Timbresmith1 Tele-Afflicted

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    Mine’s okay- no microphonics to speak of.
     
  6. Antoon

    Antoon Tele-Afflicted

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    It is usually the baseplate.
     
  7. fiveightandten

    fiveightandten TDPRI Member

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    The pickup is new. But it sounds like others have issues with them being noisy. I'll have a look at the baseplate and dunk the whole pickup if that's what it comes down to. Thanks for the reply!
    Yeah, nice sounding pickup, but it's brutal at stage volume. Haha. I use a Klone for leads and something about the midrange of that circuit makes this pickup howl.
    Thanks, I figured I'd see if this was abnormal for a '51 Nocaster bridge, but I think I'll just pot the thing.
    What kind of volumes are you playing at? I'm using a Deluxe Reverb, generally turned up to 7 or so, pushed with a Klone for leads, which is where the noise starts to become an issue.
    Thanks, good info, I appreciate the reply.
     
  8. Timbresmith1

    Timbresmith1 Tele-Afflicted

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    22 watts Brown Deluxe turned up to snarling beast mode; frequently with a box of rock or super-duper 2 in 1 or a 50w Plexi at at louder than I think it is, thru a 4x12, but it sounds so good I’m not turning it off.
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2021
  9. bendercaster

    bendercaster Tele-Afflicted

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    I don't remember mine being microphonic when I first got it, but lately the high E and B especially can squeal at high gain--I recently moved it to a new body though, and assumed it had something to do with the bridge plate maybe not being flush to the body.

    Edit: I rarely get my DR above 3.5. I bet that sounds glorious cranked up to 7, you know, minus the squeal.

    Edit again: It's still one of my favorite sounding pickups. If I turn the tone on my guitar down to 7 or 8, it has this great mid range growl to it.
     
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  10. Rob DiStefano

    Rob DiStefano Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    Good microphonics are yer friend, nasty microphonics are not - there is a difference.

    Not potting a coil at all means you have a microphone, not really an instrument pickup. I've potted a LOT of unpotted commercially wound pickups for customers, most notably the Gibson Burstbuckers.

    It's the coil wires that create the real serious microphonics, but loose base plates, mounting screws, covers, bridge saddles, etc, can all be culprits, too.

    Potting does not mean "boiling" a pickup - that's tantamount to creating a fire - never do that!

    Pickup wax potting at it's basic level as was done 70 or so years ago means heating up water in pot that holds a jar/container that has either pure canning paraffin wax, or some blend of that with beeswax or some other natural substance. When the melted wax is about 150*F to 170*F, the pickup is put in for some amount of time - 30 seconds to minutes.

    Coils can, and have been potted with lacquer, water thin CYA, sanding sealer, and other concoctions. I prefer a paraffin/beeswax recipe.

    For the most part, a few minutes in a wax bath will saturate a coil perhaps 1/16" to 1/8" or slightly more, depends on the pickup geometry, materials, the kind of wax and its melted viscosity. This is usually more than enuf to suppress serious harmonics but allow the good sub-harmonics (the "lively" part of tone/sound) to remain. Adding a vacuum to the potting process can guarantee the entire coil will be fully saturated to allow major microphonics suppression ... HOWEVER, this will almost guarantee a change in tone due to the lack of sub-harmonics.
     
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