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Do pickups lose quality over time?

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by dscottyg, Apr 14, 2021.

  1. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Curious what Weller gun and what you did with it to "ruin quite a few very nice pickups"?

    First, we know that a $5 neo magnet can remagnetize a degaussed magnet, so a pickup with degaussed magnets isn't ruined, it's just in need of service.

    But second, I've read many claims that those guns harm pickups, claims with only anecdotal evidence.
    While I and many others worked on guitars with Weller guns for decades without degaussing any pickup magnets.

    So there's gotta be some specific action on the part of the user?
    Is it like philips screwdrivers ruin guitar finishes, so they should never be used around guitars?

    Seems like a lot of urban legend in the guitar hobby community!
    DMM's degauss pickups?

    Jerry wore out his pickups: therefore, uh, STUFF!

    For my own evidence, I've swapped many hundreds of pickups over 40+ years, with Weller guns, and only had one degaussed Champion lap steel pickup that came that way, plus all old Mustang pickups seem to have weak magnets.

    I don't use a gauss meter, but if talking about "ruined pickups", that suggests that installing a new pickup with a Weller gun results in a DEAD pickup?

    As far as tests confirming that a good pickup is ruined by a solder gun, the closest I found to a test was by @Antigua Tele at another site.
    I've always used to common 100/140w Weller but the one he used looks a little different and I'm guessing it's a bigger one, maybe a 200w for chassis and other bigger stuff. IDK, but I didn't find solid proof that all us Weller users have been ruining pickups for decades, not even proof that one really poor use of a gun can be shown to ruin a pickup.
    OTOH, if your amp has huge speaker magnets and you pay your gig bag on the back of the amp cab with the pickups close to the speaker magnet; before and after every gig in the trunk of your car where it fits just right, the massive speaker magnet COULD degauss the pickup magnets. Maybe Jerry had a habit of leaving his guitar very close to speaker magnets?
    I'm pretty sure that if I waved a speaker magnet over my workbench it would pick up lots of screwdrivers and ash tray bridges.
    Nuthin' sticks to my Weller guns, so I'm not convinced about this urban legend.


    https://guitarnuts2.proboards.com/thread/8782/attempting-demagnetize-pickup-soldering-gun
     
  2. ping-ping-clicka

    ping-ping-clicka Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    I like that I hear Seymour Duncan has designer and built and sells exact replicas of the lap slide picks that went into the first telecasts and these new fangled pickups are supposed to sound exactly like originals, does that render the value of the antique pickup less valuable because it is no longer unobtainable? Or is it valuable like a sacred relic, or surrounded by "mojo" ghosty-ghosty voodoo vides,
    now I'm just fartin' around. To me a ready made is a ready made.
     
  3. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Here's another discussion of the urban legend that soldering guns degauss/ ruin/ kill pickups.

    Post # 22 details a used Duncan that was "weak and lifeless" because the former owner soldered on a "cheap aftermarket cover", presumably "with a gun", then the new owner removed the cover and "remagnetized it" with "a pair of rare earth magnets" and it "came back to life".
    So that proves that guns ruin pickups.

    Post #32 has a guy trying over and over to degauss a magnet with his Weller gun, holding the magnet against different parts of the gun multiple times and testing with a gauss meter each time, eventually getting very small losses of gauss strength but literally holding the magnet it self against the side of the gun over and over for extended periods.
    Of course these are all claims made on guitar forums, and I could be making up my claim that in 40years of soldering pickups with weller guns I haven't ruined one.

    Again, screwdrivers frequently harm guitars.
    Soldering guns not so much. IME!

    https://www.mylespaul.com/threads/a-soldering-gun-will-kill-a-pickup.315311/page-2
     
  4. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I wonder if the PT in a guitar amp ruins pickups?
    Like if you lay your guitar on top of your Twin reverb with the body right over the rather large PT, will that kill your pickups?
    Or a Mesa Boogie has a huge PT, much bigger and stronger than a soldering gun, and a player might lean their guitar against that amp over and over for years. With the neck pickup really close to the PT.

    My sense is that users do all sorts of stuff with pickups, like throw them in a box of gear, maybe put boxed gear in a closet where the box of pickups might sit on a boxed speaker for a year or two.

    I literally cannot think of EVER holding my Weller guns transformer body close to a pickup magnet in use.
    And at least a couple of us have tried to kill magnets with guns by doing purposefully extreme things you would not do while soldering guitars.

    And normal things like leaning guitars against tube combo amps with pickups near transformers is the basic reality of guitar playing.

    Those old EV alnico coffee can SRO speakers stuck out of the back of amps, and one might easily put amp and guitar in the back seat with guitar literally touching the magnet. That ougtta do it!
    I do not set computer or phone on speaker cabs, and do not set pickups on speaker magnets.

    Anybody ever set pickups on boxed speakers?
    Could happen.
    Could degauss.
    Hold a pickup against your soldering gun for an extended period?
    Not likely to happen, and probably not likely to kill a pickup in normal use.

    Easier to recharge a pickup magnet with a cheap neo magnet than to accidentally degauss a pickup magnet while soldering a guitar.
     
  5. Southpa

    Southpa TDPRI Member

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    Any views on storing individual pickups? I have a couple drawer-fulls from previous swaps and various deals on "previously enjoyed" pickups. Should I be isolating each pickup from other pickups. If 2 pickups are stored in close proximity to each other would their respective magnet strengths be affected?
     
  6. CDeW

    CDeW TDPRI Member

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    I asked a luthier if pus got warmer, fuller over time. He said, no, they remain the same
     
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  7. dscottyg

    dscottyg Tele-Meister

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    What if they were shipped in a bag touching each other and kept in that bag for a few days? They are separate now, and I’m waiting for my neighbor to come back from a trip to help me install them with his solder gun.
     
  8. monkeybanana

    monkeybanana Tele-Holic

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    Its okay if they were stacked with one upside down with respect to the other. That’s the easiest to ship anyhow (without a pickup box). Do you have a compass? You can check the pickup polarity and if needed you can recharge the magnets with a cheap $2 neodymium magnet from the hardware store. For now I would just check the polarities (one will point north the other will point south) and install. DM me if they sound weak I can tell you how to charge. You’ll be fine.
     
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  9. RowdyHoo

    RowdyHoo Tele-Meister

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  10. ashtone54

    ashtone54 TDPRI Member Silver Supporter

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    Don’t worry about it. I’ve had the same pickups for over 50 years, and they work great.
     
  11. MatsEriksson

    MatsEriksson Tele-Afflicted

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    You think that's expensive, or Seymour Duncan Zephyrs are expensive? Check out Duneland Labs pickups..."The Blackpole Project"

    https://www.dunelandlabs.com/

    "By the time we were finished we had managed to spend well over $1000 per unit on these items, which inevitably put a stop to this line."


    :confused:o_O
     
  12. MatsEriksson

    MatsEriksson Tele-Afflicted

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    Yes, read the Lollar link. There's a reason they come in larger boxes of foam, than their actual size. If you have a drawer that just leaves them laying around randomly some of them will affect other pickups magnetism, and their own too. It depends too on how long they are in that position. Do not stock 3 strat pickups like they lock up to each other front of one pickup to the back of the other pickup. Some pickups are more prone to this, like AlNiCo, and Ceramic less, and Neo maybe even more, but it's best to treat them all the same. Better safe than sorry.
     
  13. MatsEriksson

    MatsEriksson Tele-Afflicted

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    So by and large, since the subtle degradation of some pickups might be happening over decades, if someone thinks they do hear difference in 20 years, I am sure it's not the pickups itself but the hearing loss occuring due to age, which occurs in all us humans. You can hear, if the pups starting to get microphonic though, if the copper windings starts to turn loose ever so slowly. But the rest? .... naaah...meh.
     
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  14. braveheart

    braveheart Tele-Afflicted

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    my vintage Duncan Distortion (bridge) from 1987 sounds waaay smoother than 34 years ago. So I put it, together with a Duncan nickel cover, in a Hagström HJ-800 (bridge,hollow body) and it sounds really good. I would never do that with a newer one (too agressive)
     
  15. dscottyg

    dscottyg Tele-Meister

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    Thanks. They may have been stacked for days. They were just randomly in a bag together bunched up and squeezed into a padded mailing envelope. My concern is they may be a little degraded but not enough to tell without a test, comparing them to new ones side by side. I guess if I use that $2-$5 Ace Hardware magnet trick others mentioned, it would resolve any of the degradation that you’re talking about, don’t you think?
     
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  16. dscottyg

    dscottyg Tele-Meister

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    Thanks. They may have been stacked for days. They were just randomly in a bag together bunched up and squeezed into a padded mailing envelope. My concern is they may be a little degraded but not enough to tell without a test, comparing them to new ones side by side. I guess if I use that $2-$5 Ace Hardware magnet trick others mentioned, it would resolve any of the degradation that you’re talking about, don’t you think?
     
  17. monkeybanana

    monkeybanana Tele-Holic

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    Pickup manufacturers charge the magnets too so recharging them yourself will not be any different. Some boutique winders intentionally "degrade" them but I don't think your Fenders are that way.
     
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