REALLY, REALLY, microphonic neck pickup

Discussion in 'Just Pickups' started by Boreas, Oct 13, 2021.

  1. Boreas

    Boreas Poster Extraordinaire

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    I just strung up a new partscaster I built for a friend and after I got it playing, I kept hearing this "ping" when I hit the neck pickup cover with my pick. It is NOT subtle. The pickup sounds fine, but I don't recall it being this microphonic in its original home - a recent Squier Bullet. What I DID do when I swapped it to the new tele is set it up with a 4-way switch. I cut/removed the tiny ground wire and ran a ground wire to the cover, and installed normally.

    Is my memory bad and I forgot how microphonic it was, or is there something in grounding the cover that can cause this? The pickups sound great, but I tend to play and strum a lot over the neck pickup, and every time the plastic pick hits the cover, I know it. I tried lowering it as far as I can without much help. Any suggestions other than using another pickup? Are Bullet neck pickups particularly microphonic?
     
  2. Boreas

    Boreas Poster Extraordinaire

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    BUMP. Any help?
     
  3. drf64

    drf64 Doctor of Teleocity

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    If you are hitting it with your pick you need to back it down a turn or two
     
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  4. Steve Holt

    Steve Holt Friend of Leo's

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    Is it wax potted? If not potting isn't necessarily hard to do. Though there are some things to watch out for.
     
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  5. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Hmmm, maybe desoldering the ground from the tab that holds the cover on made the cover loose?

    Or maybe heating the solder point on the cover melted some potting wax and loosened up some of the coil?

    To me a pickup is deemed microphonic if it squeals.
    Most of mine make a noise through the amp if I tap on them.
     
  6. Timbresmith1

    Timbresmith1 Tele-Afflicted

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    Some of the best Teles I’ve ever played were microphonic (you can yell near the pickup and it comes thru the amp) but didn’t squeal.
     
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  7. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I used to prefer the bridge be a bit microphonic, and would put them a little hotter so the hot wax mostly drained off, resulting in the pickup working as a crude mic if you yelled into it, yet the guitar was still playable with a 100w Marshall.

    Now it's less of a priority to ME but it is part of the Tele sound.
     
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  8. KokoTele

    KokoTele Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    If tapping the pickup with a non-ferrous object creates that much noise, the pickup probably is microphonic. You can wax pot it yourself, or at least a home-grown version of it. I'd take the cover off and drip some candle wax inside it and around the pickup bobbin. Then hit it with some quick heat from a hair dryer when reassembling.

    It's not likely that you created the problem by soldering the extra ground wire, not unless you *really* applied too much heat with your soldering iron. Bullets are cheap and they don't spend much time on QC. You got one that snuck out with an imperfect pickup.
     
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  9. guitar_paul1

    guitar_paul1 Tele-Holic

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    My actual 59 I had back in the 60s would squeal like a pig.
     
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  10. Boreas

    Boreas Poster Extraordinaire

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    Pretty low now. Starting to lose definition. The pick noise isn't the problem, it is a symptom
     
  11. Boreas

    Boreas Poster Extraordinaire

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    So far I haven't got it to squeal, but I don't play very loud in the living room. This is being built for a friend who isn't likely to make 'er squeal either, but don't want to dump a problem on him.

    As I recall, it may have been pretty microphonic when I got it and that was part of my decision to replace them with Tex Mex pickups. I was also installing a Bigsby with a B-Blender so I wanted more oomph anyway. They have been in a drawer for a few years. The bridge pickup is fine. Both sound good, but I believe I need to potty train it. Just any old wax? Would stuffing foam or something under the metal cover help?

    Requisite pix.
     

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    Last edited: Oct 14, 2021
  12. Addnine

    Addnine Tele-Holic

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    On my Teisco, you can literally sing into the pickup and hear it through the amp. i really think that is part of the Teisco/goldfoil sound.
     
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  13. Boreas

    Boreas Poster Extraordinaire

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    Yeah I used to have an old Silvertone (Harmony) with 3 foil pickups. Don't know why I dumped it. Well, I do - I Traded it and 2 other guitars toward a 1956 000-18 about 30 years ago.
     
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  14. KokoTele

    KokoTele Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    Any old wax is fine. You’re just looking for something to dampen the vibrations, particularly in the coil. I don’t think you’ll find any foam that will work if it’s thin enough not to cause a problem fitting the cover.
     
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  15. kiwi blue

    kiwi blue Tele-Afflicted

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    Try putting a strip of double sided tape between the inside of the cover and the bobbin. Easier than messing with hot wax.

    Even easier, see whether the problem still happens when your friend plays it. Your friend's picking style may be different enough that they may not even hit the cover and it won't even be a problem.
     
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  16. Boreas

    Boreas Poster Extraordinaire

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    Thanks all! I am going to wax pot it. Something new for me. Probably do the bridge pickup too.

    I was just playing it and the the PING is so loud, it is as loud as a strongly strummed power chord.! It cuts right through the chord. Unbelievable. If I can figure out how to upload them, I might make a before and after recording.

    Actually, I am liking the guitar so much, I may give my friend a different one!
     
  17. Timbresmith1

    Timbresmith1 Tele-Afflicted

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    You can lacquer pot it. Not quite the down-dumbing of wax.
     
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  18. Tom-Australia

    Tom-Australia Tele-Meister

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    I say leave it unpotted! Some great sounds to be had.
     
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  19. SnidelyWhiplash

    SnidelyWhiplash Friend of Leo's

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    Wax pot it. Easy to do & there are plenty of online tutorials on how to do so.
     
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  20. Boreas

    Boreas Poster Extraordinaire

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    Maybe I could use PlastiDip!
     
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