Swapping pick up magnets

Discussion in 'Just Pickups' started by Les Paul lover, Nov 18, 2019.

  1. Les Paul lover

    Les Paul lover Tele-Holic

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    I have a lovely 2012 SG 70s Tribute with mini humbuckers.


    [​IMG]



    So it has these pretty amazing 70s Tribute mini humbuckers set. Very warm, rounded, mellow. Really great.:p

    Yet.....
    I prefer the burstbucker Pro V in terms of bite and attack. Those have an alnico V magnet. The minis are more in line with the 57 classic set in terms of treble, and the 57s have alnico II magnets.

    So.... I would like to increase the treble response/bite by swapping the magnets to an alnico V. :D

    I dismantled the pick ups.... tried to desolder the covers from the plates.....

    And that's where it stayed. :eek::mad:
    Got a 60w iron, I couldn't melt the solder blob!!! o_O
    I got the wax potting flowing alright. I warmed the whole pick up, but it was absorbing too much heat too allow me to reflow the solder. :(

    Then I realised that if I actually managed to desolder it, I would get a pretty wax drippy mess of a pick up out, and getting it back in the wax messy cover would be a challenge too.....


    Any of you have done a magnet swap to a potted pick up?
    Any tips for actually melting the solder?
    How did the potting affect the procedure?
     
  2. BCblues55

    BCblues55 Tele-Meister Gold Supporter

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    I had the same problem and ended up splurging for a Dremel that lets me cut through the solder. Then you can separate the parts before the wax melts. It wasn’t a lot of money and it’s made swaps SO much easier!
     
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  3. kbold

    kbold Tele-Holic

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    Have you tried simply attaching the alnico 5 magnet to the back of the pickup (without replacing the alnico 2).
    This allows you to give it a try before doing something you may regret.
     
  4. wabashslim

    wabashslim Tele-Holic

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    Since the mini's covers actually hold the whole thing together (the few I've taken apart anyway) you have to be very careful. I'd keep high-speed cutting wheels away from it and buy a solder sucker. When you get most of the solder out of there you should be able to get a small thin screwdriver started in there and give it a twist, the cover will "pop" off the solder. Then you make sure there are no little solder blobs stuck to the cover and carefully slide it off the coils.
     
  5. Ripthorn

    Ripthorn Tele-Afflicted

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    I like to use a thin razor saw to cut them.
     
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  6. Les Paul lover

    Les Paul lover Tele-Holic

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    I didn't think about that.

    I assume having the 2 magnets in place at the same time will skew the result though?

    In the best case scenario, I will like the result and can just tape them in place and leave both magnets in place!!!! :lol:
     
  7. Les Paul lover

    Les Paul lover Tele-Holic

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    I've got a dremel and didn't think about it.
    How do you reattach them though?
    Since I couldn't heat the area enough to melt the blob, I'm not sure I could heat up the spot the put the solder blob back on when finished.
     
  8. Les Paul lover

    Les Paul lover Tele-Holic

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    I had my solder pump at the ready.... I just couldn't melt the solder to pump it!!!

    When you slide the cover off, is your wax potting solid or melted?
    I couldn't melt the solder blob, but the wax potting was melted and liquid by the time I decided to stop before I made an unfixable mess.
     
  9. wabashslim

    wabashslim Tele-Holic

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    Do you have a chisel tip or the usual pointy tip? A bigger chisel will flow more heat in there, and you might want to reseat the tip & maybe do some sanding on the base & point to make sure there's no oxidation getting in the way. 60 watts should be on the edge of adequate.

    Don't recall any wax in the 60s Epiphone pickups I did. I might soon be pulling the A5 from a Duncan neck mini and sticking an A8 or even a C8 in there to make a bridge p'up out of it. I suspect a good waxing then.
     
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  10. Bristlehound

    Bristlehound Friend of Leo's

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    A hair dryer for a minute is good to melt any wax enough so the p/up can be pulled out of the cover.
     
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  11. colnago

    colnago Tele-Meister

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    I've always just cut the solder with a knife to remove pickup covers. I've seen videos with it done this way. It's pretty soft stuff.
     
  12. Dacious

    Dacious Poster Extraordinaire

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    PAFs are unpotted. Get yourself a penknife and use it to cut the solder. Easier than it sounds.

    A chisel edge applied to the cover will melt the solder.

    I changed my ceramic Filtertrons to alnico 2 and 4.

    If you double up the magnet it will definitely alter the pickup sound and tone
     
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  13. BCblues55

    BCblues55 Tele-Meister Gold Supporter

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    It’s easy to re-solder them. You need to have only enough solder to connect the cover to the pickup baseplate for grounding, since the wax holds the covers in place (and the covers don’t get knocked around).

    The wide-tip chisels are good suggestions too, but I’ve never had a problem with melting too much wax when I use a Dremel.

    Hope that helps!
     
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  14. Les Paul lover

    Les Paul lover Tele-Holic

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    Thank you.

    I do have a chisel tip, so I'll try that next time.

    I really love the basic tone of these pick ups, if increasing the magnet strength can get a touch more treble without changing them too much, I'll be happy.

    I've got hair dryer and hot air gun, will bear that in mind too re: pulling the potted pick ups out if needed.
     
  15. Dacious

    Dacious Poster Extraordinaire

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    Increasing magnet strength will probably make output greater. There's a complex interplay in pickups between the winding wire gauge and turns which gives impedance as distinct from DC resistance and the gauss or magnetic strength.

    For instance, Gretsch Filtertrons use fine wire on small bobbins which only measure 4kohm resistance in series - but the magnets are twice as thick as PAF magnets which gives the upper-mid character/jangle/creamy crunch.

    I have Seymour Duncan Lipstick pickups on my Flaxwood - they are only 3kohm DCr but actually punch out like vintage Strat pickups.

    So experiment with magnets because it's fun and cheap. But you may not always get the results you might anticipate.
     
  16. Zepfan

    Zepfan Poster Extraordinaire

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    I've converted a couple minibuckers into Firebirds.
    I used my Dremel with a cutoff wheel or you can use a small saw blade to cut through the solder, just make sure you cover the cracks with tape so the filings don't get into the pickup.
    Then pull the bottom plate off.
    If your going to replace the magnet,replace with whatever magnet you want making sure you have the polarity right(check before removal of original magnet), place the base cover back on, clamp in place tightly and reheat the solder blobs(easier to do after they have been cut) as long as you have a good soldering iron and test the pickup.
    If you want a Firebird, after pulling the base plate check the magnets polarity, pull the magnet out and set aside, pull the steel rail poles out and replace with A2 or A5 Firebird magnets making sure the polarity is right for each coil, cover the bottom of the coils with a thin steel plate that covers the entire bottom of coils and glue in place, put a wood spacer the thickness of the original magnet in the case, replace the base plate, clamp tightly and resolder the globs. Test pickup and be amazed.
     
  17. DHart

    DHart Friend of Leo's

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    I use a box cutter knife to just cut between the solder and the cover - with a little force it works just fine. No need to de-solder.

    I wanted my Gibson Classic '57 neck pickup to be a bit brighter, so I replaced the A2 magnet with an A5 magnet, I bumped the volume pot to a 1M pot, and changed the tone pot to a No-Load tone pot. The result is fantastic - sparkly bright, clear, clean, articulate. A much improved humbucker tone that can even please a single-coil lover!
     
  18. kbold

    kbold Tele-Holic

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    This is a good point.
    Changing pot and filter cap values would give you more "sparkle" from the existing pickup.
    Worth considering, and easier.
     
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  19. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    IMO you still need a hot enough iron to solder the cover back on.
    I desolder with a small screwdriver in the gap to pop the parts apart so they don't solder back together while I'm desoldering the other side. So a utility knife of chisel is fine too, just need a hotter gun to put it back together.

    As far as going from A2 to A5 getting the results you hear between the BB pro and the 57, those pickups differ in other ways besides mag type, plus there are multiple different BBs and a few different 57s.
    I doubt you'll get the change you seek with the mag swap but you're into it so might as well finish and find out how much difference it makes.
    I'm actually considering unwinding some wire off maybe a 57 to get it brighter, plus the BB has different coils which adds bite where the 57 has same wind coils for a mellower less bright tone.

    Always worth modding, but maybe mod one and see how it sounds.
    It's pretty easy to damage a pickup if you're not very familiar with working on them, and desoldering!

    As far as the wax, it's a pain to get the coils out, you have to melt the wax and then grab the hot cover with one hand and the hot base plate with the other before the wax hardens again.
    I use a food warmer hot plate, just lay to cover side down on tin foil until it's melted enough.
    Pour out as much wax as possible too, so you can get the coils back in, or I suppose you can heat the cover later and try to squish the coils into the hot wax. I repot after reassembling but the last mini hum I changed mags in ended up with a pretty bad squeal, so it has to come out of the guitar and go back into the pot.
     
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  20. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I hazard a guess that the 1 meg pot netted you more treble than the A5 mag did, plus the no load tone pot.
    I do hear a difference between A2/3/5 but not quite what it seems like the OP wants, and not as much as changing pot values.
    But I prefer A5 in everything so maybe I'm somewhat biased too.
     
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