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Pickups and Articulation

grantparker

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
73
Hello everybody… Happy Tuesday.

i’ve been getting a lot of good information from you folks and I thought I would entertain another question that I’ve been asking around.

I should be getting a new friend in the mail today, a custom shop appointment with a pair of CME spec custom buckers. Let it be known that these custom bunkers are not the typical version, but instead their own “S” bucker variation.

My understanding is that these pick ups are wax potted, and further, that such a treatment to a pickup can take away some of the articulation or vocal attributes of an otherwise terrific pickup.

ironically, the difference between these custom buckers and the more common custom bucker is that they are under wound more so than the regular variety, with the purpose of improving articulation and authenticity.

i’m assuming when building this pick up that they had the wax putting in mind as the end result… So I’m wondering if it will be ideal to consider perhaps swapping them out for an unpotted pair.

i’m not much of a high gain player, although I do drive the amplifier and add pedals before, so I’m not too worried about the benefit provided by wax potting.

would love to hear your insight, and learn more.

thanks!
 

DGDGBD

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
7,413
If you swap in unpotted pickups, I would expect that 99% of any difference you hear will be due to the wind/magnets/build of the new pickups and not due to potted vs unpotted. But this is TGP where pickup swapping is like baseball and apple pie - so swap away if you're not happy with the stock pickups!
 

grantparker

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
73
If you swap in unpotted pickups, I would expect that 99% of any difference you hear will be due to the wind/magnets/build of the new pickups and not due to potted vs unpotted. But this is TGP where pickup swapping is like baseball and apple pie - so swap away if you're not happy with the stock pickups!
Baseball and Apple Pie! Very controversial topics!
 

Silent Sound

Member
Messages
5,803
Wax potting might increase the inductance of the wire a bit, so reducing the number of turns might help offset that.

Though there's so much going on here, it's hard to say if that's the reason, or if there were other reasons at play. Basically, wax makes a huge difference in microphonics, but only a tiny difference everywhere else. That's why most pickup makers pot their pickups. The benefits generally outweigh the tradeoffs.

In reality, I wouldn't worry about it. Pickup height and string composition will have a lot more effect on tone that potting.
 

Zexcoil

Vendor
Messages
5,944
Wax potting might increase the inductance of the wire a bit, so reducing the number of turns might help offset that.

Though there's so much going on here, it's hard to say if that's the reason, or if there were other reasons at play. Basically, wax makes a huge difference in microphonics, but only a tiny difference everywhere else. That's why most pickup makers pot their pickups. The benefits generally outweigh the tradeoffs.

In reality, I wouldn't worry about it. Pickup height and string composition will have a lot more effect on tone that potting.

capacitance
 

amstrtatnut

Member
Messages
13,636
Hello everybody… Happy Tuesday.

i’ve been getting a lot of good information from you folks and I thought I would entertain another question that I’ve been asking around.

I should be getting a new friend in the mail today, a custom shop appointment with a pair of CME spec custom buckers. Let it be known that these custom bunkers are not the typical version, but instead their own “S” bucker variation.

My understanding is that these pick ups are wax potted, and further, that such a treatment to a pickup can take away some of the articulation or vocal attributes of an otherwise terrific pickup.

ironically, the difference between these custom buckers and the more common custom bucker is that they are under wound more so than the regular variety, with the purpose of improving articulation and authenticity.

i’m assuming when building this pick up that they had the wax putting in mind as the end result… So I’m wondering if it will be ideal to consider perhaps swapping them out for an unpotted pair.

i’m not much of a high gain player, although I do drive the amplifier and add pedals before, so I’m not too worried about the benefit provided by wax potting.

would love to hear your insight, and learn more.

thanks!

Whats a CME humbucker and why even consider swapping before you try?

Unpotted pickups that Ive tried do have a certain quality of sound but, its nothing I miss when the whole band is banging away.
 

Tone_Terrific

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
35,489
Don't fix problems before the problem has been identified.
If it ain't broke DON'T fix it.
Test things YOURSELF, in your application.
This forum would be so much more informed if folks did this and piles of threads would disappear.
 

gunslinger

Member
Messages
4,609
...My understanding is that these pick ups are wax potted, and further, that such a treatment to a pickup can take away some of the articulation or vocal attributes of an otherwise terrific pickup.
I'm not sure that is true. Potting just keeps the windings from moving around while you're playing. Which can cause squeals and other extraneous noises. The best way to tell if you like a pickup is to install it and play it. Let you ears have the final say.
 

RayBarbeeMusic

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
5,273
Microphonic Squeal is not a feature.

Potted pickups are plenty articulate if designed to be that way. Unpotted pickups can be plenty inarticulate if designed that way.

Don't worry about it. If you like them, you do. If you don't, you don't.
 

JasonE

Member
Messages
566
I bought a Heritage 157 that had Seth Lover pickups in it. It sounded good but I had issues with unwanted feedback at gigging level. I am a low to medium gain player. I decided that I had to change the pickups to fix the issue. I put a set of Pearly Gates in the guitar. These were the closest in specifications to the Seth Lover pickups that SD makes. The result was great. The guitar still sound the same but does not have the feedback issue. The Seth Lover pickups were a little microphonic due to not being potted.

Something interesting to compare it to. I also purchased a Heritage Millennium double cut (hollowbody) guitar. It has a Seth Lover and a 59 in it. I have zero issues in this guitar with the Seth Lover pickup and it sounds great. I would have thought I would have had more of an issue in a hollowbody with the microphonics but that hasn't been the case.

I didn't notice any real difference in the 157 when I swapped the pickups. I certainly wouldn't notice in a band context. I am not sure that it makes that much difference in the sound of the pickup and definitely has the benefit of eliminating unwanted feedback.
 




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