What causes pickups to go microphonic?

thekaiser

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
465
Anyone know? I have a barely 4 month old PRS S2 and the treble pickup went microphonic seemingly overnight. No dropping, no direct contact to anything, nothing outside of bedroom playing. I'm taking care of it, I'm just trying to figure out why it happens so to prevent it in the future.
 

kjt1776

Member
Messages
475
Anyone know? I have a barely 4 month old PRS S2 and the treble pickup went microphonic seemingly overnight. No dropping, no direct contact to anything, nothing outside of bedroom playing. I'm taking care of it, I'm just trying to figure out why it happens so to prevent it in the future.
Are you positive its the pickup
 

Polynitro

Member
Messages
23,618
what do you mean by microphonic? There are two kinds: the good kind makes for a lively sounding pickup,
open and articulate. Tele players like this type. The other kind is squealing that is uncontrollable at all but the lowest volumes.
Nobody likes this kind.
The bad kind is caused by something vibrating. could be the baseplate seperating from the bobbin or any of a variety of things, like semi or hollow chambers
but it is definitely a malfunction. The fix is to find out what is vibrating. Usually on a tele its just a matter of regluing
the bobbin back onto the baseplate, or stuffing open cavities with foam.

The good kind is from not wax potting a tele pickup, or lightly potting only (lacquer coating vs wax penetrating deep into the coil)
This can be stopped (not fixed mind you as its not a problem per se) by fully potting the pickup.
 

thekaiser

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
465
Are you positive its the pickup
Yup. Only does it on this guitar. Can clearly hear myself talking thru the amp if the gain channel on my Archon is active. If both pickups are engaged, the softest of taps to the pickup cover with a pick produces a loud clicking sound on the bridge pickup and does not on the neck. I wouldn't say it squeals uncontrollably under the normal gain settings I play with but I can clearly hear the trem springs thru my amp when doing staccato sections, almost like an awful, toneless variant of spring reverb.

metal pickup cover?
Yeah.
 

kjt1776

Member
Messages
475
Sounds like a micro phony to me brother but these are usually mechanical in nature and hopefully just something that has come loose physically on the pickup. Crack that baby open and see what you see/feel.
 

Buelligan

Member
Messages
920
Its got to be the something loose in the pick-up. What else could it be? The sound waves of your voice are vibrating something the pick-up is... picking up.
 

cram

Member
Messages
13,712
It sounds like you may have something loose in your setup. Do you get squeal as well in high gain situations where the feedback loops?
I've had to overcome this as well with a crappy guitar. The PU had a metal covering and it was loose which picked up (hehe) vibrations from the environment. A symptom was with a boost or drive pedal engaged and anything - a snap of the snare - would have trailing squeal/feedback. I bent the cover on the edges to have more contact along with screwing things down tightly after taking it all apart.

Some pointers to screw things down:
https://www.thegearpage.net/board/index.php?threads/microphonic-tele-bridge-problem.218913/
https://www.thegearpage.net/board/i...ve-a-really-great-microphonic-pickup.1033570/

Hopefully you can get something from that.
 

thekaiser

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
465
4 months old? Take it back for warranty service.
That's what's going to happen. I understand what the issue is, I'm just confused as to why a 4 month old pickup would have this issue and how I can prevent it from happening in the future.
 

kjt1776

Member
Messages
475
It's not your PU, it's your amp power tubes that needs to be exchanged.

Jazz,
this was my first thought as well, had the same situation a bit back with a set of David Allen pickups. I was getting a amp clink from 1 of my pickups on my strat, first I thought it was just the pickup as it only happened in one position and my tubes, pre and power, where both very new. Inspected pickup and nothing out of ordinary then I realized it was happening on just some particular notes on my 5th and 6th strings. Guess what, that great 5751 tube new production I had placed in V1 was microphonic. Changed it and pow back in business. Also Allen pickups sound great!
 

Baxtercat

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
12,661
Something changed.
The cover must've come loose from the bobbin, or the wrap, or the bottom plate maybe.
Did it get hot in the closet?
 

JazzGtr

Member
Messages
501
The amp is newer than the guitar, and this only happens with one guitar on one pickup. Care to explain your thinking?
Same thing happened with my new Fuchs ODS 50 (a week old) with my (26 year old) Strat. I learned about this through Fuchs amp customer service. As much as the whole tube biasing / pairing thing that happen trying to match 4 6v6 tubes, some times the amp manufacturers gets it wrong. Also, all it takes is for one guitar note to discover the problem. But you would think the amp guys would test every note on every fret on every kind of guitar before they quality pass their amps. Well they don't! Some time all it takes is one guitar note to create a harmonic sound tha causes one the tubes to continues to ring after the string stops vibrating. Solid states amp don't have this issue. In the end you have to replace your power tubes in pairs to fix the one tube problem. I know, pretty shitting deal. Welcome to the club.

Jazz,
 
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Fuchsaudio

Member
Messages
7,758
But you would think the amp guys would test every note on every fret on every kind Of guitar before they quality pass their amp. Well they don't! Some time all it takes is one guitar note to create a harmonic sound tha causes one the tubes to continues to ring after the string stops vibrating. Solid states amp don't have this issue. End the end is you have to repair your power tubes in pairs to fix the one tube problem. I know, pretty shitting deal. Welcome to the club.
Jazz,
Seriously ? No you're right, our QC must stink...one guitar one note one amp..okay.
 

JazzGtr

Member
Messages
501
Seriously ? No you're right, our QC must stink...one guitar one note one amp..okay.
My customer service experience with your guys was great. I actually learned a lot from your guys. The point that I was trying to explain was that there,s too many variables to figure out when a tube become micro phonic. Your guys rely on the tube guys to do the biasing, then there,s the retail guys dropping, bumping amps around during demos and then there,s the shipping guys. It,s a serious wonder if any amp works right from the time the manufacturer built it until it gets to the customer home. unfortunately for us customers we can only blame the manufacturers because that were we have the warranty from and don,t have anybody else knowingly to blame or recourse.

Btw, since tubes are not under warranty, so I was told, I replaced them myself. Life is too short to be without my Fuchs!

Jazz,
 
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thekaiser

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
465
Same thing happened with my new Fuchs ODS 50 (a week old) with my (26 year old) Strat. I learned about this through Fuchs amp customer service. As much as the whole tube biasing / pairing thing that happen trying to match 4 6v6 tubes, some times the amp manufacturers gets it wrong. Also, all it takes is for one guitar note to discover the problem. But you would think the amp guys would test every note on every fret on every kind of guitar before they quality pass their amps. Well they don't! Some time all it takes is one guitar note to create a harmonic sound tha causes one the tubes to continues to ring after the string stops vibrating. Solid states amp don't have this issue. In the end you have to replace your power tubes in pairs to fix the one tube problem. I know, pretty shitting deal. Welcome to the club.

Jazz,
I definitely hear you on the particular frequency issues of microphonic tubes, and I've dealt with that before. This is all across the fretboard, just only on the bridge pickup, regardless of tone knob setting. Hence the conclusion of pickup.
 

kjt1776

Member
Messages
475
Same thing happened with my new Fuchs ODS 50 (a week old) with my (26 year old) Strat. I learned about this through Fuchs amp customer service. As much as the whole tube biasing / pairing thing that happen trying to match 4 6v6 tubes, some times the amp manufacturers gets it wrong. Also, all it takes is for one guitar note to discover the problem. But you would think the amp guys would test every note on every fret on every kind of guitar before they quality pass their amps. Well they don't! Some time all it takes is one guitar note to create a harmonic sound tha causes one the tubes to continues to ring after the string stops vibrating. Solid states amp don't have this issue. In the end you have to replace your power tubes in pairs to fix the one tube problem. I know, pretty shitting deal. Welcome to the club.

Jazz,
Also, tubes are more unreliable then light bulbs essentially and no matter the brand they can go in 1 hour or after 5 years. Just a tough product being put through a tough environment. But back to topic, if it is across the fret board then that would probably leave me to think pickup as you first felt that it was. let us know what you find out as you go.
 




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