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Pinkie dug hole in pickup tape: wires exposed!

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(@corbind)
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Joined: 21 years ago
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Last night I changed strings, oiled the board, etc. on my Gibson SG and noticed something. There's a pinkie-tip-sized hole in the black (electrical?) tape that surrounds the sides of the humbucker. :shock:
See, when palm muting or playing power chords I put my picking hand pinkie in the middle of the bottom side of the humbucker.

Nothing seems wrong with my guitar but do I need to patch some electrical tape over that hole? Is there a way to get shocked if I leave it as is? Does feedback or other problems happen in this situation?

I just need to know what to do. :?:

"Nothing...can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts."


   
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(@ricochet)
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Joined: 21 years ago
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I don't think it's affecting anything besides the looks at this point. Keep digging into it and you'll eventually break wires, though. Might want to put some tape back over it for protection, and rethink your hand position.

"A cheerful heart is good medicine."


   
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(@corbind)
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Is that one continuous wire wrapped thousands of times? If so, if I break any part of the wire will the pickup stop working?

"Nothing...can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts."


   
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(@greenie)
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Is that one continuous wire wrapped thousands of times? If so, if I break any part of the wire will the pickup stop working?
Is that one continuous wire wrapped thousands of times? If so, if I break any part of the wire will the pickup stop working?

Yep thats exactly what it is and breaking a wire will ruin your pickup and will have to be re wound. So protect your pickup, i like having a chrome cover over humbuckers for protection and looks. Also a Gibson SG is a very good and expensive guitar and could be worth alot especially if its old. Having the original pickups and original pots will actually make it worth more. If you bought it secound hand or you just dont know the date of the guitar go here http://www.guitardaterproject.org and use the serial to check its date.


   
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(@ricochet)
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Yeah, it'll break the wire. Might not completely quit working (if the input impedance of your amp is high), but it sure won't work right.

"A cheerful heart is good medicine."


   
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(@corbind)
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Topic starter  

As a temporary measure I put some electrical tape over the hole. I wonder if I took it to a luthier they could wax it or do something more substantial. I think those pickups are close to a hundred bucks and it would cost X for someone to put it in. Don't want to get a new pickup.

"Nothing...can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts."


   
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(@trguitar)
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It's not exactly rocket science replacing it so that is a possible DIY, at least I've done it several times, but your right ....... $100 a pop. I had that happen once when installing a pickup through a little too tight hole in my Squire Tele. It was a brand new Seymour Duncan Tele Hot Rail. The fit was very tight. I tore the tape ... I thought ..CRAP! I cut a thin piece of electrical tape and wound it around the pickup a couple of turns, works fine.

"Work hard, rock hard, eat hard, sleep hard,
grow big, wear glasses if you need 'em."
-- The Webb Wilder Credo --


   
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(@phangeaux)
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Is that one continuous wire wrapped thousands of times? If so, if I break any part of the wire will the pickup stop working?

I've never rewound a pickup (yet) but I have rewound electric motors, transformers, solenoids etc., when I was in electricians school.

Someone correct me if I am wrong but I don't think so.

Bare wires are not used in these windings. The wire used is coated wire, coated with a clear shellac or similar insulating coating to keep the wires in the winding from shorting out against each other. If you even scratch the electrical insulating coating between two wires this will short out the pickup winding and it will have to be rewound. Whether it would be functional at all, I speculate that it depends depends upon how it is wound, but in any case the pick-up is ruined at that point and needs to be rewound.

When we rewound electric motors etc., we just unravelled the wire counting the number of windings and rewound it with the same number of windings with the same guage wire. Being able to measure the length of the wire would make it easy sometimes by chucking the part into a drill and spinning the wire onto the part, or there are fixtures that have counters to count the number of windings as they are spun on with a drill motor. The exact number of windings is not that critical as long as it is close and there are modifications that can be made in the process (wire guage and number of windings for example) to increase the strength of the magnetic fields for example. (been a long time since I was in electricians school but I got straight A's - I was strong on the technical and theory stuff but I have forgotten most of it since I have done little work in that field).

In things like tansformers and armature windings I remember using a type of cloth stuck to the finished winding with shellac and coated with shellac to further protect the windings from being scratched for example while someone might be working on the appliance in the future.

So anyway, yeah it is a good idea to protect the windings. A heat shrink plastic insualtion material or tape is probably what is used and you might be able to find something like that a Radio Shack or other electronics store, using a hair dryer for heat to shrink fit it after it is applied.

I am ready to upgrade some pick-ups myself which is why I am visiting this part of the forum.
There are some web forums that specialize in pick-ups and rewinding them etc. as well as other electrical/electronic components. I probably have some links in my 'favorites' somewhere in the hundreds of music related links I have saved.

Phangeaux
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(@ricochet)
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Yeah, they're wound like motors, solenoids, transformers...

Here's the Ampage pickup maker's forum: http://music-electronics-forum.com/forumdisplay.php?f=11

"A cheerful heart is good medicine."


   
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(@gnease)
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As Rico says, pups are wound in a manner similar to other electromagnetic devices, but the winding pattern, "snugness" of winding, wire gauge, length of winding, potting, form design, polepiece parameters, covers/shields, plus ... affect the tone. The first five of these commonly are variable even for "standard" models and designs of the (so-called) hand-wound or hand-made variety. Variations in these parameters will affect the parasitic capacitance, total inductance and total resistance -- collectively known as the impedance, as well as the microphonic characteristics. And from hand-made pup to hand-made pup of the same model, these differences will affect the frequency response, including the high-end roll-off and peak (loosely: "resonance") and response to mechanical vibration (picking, tapping, body noise) and therefore feedback characteristics. This is one set of reasons why olde tyme vintage pups vary more than today's automated production line pups -- some of the personality of those early pup builders on Fender and Gibby production lines actually ended up in their products!

-=tension & release=-


   
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(@phangeaux)
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Excellent post gnease! I finally got back here to reply to Ricochet's post to say that there is alot more to this than simply winding or rewinding the pick-up. Although the winding itself is similar to these other devices mentioned, the technical function of a pick-up is more complex and alot more sensitive to variances. A person with a bit of hands on technical skill can fairly easily rewind any of these devices by counting the number of windings as the old wire is removed and just copy exactly what came off, although you may not be able to get as many wraps doing this by hand compared to the tight windings done by machine, or your winding is going to be fatter than the original. There can be quite a bit of variance, (intended or not) as you suggest, in hand wound pickups which will affect the final performance characteristics of the pick-up. There is a bit of additional technical knowledge and experience applied to pick-ups compared to those other devices. Variances will make a noticeable difference in a pick-up where-as they wouldn't be noticeable in an electric motor or solenoid.

I don't want to discourage anyone from rewinding their own pick-ups, it can be fairly easy to do, might be fun and a learning experience. However, you can only really know what you are doing by studying electricity, electrical circuits, and electronics. If you have the desire to learn these skills they are universally applicable to anything electrical/electronic anywhere in the world regardless of language and culture, and for our purposes here are applicable to music.

I may in fact start winding my own pick-ups since I have the time and the technical background. (although I need to refresh my education). I have a few more complicated electrical/electronic repair projects to do, a Sunn Concert Controller, a nice vintage guitar amplifier, a recording studio rack amp and an expensive organ (looks like an input power circuit problem). Pick-ups will be simple and fun by comparison.

Back to the original question of this post, I think they probably use a shrink fit insulating tape, especially in a repair such as this, or possibly pre-made bands of the right size that would shrink fit tightly over the winding. In either case an easy DIY (Do It Yourself). Does anyone know offhand exactly what people use to cover these windings after rewinding pick-ups?

Phangeaux
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(@ricochet)
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Oh, I'm not denying any of that stuff. I posted a link where interested parties could learn more about pickup winding and converse with experienced pickup makers. :D

It's not rocket science, though. If you rewind it and it sounds different, it sounds different. You might like it! It's not going up in smoke and flames or anything. :lol:

"A cheerful heart is good medicine."


   
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