Looks like tech used steel wool?

dirocyn

Most Honored Senior Member
Jan 20, 2018
7,001
Murfreesboro, TN
Keeping pickups far away from steel wool is clearly the best practice. Especially if you are dealing with a rare or expensive pickup.

But the reality is, pickups don't fail often. And when they do, the cause is often unclear. Especially to a tech who uses steel wool and doesn't want to be blamed for the failure. Perhaps the guys who rewind failed pickups for a living see steel wool shreds, but that doesn't prove anything to a guy who wants to pass the buck.

Idk if he owes you anything when your pickups still work, but I wouldn’t hire someone like this a second time.
 

Jimbo99

Senior Stratmaster
Jun 5, 2021
2,606
Palm Coast, FL
Has anyone ever tried fret polishing with steel wool, only that somehow using a magnet as part of the steel wool pad would magnetize the steel wool so that the hairs wouldn't come apart and end up on the pickups ?
 

Guy Incognito

Senior Stratmaster
May 14, 2019
4,832
Here and now
Whoever told you you would have to replace the pickups is an idiot. Taking it back to the shop is a waste of your time. Take five minutes and some tape and you’ll get those things right off.
I didn't read all the posts so I don't know if anyone actually said the pickups would need to be replaced. Steel wool and pickups is a numbers game.

Not everyone who smokes gets cancer but we don't have people posting "I smoked for 30 years with no issue". It's common knowledge that it raises the risk factor.

Not everyone who texts while driving will cause an accident, but it raises the level of risk.

The OP's pickups are now at a higher risk than say, any of my pickups. They could work perfectly for 60 years or one could suddenly stop working 5 years from now. Either way the odds of an issue are increased because of the guy who says "I've never had a problem before". A tech wouldn't even know if they created a problem because they're working on other people's guitars and the problem will occur in the distant future.

There are many reasons to do things the same way over and over again but "I haven't had a problem yet" isn't one of them.
 
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Intune

Most Honored Senior Member
Jan 14, 2021
5,683
Edmonton, Alberta
I’d still like to see a actual set of pickups that failed due to this stuff? It is a myth?

I used 0000 steel wool to polish my frets. The neck was off the guitar downstairs. I used compressed air and a few rags. Went upstairs to the kitchen table to assemble the guitar. Still managed to get the slivers on the magnets. Clean it off and good to go. Doing this for years now. Never had a dead pickup.

So really if you don’t that stuff anywhere near your pickups, just don’t buy it or bring it into your home/shop.
 

Guy Incognito

Senior Stratmaster
May 14, 2019
4,832
Here and now
So really if you don’t that stuff anywhere near your pickups, just don’t buy it or bring it into your home/shop.
This is exactly what Jason Lollar says.

As said in an earlier post the average person will only do this job a limited number of times throughout their life, but a tech does this kind of work all the time and its a numbers game.
 
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JimJamJab

Strat-Talk Member
Jan 25, 2020
51
The Music Store
Whoever told you you would have to replace the pickups is an idiot. Taking it back to the shop is a waste of your time. Take five minutes and some tape and you’ll get those things right off.
Thanks all, before this goes any further, I'm going to do this myself with some tape.

Didn't realize it was so dividing. Will probably not personally use it due to the potential for issues even if they are low, but gained some perspective on the issue.

Will also say for the sake of believing you should admit it when you were mistaken that I reviewed the Erlewine books as well and he does recommend using it for some things. Must have been remembering this from other sources as there isn't exactly a shortage of the alternate view either.

I learned the viewpoints and recommendations for what to do, which is what I came here for. Appreciate the discussion/advice.
 

dirocyn

Most Honored Senior Member
Jan 20, 2018
7,001
Murfreesboro, TN
I’d still like to see a actual set of pickups that failed due to this stuff? It is a myth?
Seymour Duncan sees it. From his website:

Don't use steel wool around pickups.
  • I get many pickups in that are lodged with bits of steel wool from repair work or pickups being placed on a work bench full of it. It can get lodged all over the pickup and even cause interference to the signal and magnetic field. It also looks bad when you have steel wool in-between your pole piece and strings. If someone wants to polish your frets on your Strat, have them remove the pickguard before doing the work.
If Dan Erlewine, Seymour Duncan, and Jason Lollar all say steel wool around pickups is bad, that's good enough for me. Plus it's obvious, steel wool is going to stick to magnets and will be difficult to remove if it gets into the winding. It can't be good for pickups.

Guys who rewind pickups see steel wool in there. Guys who don't, don't.
 

Guy Incognito

Senior Stratmaster
May 14, 2019
4,832
Here and now
Seymour Duncan sees it. From his website:

Don't use steel wool around pickups.
  • I get many pickups in that are lodged with bits of steel wool from repair work or pickups being placed on a work bench full of it. It can get lodged all over the pickup and even cause interference to the signal and magnetic field. It also looks bad when you have steel wool in-between your pole piece and strings. If someone wants to polish your frets on your Strat, have them remove the pickguard before doing the work.
If Dan Erlewine, Seymour Duncan, and Jason Lollar all say steel wool around pickups is bad, that's good enough for me. Plus it's obvious, steel wool is going to stick to magnets and will be difficult to remove if it gets into the winding. It can't be good for pickups.

Guys who rewind pickups see steel wool in there. Guys who don't, don't.
This One ^^^^

I've had pickups where I simply didn't bother to find out why they died. In theory a pickup will work forever as long as it isn't subjected to things that damage them, so why subject them to that stuff when there's no reason to.
 
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Fenderbaum

Senior Stratmaster
Aug 11, 2020
1,485
Bergen, Norway
If you gotta use Steel wool on Fenders, solution is easy. Unscrew the neck and put the body in another room.
Make sure you vacuum and clean your workbench before putting it toghether again
 

Intune

Most Honored Senior Member
Jan 14, 2021
5,683
Edmonton, Alberta
Seymour Duncan sees it. From his website:

Don't use steel wool around pickups.
  • I get many pickups in that are lodged with bits of steel wool from repair work or pickups being placed on a work bench full of it. It can get lodged all over the pickup and even cause interference to the signal and magnetic field. It also looks bad when you have steel wool in-between your pole piece and strings. If someone wants to polish your frets on your Strat, have them remove the pickguard before doing the work.
If Dan Erlewine, Seymour Duncan, and Jason Lollar all say steel wool around pickups is bad, that's good enough for me. Plus it's obvious, steel wool is going to stick to magnets and will be difficult to remove if it gets into the winding. It can't be good for pickups.

Guys who rewind pickups see steel wool in there. Guys who don't, don't.

Sure I believe them, they are all manufacturing pickups with a warranty. I’m not at all saying it’s good for pickups. Same as them, don’t bring it anywhere near them.

Just I haven’t heard of any actual proof that is does anything. Yes people say don’t for reason. Just in this thread there’s people name calling the tech, he’s a crap tech or whatever. There’s no proof to back up that he did anything wrong though? One member even says the tech should replace the pickups and install them, he’s even accused of being mentally challenged, seriously?
 

Guy Incognito

Senior Stratmaster
May 14, 2019
4,832
Here and now
Just in this thread there’s people name calling the tech, he’s a crap tech or whatever. There’s no proof to back up that he did anything wrong though? One member even says the tech should replace the pickups and install them, he’s even accused of being mentally challenged, seriously?
IMO, he's a crap tech just for letting a guitar out the door without cleaning up after his work. It really doesn't matter what you're doing, if you're a professional do a professional job. However, if you're tech who ignores warnings you're also a crap tech. Steel wool isn't really easier or better than other methods. It is faster if you're not going to take the time to do it right but otherwise it's not faster either.
 

donm1104

Strat-Talk Member
Feb 12, 2017
33
Naugatuck, Ct
Thanks all, before this goes any further, I'm going to do this myself with some tape.

Didn't realize it was so dividing. Will probably not personally use it due to the potential for issues even if they are low, but gained some perspective on the issue.

Will also say for the sake of believing you should admit it when you were mistaken that I reviewed the Erlewine books as well and he does recommend using it for some things. Must have been remembering this from other sources as there isn't exactly a shortage of the alternate view either.

I learned the viewpoints and recommendations for what to do, which is what I came here for. Appreciate the discussion/advice.
I'm glad you have a resolution. Like you, I didn't think this would be so divisive.
Reading your posts, it seems clear that you're open to learning new things. You may want to start gathering tools you need to do fretwork for the next time it needs doing. The tools are a LOT more accessible then when I started, & there are plenty of pawn shop/yard sale/flea market cheapies to be had to practice on. Fretwork and nut work aren't difficult if you are methodical. There is a lot of literature and video out there (including by Dan Erlewine), and Frank Ford has FRETS.com, which is loaded with info & tutorials. At least give it some thought.
 

dirocyn

Most Honored Senior Member
Jan 20, 2018
7,001
Murfreesboro, TN
Sure I believe them, they are all manufacturing pickups with a warranty. I’m not at all saying it’s good for pickups. Same as them, don’t bring it anywhere near them.

Just I haven’t heard of any actual proof that is does anything. Yes people say don’t for reason. Just in this thread there’s people name calling the tech, he’s a crap tech or whatever. There’s no proof to back up that he did anything wrong though? One member even says the tech should replace the pickups and install them, he’s even accused of being mentally challenged, seriously?

At the very least, there's no proof it did anything bad on this occasion. Strat pickups usually have a plastic cover that will prevent most stuff from entering the winding. It's possible that none of the steel wool got into the winding this time. Insisting on a pickup swap is too much; most likely these pickups are fine and will remain fine for years.

But this is a tech who fails to take basic precautions about a well known and obvious risk, and says it's not a problem. It's like leaving your stuff with a tech who stores customer gear outdoors in the alley behind his shop, and says it's not a problem because rain and theft never happen. "It's just never been a problem here." You got your gear back and it still works, looks like he was right this time. You're not entitled to have your stuff replaced, when the risk has not manifested into loss or damage. But now that you know what he's like and what risks he's willing to take with your gear--do you still leave your gear with him?
 

Intune

Most Honored Senior Member
Jan 14, 2021
5,683
Edmonton, Alberta
At the very least, there's no proof it did anything bad on this occasion. Strat pickups usually have a plastic cover that will prevent most stuff from entering the winding. It's possible that none of the steel wool got into the winding this time. Insisting on a pickup swap is too much; most likely these pickups are fine and will remain fine for years.

But this is a tech who fails to take basic precautions about a well known and obvious risk, and says it's not a problem. It's like leaving your stuff with a tech who stores customer gear outdoors in the alley behind his shop, and says it's not a problem because rain and theft never happen. "It's just never been a problem here." You got your gear back and it still works, looks like he was right this time. You're not entitled to have your stuff replaced, when the risk has not manifested into loss or damage. But now that you know what he's like and what risks he's willing to take with your gear--do you still leave your gear with him?

Yes I definitely agree. Take your guitar elsewhere or learn the simple set up steps to avoid any average tech touching your stuff. Definitely not professional at all.

Still with the rain and theft reference those things do happen many times a day all over the world.
 

rolandson

Dr. Stratster
Jul 13, 2015
12,323
Foothills of the Cascades
Your unfortunate condition aside, if using the occasional Scotch Brite in my kitchen sink and on me fretboards causes me to live a year or so less, so be it.

I would welcome the sooner expiration date to be honest.
Ain't the expiration that is so damn disturbing but rather, the manner by which it is accomplished... as they say.

I've never used steel wool on frets...spouse had one of those fingernail buffing things... (emphasis on the had )...

I like the wool because it shaves instead of gouging like sandpaper or Scotch Brite... don't get those nasty little bumps that always pop up following a really great paint job.

I used 0000 steel wool to polish my frets. The neck was off the guitar downstairs. I used compressed air and a few rags. Went upstairs to the kitchen table to assemble the guitar.
When using it for finishing work I'd follow the cleaning with a fairly stout magnet in a plastic bag...always manage to gather a few strands no matter how thorough I thought I'd been with the rags and air.
 
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Tone Deaf

Stratosaurus Magnificus
Platinum Supporting Member
Feb 12, 2009
9,252
New Jersey, USA
As several others have said, get a roll of duct tape, aka Gaffer’s tape. It’s really sticky and the steel wool slivers will probably adhere to the tape - overcoming the small magnetic pull of the pickup.

Besides, you’ll find 1001 uses around the home for a roll of that tape. A must for every tool box.

I wouldn’t use a different ( stronger ) magnet since the slivers will just be stuck on a different magnet. Not sure but it may slightly demagnetize your pickups as well. Note to self to check the physics of this out…..

Shame on that Guitar Tech…..
 

gotzz

Strat-Talker
Aug 28, 2010
264
Croatia
Use a magnet to pick it up from what?

If you use a strong magnet near your pickups there's the potential for a new problem.

I see your point and I was thinking about it before, but I never noticed any problem with that method.
For example, when I come over some not magnetized pickup pole with a neodymium magnet, it won't magnetize. But when you got neodymium on both sides of the same pole, then it will magnetize. That's the logic I go for when cleaning the steel wool trash.

But if there's anyone who knows more about the physics and magnetic fields, I'll be glad to learn something before it's too late ;)
 


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