Should I get my money back? faulty hand wound pickup

Discussion in 'Tech-Talk' started by thegrasshopper, Nov 23, 2021.

  1. Jimbo99

    Jimbo99 Strat-O-Master

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    Buy a cake of Mrs Palmers surfboard wax, gently put the wire back within & under the edge/lip of the flatware, slice a thin sliver of the wax and smear it on the windings from the sides. The surfboard wax is tackier than harder parafin Gulf wax with the same melting point. You could also use a thinner vinyl tape. I just did a cover on a Telecaster pickup this way because it was loose and moving around and you won't need to unsolder & pot the pickups. A heat gun or even hair dryer will make the surfboard wax flow or be even more pliable than it is. If you don't want to use a heat gun or hair dryer, just leave the guitar in the direct mid-day sun for 20-60 minutes (FL) and the wax should melt enough & flow into the outer layer(s) of wire winding. You could probably even just leave it in the car during the mid-day heat & sun and the car becomes ideally hot inside as a solar oven. I painted a bicycle frame once and after the paint dried, put the frame in the car for few days and that seemed to cure the paint as well. Probably could do that with a guitar body to cure paint or polyurethane finishes.

    You bought a used set of pickups, those are usually "as is" sales. No guarantees really. But you can either pot them or do as I suggested and avoid the mess and some of the steps of potting a pickup in a pan of melted wax.
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2021
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  2. thegrasshopper

    thegrasshopper Strat-Talker

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    Thx for your reply!
    I love the tone of hw pups, but I haven't installed them yet because of this issue...

    The seller has offered me a 50% refund...

    If they sound ok when installed, would you keep them?
     
  3. Leofender

    Leofender Senior Stratmaster Silver Member

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    Sure I would keep them!
    Finding your tone could be an expensive and long term thing... The short cut is to tuck that wire in to bed with his mates.
    Wax it shut, job done.
    Enjoy, you are lucky!
    Look at it this way...
    finding your tone is like wrangling a heard of cats!
     
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  4. thegrasshopper

    thegrasshopper Strat-Talker

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    Thx dude!

    Finding the tone is being really though for me.. I've g ot obsessed, almost insane... I'm almost sure is close to an oct

    Some people may laugh at me as they are happy with their CV Squiers, I wish I was one of them... I find myself guilty of being caught by marketing, hype... but I also know I have good ears and experience, but at this point, I can't even tell what I'm hearing, what I like... :(

    I'm suffering with this expensive rabbit hole... this pups are the last expensive "boutique" stuff I will buy (will let you know next week hahaha)
     
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  5. Leofender

    Leofender Senior Stratmaster Silver Member

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    Hey, I feel you buddy. Tone is illusive... Geez what a buzz I got when I found the magic formula! I was lucky, I was given good advice from a Strat Talk member.

    Yes, tone is instantly recognisable, but setup tweaks will take a week or more, as the pups height can, and should be something you will expect to just play around with the old screwdriver to zero in on the ideal position.

    I guess you know that already.
    I find it's a great start to level the cover with the Scratchplate, then raise her up and home in on the best tone little by little.

    I would be very grateful for the pictures and update on your journey to tone heaven... Sounds like you have been working hard to get here. I'm wishing you that destination is at hand now, bar a bit of tweaking!
     
  6. thegrasshopper

    thegrasshopper Strat-Talker

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    Thx for the encouragement, I'll let you know how these pups sound today's evening... hope nice!!!
     
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  7. nutball73

    nutball73 Senior Stratmaster

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    As some have said, if the pickups work there's no issue. If the seller is offering 50% refund, I think that's extraordinarily generous.

    All the other posts about returns etc. are the reason I rarely sell any used gear any more. Guitar nerds can be the fussiest people on earth...
     
  8. dirocyn

    dirocyn Most Honored Senior Member

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    I don't see a problem, just some real evidence that these pickups really are hand wound and unpotted. Care must be taken during installation, to ensure the stray wire doesn't snag.

    If these pickups are supposed to be potted, its fake or faulty.

    Otherwise, this is all an exercise in "let me speak with your manager " to get a discount. Which has apparently worked.
     
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  9. Fenderbaum

    Fenderbaum Strat-O-Master

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    Getting a sticky tone...
     
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  10. nadzab

    nadzab Play Don't Worry Silver Member

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    I think those pickups are potted - it looks to me like the wax is holding that wire to the side of the flatwork. I'd put the cover on, install it, and as long as it sounds like it should (which I suspect it will), I wouldn't give it a second thought.

    Out of curiosity, do you have the link to the listing? Wondering what kind of photos the seller posted.
     
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  11. FrieAsABird

    FrieAsABird Senior Stratmaster

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    If the seller offered a 50 percent discount, I would take it. If he didn't see anything wrong with it, hew probably wouldn't offer it, right? Maybe, if you feel like it, make him a nice offer and take a 30 percent discount since only one is not to your liking. Thats what you suggested in the beginning anyway if I remember correctly :)
     
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  12. simoncroft

    simoncroft Still playing. Still learning! Silver Member

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    I'm sorry, I was looking at the wrong thing. That isn't great, because the pickup is going to be very vulnerable to damage. Maybe one day, you decide to change the covers, forget about the loose winding and break it. If you keep them, electrical tape over the top, as has been suggested, would seem a sensible precaution.
     
  13. retrobob

    retrobob Strat-Talker

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    JMHO,
    1). If you're careful the wire can be gently pushed back into place. Careful though, if you break the wire you're into a repair that may not be cheap.
    2). The coil needs to be wax potted to reinforce the coils from moving and prevent microphonics.

    Wax potting is not simply smearing some wax over the top of the coils. And, I don't like electrical tape on pickup coils, the adhesive can be a little too aggressive for the wires thin enamel coating and damage it over time. They make pickup tape, but delicate surface masking tape can be cut to fit and used.

    There's a little more to wax potting than meets the eye, it requires a blend of paraffin and bees wax to control the melting temperature and increase pliability (resilience) of the wax. Paraffin wax has a low melt temp, but by itself is too brittle and can break coil windings if jarred. Bees wax is very pliable, but by itself requires too high of a melting temp which can cause coil and bobbin damage. Usually these waxes are blended to a 90/10 mix, a little more, a little less depending on pickup materials used.

    Once the right wax blend is achieved, you need a controlled temperature melting pot. The coil needs to be submersed for about 20 minutes with no bubbles coming out of the coils, while maintained at the correct controlled temp. Too hot you stand the chance of burning the pickup and/or warping bobbins, too cold the coils won't saturate and it achieves nothing. Usually the temperature required is between 120° - 140°. Once in the wax pot you have to keep an eye on the process and tilt/rotate and agitate to ensure complete wax saturation. A poorly wax potted pickup will have microphonics, I've re-potted a number of coils to get rid of it.

    In all my years, I have only seen one set of expensive hand wound pickups that did not come wax potted, the winder was very proud of his winding methods and did not feel it was necessary as windings were very tight, I wax potted them any way. I do not like microphonic pickups (maybe they're not today without potting, but some day they will).

    At 50% off, if was me and I was sure they are what they are suppose to be, I personally would take a chance. However, I have done this procedure many, many times. If you don't have the confidence and don't want to gamble, you could have it done by someone that knows how.

    Of course, you could always use them as is and take a gamble too.
     
  14. of this world

    of this world Senior Stratmaster

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    if you keep the pickups and accept the 50% refund and the vulnerable wire breaks, how will you feel then?
     
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  15. Scott Baxendale

    Scott Baxendale Senior Stratmaster Gold Supporting Member

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    It will short out if the wire is broken, carefully put it in place so it’s not hanging over the edge of the bobbin and drip a little candle wax on it to hold it in place so the cover doesn’t tear it as you are putting it on or taking it off.
     
  16. grumpah

    grumpah Strat-Talker Silver Member

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    Have you wound pickups? This happens to me occasionally when I wind my own pickups. After making sure the pickup works as expected I massage the errant loop into place and make sure the wax potting keeps it from moving around. If I noticed this after potting I would massage it back into place and then drip some melted wax over it to secure it. I also would wrap it with cloth tape and make sure I used a cover to protect it.

    If I were the OP, however, I would look to return them if the errant wire wasn't properly shown in the photos. It is one thing to find such a thing on a home wound pickup, it is something else entirely to pay money for something that may fail in the future through no fault of the purchaser.
     
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  17. retrobob

    retrobob Strat-Talker

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    Exactly, a loose wind does happen occasionally and if noticed after potting, if heated and massaged back into place correctly will function perfectly. And, I like you, would not send it out to anyone in that condition. Simple quality control.
     
  18. Scott Baxendale

    Scott Baxendale Senior Stratmaster Gold Supporting Member

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    Loose windings and scatter wound are not the same thing. I have wound dozens of pickups by hand in so-called scatter wound and have never had loose windings like that unless I F’d it up, or it wasn’t potted. Either it’s defective and wasn’t properly wound and/or potted or it was wound with shoddy workmanship.
     
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  19. Jimbo99

    Jimbo99 Strat-O-Master

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    What I see from the original photos. The other 2 pickups are fine. On the 3rd pickup of the set, a single strand of wire that can be gently put back in place. Mrs Palmers surfboard wax warm water formula is a very pliable and smearable parafin based wax that will hold the wire in place, especially when the entire winding is compressed. That entire winding on any pickup is compressible & reshape-able into the oval that the pickup is. Start by putting the sliver of surfboard wax on the edge of the bobbin and smear it end to end of the bobbin. That will form a pliable wax lip on the base bobbin that will cover the bottom area of the wire winding. These are Strat pickups, they are underneath a pickguard & protected when the loaded pickguard is reassembled completely & installed. If any of the pickups aren't microphonic this repair will work like a charm. I did the same procedure for a microphonic Telecaster neck pickup cover and it's as quiet as my Epiphone P90's. Wax potting might be overkill on this, more effort than required.
     
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  20. CB91710

    CB91710 No GAS shortage here Double Platinum Supporting Member

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    Oh Reverb is VERY "buyer friendly"
    Even if the seller doesn't want to accept the return, Reverb has your back.
    A lot of sellers are not happy with this, because it costs them a lot in BS returns.