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Author Topic:  Microphonic pickup
Bill Duncan


From:
Lenoir, North Carolina, USA
Post  Posted 30 Jun 2022 9:05 am    
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I recently installed a Trutone pickup I bought several years ago but never used. It has good sound but I noticed it is microphonic. Is this normal with the Trutone? I have never used one so I do not have experience with them.
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Scott Swartz


From:
St. Louis, MO
Post  Posted 30 Jun 2022 9:59 am    
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Always a risk with an unpotted pickup, all of my models are wax potted for this reason.

I have successfully potted existing TT pickups, the construction is solid and will stand up to the heat if done correctly, contact me if interested.
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Brian Hollands


From:
Franklin, North Carolina, USA
Post  Posted 30 Jun 2022 11:30 am    
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And if wax potting is too hard given the need for a heat source, you can always lacquer pot - no heat needed.
That's what Fender used to do to the early Tele pickups
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Bill Duncan


From:
Lenoir, North Carolina, USA
Post  Posted 30 Jun 2022 11:39 am    
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Thanks guys for the information. When I bought it I never realized Trutones were not potted. My fault for not checking. I ordered another pickup today.
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Bill Duncan


From:
Lenoir, North Carolina, USA
Post  Posted 1 Jul 2022 6:12 am    
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I played my GFI with the Trutone pickup last night and it sure sounds good. It is a shame it was not potted. Playing with a band I don't hear it, but solo I hear bumps and it is annoying. I have an Alumatone on the way. I hope it sounds as good.
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Bill Terry


From:
Bastrop, TX
Post  Posted 1 Jul 2022 8:51 am    
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I don't know about the TrueTone, but I had a micro-phonic pickup (middle) on my '62 Strat. It was so bad that with any reasonable amount of stage volume it squealed. I decided the pickup was useless as it was, so I read up a bit (this was back in about 2000 or so maybe) and did the wax dip. It's been a while, but I seem to remember the big concern was not having the wax ignite, i.e. use a double boiler or something. Anyway, it worked great, the pickup is not microphonic and it's still 'original'. Given you like the sound of the TrueTone (I've owned a couple, I like them too!) I'd consider either reading up and trying it yourself, or let a pro like Scott do it for you.

Shameless plug: I had an Emmons single coil rewind done by Scott, couldn't be happier and it sounds great! IMO he's the go to guy for stuff like this.
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Bill Duncan


From:
Lenoir, North Carolina, USA
Post  Posted 1 Jul 2022 9:34 am    
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Thanks Bill, I will contact Scott when my other pickup arrives. I would like to save the Trutone. The sound is very good.k I
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Jack Hanson


From:
San Luis Valley, USA
Post  Posted 1 Jul 2022 12:12 pm    
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The pickup in my '73 Gee Ess Ten bowlin' ball is maddeningly microphonic, but the instrument still sounds so dang wonderful that I hesitate to change a thing.
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Bill Duncan


From:
Lenoir, North Carolina, USA
Post  Posted 1 Jul 2022 12:38 pm    
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Jack, I guess the microphonics may contribute to the great sound. Could be.
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Ian Rae


From:
Redditch, England
Post  Posted 1 Jul 2022 3:31 pm    
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The Alumitone pickup is a very hi-fi device with no real characteristics of its own - it's colourless in a good way.

I'll be interested to see whether you find it a revelation or a disappointment Smile
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Bill Duncan


From:
Lenoir, North Carolina, USA
Post  Posted 1 Jul 2022 3:59 pm    
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Ian Rae wrote:
The Alumitone pickup is a very hi-fi device with no real characteristics of its own - it's colourless in a good way.

I'll be interested to see whether you find it a revelation or a disappointment Smile


I will let you know. If I don't like it I will get E66s. I like those.
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Bob Carlucci

 

From:
Candor, New York, USA
Post  Posted 2 Jul 2022 3:06 am    
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geez, if you LIKE the sound of a pickup and want to lose the microphonic issue just pot it or get it done... Why replace it with a pickup you might NOT like?. I have had steels with TT pickups as well as Alumitone.I personally would never replace a good single coil with an Alumitone.
The Alumitone is powerful and clear, but lacked any real personality... Also I found them to be too powerful. I mean just extremely LOUD. Might have been just me tho'.

Just sayin'-If you really like the TT, I am not sure the Alumitone is the pickup for you.
Microphonic pickups on guitar or steel were never an issue to me.

Many microphonic pickups are sometimes the best sounding on any given instrument... If it is a problem for some guys, wax potting is the key.
It works and does not alter tone...
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Donny Hinson

 

From:
Glen Burnie, Md. U.S.A.
Post  Posted 2 Jul 2022 6:31 am    
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Bill Duncan wrote:
I played my GFI with the Trutone pickup last night and it sure sounds good. It is a shame it was not potted. Playing with a band I don't hear it, but solo I hear bumps and it is annoying.


Bumps? Maybe from your picking hand "bouncing" on the wound strings? (I get that noise on any guitar if I get overzealous when I palm-block.)

The best way to determine how microphonic a pickup is is to remove the strings and then tap the pickup with your finger. Any noise with no strings on the guitar means microphonics. But with strings on the guitar, sometimes it's hard to tell. Several times, I've had players complain of a microphonic pickup when what was really being picked up were their right hand movements on the strings.

`
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Michael Brebes

 

From:
Northridge CA
Post  Posted 2 Jul 2022 7:41 am    
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The cheap approach to wax potting is to buy one of those mini crockpots. I think I only paid $20 for mine. They don't get hot enough to ignite anything but they will melt wax enough to get in the pickup. Use a mix of paraffin and bees wax for best results.
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Bill Duncan


From:
Lenoir, North Carolina, USA
Post  Posted 3 Jul 2022 4:14 am    
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[quote="Bob Carlucci"]geez,I personally would never replace a good single coil with an Alumitone.
The Alumitone is powerful and clear, but lacked any real personality... Also I found them to be too powerful. I mean just extremely LOUD. Might have been just me tho'.

Just sayin'-If you really like the TT, I am not sure the Alumitone is the pickup for you.
Microphonic pickups on guitar or steel were never an issue to me.


Well, if the Alumatone is a crock I'll try something else. I want to find a pickup that makes me sound like Buddy Emmons. Actually, I will settle for Carlton.
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David Nugent

 

From:
Gum Spring, Va.
Post  Posted 4 Jul 2022 6:13 am    
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You may experience a problem with the top mounting system on an 'Alumitone'. When installing the pickup in my GFI S-10, one of the mounting screws interfered with the existing hole designed for channeling the pickup wires.
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Bill Duncan


From:
Lenoir, North Carolina, USA
Post  Posted 4 Jul 2022 8:50 am    
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David Nugent wrote:
You may experience a problem with the top mounting system on an 'Alumitone'. When installing the pickup in my GFI S-10, one of the mounting screws interfered with the existing hole designed for channeling the pickup wires.


Thanks, Dave. What did you do, bore a new hole, and move the wire route? I have seen several pictures of the GFI with Alumaitone pickups.

When I installed the Truetone I had to trim the base slightly. Nothing major, but it then fits perfectly. Any advice or information about the Alumitone and installation problems is certainly appreciated
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Dave Grafe


From:
Cortlandt Manor NY
Post  Posted 5 Jul 2022 4:54 am    
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A bit of microphonics in a pickup is not necessarily a bad thing, just saying.
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Jon Light


From:
Saugerties, NY
Post  Posted 5 Jul 2022 5:11 am    
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Dave Grafe wrote:
A bit of microphonics in a pickup is not necessarily a bad thing, just saying.

I remember discussions years ago about taking a vintage Tele with microphonic pups and potting them and 'ruining its sound'.

The impossibility of defining 'sounds good' makes objective scientific study of this useless but when you consider the feedback loop of a vibrating string exciting the resonance of a body which re-energizes the string ...... add to that the way that 'loose' unpotted windings are also vibrating......you can't ignore that this contributes to the final sound, for better or worse.

I find overly microphonic pickups undesirable. But I'm aware that I could be tampering with sonics in the process of reducing this condition.
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Bill Terry


From:
Bastrop, TX
Post  Posted 5 Jul 2022 5:15 am    
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Jon wrote:
I find overly microphonic pickups undesirable. But I'm aware that I could be tampering with sonics in the process of reducing this condition.


Agreed. In the case I mentioned above with the Strat pickup, it was unusable as it was, otherwise I might not have been so eager to pot it. It was literally either try that, or replace it. BTW, that PU is still going strong and it sounds absolutely killer into an amp that's cranked up just a bit, a situation that was completely impossible before.
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Bill Duncan


From:
Lenoir, North Carolina, USA
Post  Posted 5 Jul 2022 5:22 am    
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Dave Grafe wrote:
A bit of microphonics in a pickup is not necessarily a bad thing, just saying.


I can agree to that. The sound of the pedals echoing through the amp may be a bit much. i have a set of MSA Super Sustain pickups I removed years ago that were that bad. I tried potting them with the prescribed paraffin and beeswax, but they were still microphonic, though not as much.
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Norbert Dengler


From:
germany
Post  Posted 5 Jul 2022 12:02 pm    
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be careful! the more microphonic the better it might sound!
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Bill Duncan


From:
Lenoir, North Carolina, USA
Post  Posted 5 Jul 2022 3:51 pm    
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My Alumitone Tone bar arrived. Installation was simple and issue free. The sound is much like the Trutone to me. It is smooth and clear. It is well balanced. I have only played it in my studio of course. I do not see any issues yet. Playing out may be different. It seems to be clearer than my E66s.
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Bob Hoffnar


From:
Austin, Tx
Post  Posted 5 Jul 2022 8:21 pm    
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A pickup is microphonic because loose coil wire someplace vibrates in response from acoustical sounds like a microphone. Pickups are made to respond to electrical information in response to a magnet responding to metal strings. So potting the pickup will only help if the wax can get to the loose wire. You need to be pretty careful to get it right. I think that great sounding pickups are usually a little screwed up so I would just pot it or lacquer it. You could even try a fat rubber band to shore it up. It should help some. I would skip the alumitone altogether. They don’t do anything for me.
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Patrick Huey


From:
Nacogdoches, Texas, USA
Post  Posted 7 Jul 2022 5:16 am     Re: Microphonic pickup
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Bill Duncan wrote:
I recently installed a Trutone pickup I bought several years ago but never used. It has good sound but I noticed it is microphonic. Is this normal with the Trutone? I have never used one so I do not have experience with them.

IDK but seems potting them has a purpose. The stock humbuckers in my Les Paul are passive and wax potted and the active EMG JH’s I am getting to replace them are epoxy potted. All of this helps eliminate issues w/ microphonics and excessive feedback when using them w/ a high gain high volume amplifier as they are intended for. I can see microphonics being an issue with pedal steel as the pickups are much more powerful and we generally use loud amps w/ 15” speakers
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