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Which pickups do you pot?

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  • Which pickups do you pot?

    Paraffin Potting guitar and bass pickups seems to be Hot topic!
    The subject always gets a lot of air play!
    Feel free to Jump in and discuss it some more if you like, and whatever reasons you might have.
    T
    **the question that "don't pot PAF replica pickups"
    If you check the box, that means you don't pot replica PAFs.
    If you leave it blank, that means you have or do Pot PAF Replicas.
    I would change that, but once I submit a poll, it will not let me edit or change the poll.
    91
    Pot Single coils?
    17.58%
    16
    Pot Humbuckers
    15.38%
    14
    Pot Pickups with Covers attached?
    6.59%
    6
    Don't pot PAF replica Pickups?
    5.49%
    5
    Pot without vacuum?
    12.09%
    11
    Pot with vacuum?
    6.59%
    6
    Pot with Temp between 135-150f Degrees?
    14.29%
    13
    I pot with a Paraffin, and Bees Wax blend?
    8.79%
    8
    I thin my paraffin with various thinners?
    3.30%
    3
    I pot multi-Pickups at a time?
    9.89%
    9
    Last edited by big_teee; 06-09-2014, 12:06 AM.


    "If Wishes Were Horses, Beggars Would Ride!" Scottish Proverb 1600s
    Terry

  • #2
    I wish I had asked the question, do you pot with something other than Potting Paraffin wax?
    If you use lacquer or other methods to pot and don't use potting wax, you can tell us here.
    Bruce Johnson comes to mind.
    I just tend to take for granted, that everyone uses paraffin.
    T


    "If Wishes Were Horses, Beggars Would Ride!" Scottish Proverb 1600s
    Terry

    Comment


    • #3
      Yep, I think I'm the lone radical non-waxer. I've stood on the hilltops and preached the gospel of CPES, but the masses are stuck in their ways of wax, following the teachings of Leo. I'm not saying that wax is bad, but I think CPES is better.

      I pot all of my pickups for long term durability and to eliminate microphonics. And I like CPES epoxy because it's fast (minimal labor) and foolproof, and permanent.

      Comment


      • #4
        you're not the lone CPES potter here Bruce, I also use it for all my coils that require potting. some coils get swabbed, and some get dunked depending on how prone they've been to squealing in the past.

        I currently do not use wax for potting, and it's not on my current plans to start doing so. pot with what makes you happy and suits your needs

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Bruce Johnson View Post
          Yep, I think I'm the lone radical non-waxer. I've stood on the hilltops and preached the gospel of CPES, but the masses are stuck in their ways of wax, following the teachings of Leo. I'm not saying that wax is bad, but I think CPES is better.

          I pot all of my pickups for long term durability and to eliminate microphonics. And I like CPES epoxy because it's fast (minimal labor) and foolproof, and permanent.
          It must be a Bass thing!
          You and Rodent both make basses.
          Don't think it would be suitable for most guitar pickups.
          A humbucker, for example, I pot, only after the bobbins are taped and the Pickup is assembled.
          Primarily trying to pot and dampen the metal parts.
          If it has a nickel cover, I pot them with the cover on.
          They can still be disassembled.
          It would probably work ok with fender type SC pickups.
          My bass Soapbars, I do the same way, I pot with the covers on.
          They can be disassembled too!
          I do lots of experimenting and prototypes, and like the option of disassembly!
          T
          Last edited by big_teee; 06-10-2014, 01:53 AM.


          "If Wishes Were Horses, Beggars Would Ride!" Scottish Proverb 1600s
          Terry

          Comment


          • #6
            I only voted on this one because I pot with bees/paraffin blend because there's probably still some bees in my mix ,I have bees wax on hand (love the smell of it) but i don't use it any more only paraffin now ..
            you do get the odd corksniffer wanting a 80/20 blend so i can say "SURE" i use the Bees/Paraffin blend .....
            Last edited by copperheadroads; 06-10-2014, 04:06 AM.
            "UP here in the Canada we shoot things we don't understand"

            Comment


            • #7
              Tee;

              I think we've discussed this before, but there are really two different types of "potting" involved in making pickups, but common electronics lab terminology calls them both Potting.

              There's the potting of the coils, where you use a very thin wax or glue to bond all the wires of the coil together. This stops the fine microphonics of the coil turns vibrating against each other when the pickup is physically tapped.

              And there's the overall potting of the pickup, which I prefer to call Encapsulation, to avoid confusion. Encapsulation uses a thicker wax or glue to surround all the parts and fill the spaces inside the cover or shell. The purpose is to prevent all the larger parts from rattling against each other, and to seal it all up against moisture.

              By their nature, the coil potting and the encapsulation should be done with materials of two different viscosities. If you are using wax, the coil potting needs to be done with wax that is hot and very thin, to make sure that it soaks all the way in through the coil. But the encapsulation needs to be done with wax that is thicker and applied colder, to minimize the shrinkage and moisture absorbtion. You should pot the coils first in the thin mix, and then encapsulate the coils into the shells in the thicker mix. If you try to do both operations at the same time, you'll cheat one or the other. If the coil potting is good, the encapsulation will be weak, and vice versa.

              Same thing with epoxy. The coil potting needs to be done with the super low viscosity CPES. The encapsulation needs to be done with a thicker hard epoxy like West Systems. They are two different operations requiring different materials.

              And, epoxy is fine for classic-type guitar pickups too. You pot the coils with CPES, position the components inside the cover, and pour in the West Systems. Secure, sealed up, and permanent. The permanence is the big tradeoff. An epoxied pickup should never fail, but it also can't be taken apart and messed with. To me, that's a feature, not a bug.

              In my opinion, wax is okay for coil potting, if it's done properly and the overall assembly is otherwise mounted solidly and sealed up. I still like the CPES better, though.

              But I think wax is a poor product to use for encapsulation. It's almost guaranteed to dry out, shrink and crack. That's asking for problems down the line. I would only use it on a prototype that I was intending to take apart later. The old companies did it out of pure cheapness.

              Comment


              • #8
                Yes we have discussed that before.(very Much so)
                We all have different ideas of what we want in potting.
                On a guitar humbucker like a modern PAF, I want very little paraffin in the coils.
                I wind the coils, and tape them well with paper tape, before assembly.
                The tape keeps the wax mostly out of the coils.
                I just want a thin layer of paraffin residue, on all the pickup parts, inside the pickup and cover, to dampen the metal parts.
                I see no advantage of real thick wax, because even the thinned paraffin turns to a solid when it cools.
                Thick wax is flakey, and makes a mess, and the thinned wax does not.
                Guitarists don't necessarily like a coil that is over potted.
                So my taped method is a good compromise.
                I recognize the use of both, One doesn't have to be right, and the other wrong.
                potting in paraffin, is cheap and easy to do.
                Epoxy would not be suitabe to pot a metal covered PAF type humbucker, IMO.
                With paraffin, you just drop in the PAF type humbucker, cover, metal baseplate, and all.
                Take it out, drain the hot wax and wipe it off.
                Later on if you want to remove that Potted PAF type cover, just warm it up and remove it, EZ-PZ.
                IMO both methods can be considered permanent, but only the wax method is reversible.
                Wax is permanent, until you want to heat it up and change it.
                As far as I know, no one uses wax to encapsulate.
                Encapsulating a pickup is primarily used with pickups made in a cover, with no bottom, or baseplate, and is used to permanently hide the work of the pickup maker.
                Like, to hide the preamp installed in an active bass pickup.
                On bass soapbars I wax pot, then drain all the hot wax, just like I do on guitar pickups.
                I don't encapsulate, cause I don't care if my pickups are opened up later, or if anyone wants to examine my pickups internally.
                Bottom line, epoxy is not suitable for my methods of assembly and potting, or potting a microphonic pickup later for a customer.
                From what you tell us, Paraffin Wax is not suitable for the Bruce Johnson Bass Building methods.
                I'm only concerned with microphonics, and both methods should take care of that.
                A good debate, and both methods have Validity!
                GL Bruce,
                T
                Last edited by big_teee; 06-12-2014, 08:08 PM.


                "If Wishes Were Horses, Beggars Would Ride!" Scottish Proverb 1600s
                Terry

                Comment


                • #9
                  I haven't potted any pickups at all - and honestly, I'm a little scared to. I've been so thrilled with how hand-wound, unpotted pickups sound, I'm worried that potting will rob them of some of their magic.

                  Obviously, I'll experiment at some stage. But I'd be interested to know if people think it makes a sonic difference.

                  I'd also be interested to know how frequently people have "microphonic" problems with unpotted pickups they make. Potting seems so widespread, it makes me think that this microphonic issue must pop up all over the place. But I've yet to encounter it.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Hi Chad:
                    Potting depends on your circumstances.
                    If you don't perform, and don't play with a lot of drive, or play in a loud band, then you may be fine without potting.
                    On humbuckers, if they are wound firmly, and taped well, without covers you may not need potting.
                    If you sell pickups, get ready for microphonic complaints if you don't pot them.
                    You can't control the customer, so I always pot pickups that go out the door.
                    Single coils, like Strat and Tele pickups are better off potted.
                    If you have a guitar that has that metallic sound when you touch it, or when you flip the switch.
                    That is a effect that usually goes away with potting.
                    Some Amps, and some tubes are more Microphonic than others.
                    So Chad, what are your particulars?
                    Potting does dampen some of the Pick type harmonics.
                    A trade off when potting.
                    As mentioned earlier, I pot humbuckers after taping the coils.
                    I pot, the pickup to dampen the metal parts.
                    IMO a well taped coil will still have good harmonics.
                    Others feel free to jump in!
                    YMMV,
                    GL,
                    T
                    Last edited by big_teee; 06-13-2014, 10:04 PM.


                    "If Wishes Were Horses, Beggars Would Ride!" Scottish Proverb 1600s
                    Terry

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Thanks Big Tee.

                      Especially as I'm just experimenting with some things right now, I think I'll continue to produce unpotted pickups. When we start observing this microphonic issue, then I'll revisit it.

                      Honestly, there are just so many dimensions you can mess with here - I have to prioritize somehow.

                      Chad

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Eight members voted.
                        Anyone else?
                        T


                        "If Wishes Were Horses, Beggars Would Ride!" Scottish Proverb 1600s
                        Terry

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Bruce Johnson View Post
                          There's the potting of the coils, where you use a very thin wax or glue to bond all the wires of the coil together. This stops the fine microphonics of the coil turns vibrating against each other when the pickup is physically tapped.

                          And there's the overall potting of the pickup, which I prefer to call Encapsulation, to avoid confusion. Encapsulation uses a thicker wax or glue to surround all the parts and fill the spaces inside the cover or shell. The purpose is to prevent all the larger parts from rattling against each other, and to seal it all up against moisture.
                          This is what I do. I wax pot everything I wind. I encapsulate most of the pickups I make in epoxy. The only ones that don't get encapsulated are the ones that are not in closed covers.
                          It would be possible to describe everything scientifically, but it would make no sense; it would be without meaning, as if you described a Beethoven symphony as a variation of wave pressure. Albert Einstein


                          http://coneyislandguitars.com
                          www.soundcloud.com/davidravenmoon

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            We had 11 members vote, and it gives a good idea what everyone does.
                            A fun poll, what else could we poll?
                            T


                            "If Wishes Were Horses, Beggars Would Ride!" Scottish Proverb 1600s
                            Terry

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I'd like to know if anyone notices any real difference between Unpotted and potted. Do people play pickups before potting and notice any difference afterwards?
                              http://www.nickburman.com

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