FRIED PICKUP??

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FRIED PICKUP??

Post by T.M.A. on Thu May 26, 2016 7:08 am

hey guys,

Used my westone spectrum st for my modding experimentation guitar for many years. probably wasn;t the smartest thing because that was easily my favorite guitar. Anyway...

Decided to return it to stock just the other day and the bridge pickup just isn't what it used to be. Not defined or as balsy as it used to be. Sounds like it's just 75% weaker even though I measured the output and it's still the same... Is it possible that I fried it with all those hours of experimenting and smashing it with a hot soldering iron?? Luckily, I bought another bridge pickup from ebay a while back (someone had parted out a westie st and i bought the bridge pickup). I put that sucker in and it sounds alright, but not like it used to. Actually, I really don't remember how it sounds, so maybe ol' nostalgia is getting the best of me...

Any suggestions? Thoughts? Any way to repair the old pickup? Someone I could send it to perhaps?? How much variation is there in these pickups from one to another anyway?

Thanks guys,

T.M.A.
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Re: FRIED PICKUP??

Post by corsair on Thu May 26, 2016 8:27 am

Hmmmmm.... unless one of the coils has gone doggo - which is unlikely if you've measured the output - I don't know what to suggest?!
This is the MMK45, right, and not the faux-UBC p'up that so bedevilled so many of theses guitars?? I ask because the MMK45s are quite hot and give a nasty growl and the UBCs do tend to be a little underwhelming....

Ah, yes..... nostalgia, and in my case, mis-remenbering stuff!! Laughing

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Re: FRIED PICKUP??

Post by T.M.A. on Thu May 26, 2016 8:33 am

The output has always been 6.45... FOREVER... The crazy thing is that the neck pickup still sounds fine. The output on that is the same as well...

As far as it being an MMK45 -I have no idea. Probably not. I recall those pups having an output of about 11.25 or so, right??

Yeah, i truly am wondering what the hell happened... It could be the volume pot, as that is basically a big R2D2 dome of solder at this point... Maybe I'll try changing that out, but the neck pickup is connected to that same pot... Hmmm... So it probably isn't that...

Anyone for the taking??

T.M.A.
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Re: FRIED PICKUP??

Post by T.M.A. on Thu May 26, 2016 8:40 am

Now that i think of it -The pipckup doesn't show much of a difference between in sound when I coil tap it. I'm thinking that one of the coils could have come disconnected? Although, if that were the case, would it still read as normal strength? because it still reads as normal strength. I would think that if one of the coils were disconnected, that the pickup would read half strength all around...?

T.M.A.
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Re: FRIED PICKUP??

Post by T.M.A. on Thu May 26, 2016 8:49 am

Is it possible that the pickup has become "degaussed"??

T.M.A.
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Re: FRIED PICKUP??

Post by Westbone on Thu May 26, 2016 9:10 am

The neck pickup sounds fine because of it's position ie. picks up a bigger, wider string vibration.

The bridge pickup reads right, around 6.4 but sounds weak in it's bridge position, always did. Wind it right up to the strings about 1/8" away. Not the best pickups by far. They're weak especially at the bridge.
Does it have a black plastic bottom or a metal one? If metal they will have a kind of phillips head pole pieces?

Best bet, get a new one for the bridge, something with more bollox.

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Re: FRIED PICKUP??

Post by T.M.A. on Thu May 26, 2016 9:17 am

Yeah, it has the old plastic back and the hex pole pieces. I'm thinking that the pickup has been demagnetized a bit. Just watched a youtube vid on it and I'm pretty convinced that's what happened. Yeah, I have another westie st that has the pickups with the plain metal back and phillips pole pieces. Interesting to hear the differences between the two...

But yeah, I'm pretty convinced it's become demagnetized now...

T.M.A.
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Re: FRIED PICKUP??

Post by T.M.A. on Thu May 26, 2016 9:19 am

Westbone wrote:The neck pickup sounds fine because of it's position ie. picks up a bigger, wider string vibration.

The bridge pickup reads right, around 6.4 but sounds weak in it's bridge position, always did. Wind it right up to the strings about 1/8" away. Not the best pickups by far. They're weak especially at the bridge.
Does it have a black plastic bottom or a metal one? If metal they will have a kind of phillips head pole pieces?

Best bet, get a new one for the bridge, something with more bollox.
I do remember the bridge pickup being weak, but not this weak. There is definitly something off with it...

T.M.A.
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Re: FRIED PICKUP??

Post by Barry on Thu May 26, 2016 10:07 am

Your ears are fine, nothing has been "demagnetized". You just have a UBC pickup which routinely tests around 6-6.5 KΩ. These replaced the MMK45's in many Spectrum models 'round about 1985. Now that you are comparing them to the more powerful pups that you've been experimenting with they sound weak. It's that simple.

If you can find some 45's that would give you a ballsier output, and keep it vintage. They're difficult to come by unless you're patient, and the price has been going up over the past few years, but it's still possible.

I suggest you find a suitable new replacement. I've had good success with GFS products, particularly the Crunchy PAT which has similar specs to the '45 and sounds very good in the Spectrum. I've also used the Wilkinson WHHBN/B matched pair with great success. Make sure you get the Korean made ones, not the Chinese versions.

Edit/Addendum:
Coincidentally, I just received an email from GFS, and they're having a big Memorial Day sale with some fantastic savings on a lot of stuff, including pickups! Now would be a good time to try them out. LINK

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Re: FRIED PICKUP??

Post by T.M.A. on Thu May 26, 2016 12:54 pm

Barry wrote:Your ears are fine, nothing has been "demagnetized". You just have a UBC pickup which routinely tests around 6-6.5 KΩ. These replaced the MMK45's in many Spectrum models 'round about 1985. Now that you are comparing them to the more powerful pups that you've been experimenting with they sound weak. It's that simple.

If you can find some 45's that would give you a ballsier output, and keep it vintage. They're difficult to come by unless you're patient, and the price has been going up over the past few years, but it's still possible.

I suggest you find a suitable new replacement. I've had good success with GFS products, particularly the Crunchy PAT which has similar specs to the '45 and sounds very good in the Spectrum. I've also used the Wilkinson WHHBN/B matched pair with great success. Make sure you get the Korean made ones, not the Chinese versions.

Edit/Addendum:
Coincidentally, I just received an email from GFS, and they're having a big Memorial Day sale with some fantastic savings on a lot of stuff, including pickups! Now would be a good time to try them out. LINK
Hey man, thanks a lot! Gonna have to look into those pickups! I tried one GFS pup a while back and was surprised!! Would love to try these ones that you mentioned out...

But I do actually think the pickup has been demagnetized. I have three other westone spectrum st's here to compare it to and i have also replaced the pickup with another hex head/ plastic back pickup from a parted out guitar and the sound is completely different...

Here's a vid showing some cool stuff:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ITMmEyJ0F0

Gonna call up my buddy here and let you guys know how it goes!!

THANKS!!

T.M.A.
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Re: FRIED PICKUP??

Post by Barry on Thu May 26, 2016 1:30 pm

It may have been demagnetized (not sure how that would happen though) but I doubt that you would hear a huge difference, these are just not loud pickups in the best of conditions.

And it's a humbucker so it won't be quite as easy as working with the single coil in the video. But hey, good luck to you!

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Re: FRIED PICKUP??

Post by T.M.A. on Fri May 27, 2016 2:55 pm

Hey guys!!


The pickup is an old stock humbucker from a Westone Spectrum ST. Love the sound of those...

I think I figured it out. The leads are fine and the magnet is fine as well. I think the main problem was my connection...

I did two things

1. i pulled the pickup apart and flipped the magenet end over end, so that the N pole was till facing towards the neck (didn't know what that was supposed to do, but whatever...)

2. I am using this ancient (the stock one that came with the guitar that I learned how to solder on...) volume pot that has a humongous, R2D2 sized mountain of solder on it. Before, I just smashed the ground from the pup into this mountain of solder, but just now I decided to disconnect the ground and resolder it to the side of the pot where it was clean and solder free... Everything is coming through clean now and the pickup sounds (I think) how it should...

Thanks again for your time...

T

T.M.A.
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Re: FRIED PICKUP??

Post by Westbone on Sat May 28, 2016 5:36 am

Well tinkered.

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