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Thread: Fixing a microphonic pickup

  1. #1

    Default Fixing a microphonic pickup

    So I have two eastwood airline mandolas, which came with what I learned are called 'microphonic' pickups. This is a new term for me, never knew what it was until I got one by accident. Basically, if I hit the pickup with a pick, a fairly loud click comes out the amp, because the cover is conductive and acts like a string that vibrates when you hit it. By comparison, the rail pickup on the mandostang is quiet no matter how hard I hit it.

    So... lowering the pickup is one option.

    But I found this video, which suggests taking off the pickup cover, and adding wax, thus 'potting' the pickup (named for the early practice of dipping pickups in a pot of hot wax).

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FM68RMYOTME

    I was thinking about using blu-tac putty instead, as I can find several electric guitar players who did that with good results.

    Another option is to leave the cover off, but I'm worried about damage since the pick hits it a lot. If the putty doesn't fix the click, then I'll have to find another way to protect the pickup.

    I'll post with the results in a few days.
    Trinity College TM325 Octave Mandolin (converted to 4-string tenor guitar).
    Eastman MD-605SB, MD-604SB, MD-305, all with Grover 309 tuners.
    Eastwood 4 string electric mandostang, 2x Airline e-mandola (4-string) one strung as an e-OM.
    DSP's: Helix HX Stomp, various Zooms.
    Amps: QSC-K10, DBR-10, THR-10, Sony XB-20.

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  3. #2

    Default Re: Fixing a microphonic pickup

    Tried to fix it today, my 100w soldering gun couldn't touch it, so I just lowered the pickup, seems fine, I think I like it better like this. :-)

    But I ordered a 300w gun too, I will try again at some point.
    Trinity College TM325 Octave Mandolin (converted to 4-string tenor guitar).
    Eastman MD-605SB, MD-604SB, MD-305, all with Grover 309 tuners.
    Eastwood 4 string electric mandostang, 2x Airline e-mandola (4-string) one strung as an e-OM.
    DSP's: Helix HX Stomp, various Zooms.
    Amps: QSC-K10, DBR-10, THR-10, Sony XB-20.

  4. #3
    Créateur des e-mandos Soundfarmer Pete's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fixing a microphonic pickup

    If it`s one of those covered mini humbuckers with no screw holes, you could dip the thing in shellac (French Polishing stuff), let it soak for a while and then clean the excess off the cover with alcohol when it`s drained and dried out.
    It`s movement in a loose coil that causes the microphonic effect so binding the coil together is the solution.
    I always use shellac for my pickups....safer than wax potting on very fine wire.

  5. #4
    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Question Re: Fixing a microphonic pickup

    [terminology unclear] Are you asking about a contact mic for sensing soundboard vibrations?
    acoustic-electric..

    Those are frequently discussed in the Equipment section of the upper sections of this page..

    that's different than magnetic pickups sensing string motion in its magnetic field..









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  6. #5

    Default Re: Fixing a microphonic pickup

    This is a soapbar electric guitar humbucker pickup, see the Eastwood Airline Mandola if you want more details.

    The 300W soldering gun got it apart no problem, and it was filled with wax, so adding putty was pointless, I put it back together and left it low, that's as good as it will get for now. Set low like that I don't hit it with the pick, but the signal is a bit weaker.

    I didn't try to dig the pickup out of the wax, it was a solid bar of wax with a pickup embedded in it. Eastwood does a nice job with touches like that.

    So living with it or replacing the pickup are the best options at this point.
    Trinity College TM325 Octave Mandolin (converted to 4-string tenor guitar).
    Eastman MD-605SB, MD-604SB, MD-305, all with Grover 309 tuners.
    Eastwood 4 string electric mandostang, 2x Airline e-mandola (4-string) one strung as an e-OM.
    DSP's: Helix HX Stomp, various Zooms.
    Amps: QSC-K10, DBR-10, THR-10, Sony XB-20.

  7. #6
    Registered User Tom Wright's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fixing a microphonic pickup

    If the metal case is ferrous, i.e. steel, you’re out of luck. I have one made that way, potted properly but any tap on the case is really loud. Gibson and similar are chrome-plated brass housings, so not magnetic.
    Blog--Miniature Orchestra
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  8. #7
    Créateur des e-mandos Soundfarmer Pete's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fixing a microphonic pickup

    Good point Tom....those pickups are cheap Chinese things so maybe the cover is part of the problem..... Since you`ve already had it apart, for the price, you could try one of these .....Nickel covers are better than brass (or so they would have us believe)!!! https://www.philadelphialuthiertools...lver-no-holes/

  9. #8

    Default Re: Fixing a microphonic pickup

    Wow, those covers are a perfect fit, I'll give them a try.

    I am pretty certain the OEM covers are ferrous, which is the root of the problem. Replacing the covers is the best solution.
    Trinity College TM325 Octave Mandolin (converted to 4-string tenor guitar).
    Eastman MD-605SB, MD-604SB, MD-305, all with Grover 309 tuners.
    Eastwood 4 string electric mandostang, 2x Airline e-mandola (4-string) one strung as an e-OM.
    DSP's: Helix HX Stomp, various Zooms.
    Amps: QSC-K10, DBR-10, THR-10, Sony XB-20.

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