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Thread: Replacement pickups for Vorson electric uke to mando conversion?

  1. #1
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    Default Replacement pickups for Vorson electric uke to mando conversion?

    Hello! This summer I picked up one of the Tele body shape Vorson electric ukuleles, and strung it up as a mandola. Out of the gate the pickups were terrible, and the 1st string sounded unamplified. I posted about it, but then realized I could adjust the pickup height, and was able to get some sound from the 1st. However, it's still easily half that of the other strings. (And, in fact, the 4th string is pretty weak, too.)

    I think the outer poles on the pickups just don't line up with the strings or are just plain crummy. Anyone find a drop-in replacement for these little 4 pole pickups? I love the neck feel and the body shape, but the pickups make me not want to play this instrument at all.

    (And no, I don't want to wind my own. )

  2. #2

    Default Re: Replacement pickups for Vorson electric uke to mando conversi

    Have you checked if the Almuse pickups match size wise. They are a common replacement as well as used by many builders. Specifically designed to avoid the weak string problems.

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    Default Re: Replacement pickups for Vorson electric uke to mando conversi

    Sadly, the Vorson pickups have the mounting screws within the oval of the pickup, rather than on the sides like the Almuse pickups. One is under the pickguard, which would be easy enough to reroute and cover with the pickguard. The "bridge" pickup, however, is just routed out of the body.

    The "Current Mandocaster" pickup might work with a little adjustment. But I might just be better off selling the Vorson and putting upgrade money towards a better electric!

  5. #4
    Créateur des e-mandos Soundfarmer Pete's Avatar
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    Default Re: Replacement pickups for Vorson electric uke to mando conversi

    Quote Originally Posted by mreidsma View Post
    Sadly, the Vorson pickups have the mounting screws within the oval of the pickup, rather than on the sides like the Almuse pickups. One is under the pickguard, which would be easy enough to reroute and cover with the pickguard. The "bridge" pickup, however, is just routed out of the body.

    The "Current Mandocaster" pickup might work with a little adjustment. But I might just be better off selling the Vorson and putting upgrade money towards a better electric!
    I`ve done a couple of these pickups before although quite a while ago) and have the correct patterns to create the bobbins.....It`s easy enough to rip the old innards out of the plastic cover and insert new coil/magnet assembly!

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    Default Re: Replacement pickups for Vorson electric uke to mando conversi

    Okay! I might be in touch!

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    Default Re: Replacement pickups for Vorson electric uke to mando conversi

    Okay, yesterday I pulled the pickups on the Vorson to see what was going on with them, after watching several demo videos with others where all the strings sound pretty even through the pickup. Both of my pickups have the same issue with the magnets on the treble side. Here's a photo:

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    Now, this is my first electric, but from everything I've read, it seems like those bar magnets should be *touching* the slugs, right? On both of mine, the magnets are not touching the 1st string slug at all. They are touching all the other slugs. Combine that with a much smaller string and poor magnetic contact, and that sounds like a recipe for lousy volume from the string.

    Looks like it's possible to replace or realign these magnets, although I'm unsure if I can get them off in one piece. Also haven't seen too many replacement magnets this small (currently 1 9/16" - there is room enough for a 1 3/4" magnet.)

    Anyone here have experience replacing magnets in a pickup like this? I also thought about whether I could extend the lead wire from the pickup and just flip it around, putting the slug with the least magnetic pull under the largest string.

    Any ideas appreciated!

  8. #7
    Registered User Tom Wright's Avatar
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    Default Re: Replacement pickups for Vorson electric uke to mando conversi

    Light tone on the E happens naturally. More important than the magnet touching (the pole piece is in the field, touching not necessary) is how close the pole piece is to the string. Instead of messing with the bar magnets, try pushing the E poles higher. They will be sticky at first. Obviously take care to not strain the frame of the pickup.

    I pushed poles down into a pickup by tapping with a hammer on a pencil as a punch. To push from below that can work if you can support the pickup on a couple of blocks. As long as you are adjusting I like to lower the A pole as well as raise the E.

    The poles may themselves be alnico rods, and the ceramic bars spread the field for a bit more generous response. Fender did this for their inexpensive acoustic-electric mandolin. Steve Ryder uses alnico rods for his pickups but without the bar underneath.
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    Default Re: Replacement pickups for Vorson electric uke to mando conversi

    Thanks, Tom! The poles are up as far as they will go. I did just add a small magnet to the E pole, and that increased response quite a bit. Still a bit lower than other strings, but more along the lines of what I'd expect. I only did the neck pickup, so I could A/B between it and the bridge and their is quite a difference! I'll play with it more and see if I can get these to work. Otherwise it's either sell it and buy another electric or order some replacements from Almuse!

    -M

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