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shron7

removing wax from my humbucker

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i guess that would depend on how you do it.  Not sure why you would... pickup is likely going to squeel at high gain after... but perhaps would have a subtle amount of more highs.  If I was dead set on doing it I'd try a hair dryer and a lot of patience.

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I have removed the majority of wax from pickups and made some material changes to them and my turned cheapo epiphone pickups that sounded absolutely horrible into that pickups that sounded better than my Gibson 57 classic & classic plus pickups.  For around $25 per pickup. You have to be extremely careful though pickup wire is like a strand of hair and will break so easily (learned that one the hardway on the first pick I ever tried to modify). I disassembled the pick and carefully used an exacto model kit knife and carved the wax away from the bobbins and wiring. I then disassembled the bobbin mounting screws and continued removing wax with my exacto knife when I could start seeing the black pickup tape through the wax I used one of the plastic bobbin spacers to scrape wax off the black tape and stopped. I removed the pole screws, slugs, metal pole spacer, desoldered the ground wire from the base plate (use a heat sink). Removed the bar magnet. I did not remove the pick up tape and was very careful not to disturb the wiring at all.  I then reinstalled all the parts on a new nickel/silver base plate, installed new nickel plated 1214L steel slugs and 1214L nickel plated pole screws. I installed an Alnico 5 magnet. I replaced the pickup cover with a nickel/silver cover. Bought the parts from mojotone on some that I did and Philedelphia Luthers on the others. I did this process on six Epiphone pickups and saved about $450-$500 from not buying high dollar gibson pickups. The wax that remained was just enough to not have microphonic distortion but let me have some feedback for some Hendrix type tunes.  No BS here it really did improve the sound quality in a very noticeable way.  Also you can remove the junktronics in the epiphones with some CTS pots, and orange drop caps as well. My Epiphone Dot, Epiphone Olympic and Epiphone Wilshire 1966 reissue guitars sound great now.  Before hand the pickups sounded like mud and the wilshire pickups sounded glassy.  Most likely the material changes I made played a big part and the wax removal did some good as well. The electronics changes after the pickup mods was icing on the cake.  When you can't afford $2500-$10,000 guitars you learn to improvise. 

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certainly is an interesting account, thank you for sharing. 

Forgive me for being a voice of condescension but if we assume you pay $15 for an epiphone pickup... then put $10 worth of parts into it... pay yourself $15hr for an hour to disassemble a pickup, then scrape off wax and reassemble... we're at $40.  I buy used seymours all the time on craigslist for that... so I'm not sure it's worth it for everyone.  That said I've been known to waste a lot more on much more futile efforts so in summary: rock on.

Still good info, and I've replaced magnets/slugs on pickups with some success(convert silver to gold slugs comes to mind)... but it's the kind of thing I would really save for a pickup that I really liked or matched my guitar in some way, or just to have fun learning!

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