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Difficulty: Intermediate

Repotting Your Pickups

Tutorial courtesy of Kevin Johnson:

Greetings all! The purpose of this tutorial is to provide step-by-step instructions on repotting your own pickups. I just recently had to do this myself, and contrary to what I’ve heard it wasn’t hard at all in fact it was kind of cool….

Special thanks go out to Sondra (my betrothed/candlemaking guru), Gabe Nickelson, pri0531 and Sebastian from the forum over at jemsite.com, for pointing me in the right direction.

WARNING – WAX IS EXTREMELY FLAMMABLE.

DO NOT ATTEMPT THIS NEAR AN OPEN FLAME - MOLTEN WAX IS HIGHLY FLAMMABLE
DO THIS AT YOUR OWN RISK - BE INFORMED, SAFE AND WORK RESPONSIBLY

Tools required to pot pickups:

  • A double boiler (I used a large metal measuring cup place inside the boiler)
  • Electric stove top or hot plate (open flame is a no-no)
  • Candle making or candy thermometer
  • Rubber bands
  • Pliers or tongs
  • Beeswax
  • Canning wax
  • Paper towels

 

  1. Remove your pickup(s) from your guitar. Wrap a few rubber bands around your pickup to hold the bobbin tape together while its being dipped. The glue or whatever holding the tape can melt and make a HUGE mess (or so I’m told).
  2. Fill the double boiler about halfway with water. Place the inside part of your double boiler into the water.
  3. If needed, break up the wax into small cubes. Use your judgment on the amount of wax to use I needed a pound and a half to provide enough liquid to completely submerge my pickup. And when it was all over I had quite a bit of wax left over. StewMac recommends a wax mixture of 20% beeswax and 80% canning wax. Mine was more 50/50.
  4. SLOWLY turn the heat on the stove and attach the thermometer to the inside of the smaller pot.
  5. Stir the mixture around until it’s a consistent liquid. DO NOT LET THE MIXTURE GET MUCH PAST 150°F/65°C – The wax melts at 148°F degrees so that’s as hot as you need it to be.
  6. Use the tongs to hold your pickup – BE careful WAX IS HOT – (duh). And dip it into the mixture. Wiggle it around until there are no more visible air bubbles. Repeat this every 5 minutes or so to make completely sure you're getting full saturation (sounds like an ad for Peavey).
  7. After about 20 minutes you should be good to go. Remove the pickup from the wax and place it on a paper towel to cool. Wipe off the excess wax.
  8. After a few minutes when the wax looks like its almost completely cooled remove the rubber bands.
  9. Let cool for another couple of hours.

 

Put the pickup back in your guitar and Whola!!


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