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Thunder II - Modify or original?

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Post by Eboclive Mon Nov 05, 2012 7:10 pm

Hi Guys,

I have a Westone Thunder II fretless, and like you all here, really like it.
It has strong sentimental value, and I have owned it for 27-28 years.
It rarely gets played, but when I do, and it is plugged in (mostly gets played acoustically at home), I notice that the bridge pickup is slightly 'microphonic'. It still works, but picks up any noise acoustically, as well as magnetically.
I have had another pickup do this in the past, and have seen some of my students' pickups do the same thing on other basses.
Neck pickup works fine.

My question would be - should I change/upgrade the pickup, or get it repaired?
I'm not sure if people value the fact that the bass is in original condition, or would be bothered about having upgraded equipment.

Also, I would like to upgrade the active circuit to a bass/treble control, rather than the single active tone control.
Should this be done, or leave the instrument as original?

Your thoughts on this would be appreciated.

Cheers.
Eboclive
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Post by Barry Mon Nov 05, 2012 9:04 pm

Over time (and maybe some misuse) pickups can deteriorate enough to "shake sumthin' loose". When they do, the loose bits (windings usually) start vibrating as well as transmitting the magnetic signal.

The result is that the pickup essentially becomes a microphone and transmits any sound around it in addition to the pickup signal.

The usual fix is to "pot" the pickup. Most times that'll do it: Wax Potting

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Post by corsair Tue Nov 06, 2012 3:06 am

Potting should stop the squealing, and my 2 cents is to not make any alterations/modifications that aren't reversible, otherwise go nuts!!
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Post by Eboclive Tue Nov 06, 2012 5:52 am

Thanks for the replies, guys.

I have heard before about encasing the pickup in wax. I didn't realise it was called 'potting'

When talking with Pete Stevens about the pickups on my Wal, he said they always fill the pickup cavity with wax. They never have this problem.

Is this a job I could do myself?
I have looked up some videos of this on utube.
Most are from people who do many of these (luthiers, repairers, etc).
I have no tools, but could maybe cobble something together.
Would it be easier to go to a luthier, or guitar repair shop?

Any thoughts on upgrading the active circuit?

Thanks.
Eboclive
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Post by Eboclive Tue Nov 06, 2012 6:03 am

@Barry.

Sorry, I only read your link about wax potting after posting a reply.

Very good article.

In my experience, it's not uncommon for pickups to go microphonic, but I have never really come across a defined answer and cause, until now.

Thanks.
Eboclive
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