I recently bought a '74 Univox Hi-Flyer bass. The previous owner had taken out the original pickups and replaced them with pickups from a Gretsch Electromatic.
He had wired them incorrectly, so i took it to a local shop. While i was there i asked if he might be able to use the original pickups instead.
So, he calls me a few days later and says that they're "dead", and just re-wired the existing pickups.
Now, i've played bass for a while, and i've never heard of pickups dying. They're just some passive humbuckers. Can they really die??! :(
my only dead experience was when the coils were broken and unraveling, but that would account for a dead low output sound
Weird, they're a bit rusty... but i played on an old Harmony P bass with crazy rusted pole pieces and it sounded fine.
Is there any remedy to the possible 'low output' diagnosis?
There are a few things that can cause a pickup to completely die.
A very strong magnetic field can degauss the magnet(s). I've never seen this happen, though.
The windings can corrode to the extent that there's no longer any continuity. (I've only seen this happen once.)
The wire at the end of the winding/beginning of the lead can break. (I've seen this often.)
The last scenario can be repaired quite easily.
Here's a stupid question....? I see a lot that people use 9v batteries to check polarity.... If someone did that to a p/u would that de-magnetize the magnets in it. And on the other hand, if doing that to a metal pole piece pickup, would that re-magnetize it? Would be interesting to know, wish I had some extra pickups around, I'd whip out the dc p/s and see what happens, lol.
As far as pickups being "dead," check with a DMM (set the scale to 20 kOhms). No reading = dead pickup.
Use a compass to check the polarity of magnets. You can also use another magnet if you know which ends are north and south. Opposites (north and south) attract; like polarities repell each other. DON'T let the magnets touch each other; just get them close enough so you can feel the attracting or repelling force.
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