Originally Posted by gvickn1
Thanks kohntarkosz. That would probably do it. Problem is, I'm nervous about ruining the tone of the pickup. Do you think it would be a mistake to pot the SG's pickups, since thats such a big part of their sound? How much affect did you notice on tone?
Cork sniffers, especially Les Paul fans, get really wound up about potting pickups. To me it is the most cost-effective way of overcoming the design flaws within a pickup. Using Neil Young's electric guitar tone as an example should make anybody want to pot their pickups! His tone is that offensive.
A pickup is microphonic if some of the enamelled copper wire wound within is allowed to move relative to the other winds in the pickup. This movement induces a current in the coil. At high volume and/or gain settings you get unusuable, unmanageable feedback. Pickups with loose metal covers can also suffer this problem. Telecaster guitars are the absolute worst for that; the whole bridge plate can feedback.
To me it is undesirable. There is a reason Bill Lawrence, The Alembic crew and Dimarzio started burying pickup coils in epoxy in the '70s. The original Gibson PAF pickups were gloriously unpotted. This is no doubt one of the reasons players like Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page and Paul Kossof are constantly working the volume controls on their guitars in historic concert footage; using them as noise gates as well as to influence the timbre of their instrument. I think the problem is that the Les Paul cork sniffers automatically assume any potted pickup is going to sound like a Dimarzio Superdistortion... or that the wax 'contrains' the tone somehow. I've potted close to a dozen guitar and bass pickups and never noticed a change in tone that was undesirable or even noticeable. What I did notice was that the pickups were no longer screaming at bedroom volume.
With a guitar, the effects would be difficult to notice. With a bass, usually played clean, and with the treble content being eaten up quickly in a band contect, I don't imagine there is any effect on tone you could reliably measure and draw a conclusion on because it would be so small. I consider it a worthy mod to overcome sloppy tolerances within pickups. Some Les Paul fans will be, right now, cracking open their PAF clones and melting the wax out with a hairdryer. A lot of OEM pickups that claim to be wax potted are given the briefest of dunks in hot wax, so only the outermost coils ever get to see the wax... all opinions are equally valid...