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Broken pickup lead

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Bluzlvr, Sep 12, 2013.

  1. Bluzlvr


    Aug 8, 2012
    Dayton, OH
    Not much of an electronics guy so I need a little advice. In my hurry to change out a set of strings on my scpb I caught the string on the tiny wire that leads from one side of the pickup and, you guessed it, broke the wire into. This thing is about the thickness of a hair and I can hardly even see it with my old eyes. I imagine this is the wire that is wrapped around the pickup. Is there a way to unwrap the wire enough to reconnect to the solder joint where the wiring is that goes to the pots? Damn that thing is tiny. I wasn't even aware that there were wires coming from both ends of the pickup until it was too late. Like I said...not much of an electronics guy. I can put the original pickup back in it but the qtr pdr sounds much better. I'm selling the bass anyway. Is it even worth the hassle to try to repair it?
  2. Stone Soup

    Stone Soup

    Dec 3, 2012
    One end of that wire is the start (inner wrap) and one end is the finish (outer wrap). It is possible to carefully unwrap the wire sometimes. The inner wrap might not unwind. As is is right now, your pickup isn't working anyway. To me, that makes it worth a try.

    I've fixed a pickup with the same issue, before. The part that gave me trouble was making sure the wire was soldered in the ferrule properly. My first attempt netted a low output. Second attempt was fine. I believe I had to make sure the solder was heated enough to melt the coating off the wire.

    I'm no pickup expert. I'm just 'handy'.
  3. M.R. Ogle

    M.R. Ogle Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 5, 2004
    Mount Vernon, Illinois
    Backstage Guitar Lab owner
    Yeah, this. Can't get any deader. Go for it!
  4. GlennW


    Sep 6, 2006
    I like to drip candle wax on those for protection.

    If the broken wire goes to the white lead, that should be from the outside of the coil and you should be able to unwind it. You'll also have to strip off some insulation before soldering. When you unwind it, remove a few extra turns so you'll have some wire to practice stripping the insulation, you're going to need it (the practice).

    If the broken wire goes to the black lead, that should be from the inside of the coil and you can't unwind it. There's a slim chance you could solder the lead directly to the coil wire.
  5. JustForSport


    Nov 17, 2011
    It may be easier/better to solder a 'jumper' wire between the fine coil wire and the ferrule.
    Test it, then add a little hot wax to stabilize it.
  6. Bluzlvr


    Aug 8, 2012
    Dayton, OH
    Thanks for the info. I believe it may be the wire going to the black lead, so I may be screwed trying to unwind. I'll double ck when I get home. I'm thinking I'll get out a magnifying glass and a strand of copper wire from some electrical wire and see if I can solder a jumper. I'll definitely finish up with the wax to stabilize it. To clarify when you were referring to insulation on the wire you were talking about the wire at the ferrule, correct? My eyesight isn't what it once was, but I can't believe there is any insulation on that tiny wire.
  7. GlennW


    Sep 6, 2006
    Incorrect. The magnet/coil wire is insulated.

    Most types need to be stripped BEFORE soldering, some types (Solderon) don't. You might be able to solder it, but without stripping the insulation it's likely you won't have continuity in the joint, and no sound.

    Some people burn the insulation off; never tried that myself.

    I use about a 1 square inch piece of 400 wet or dry sandpaper folded over on itself and hold the wire in there with one hand, and pull the wire through with the other hand. It WILL SNAP easily, which is why I suggested a few inches of extra wire to practice with. The trick is getting the stripped part to end up in the eyelet so when you solder the lead you'll make a connection.

    Check with a DMM BEFORE soldering. If you get no reading on the coil, it probably isn't ready.
  8. Bluzlvr


    Aug 8, 2012
    Dayton, OH
    I stand corrected. Told you I wasn't much of an electronics guy, didn't I? Sounds a little trickier than I thought. We'll give our best shot. This is just more proof that when you get in a hurry you can cause yourself more problems. Thanks again for the info.