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EB3 pickup noise

Discussion in 'Ask Mike Watt [Archived]' started by linea, Mar 5, 2005.


  1. linea

    linea

    Mar 3, 2005
    heya...

    I've recently bought a '63 EB3, which is wonderful, but the neck pickup, while amazing-sounding, is so noisy as to be almost unusable on recordings. Normal single-coils on other guitars we have don't pick up nearly the level of hum, and earthing the pickup
    doesn't make any difference, nor does moving around the room change the intensity of the hum, though facing in certain specific directions does drastically reduce it.

    Is this a 'feature' of EB3s in general that I'll have to live with or are there any solutions to this?

    the sound is so good on the bass, and on that pickup in particular that I'm quite eager to sort it out.

    thanks in advance,
    n
     
  2. 7flat5

    7flat5

    Nov 28, 2003
    Upstate NY
    I have a 67 EBO, which has the same pickup at the neck. It is silent. I would say there is something wrong. At one time, I actually installed a switch to run the pickup either singlecoil or humbucking, and the single coil in the circuit had that hum. I would say that something is loose or mis-connected in your wiring.
     
  3. linea

    linea

    Mar 3, 2005
    ah, OK- so the neck pickup is a humbucker too.....

    for some reason (possibly the hum ;) ) I'd assumed it was a hugely fat single coil.

    I'll have a check for loose connections then.....

    thanks!
     
  4. 7flat5

    7flat5

    Nov 28, 2003
    Upstate NY
  5. The first few years of production, EB-3s actually did have a single-coil, characterized by a brown or black Bakelite or plastic cover visible after the chrome paint chipped off. If the pup has a solid metal cover and thick nickel plating, it's supposed to be a humbucker--affectionately known as a "mudbucker" for obvious reasons.
    My best guess would be that someone, or an accident or deterioration, disconnected one of the 'bucker's coil from the circuit, and taking one coil out of the circuit made the pickup a single coil. The "hum stops when I face Mecca" gyrations you describe sure make it sound like this is the problem.
    Go to the Dudepit, visit the Gibson forum and catch the attention of "Dave_W" or "Granny Gremlin," they're the resident experts. Ask what a multimeter reading straight off the pickup's output lead should be. If something's broken, the output will be much lower than the voltage figure they quote you, and you'll have to send it to Lindy Fralin or someone for repair or rewinding. Tracing a break in a hair-thin copper wire is a massive PITA, let me tell you.
    Congratulations on the bass, and I hope it all works out for you. Got pics?
     
  6. 7flat5

    7flat5

    Nov 28, 2003
    Upstate NY
    I am almost sure that the EB3 was never made with the mid-50s pickup. The EBO and EB2 were introduced first, and both had the new black-covered pickups, which were mudbuckers, not the same pickup as the 1953 EB (later called the EB1) had. The EB3 came after that.

    Your advice to go to the Dudepit and read all you can is the best way to sort this out, if you care to.
     
  7. "I am almost sure that the EB3 was never made with the mid-50s pickup."
    I've seen several.
     
  8. I've also seen a bunch as well.
     
  9. 7flat5

    7flat5

    Nov 28, 2003
    Upstate NY
    You need to enlighten me, then. You stated in your earlier post that the black plastic covered pickups were the same as the '53 pickup. This is not true. The earlier pickup, with the brown covers, which I believe was only used on the original EB, had the pole pieces along the side. Here are pictures:
    http://www.gibsonbass.com/pickups.php

    The black-cover pickup had the pole pieces in the middle, between the two coils, like the pickup on my '67. The black-cover pickup was introduced in 1958, on the EB2 and used through the '60s, first with the black cover then later with the nickel cover. The first EB3, in '61, used this pickup at the neck, as I understand it. Under black plastic. I believe it was not re-designed until the early-70s maple-neck EB series was done. Was the '62-'69 pickup different than the '58-'62 black-cover one? It had a different cover...people talk about the Les Paul Jr. EBO sounding different than the '64 SG-body with the classic nickel-cover mudbucker. Maybe the pickup was different, but it was not the same as the original EB.

    I have never seen, in the "flesh" the inside of the original EB pickup, with the pole pieces on the side. On Jules' website, the older pickup is called a humbucker, and not a single-coil. I believe that its internal construction was similar to the later mini-bucker that was used in the EB3 at the bridge, which also had the pole pieces on the side, but was still a two-coil pickup. But, Dave W would have a better understanding of this than I do.

    So, when you say you have seen EB3s with the older pickup, are you talking about the black-covers, or the older brown covers?

    All of which, by the way, is not relevant to the thread, which concerned a '63 making a hum. The black-cover pickup or the nickel-cover pickup, they were both big dual-coil humbucking pups, and shouldn't be noisy.

    linea, have you found anything out about your poor ill '63?
     
  10. 7flat5

    7flat5

    Nov 28, 2003
    Upstate NY
    Aah, here's a little clue:

    Dave W at http://p096.ezboard.com/fthedudepitfrm5.showMessage?topicID=864.topic

    "The bass is an original from 1953-58 but the truss rod cover isn't, that's from a reissue. It wasn't even called an EB-1 until 1958 when the EB-2 came along.

    That's definitely a single coil pickup, 25,000 turns on one bobbin and the polepieces at the end instead of in the middle."

    That's the old pup. Not the black-cover.
     
  11. As far as stock instruments go, I was referring to the black-top pups. I once played a modded EB-0 that had the original chrome-top pup mounted by the bridge and a brown-top pup in the neck position. It sounded incredible.
    "The black-cover pickup had the pole pieces in the middle, between the two coils, like the pickup on my '67. The black-cover pickup was introduced in 1958, on the EB2 and used through the '60s, first with the black cover then later with the nickel cover. The first EB3, in '61, used this pickup at the neck, as I understand it. Under black plastic. I believe it was not re-designed until the early-70s maple-neck EB series was done. Was the '62-'69 pickup different than the '58-'62 black-cover one? It had a different cover...people talk about the Les Paul Jr. EBO sounding different than the '64 SG-body with the classic nickel-cover mudbucker. Maybe the pickup was different, but it was not the same as the original EB."
    That's my understanding as well, with one addition--there's a little tickle in the back of my memory that tells me the brown-top and black-top mudbuckers were wound on ceramic magnets, while the nickle- and chrome-covered pups were wound on alnico magnets. Like you, I've unfortunately never had the opportunity to peer under the hood of the first two designs.
    True, it has little to do with the OP's pickup issues, but isn't it fun to burn bandwidth?