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God I'm an idiot (steel wool in pickups - help!)

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by TimBosby, Mar 12, 2009.

  1. TimBosby

    TimBosby Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 19, 2004
    Omaha, NE, USA
    I used some steel wool on a bass recently and taped off the pickups (so I thought). Now, today I discovered tiny bits of steel wool on, around, and in the pickups. I took the pickups out and got as much of it as I could. There wasn't a lot, but what was there was very fine and wispy. There's probably more still in there that I can't see :( Am I totally screwed? I have no way to test the bass, as it currently doesn't have a neck (neck is at a shop for repair.) I should have the neck back soon. These were brand new DiMarzio Model Js too...
  2. allexcosta


    Apr 7, 2004
  3. Compressed air, blow it out. Be careful.
  4. Toastfuzz


    Jul 20, 2007
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Probably doesnt matter. I forgot to tape off the pickups when I sanded the wood filler from my newly defretted neck (I was drunk and in a hurry, so sue me) and got all kinds of powder in there, never cleaned it out cuz its a junker bass and it worked fine. Purely cosmetic.
  5. doktorfeelgood

    doktorfeelgood layin' it down like pavement Supporting Member

    You shouldn't have any problems will the filings on the pole-pieces or anywhere else on the pickups. The best thing that I've found to get rid of those filings is a small natural bristle (no synthetic bristles as it will create more static electricity) paint brush and just lightly and carefully brush the filings 'till their off the pickups. I have those pickups in my Jazz bass and the magnets are so strong that they're capable of collecting iron filings out of the dust in a dusty environment.
    You can get a couple of small natural bristle disposable paint brushes at Home Depot or Lowe's for like a buck apiece. )-(
  6. Tape... apply a small strip and pull it up... the steel wool swarf comes up with it. Repeat until clean.

    Tape, especially the good duct tape, can also be used for extracting small wood and metal splinters from fingers.
  7. Trevorus


    Oct 18, 2002
    Urbana, IL
    This is the best I have found. Gaffers tape tends to work the best for me, but it is a bit pricey.
  8. Are you in the sound or movie biz? Not many people know what a Gaffer is.;)
  9. BadB


    May 25, 2005
    Everyone musician should know what gaffer tape is, unless you enjoy tripping on your cables. :)
  10. HaVIC5


    Aug 22, 2003
    Brooklyn, NYC
    Yeah, every pro or semi-pro musician I've ever worked with knows what Gaff tape is.
  11. your bass is going to be fine.
  12. TimBosby

    TimBosby Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 19, 2004
    Omaha, NE, USA
    Thanks for all the tips and reassurance! I've gotten most of the filings out. I'll get the rest later. We'll see how she works once I get the neck back and plug her in.
  13. smogg


    Mar 27, 2007
    NPR, Florida
    I'm not crazy, I'm just a little unwell
    Home Depot: $2 roll of grey/silver duct tape. Never leave home with out it!
  14. edwinhurwitz

    edwinhurwitz Supporting Member

    May 13, 2003
    Boulder, CO
    Endorsing Artist: DR Strings, SMS
    And never bring it within 100' of a stage I'm on! That sticky residue of that stuff is death. Please, use gaffer's tape instead. I've seen people thrown off stages by house crews for using duct tape. It's meant for duct work and not on cables, mic stands or any other musical piece of gear.

  15. Actually, it's pretty worthless for duct work. Just FYI.

  16. roschmbo


    Dec 13, 2008
    It's also very risky to use it on pickups. The adhesive is much too strong and if you contact the windings with it, it could damage them. Not to mention that it can be difficult to remove the residue.
    I work with very small meter movements in my job and have to remove metal shavings from them every day. I use regular scotch tape almost exclusively.
    Tape your cables with whatever you want.
  17. plogwok


    Aug 30, 2007
    Amen to that brother! Any musician who doesn't know what gaffa is, is obviously a death metal guitarist with so much hair he can't see anything on stage past the microphone :D
  18. Trevorus


    Oct 18, 2002
    Urbana, IL
    Kind of. I play in bands, run sound sometimes, and have a friend that is a film major.

    It's great for keeping a stage clean.

    You are very correct. I have seen many a speaker cable that was pretty much rueend because of duct tape residue. And, as quoted below, it's horrible for duct work. Foil tape is the only way to go for that.

  19. +1; tape HIS cables with whatever you want.
  20. smogg


    Mar 27, 2007
    NPR, Florida
    I'm not crazy, I'm just a little unwell
    LOL....it has served me well for all the years I've been in the "business". Never a single law suit because some one tripped over a cable run that came loose. I clean all my cables once a week anyway so I don't mind the residue. It just reminds me how good the product really works for my needs.
    carry on :D

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