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How to test for dead pups

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by TimWilson, Aug 18, 2012.

  1. I was given a set of Dimarzio P pups by a friend who told me they're 'dead'. Without going out and buying a voltage meter, or going to the trouble of installing them, how can I be sure? Is there a simple "poor man's test"? They're not worth a big chunk of my life here, but if my friend is wrong, I wanna use 'em!
  2. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Supporting Member

    Did you check for a pulse? :D

    The poor mans test if you don't have a meter is go into a mom and pops shop and be polite, they will probably check it for free. It is not like hooking up pickups to a ohmmeter is a terribly difficult task that requires a bunch of effort. I don't know any other way, maybe somebody else does.
  3. SamanthaCay

    SamanthaCay Like bass guitar OMG! Supporting Member

    Nov 16, 2008
    Denver, CO.
    You can jumper the leads to a cable running to your amp and tap the poles with somthing metal.
    It should make a pop sound.
  4. Oohhh... THAT makes sense! Duh! I should have thought of that! Thanks!

    Now, my next question is: If there is no "pop sound", are these rubbish, or worth trying to save? I'm a fair-to-good solderer. Not an expert.
  5. Smilodon

    Smilodon Supporting Member

    Feb 18, 2012
    Or you could pluck a string on a bass and just hold the pickup close.

    As for fixing, that depends on where the fault is.

    If the problem is that the coil wire have come loose from the eyelets in the pickup base it should be fairly easy to fix. If there is a break or short somewhere deep inside the coil it will require a complete re-wind. That isn't extremely difficult in theory, but I have never tried it myself.
  6. OK, so I tested 'em, and they both seem perfectly active—that is, they popped good and loud when I ran the open leads to my amp. It appears my friend gave up on 'em too soon. Lucky me.

    NOW, my question is, how do I know these are better than the pickups that I already have in there? My buddy says they're Dimarzios, but I think we've established that he doesn't always know what's up regarding bass pickups. They ARE Dimarzio yellow... But there are no markings anywhere on 'em.

    The bass I'm gonna drop 'em in is a Squier Affinity, so it's a good BET that they're better... but before I roll up my sleeves, I request one more round of opinion from the brotherhood, please...
  7. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    You could give them a little nudge with your foot, but make sure nobody's taking video. You could go down for animal cruelty.
  8. :lol:
  9. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Supporting Member

    As a person that has owned many Squier Affinitys from the 90s up until 2008, the odds those pickups aren't a considerable improvement are extremely slim.
  10. Phalex

    Phalex Semper Gumby Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2006
    G.R. MI
    I've used a tuning fork. Same idea, but it doesn't make a noise like death.
  11. darkstorm


    Oct 13, 2009
    They are not dimarzio pickups if they dont have dimarzio stamped onto the tops. Also the dimarzio P pups have adjustable pole peices via allen wrench. With the exception of the blade verion of the P pups. Those do have dimarzio stamped into the top of the pups though.
  12. Took a cover off, searched inside & out: No makings of ANY kind, let alone a Dimarzio stamp. I guess these are just no-name yellow Precision pups that probably beat the originals, but it won't be night & day.

    I guess I'll do it at the next string change. Not excited about it enough now to make it worth a Sunday afternoon project..

    Thanks, all.
  13. Well, one last post, because I just KNOW the suspense is killing everyone: I dropped in teh yellow pups that may or may not be Dimarzios, and the results were great: MUCH more singing, zingy top end, more focused and throaty bottom. And the cream, covers match the body perfectly.

    Score. Anybody want a set of Quier Affinity P pups?
  14. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    Older DiMarzio pickups did not have the logo. You can find photos of new pickups with cream covers with no logos, and of course you can swap new covers on them. I used to put black Fender covers on mine.


    They should look like this on the bottom, but probably without the patent applied for sticker. They will have a red, green, white and black wire.


    They did make some OEM pickups, and one that looked like a real P bass once,but they are pretty rare.
  15. SamanthaCay

    SamanthaCay Like bass guitar OMG! Supporting Member

    Nov 16, 2008
    Denver, CO.
    Fyi older Dimarzios didn't have any stamps.
    Also you could probably get a few bucks out of your old pickups in the classifieds.
  16. Hmmm. Maybe mine was a mixed set, because BOTH pups had a black and a red wire: no green, no white.

    And these pole pieces are solid, like a Fender's. Not the height-adjustable type I know Dimarzio made famous.

    Aw, well, Dimarzio or not, they're MUCH better than the Affinity stock pups that were in there.

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