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Need help with sealed pickup repair!

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by rogerbmiller, May 25, 2005.


  1. rogerbmiller

    rogerbmiller Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 16, 2003
    NYC
    Hello,

    I have an old Aria bass and one of the pickups is shot. It needs to be rewired but the pickup is completely sealed with epoxy. Does anyone know if this is fixable? The local guitar show claims that they cannot do anything since the pickup is epoxied shut. Does anyone have experience with this??? Is there anyone that can fix this?

    Thanks.
     
  2. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    I don't know your experience with wiring etc, so don't be offended when I ask:

    Are you certain it's the pickup, and not the wiring? i.e. the hot lead is no longer wired to the vol or blend pot in question.
     
  3. Alowishus

    Alowishus

    Feb 28, 2005
    Im electronically retarded, but if it really is the pickup then the best thing you can do is just replace the pickup as a whole. Not to get really off track but this reminds me of the time the interface on my portable HD with all of my music/vidoes failed. I sat there for maybe 40 minutes looking for the screws until I just said "screw it" and smashed it open.
     
  4. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    Usually, yes. But in this case the pickup is in a non standard housing shape. The nearest match is EMG soapbars, and Roger is wanting to keep the bass as stock as possible.
    Part of the mojo of the old Arias is that they have a sound of their own, due in part to pickups, so I'd be thinking the same way as Roger on this one.
     
  5. Did that help at all :p ?
     
  6. rogerbmiller

    rogerbmiller Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 16, 2003
    NYC
    No offense taken. I am totally clueless about this stuff. I had some repair pros look at it and they were quite sure the PU is cashed. Apparently it is molded with epoxy so it is toast-- there is no way to get to the guts to reire it. So I have to try to find another PU unless there is someone out there who can save it. But I would imagine this entails decomposing the PU with acetone and then reconstructing it. Seems a bit much.

    Adding insult to injury, I own a spare set of SB-1000 guts-- pickup, cap, preamp and all. I was going to use the spare PU but apparently the PU's for the SB1000 are pre-wire for series mode and again, you cannot rig it because of the epoxy casing.

    Then I called and emiled around the world today as Aria still makes the same model in Japan (though they call it the SB-800) and learned that the new PU's they use are a different size from the original Matsumoku's so the routing is not even the same.

    So I am on the lookout for a spare pickup from an SB-700, SB-600, SB-900, SB-R60, SB-R80, SB-Elite or any other passive Aria SB that had the P/S switch. There are so many people that buy these things to hot rod them (I'll save my comments on that one for another post :spit: ) that you'd think there is a spare out there somewhere...
     
  7. See if you can reach Kent Armstrong through WD Music, It may take a while for him to get back to you, but he saved a Gibson Ripper pick up for me, that Lindy Fralin wouldn't even look at. He will do custom rewinds, and he does a super job, and as I remember very reasonalble. I honestly believe the man could build you a matching pick up from scratch.

    http://www.wdmusic.com


    John
     
  8. Steve

    Steve

    Aug 10, 2001
    you can't save a potted pickup with out destroying it.

    You can however save the cover and the bobbin and have it rewound if you know the gage and length of the winding.
     
  9. rogerbmiller

    rogerbmiller Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 16, 2003
    NYC
    John,

    I owe you big time! I called Kent, and he can in fact build me a new PU from scratch!

    It turns out he has done hundreds of these for other Aria fanatics in the same predicament. He also told me that Mr. Arai, the owner of Aria, recently approached him at a trade show. Mr. Arai thanked him for making so many Aria customers so happy.

    Apparently, Aria no longer has the the capability to make the PU's they once did. I learned this in my quest for replacement parts from Aria directly. Apparently the original Japanese electronics factory that made the components went under ages ago. The current SB models and reissues have different sized routings for the PU's as compare to the older ones even though they look the same. Strange.

    Anyway, Kent treated my request as if it were so common place that I am supremely confident I will end up with great results. I will keep everyone posted.

    Anyway, thanks again for making me hip to Kent. If he pulls this off, he's a miracle worker in my book.




    Roger
     
  10. Roger, Kent is a super guy to deal with. My old Gibson sounded much better than it ever did, when Kent rewound the pick-ups. My local luthier was so impressed he sent four of Pat Travers' Les Paul humbuckers for the magic Armstrong touch. You won't be disappointed.

    John
     
  11. Alowishus

    Alowishus

    Feb 28, 2005
    Surprisingly yes, the HD survived and Im using now in a different enclosure.
     
  12. Cool, wish i could find out what was wrong with mine, i had a backup drive with 80Gb's worth of music and programs, and i formatted my other drive, plugged the backup in and it crapped out on me ! I got a program that checks the logical drive, not the file structure (like windows does), and it says everything is still there and still fine, but whenever i try to copy stuff over most of its totally corruped and about half the size the program regestered it as being :'(

    Anyway, yeah, basses
     
  13. This may or may not help, but I am a firm believer that anything is possible, and something isn't broken until you break it with your own hands, so here goes.........

    Buy, borrow, beg or steal a Dremel off of someone and using the shollowest cutting blade possible, cut the casing in half (following a line below the body so cut won't be visible when repaired) and you should be able to have the p/up rewired.
    I use to work in plastics manufacturing and this worked for many of the custom items we got in. You could then have it glued back up with epoxy resin.
    BTW, if you can't get hold of a dremel, a sharp knife heated up with a butane torch works well, tho probably a bit messy for a small item likea p/up!
     
  14. Fred Hammon

    Fred Hammon Dark Star pickups

    May 13, 2005
    The material used in potting pickups whether it's epoxy, wax or varnish etc. has generally saturated deep into the coil. I pot mine with wax in a vacuum chamber causing the wax to penetrate the coil completely. The same is done with epoxy usually. There is no chance at all to fix that pup unless you can get to the outer lead of the coil to see if that has become disconnected but it sounds a bit hopeless. You can give it a try but....


    I guess what I'm saying is....give up!

    Look for another one on Ebay.
     
  15. rogerbmiller

    rogerbmiller Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 16, 2003
    NYC
    Yeah, I thought the dremol was an idea but further research yielded the info you have just provided. So I am going to hope for the best in my replcament and will most certainly continue to scour the internet for spare parts to prevent this kind of stress in the future.
     
  16. rogerbmiller

    rogerbmiller Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 16, 2003
    NYC
    Hey guys. Doing some follow up. I just got my replacement pickup back from Kent Armstrong. Man that guy is a magician.

    In a matter of a couple of days he turned around an identical replica of my Aria pickup. I mean this thing looks identical. I cannot wait to get to the shop tomorrow to have them install it. I'll do one last follow up to let you know how it sounds.
     
  17. rogerbmiller

    rogerbmiller Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 16, 2003
    NYC
    Okay, to bring closure to this post...

    I had the Kent Armstrong pickup installed. Overall, I am quite pleased. As I said, it is identical to the original which makes me very happy. The pickup also sounds great. However, I have to admit that I like the sound of the original pickup more. These passive aria pickups are absolute tone beasts! They sound nice and full in paralell mode but when you hit that tap switch-- BAM--- it sounds like someone turned the preamp to 11. :bag:

    The Kent armstrong sounds very similar but the P/S tap is not as dramatic and the pickup is not quite as hot. however, this is not that noticeable in the bridge position where it is placed.

    I have a bass almost identical to the SB-900 that now has this replacement. It's an SB-R80 and the only difference is it has a wide bridge. It's all stock, so I did an A/B with the SB-900 and not much difference if any, so I am fully satisfied.

    If I could do anything different next time, I'd send Kent a working pickup so he could clone the sound as well as the look. But overall, the guy is a magician, and an absolute gentleman. And he made this pickup for me in 2 days!

    I'd highly recommeneded Kent if you are in a similiar bind as I was in. Nothing is worth routing your instrument to drop in OTC replacement pickups! IMO anyway...
     
  18. luknfur

    luknfur

    Jan 14, 2004
    DIXIE
    FWIW:

    glad you followed up cuase it may come in handy for somebody else at some point - who knows, might be me.

    What was the final cost?
     
  19. rogerbmiller

    rogerbmiller Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 16, 2003
    NYC
    It cost me $120 plus the $4 shipping to mail the dead picup to Kent for cloning. Worth every penny.
     
  20. luknfur

    luknfur

    Jan 14, 2004
    DIXIE
    Yep, one pickup can be a lot like one oar.