Protecting 51 P style pup exposed wires?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Fender_Bender, Dec 30, 2017.

  1. Hey all. Most know I bought a single coil P bass last week and I’m wondering about a way to protect the exposed wires going from the left and right side of the pup to the flatwork. I have several ideas that could work such as silicone caulking or epoxy but am wondering if this is a bad idea or not. Mostly I’m worried about the substances damaging the superfine wire over time. Any thoughts?.
    mikewalker likes this.
  2. ahc


    Jul 31, 2009
    No. Virginia
    I think I read where someone wrapped theirs in shielding tape. Don't remember where though.
  3. I’ll keep that in consideration but I’m concerned that any sort of adhesive or chemicals can damage the wire over time. I suppose I could make and glue a small piece of wood across the area with notches where the two wires go. I don’t think damage could be done in regular use but it would only take a momentary slip while restringing to damage the pup.
  4. Epoxy is a good way to ensure that you can never repair the pickup without losing at least a few hundred turns of wire.

    Shielding is also no good, as it changes the tone.

    Most people wrap the coils in some form of tape. That's what I would do.
  5. 77A55DC5-D8BC-4FF5-80CC-B19E2E4C7CAE.jpeg You can see the two exposed wires I’m talking about here.
  6. There is a fabric wrap. The standard thing is to wrap string around it, which I’m sure the Fralin or whatever replacement I eventually get will have. I’m pretty sure the two short exposed leads come along with the territory though.
  7. You can buy super glue with a little brush in the lid, like a nail-polish type thing. Two or three coats of this is ideal. This is the one I use:

    Super glue brush.jpg

    I have pickups that I've wound over 20 years ago, with CA glue coating winding wire and they are fine. I can only guess that this piece of misinformation has come from someone brushing nitro lacquer or something with strong solvents on old fashioned shellac coated wire and melting away the insulation, causing a short. And this won't happen slowly over time, but straight away.
  8. I was going to mention the super glue also.
  9. megafiddle


    May 25, 2011
    Those wires extending from the coil are normally protected by pickup covers.

    If you really need to keep the flatwork exposed, and you want to embed the coil wires in something, you need to make sure that the embedding compound is positively adhered to the flatwork. If not, and you dislodge the embedding compound at some later time, you will rip the wires loose along with it.

    The flatwork may have wax on its surface or some other substance like soldering flux. Cleaning the surface in preparation for any protective coating also has a risk of damaging the wires. And the surface needs to be squeaky clean for anything to adhere.

  10. Good point. Bobbins are often waxy. Really, any surface you are planning to glue, paint or oil should be wiped with white spirit/prep sol etc.
  11. Good points, the flatwork does appear to have a slight sheen to it.
  12. Thanks. Good to know that the CA won’t damage the outer insulation over time. I’ll try some CA and see if it sticks.
  13. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY

    The wire is already under a wax layer from wax potting process’s and itself has a plastic insulating coating on the strand otherwise the whole coil would be in big short circuit.

    Just how do you expect it will get damaged considering the above Facts plus the fact it’s about 1/2” below the top of the bass, you can only get a finger in that small space if you really try, and this type of pickup has regularly survived decades on old first generation P basses?

    CA won’t stick to that wax nor will silicone or tape and cleaning it off risks damaging the strands. A dollop of softened (not melted) beeswax would be the quickest and least invasive if you insist. Shape it with fingers and heat it with a flame on the bottom of the lump to slightly liquify it and press it in place. It will flow the wax in the bobbin and become one with it.
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2017
  14. I realize that damage is unlikely, but it’s not entirely impossible. It’s really only the two sections of bare wire leads that cause me concern. Maybe I’ll feel a little more comfortable about it when I put the covers on.
  15. mikewalker

    mikewalker Supporting Member

    Jul 30, 2017
    Canada, Eh!
    Clearly THE RIGHT THING TO DO is to keep that fragile instrument safely locked in its case at all times. Better yet, lock the case inside a larger custom made ATA ROAD CASE (they are available with special airtight solvent-proof gasket seals)
    96tbird likes this.
  16. Okay Dr. Smith :wideyed:.
    mikewalker likes this.
  17. Snaxster


    Nov 29, 2008
    A pickup cover should work:

    2005 Big Tex '52 Precision-Bass type - 1.jpg
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  18. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY

    Yes I understand what you are referring to from the outset. As I said they aren’t really bare: they have a plastic insulating coating. You have to understand too that they aren’t as fragile as you think. You’d have to hook something under them and give them a good yank before they’d break. I just don’t see how that would happen. I too have a pickup like that and because it’s recessed, I don’t worry about it. More important to worry about is if the bobbin is two pieces of flat fibreboard only held there by the magnets and wax: resting your thumb on it could loosen the top fiber and pull it off.
  19. Yep, this bass is curing me from being a “pickup as thumbrest” kind of guy. It wasn’t easy at first trying to break a near 20 year habit,but I have become somewhat comfortable without anchoring my thumb on something when playing the E.
    This bass is making me become a much more detail oriented player. It is so responsive and immediate with the sounds, good and bad, that I’m playing more carefully and with a lighter touch.
  20. Wha???!! IMHO, don't waste your time "curing" something that isn't wrong in the first place. Every top bass finger-picker I've known anchors his/her thumb to some extent. I have a degree in music, and also taught bass for 20 years. My teachers did this, and in turn I encouraged my students to play this way. Personally I put my thumb forward instead of tucking it under like jaco, as this reduces the tension in my hand. If the pickup is too far back for me, like my stingray P, I have installed a thumb rest. I have even made a thumbrest for my el-cheapo ABG.

    If the pickup coil is exposed, as long as it's wrapped in cloth tape, and you've taken care of those two short lengths of magnet wire, touching it with your thumb when you play the E string shouldn't cause any issues.