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Those Darn old pickup screws

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by scottyd, Mar 15, 2008.

  1. scottyd

    scottyd Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2006
    Waco Tx
    Builder/owner Redeemer Basses
    There has to be a better way to secure and adjust pups in our basses. I don't like the Idea that on my thinner bodied basses a screw can easily be over tightened and damage the body by exiting the back or forcing a crack. I've been brainstorming on a new way that does not require a wood screw. What I've got so far is a telescoping machine screw/ tube nut idea..... The parts should be easy to find or make. Or maybe adjustment from the back via machine screw with a nut built into the pup cover. That would clean up the covers nicely too. This has been a tough issue for me because in a way its like reinventing the wheel. ;) If you guys have any ideas, please share!:D
  2. you can install small inserts and use a machine screw
  3. Greenman


    Dec 17, 2005
    Ontario Canada
    Sex bolts might work if you can find them the right size.
  4. Here's a method I've used. The key part is the "Free Spinning Locknut." This is a hex nut with a star washer attached to it. The screw threads into it and the star washer stays in a fixed position once pressure from the spring or tubing is exerted on it. Works like a charm.


    Drawing not to scale.
  5. scottyd

    scottyd Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2006
    Waco Tx
    Builder/owner Redeemer Basses
    Even if they don't work the name will draw attention :eek:
  6. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    If you're to embarassed to enter "sex bolt' into McMaster's site, "binding post" will get you the same result. ;)
  7. scottyd

    scottyd Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2006
    Waco Tx
    Builder/owner Redeemer Basses
    Yeah, those would be the way to go, Interesting enough google brought them up easily too. Sex bolts are too cool, and with a name like that they are sure to be a hit!:p
  8. TrevorOfDoom

    TrevorOfDoom Supporting Member

    Jun 17, 2007
    Austin, TX
    i only use platinum pickup screws. better tone, with increased sustain, and mid-hump.
  9. ZolkoW


    May 8, 2006
    Hungary, EU
    actually, I HATE those old pickup screws.. they are all made of some poor soft metal, so the screwdriver kills'em easily, they are hard to replace, their hole gets loose, and so on.. machine screws last forever, look better :), and easy to get.
  10. synaesthesia


    Apr 13, 2004
    I like the Alembic springless system of 2 machine screws into threaded inserts - to keep the pickup in place - and another two below the pickup for height adjustment. May not work on all pickup shapes but most pickups requiring four screws would work with this system.
  11. Standard pickup screws on an otherwise state-of-the-art bass is like old-fashioned cable-and-hand-operated emergency brakes on a Dodge Viper. I mean, is this really the best we can do? I put together a VERY nice 4 string using Warmoth P-neck and Gecko 4 body (body African Mahog; neck Wenge!) with passive Villex pups. No WAY I'm going to compromise on the pup screws. My first consideration was with structural/sonic soundness, then esthetics. At my local hardware store I found some #6 three-prong T-nuts. A tin snip clipped the basses exactly to the dimensions to fit in the pickup recesses. A generous helping of gel superglue and a great deal of patience and prior testing of fit gave me the most solid foundation of any bass pickup I've ever seen. Worked so well that I did the same treatment to my back-up bass. At one point, one of the brass #6 screws had its head pop off. This began a minor nightmare of trying to wrench out the remainder of the screw without tearing the T-nut from its anchorage. Didn't even budge! Held like a mofo. I'm pretty confident that this setup will last the life of the axe. All I have to do is have a variety of #6 round-head screws on hand in case I want to adjust the height of the pup. I'd use this approach again in a heart beat. Solid! and absolutely no shredding of the body wood.
  12. chimpbass


    Jan 16, 2008
    Denver, CO
    Currently installing an anchor/machine screw setup on my 55-02. I'll let you all know what happens.
  13. I am thinking of using these. Anybody used them before? So in order to get minor adjustments, I could drill the holes for the inserts a little bit larger, set them in after checking with the pickup in place, and then epoxy or superglue the insert in. That would even be possible without a drill press right since there is some play in a pickup mounting? Sorry I keep asking the same questions, because it seems that not many people use inserts for pickup mounting.
  14. found this from Hambone and tufnuts, hope you don't mind me quoting you here. So according to this, you can make a little bit larger hole, play with the location of the inserts and then glue them in...

    Originally posted by tufnuts
    Hammy, have you ever thought of using an adhesive once you have the insert location nailed down? I mounted the P/U on my warmoth jazzray by using 4-40 nuts that I epoxied to a clearance hole that I made in the body. After 24 hours of setting up, i screwed everything together. If you used a setscrew/epoxy technique you'd be even safer.

    Next time I do something, I'm just gonna make my own inserts and epoxy them in. I'll just knurl the outside, that should give enough interference to the wood. Dunno.

    Originally posted by Hambone

    There was one set that I got a little premonition on while I was screwing them in. They seemed just a little bit "looser" than normal so I did just what you suggested and dropped some epoxy in with them. By coating my screw with wax and threading it in to the bottom of the insert I was able keep the epoxy from creeping back up into the threads. Worked like a charm.

    If I were to play devils advocate here, I would only question the quality of the bond of the glue "plug" around the insert with the sides of the hole you drilled. The advantage to the threaded style of insert is the additional grip from the cut threads. Just glue alone might pull out as easily as a wood screw. BUT!......this might be solved by flaring the bottom of the hole a little to make a nice tight fitting dovetail style plug.

    BTW, epoxy also makes a nice "grease" for stubborn installations into tight grain wood. You've got to be careful about things being too tight but the right hole and a little epoxy lubricant can make an incredibly solid insert

    I've also used knurled inserts with epoxy for other repairs. They also work great for discreet mounting of cavity covers, and even bridges. Sometimes I make my own from very small nuts and screws to create adjustable pickup mounts. I just massage a little cavity and glue the nut in.

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