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Vintage PU's - dying???

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Spinal Tapper, May 11, 2010.

  1. Spinal Tapper

    Spinal Tapper

    Nov 15, 2007
    How can you tell when your vintage PU's are "dying" or need to be rewound.

    I have a 62 P that has original PU's. Its very loud/hot, but at times, I feel like its resonance is fading in and out if I'm holding a note and letting it sustain for a long time...

    its kinda hard to explain, its like the signal slowly fades away, but then comes back again. I thought it was maybe my cable too, but something just feels to me like they might be dying...

    Anyone have any experience with this??? Any way to test this either?

    Thanks in advance.
  2. Lo-E


    Dec 19, 2009
    Brooklyn, NY
    Intermittent problems can be hard to troubleshoot.

    The first thing to do is eliminate other possible causes. Try using a different cable. If that doesn't change anything, try another amp. If you still have a problem then you know it's in the bass itself, but that doesn't mean it's necessarily the pickup. The internal wiring, pots or output jack could also be the culptrit.

    You can test a pickup using a simple ohmmeter, but if it's intermittent it's hard to know when you've actually fixed something or whether it's just gone away for a while. Try wiggling connections (gently) to see if you can force it to fail. Then you'll be able to narrow it down.

    If the problem does turn out to be the pickup you'll probably need to get it rewound.

    Best of luck-
  3. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    Does the bass have the original pots? It sounds like the volume pot is oxidized and is causing the dropout. Could be the jack as well.

    Some old Fender pickups do have issues with the wire corroding where it touches the magnets. Also sometimes the solder connections at the pickup need to be redone.

    The only other issue with old pickups is the magnets getting weak, but that wouldn't be intermittent.
  4. Rick Auricchio

    Rick Auricchio Registered Bass Offender

    How about changing strings?

    Also, sustain loss can happen if the neck is not tightly screwed to the body. Does it happen on ALL notes, or just some?
  5. I had the same problem on an old Jazz, and I would have the same thing with the neck pickup, it was loud and clear at times, and low and dull other times, turned out to be a bad volume pot.
  6. Spinal Tapper

    Spinal Tapper

    Nov 15, 2007
    Thanks for the responses guys! I'm gonna have to end up taking it to my tech/vintage guy and have them check out the pots (need to get her appraised for insurance anyways)

    ...hopefully that's all it is. I'd hate to lose the flavor of these PU's - they dont sound like any modern P I've ever heard

    Keep any suggestions coming! Thanks!
  7. John Wentzien

    John Wentzien

    Jun 25, 2007
    Elberta, AL
    Artist:TC Electronic RH450 bass system (original test-pilot)
    Make sure the pickup isn't too close to the string.
  8. Spinal Tapper

    Spinal Tapper

    Nov 15, 2007
    This sounds almost exactly what the problem could be
  9. Spinal Tapper

    Spinal Tapper

    Nov 15, 2007
    I've noticed it more on when sustaining a single open string (E/A/D/G)
  10. Spinal Tapper

    Spinal Tapper

    Nov 15, 2007
    I'll look into that - how close/far away should they be???

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