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Weak pickup magnets

8/27/1997 10:57 AM
David Axt
Weak pickup magnets
I have a 1965 Gibson SG junior that has a very weak sound. You really have to crank the amp. I checked all the solder joints but came to the conclusion that the magnets in the pickup are very weak. The magnets can be easily taken off.  
Is there an easy way to make them stronger?  
Should (can) I buy replacement magents? [Will this effect the tone?]  
8/27/1997 1:23 PM
J Epstein

I find that going up one string gague, say from 009's to 010's, can make a world of difference if your fingers don't mind the thicker strings.  
Also are your pickups and polepieces high enough up near the strings?  
8/27/1997 1:27 PM
David Axt

Believe me. The magnets are very weak. They hardly even attract. What should I do?  
8/27/1997 1:54 PM
J Epstein

I'm not disputing the weakness of your magnets, sorry! I was just offering a couple of hints to get more signal out of ANY pickup.  
Magnets CAN be remagnetized (I guess look in your local business-to-business Yellow Pages under motor rewinding? That's purely a guess though)  
by subjecting them to a massive magnetic field. No idea whether that would work for you. I don't know if you could get just the magnets, maybe from a repairer who had a set with bad coils, though? It's far more common for the coils to die than the magnets, so this is not a bad try. Failing that, new or used replacement pickups. The tone would certainly be affected somewhat by this last method, though.  
8/27/1997 2:01 PM
J Epstein
Oh, and rereading your original post, are those Jr. pickups regular P-90 single coils (which have a pretty robust output) or are they similar to the Melody Maker (a little pickup that looks like a plastic covered Strat pickup) which on my Melody maker aren't exactly paint-peelers.  
What I'm asking is, how strong were those pickups when new? If they were not terribly strong to begin with, most likely, you won't be able to get more out of them.  
If the magnets have weakened over time, maybe you can "jack" them up, but if its just a quiet design, I think you're screwed. How does it compare to other guitars with the same pickups, would be the way to find out, I guess.  
8/27/1997 2:08 PM
david axt

I have only had the guitar for a short time and am in the process of selling it. Guys that have played other SGs say that the P-90 pickup should scream. I usually have to crank my amp up all the way and only get a clean blues tone. The pickup will not overdrive the amp. I have another cheap no-name guitar that is much louder that the SG JR. I don't want to put a new pickup in 'cause that will lower the value. Plus I want to sell it.  
What should I do?
8/28/1997 7:10 AM
J Epstein

>What should I do?<  
Tough call. With P-90's, it should definitely scream - that's a high-output single coil, much more output subjectively in my system than a Tele single-coil, for example.  
You could :  
-repair the pickup - if it's a weak magnet and you can find a magnet, that shouldn't be such a bad job,  
-find a vintage replacement part, too expensive IMHO if you're just going to sell it,  
-buy a P-90 reissue (Stewart-MacDonald has them for around 90 bucks last I looked,) put it in, and keep the original in the case, tough to say whether that will get you back the money you invest when you turn it around,  
-sell it as is to someone and let *their* mother worry.  
It's a tough call - the only no-brainer choice is a long shot, i.e., finding a repairer who has a  
P-90 magnet he wants to part with.  
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