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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'd like to add some covers to the pickups in my recently acquired SG. I've heard that to avoid microphonic feedback they should be potted. However the Gibson website seems to imply that the pickups already come potted:

"First, a four-conductor wiring scheme allows the 490s to be connected to any push/pull knob, which lets players split the coils and increase versatility. Gibson also introduced wax potting, which does away with any air space, minimalizing microphonic feedback."

Or would that just be for the 490s that are sold already covered?
 

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Higher-end PAF-makers often tout the absence of potting as a feature/virtue; the idea being that a little bit of microphonicity is a good thing.

One approach I find useful is applying teflon plumber's tape. It is cheap, electronically inert, just the right width, and can be pulled tight without endangering the pickup coil. This lets you pack in the coil more tightly, reducing (though certainly not eliminating) any microphonic tendencies. The other nice thing about it is that there is no adhesive involved, so nothing to worry about decomposing. I find an initial layer of teflon tape can be a helpful first level of coil-coverage. It's not pretty or period-correct, but you can apply more aesthetically-pleasing tape over top of it without risking future tears to the coil itself when you try to pull the adhesive-backed tape off.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Higher-end PAF-makers often tout the absence of potting as a feature/virtue; the idea being that a little bit of microphonicity is a good thing.

One approach I find useful is applying teflon plumber's tape. It is cheap, electronically inert, just the right width, and can be pulled tight without endangering the pickup coil. This lets you pack in the coil more tightly, reducing (though certainly not eliminating) any microphonic tendencies. The other nice thing about it is that there is no adhesive involved, so nothing to worry about decomposing. I find an initial layer of teflon tape can be a helpful first level of coil-coverage. It's not pretty or period-correct, but you can apply more aesthetically-pleasing tape over top of it without risking future tears to the coil itself when you try to pull the adhesive-backed tape off.
That's interesting advice mhammer. But, the coils in the uncovered pickups I have are already wrapped. Do you suggest I still do something with them?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks again for the input everyone. I'll be adding the covers soon, and I was hoping to get some clarification on a few things:

They are potted, with and without covers.
Yes, you can pot the coils and the covers.
I'm a bit confused zdogma. Are you suggesting I pot them or not? I tend to think you were saying that I wouldn't need to do potting for these Gibson pickups, and were replying to potting in general in the latter comment, but I just want to be sure.

One approach I find useful is applying teflon plumber's tape.
mhammer, if the pickups are already potted, what would be the purpose of applying the Teflon tape? Would it not be overkill? Or maybe, you know something about these Gibson pre-potted pickups that you haven't shared? Are they not potted well?
 

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You are correct. If the coils are already potted, I doubt the teflon tape would improve anything, apart from making it easier to remove any cloth tape with minimal risk to the coil.

When I make pickups for myself, I don't have a setup for completely soaking the coils in wax. So, I lay them on their side and melt wax over them, helping it to soak in a bit with a hair dryer or heat gun set on low. The wax soaks in about 1/3 of the way, which is actually enough for me, since I don'tplayloud, and the inner turns are generally wound tighter than the outer ones anyway. The teflon tape provides a little bit of insurance by packing everything in tightly. It's not a make-or-breakthing, just a cheap and handy idea.
 

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Thanks again for the input everyone. I'll be adding the covers soon, and I was hoping to get some clarification on a few things:

I'm a bit confused zdogma. Are you suggesting I pot them or not? I tend to think you were saying that I wouldn't need to do potting for these Gibson pickups, and were replying to potting in general in the latter comment, but I just want to be sure.
I doubt you will need to do anything else.

You can pot the covers if they squeal, but they generally will not if they are a good fit and soldered to the baseplate. All of my current humbuckers are completely unpotted and they are fine. A bit of harmonic feedback at high volumes, but fine. If you use very high gain, or play really, really loud you may have issues, but I doubt it.
 
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