28 November 2013

Guitars: Testing wax potted Seth Lover with A8 magnet


In a previous article (http://hermeticoguitar.blogspot.com.es/2013/11/guitars-magent-swapping-and-wax-potting.html), I've shared with you the process of wax potting and magnet swapping that I did for a Seymour Duncan's SH-55b Seth Lover (bridge) pickup.

The aim of such a modification was to get rid of two issues.
First one was to remove feedbacj in such a pickup, which made it unable as soon as even the lightest overdrive was applied to the sound.
Second goal was to raise the output level of such a pickup, without compromising the tone, to achieve a better balance with that Seth Lover and the two Seymour Duncan's SM-1 Firebird mini-humbuckers on Neck and Middle positions.

Do I succeed?.
Well... partially.

Goal 1: to remove feedback by wax potting the pickup

As I've explained in article linked above, I wasn't using the correct wax / parafine proportion, since I hadn't any bee wax available. I was using a set of parafine candles to do the potting.

The bath needs 80% of parafine and 20% of true bee wax, to achieve the right balance to penetrate every quatter and to remain there. Parafine is very liquid and bee wax very dense so, just the proportion mentioned above is the right one for a right potting work.

I did that potting without following the right "formula" so, I wasn't expecting good results.
But, I would say that at least, I was able to remove around the 90% of the feedback issues.
Currently, I can use the pickup under overdrive and, I just have feedback under high gain distortion, which is more than I expected, to be honest.

I know there are still some things that I should do to try to fix the feedback issues, as by example, to substitute the springs with some rubber tube.
But there is also something that worries me. This guitar has metallic pickups rings, that could produce micro-vibrations against the pickup cover and, therefore be part of that feedback issue.

So, I am still not done with feedback issue but, there are some steps to follow first.

Goal 2: to increase pickup output without compromising its sound

This goal was achieved but, even that the original output was clearly raised, those mini-humbuckers are still having a huge output level.
At least, now I can better balance the output levels.
Respect of sound, if you are used to Seth Lover's sound YOU, better than me, should be able to determine if the original sound was preserved after swapping the stock magnet with an AlNiCo Roughcast A8 magnet.


I did a video recording the testing session I had.
The guitar isn't fine tuned, still. Action and rest of set up are still not finished so, the axe isn't comfortable to play, actually.
Also, pickups heights are a bit too much, to my taste so, the sound can go a tad compressed under gain.

This is also an oportunity to you to hear the Firebird style mini-humbuckers, if you never did it.
In a three pickups axe, as this Firebird of a friend of mine, the combinations with that middle pickup bring a broad spectrum of sound nuances. Just playing with volume pots in one or more pickups, the sound can change really radically, from warm to stratish single-coil.

I am quite sure that, once I fine tune this axe, it will be a real sound-making-machine.
I was greatefully surprised with the sound and power of those mini-humbuckers and, after this magnet swapping, the Seth Lover can be part of the sound equation.

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