Hi (and merry christmas to everybody):

Talking with one of my friends he told me that I have to sand my guitar pickup, that is... to take off the first coat of the pickup in order to restaurate its sound... what does it mean?! I've never read something about that... about sanding pickups...

Do you have any idea of what my friend was talking about?


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I don't know much about pickups but I do know something about electronics.

I don't know what there is to sand.  Pickups work because of the magnetic field they put out and the fluctuation the moving strings cause to those fields. There is no connection to clean in this. The wire must be like the wire used in other coils which is coated to isolate the wire into a single, long current path. You definitely don't want to sand the wires or they will short out.  If you are soldering a lead, you will want it to be clean and attaching a ground to the case might cause you to sand the contact point before soldering but I can't think of how sanding anything would help restore the sound.

Maybe someone that know more that I do will pitch in but until then, don't sand anything. 

Hadn't heard that one myself either, but there's always something "fun" going around.

Back in the early 1970s, our old pal, Jon Lundberg put up a sign behind the counter in his shop that read:


Asked about the process, he said, "Give me the $25 and we'll figure it out. . ."

It's not clear what's the problem here. Wax or corrosion? What pickup exactly? Are we talking traditional pickups with slugs/screws? If you're talking about pole pieces, then no, altering them won't change the sound. With sanding the poles you risk getting the grit and especially metal particles into the pickup. These you can't simply blow or wash out because of the magnetic field. Hard particles entering your bobbin might break the hair-thin copper winding.

Recently I replaced an SH6 with the same one, because the old one had a broken winding and was working on/off, because the customer customer cut the strings with nippers right above the pups each and every time he was restringing.

Pickups however do lose their magnetism over time, any magnet has a life-time, because the magnetic field decays. This is more apparent with vintage guitars. Seymour Duncan claims the drop in magnetic field is minimal for the first 50 or so years, but there could be a tiny difference between a well worn-in old pup and a brand new one of the same specs.

Hi Stefano.

"......sand my guitar pickup, that is... to take off the first coat of the pickup...."    Oh no. You should use a file, not sandpaper to remove that first coat. JUST KIDDING (-:

"Do you have any idea of what my friend was talking about?"  Truthfully, I don't think your friend even knows what he's talking about. (:

May you too have a very Merry Christmas, Stefano.  Now I have to get back to work on my car.  I have to replace the muffler bearings and change the air in my tires from Summer air to Winter air. (:

Thanks for the smiles,



Ask your friend to demonstrate on his guitar.



You're right!

My guess is that your friend told you to sand your pick, not your pickup ...or maybe he was talking about getting your truck resprayed ...

Oh no. You should use a file, not sandpaper to remove that first coat.

Yes, a steel file would be better, 'cause then you'll hear the filing through the amp.

So many of these fixes seem to have no purpose. Ask your friend what the result of this sanding would be. If the answer is a vague "it will make it better" kind of response, you can safely ignore it.

Btw, what kind of guitar and pickups are we talking about?

I've called my friend and he has told me that the problem is rust! Obviously he has no idea of what he told me... I think someone told him that for fix rust problems on a pup you have to sand it. :) I think I'll fix his problem with a q-tip and MD40. 

Rust on the pole pieces (I guess that's what you're talking about) does not have any effect on sound, as far as I know. I personally don't care about it.

I know... No effect on sound but you know... if my friend doesn't want rust on the pole-pieces the only way to fix it is anti-rust. 


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