Unpotted pickups?

jm55

Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2009
Messages
93
Reaction score
41
Were the earliest original PAF's potted? And are there any aftermarket replacement pickups that aren't potted? It looks like all Gibson pickups are potted.
 

MSB

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 20, 2015
Messages
4,230
Reaction score
4,994
according to Gibson none of the Burstbuckers are potted
 

jm55

Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2009
Messages
93
Reaction score
41
Hmm..I missed that. Thanks. I've always preferred unpotted Strat pickups and I assume I'd prefer unpotted humbuckers too. I have 490/498T's in my 2000 LPS and I've been thinking of trying something else.
 
Joined
Apr 18, 2011
Messages
81
Reaction score
67
Throbak pickups are unpotted.and are amazing pickups in terms of quality, sound, and parts that are true to original PAFs.

They are not cheap, but they are worth it IMO.
 

jm55

Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2009
Messages
93
Reaction score
41
What about feedback? They were potted for a reason!
Sure, but feedback potential is simply the cost of getting the specific sound of unpotted pickups. Obviously both potted and unpotted have a place in the guitar world.
 

ARandall

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 16, 2012
Messages
13,492
Reaction score
9,352
Were the earliest original PAF's potted? And are there any aftermarket replacement pickups that aren't potted? It looks like all Gibson pickups are potted.
No Gibson pickups were potted until the Tarback came out in the 70's.......and even then regular pickups in most models didn't sport potted pickups until the late 80's.
And somewhat ironically, I think strat pickups actually were potted back in the day.......if my info is accurate.

Looking at the majority of winders, you'd say most pickups aren't potted.....as there are a lot of small players who do clones of PAF pickups and none of them pot. But the big winders do pot.....even for many of their supposed PAF type pickups, as their low output offerings get used in a range of styles and genres and have to be usable for all applications.
The small winders have a much more focused clientele who tend to know what they are buying, and choose based on more specific outcomes.
 

laterider

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 25, 2012
Messages
773
Reaction score
558
Not all Burstbuckers are unpotted, I thought:
BB Pros are potted
BB 1, 2, & 3 are unpotted
BB 61s are potted (BTW, these were just called 61s when they came out, now I see them being called Burstbucker 61s...)
 

cooljuk

Transducer Producer
Premium Member
Joined
Mar 11, 2009
Messages
15,494
Reaction score
21,447
"None of the BurstBuckers™ are wax potted"

their words
They are wrong. MOST Burstbuckers are potted, IME.


Gibson didn't pot any pickups until the 80's or maybe 90's. Plenty of great high-volume stage performances have been made with those early and most glorious unpotted pickups of the 50's, 60's and 70's.
 

Coldacre

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 10, 2013
Messages
1,343
Reaction score
1,354
What about feedback? They were potted for a reason!
it’s a non-issue. unless youre playing death metal levels of distortion, it’s no problem at all. look at all the legends like Clapton, Page, Perry, Green etc playing through 100 watt Marshall’s in the 60’s / 70’s. not once do you hear feedback issues in the live recordings.
 

NotScott

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 25, 2012
Messages
2,677
Reaction score
6,210
I gig regularly with unpotted pickups and never have feedback issues but if you are doing chugga chugga death metal, vintage style pickups are probably not for you anyway.
 

Derald

Junior Member
Joined
Jul 7, 2018
Messages
28
Reaction score
37
My understanding is that factory installed BB1/2/3 with the two conductor braided wiring are UNPOTTED. Gibson sells those pickups aftermarket and they are wax potted. Also the four conductor versions are potted as well. This information I gathered from Gibson material on their web site and in personal experience.
 

moreles

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 16, 2011
Messages
3,828
Reaction score
2,517
I've never had a problem with squealing at any volume except for once, and that was because a cover had become unsoldered and went microphonic. I've enjoyed both potted and unpotted pickups and I like a pretty wide range of tones. My guess about potting is that it parallels other developments, like overbuilding and more rubbery finishes, that were intended to reduce customer complaints and warranty work. Though very few players have trouble with squealing, and obviously (based on this thread, even) most don't know which PUs are or aren't unpotted, all it takes is for a few complaints to enter the mainstream and a mass producer has problems. I'm fine with potting, but I think it's mostly overkill to avoid the rare bad experience.
 

cooljuk

Transducer Producer
Premium Member
Joined
Mar 11, 2009
Messages
15,494
Reaction score
21,447
I know Gibson states this and other "rules" about what is or isn't potted that they sell but they ARE often wrong about it.

Either they put the wrong pickups (potted/unpotted) in the boxes and guitars or they are just really casual about what is or isn't potted in production or they change their mind about what to do or it's just miscommunication between production and advertising. Interestingly, I can't recall ever seeing a pickup from Gibson that was supposed to be potted and wasn't. It seems the discrepancy only goes in one direction.

Whatever it is, MANY pickups that Gibson has put out that are supposed to be unpotted by their marketing are actually potted. I get them in for repairs and have to have the conversation with the owner of "I know you said the pickup was unpotted, but it really was potted. So, do you want me to pot the new replacement coil(s) or not?" It happens regularly.

Duncan Custom Shop has done it, too. Several folks have ordered pickups unpotted and received them potted. I can think of a few on this forum. It may just be that these companies form habits in production and they have difficulty skipping normal a step in their process. I can't count how many times I started to install nickel pole screws in pickups that were supposed to be gold. I just sell probably 50 times as many nickel as gold humbuckers so it becomes second nature to grab from the nickel bins of any given screws. I always catch it in the end and fix it when I inspect and confirm an order before putting on covers but, in the case of potting, you can't "undo" it to fix that error (despite what some misguided folks with hair dryers and paper towels may lead you to believe).

I think the big takeaway here is - don't assume that because a pickup from Gibson (or Duncan, I guess?) is marketed to not be potted that it isn't. If you like the sound/response, it shouldn't matter but don't base your opinion on if there is or isn't a audible or performance difference, or if one is better than the other for you, on the assumption that Gibson did what they said they would do in marketing materials.
 

DarrellV

just Livin' the Dream....
Premium Member
Joined
Oct 31, 2016
Messages
29,891
Reaction score
81,334
Not all Burstbuckers are unpotted, I thought:
BB Pros are potted
BB 1, 2, & 3 are unpotted
BB 61s are potted (BTW, these were just called 61s when they came out, now I see them being called Burstbucker 61s...)
My understanding is that factory installed BB1/2/3 with the two conductor braided wiring are UNPOTTED. Gibson sells those pickups aftermarket and they are wax potted. Also the four conductor versions are potted as well. This information I gathered from Gibson material on their web site and in personal experience.
This is correct in my findings as well...

I own a Studio Deluxe 4 with BB 2 and 3 which are un-potted.

I was researching for another thread on BB and discovered on Gibson's site that as laterider said, some aftermarket ones are in fact potted.

My understanding of those pros is that they are for more high volume and hotter playing styles than the PAF style un-potted ones. This gives the player a choice.
 




Top