1. #1

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    Guitar: Eastman AR372CE
    Pickups: Parsons Street PAF style humbuckers (stock pickups had the same issue)
    the neck pickup vibrates BADLY against the pickup ring to the point where the lower 3 strings sound like a distortion pedal kicks in.
    It's not the springs rattling - definitely the pickup and the mounting ring - it somehow feels pressed in the neck direction. If I push the pickup flush against the ring it stops.
    So I placed a wood veneer in between the pickups and the mounting rings - problem solved...or so I thought.

    NEW PROBLEM: This makes the sound so boomy (plugged in) that it's un-useable. It seems to be around the 170hz mark - a parametric EQ set to this frequency at -12db helps, but it's still loud. Compression pedal makes it un-bearable.

    Remove the veneer - the frequency is more bearable but the vibrating is not bearable.

    1. I wonder if I made a mistake going un-potted. I wanted a more acoustic vibe but this seems to be even worse than the stock pickups with the issue.
    It seems that the veneer giving a solid contact between the pickup and the mounting ring (and thus the body) - causes a resonant frequency to boost - being a microphonic pickup as well I think this just makes it worse. (I can tap the pickups with my finger and hear it through an amp)

    2. I think I can get this under control if I remove the pickups and file the pickup mounting ring holes larger so the pickup just won't touch them. Maybe just go hog-wild until there is a gap so they can't vibrate.

    I thought I'd ask for recommendations before trying this in case I'm missing something more obvious. I suppose I could try buying a piece of felt - but even then I'm worried about the vibrations transferring through.

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  3. #2

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    First, try raising the pickups, which compresses the springs, sometimes stopping the vibration. It probably won't, but it's quick, easy, and free. If that doesn't help, try using rubber(latex,silicone, whatever) tubing instead of the springs, or if the tubing is large enough, put it over the springs. You need to cut it to the correct length to allow setting the pickup height where you want it, and that requires some experimentation, but it's not rocket science. Another fix many use is to wedge something between the pickup and the ring. Picks, sax reeds, etc all work. The reeds seem to work a little better, because they can easily be broken off at the correct height, but picks can do the job. It's also very possible that something else is also vibrating, and that takes careful inspection and investigation. There are dozens of things on archtops that can vibrate, and it can be very difficult to isolate the culprit. Check every nut on the guitar, from the headstock to the output jack. Check the pickguard. Check everything that touches anything else. I've also had guitars that vibrated at a specific frequency, which turned out to be caused by something in the room vibrating. I could have sworn that it came from the guitar, but it was something in the room, or in the amp, sympathetically vibrating. It could be a picture, or almost anything, even another guitar hanging on the wall or on a stand. The easiest way to check this is to move the amp and guitar to another room and play it, to see if there is any difference. Sometimes you may get something different vibrating, but probably at a different frequency. There are multiple threads here on the forum discussing the vibration issue, read them and you may find more and better information.

  4. #3

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    Plus one for surgical tubing for damping. I am gradually replacing or at least sheathing all my pickup springs for silence' sake. A bit of fuss, but well worth the trouble. Sgosnel speaks truth.

  5. #4

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    I will "third" the suggestion for using rubber tubing, like Fender does, instead of springs. The problem is the mass of the pick up is large compared to the strength of the spring, which allows the pickups to be pretty floppy in the rings. The vibrations we are talking about are really common; in an archtop they're much more noticeable than in a Les Paul. These rattles happen in a $300 budget arch top and a $10,000 Gibson L5.

  6. #5

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    True Cunamara….My L5 has had Fender heavy picks jammed in the neck pup since it was new in ‘89. Took care of the problem.

  7. #6

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    I had this problem on an archtop I had. I solved it by wedging a foam we earplug between the pickup and the ring. Worked better than a pick.

  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by John A.
    I had this problem on an archtop I had. I solved it by wedging a foam we earplug between the pickup and the ring. Worked better than a pick.
    Foam earplugs are the silent heros of the "what is that @#%*&^!! rattle" battlefront. On a given day any one of my archtops will be festooned with multiple colors of quiet-downers. Behind the nut. Poking out of the tailpiece afterlength. Wedged under the pick-guard. Bits of felt and cork work, as well, but tend to shed.

  9. #8
    Thanks for the suggestions. I had read other posts and for some reason I thought the tubing was to fix rattling springs. But from the comments here it should actually help hold the pickup still and fix my issue of the pickup vibrating against the mounting ring.

    Problem with a pick / wood wedged in - is that it it did fix the vibration but caused the 170hz range to become extremely boomy with no hope of EQ'ing it out (for my particular guitar). I've heard it works great for some people.
    So I just tried the foam wedged between the pickup and ring. This worked better for me - it's still a bit boomy but not nearly as much as it's not feeding that frequency from the top back into the pickup (as much).
    I might still try the tubing swap for the spring. I wonder if it might still cause the boomy frequency to transfer from the top into the pickup, but I'll try it next string change and see.
    Ultimately I might just file the opening of the ring mount larger - but for now I think the foam will do well enough.

  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by hoosier1981 View Post
    Thanks for the suggestions. I had read other posts and for some reason I thought the tubing was to fix rattling springs. But from the comments here it should actually help hold the pickup still and fix my issue of the pickup vibrating against the mounting ring.

    Problem with a pick / wood wedged in - is that it it did fix the vibration but caused the 170hz range to become extremely boomy with no hope of EQ'ing it out (for my particular guitar). I've heard it works great for some people.
    So I just tried the foam wedged between the pickup and ring. This worked better for me - it's still a bit boomy but not nearly as much as it's not feeding that frequency from the top back into the pickup (as much).
    I might still try the tubing swap for the spring. I wonder if it might still cause the boomy frequency to transfer from the top into the pickup, but I'll try it next string change and see.
    Ultimately I might just file the opening of the ring mount larger - but for now I think the foam will do well enough.
    I usually have pretty good luck with taking the springs out and stretching them out. Tricky to get back together but the extra tension can quiet them down. Never liked jamming stuff between the ring and pick up cause I feel like it changes the sound. Also be sure that the pickup is not tipped one way or the other because of a ill fitting ring to the top. Not sure if Eastman has this kind of problem Gibson surly does.