1974 Maxon SG bass pickup rewind

While I've cut back my pickup winding/repairing to making my own pickups and or repairing them for my guitars and/or guitars going to the shop for sale, I do still do the odd job for something special or irreplaceable. It's a process I have to be in the right frame of mind for and with being so busy, it's hard to get "in the zone" to do too many.

This 1974 Greco SG bass however needed a neck pickup rewind so I could take it to the shop. There are replacements available and the original Maxon ones do turn up every now and then but for something special like this it was better just to repair the original pickup.

I've written about pickup rewinds, and especially Maxon rewinds before so check my previous stories if you're interested. It's not a difficult process but one that requires specialized tools and, like I said, the right frame of mind.

 

The original Gibson "Mudbucker" was 2 coils laid down flat with a row of pole pieces in the middle, these Maxon versions are essentially a big bobbin single coil in a big cover made to look like a Mudbucker.

While they aren't made like an original, and sound nothing like one, they are actually a really nice sounding bass pickup with tall alnico slugs and medium output they have nice punch and clarity, something the Mudbucker doesn't have.

I always try and repair an old pickup first by checking the lead wires, and then unwinding some of the coil to see if there's a break that can be repaired. This one unfortunately didn't have any visible signs of being able to be repaired so ..... off came the coil.

 

If you're doing this make sure you make a note of the winding direction before stripping it so you can wind it the same way. I nearly always just mark to the top of the bobbin with an arrow, unless of course it's going to be seen after assembly.

The wire used on this was #43 so that's what I used to rewind it. 

I didn't have an original resistance or another good one to measure so I rewound basically using the physical size of the coil as an indication. This is usually pretty accurate, especially on well made pickups where you know the original coil was well wound. 

 

I wound 8500 turns which looked about right and measured the coil. It came out at 6.5K which seemed "about" right with the bridge pickup. I knew they weren't high output and while it would have been nice to overwind it and give it some more punch, with this type of pickup not being adjustable it made more sense to make it as standard as possible.

I reassembled the whole pickup using all original parts except the tape that the coil was wrapped in (and the wire of course) and made sure it was all good. 

With it back in the bass it balanced out perfectly with the bridge pickup. I had to replace a couple of pots and a cap to finish the service off properly and now the whole bass is set up with tapewound flats and sounds great and plays like a treat. 

 

It's nice to keep these old vintage guitars more original by rewinding these pickups. While I personally find it not so crucial with standard humbuckers or Fender style single coils, unless the guitar is old and all original, I always cringe a little when I see aftermarket pickups shoehorned into old guitars because original odd shaped and size pickups failed. There's plenty of places around rewinding pickups so always check if a pickup is salvageable before ditching it and jamming something else in. Please? 

Sep 10 2020 Written By: Tim Brennan