Ibanez Black Eagle pickup repair

The Ibanez Black Eagle bass (2409B) was developed in the mid 70's in an attempt to move Ibanez away from the "copy market" and into more original and noticeable guitars and basses. While the Custom Agent and the Black Eagle were heavily influenced by more traditional Gibson and Fender products respectively, they introduced a flair and aesthetic to these instruments to set them apart from the other copies on the market.

Made by the great Fujigen-Gakki factory for Hoshino Gakki Ten who owned the Ibanez name these new guitars were high quality affordable instruments NOT marketed to the copy market and the Black Eagle, as the name suggests was only available in all black, except for 4 "White Eagles" made in '78. Officially introduced in 1977 (a handful were made in late '76) there appear to be approx. 500 made all up until 1979. Interestingly the serial number on this one dates it at June 1976.


The bass set itself apart with many features including the intricate fretboard inlays on a bound maple board. Also, a huge feature is of course the inlaid scratchplate showing Fujigen's amazing work and of course the amazing headstock. The body is based on a J bass with those awesome curled in horns and all the originals I've played have been HEAVY. This example is just over 5KG and it's not the heaviest one I've held.

The electronics are pretty much standard Fender J bass with 2 long single coil pickups and a volume for each with a master tone. 


And that's where this one had a small issue.

It came in for setup and an enquiry as to why the bridge pickup was so low in volume. A quick test showed that pickup was in fact dead. 


With the pickup removed it was obviously made by Maxon (Nisshin Onpa) and is essentially a standard J bass pickup and measured 0 Ohms out of the bass. So, as I always do when repairing a pickup, I took the tape off and carefully started unwinding the coil. As I've said many times, I'd rather repair an old pickup than rewind it if I can to keep it "more" original but it's not always do-able.


I usually take 10 or 20 winds off and then expose the wire and take another measurement just in case it's working. This one unfortunately was not. After unwinding another 20 winds or so the wire just came away from the coil in my hand. I thought I'd broken it unwinding it but realised it was already broken. Could this be it? I removed the insulation and measured the coil. 

The multimeter sprung into life and showed just over 7.5K. A very healthy coil.

I resoldered the original lead wires back on and wrapped it (mostly) in its original blue tape and put it back in its cover. 


I've rewound LOTS of old Maxon pickups but it's always nice when I can repair an old pickup coil, but, I also have no real problem if it has to be rewound. If a pickup is rewound properly with the original type and gauge of wire, it's back to original factory specs and can sound and look as if it's never been touched.

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