I really believe that is just one more example of the myths and hype that gullible guitar players fall for. I know I'll take a beating for saying that, but I'm used to it. I mean, we live in an age where we thought cloth covered wire sounded 'better'. Complete BS, but come on now; how many of you
fell for it? And how many miles of the stuff did AES sell?
I graduated from college in 1979 (am I that
old? Yep.) with my degree in electronics technology, and I was lucky that we still did some tube theory, but those new-fangled transistors crept into a lot of my book learnin'. After college I worked a lot in the TV repair business before I got lucky and landed with a few Peavey and Fender repair depots in town. My point here is that I was mentored by a lot of old-timers who were servicing tweed Bassman amplifiers when they were new. Me being gullible, I asked a lot of these same questions, and I always got a smack upside the head with a ''Why would ask something that silly? Don't you know better?
' I got to hang around some very brilliant repair men, and they taught me to question a lot of the myths. If you cannot show a formula for why it is so, then it ain't so.
I called Seymour Duncan years ago and asked if I could custom order a PAF or a Seth Lover humbucker and have it potted. Seymour went on to tell me it would change the tone. How
? I asked. Will it change the DC resistance of the windings
. Does it change the inductance
. Well, how
? If you pot just the coil, maybe not at all. If you pot the whole pickup, and pot too much, it can kill harmonics and overtones
. So the winding capacitance changes
? I don't know, and anyway, the point of a PAF and a Seth Lover is to recreate the original, which was not potted
. After that I bought the Gibson '57 Classic pickups (double potted!), and gave up on Seymour Duncan. I don't think my Love Rock with doubled potted humbuckers lacks top end or 'sparkle'.
Any pickup becomes microphonic because the coil is wound too loosely around the pole pieces, and will actually vibrate, where this is coupled to the amplifier. No, it isn't shielding or grounding, it's in the windings themselves, so no amount of lipstick can make the pig attractive. You have to pot it, period. Me being lazy and not having a proper pot and/or wax, I just figure it's more fun to try different pickups, and learn about those. I have tried potting my own pickups in the past, but if you aren't super careful you can melt the bobbin of a humbucker (don't ask how I know
). It's an art, and one I don't feel like learning when pickups are repatively cheap. Single coils are easier, since the vulcanized fiber really won't melt or warp with 'a little' excess heat. Still, trying new pickups is more fun, with less mess.