Under the skin, the Fender Telecaster Deluxe humbucker looks like
any other: two coil bobbins side by side, screwed to a base plate with
magnets sandwiched in between. To take off the cover, you’ll need to
break two small solder joints holding the cover to the base plate. Notice
the wax-impregnated felt strip that Fender jams between the bobbins
and the pickup cover. Ironically, this is to kill microphonic feedback. We
took this out carefully, noting the wrap, so we could put it back later.
Before potting your pickups in wax, you’ll have to take them
out. To do as little damage as possible, we decided to cut them
midway—instead of desoldering the pickup leads at the controls—
and splice them back together afterwards. It’s a lot simpler. Make
sure you tag everything. When reinstalling, don’t take the shortcut,
merely twisting the wires together. Solder every wire together, and
use heat-shrink wrap to seal the joints.
Finally, a good use for smelly gift candles! While the wife isn’t looking,
gather up two or three of these from around the house, and melt
them down in an old saucepan. Keep a close eye; it will only take a
few minutes for them to melt. Once they’re melted, you’ll want to get
underway ASAP, before the wax gets too hot and starts stinking up the
house. Someone somewhere will swear we need beeswax from a rare
breed of Tibetan honeybee, but this is supposed to be for fun, dig?
Using an oven mitt, lower the pickup into the hot wax, and let it soak for
between one and two minutes (note the watch on the counter). We held
the pickup by the wire pigtail, and the outer insulation almost melted
through where it was pinched on the backing plate by the strain relief
tab. We were okay this time, but next time we’ll probably use a pair of
pliers to hold the pickup. Have a cooling plate ready, so you don’t get
wax drops all over your kitchen counter. It takes a long time—about a
half hour—for these puppies to cool down. The masking tape we put on
top of the bobbins to keep the wax off lasted about 10 seconds in the
pot. In the end it didn’t matter, so don’t even bother covering anything.