How To Remove Metal Filings From Guitar Pickups Cover Image

The Correct Way To Remove Metal Filings From Pickups

Hello! Today, we’re discussing a quick tip – how to safely remove metal filings from guitar pickups. If you’ve ever installed pickups in your guitar and noticed metal filings around the magnets or pole pieces, you’re not alone. Removing metal filings from your pickups seems like an easy task – and it is – but as with everything, there’s a right way and a wrong way to do things. 

Although it might be tempting to reach for that old refrigerator magnet and “grab” those filings back, doing so can cause damage to your pickup. So, read on and learn the correct way to remove metal filings from your pickups magnets!

The Wrong Way To Remove Metal Filings From Guitar Pickups:

Never use magnets to remove filings. Doing so can weaken the pole piece pull and therefore changing your guitar’s tone. This problem happens especially in Alnico-type pole pieces, like pickups found in Stratocasters, Telecasters, Jazzmasters, and Bass pickups.

The Correct Way to clean guitar pickups:

Tape! Using quality masking tape is the safest and most efficient way to fix this issue. Check out this step-by-step below:

  1. Place the guitar on a secure, flat surface under good lighting.

    Doing so prevents your guitar from falling, and allows you to see the offending filings clearly.Fender Stratocaster with metal filings on magnet pole pieces

  2. Place quality masking tape on affected pickup(s)

    Place the masking tape on the pickups affected by metal filings. Gently apply pressure to the neck pickup and work the tape around each pole piece to remove metal filings.Fender strat with tape on Neck pickup to remove metal filings

  3. Remove tape and repeat if necessary

    Remove the masking tape and repeat this step if necessary. Enjoy your cleaned magnets!Fender Strat with cleaned magnets

Pretty cool, right? This process is so incredibly simple! Also, you can use this on any pickup model, including humbuckers with covers. Some good masking tape to use is painters trim tape – it leaves no residue behind, and is easily removed. Do you have any other tips to share regarding this? Let us know below. Until next time!

Written By:

Tyler Delsack

👋 I'm Tyler Delsack, the Manager of Fralin Pickups. I've been a guitarist for 26 years, and along with managing the shop and working on this Website, I love tinkering with things!

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