Bad design / quality control

Here’s a little tale of both poor design and quality control, and, why it helps to sort out some basic repair skills.

The Peavey T-40 from the late 70s - early 80s had the neck pickup start cutting in/out when i pressed on it near the E string (where thumbs like to exist) and when I was adjusting the height of the pickup after changing strings…hmmmmm…

The pickup assembly has a pretty neat ‘floating system’ in the cavity for adjustment, and the pickup itself is ‘sorta’ sealed. It has two dimples on the sides (and a couple of dried out glue blobs underneath) that hold the cover onto the pickup body.

I carefully popped the chrome cover off, which brought the black plastic cover underneath with it. What I found was on the E side of the pickup, between the two pickups, right near the top and under the plastic cover, is where the red lead connects to BOTH pickups. This wire is soldered to a metal ‘bar’ wire (like a capacitor lead) that connects the lead to both pickups. This metal ‘bar’ was broken from rubbing against the bottom of the plastic pickup cover, thus causing the in/out effect when I was adjusting pickup heights. A small bit of solder fixed this issue.

But notice how the black plastic box bows inward on this end.
So what I found when reassembling was that the plastic cover did not actually fit in the base ‘box’ and was simply crammed together and glued(ish - was very dry and not very adhesive any longer). Over the years the inside cover issue must have pushed against this bar joint and broke it.

The issue is not visable when the pickup is fully assembled.

Fix complete, and avoided a costly luthier trip or purchase of replacement pickup.

These are really easy repairs, you too can do them too with some patience and logic.


Wow, that’s a cool idea. Good fix @John_E. That looks nest.


US manufacturing across most sectors really went into the shitter for quality in the '70s and '80s. I look back and remember the cars literally falling apart on the lots and shudder.

It’s also why the lawsuit era guitars ate Fender and Gibson’s lunch.


I’ve been reading a lot about the different manufacturers since the electric guitar era started and it’s fascinating how it all played out. That was one reason why Leo left Fender once CBS took over. Lots of bankruptcies and corporate takeovers too.


Well here is something neat. Posted this over on talkbass in hopes it helps someone else and just got this rely from someone.

I emailed Chip Todd (the guy behind the T-40 and others) and he explained this to me. He said it really bothered him that after he’d left, they changed the manufacturing process which has caused a fair few pickups to fail… cool that you’ve found a fix!

Pretty cool that the guy who designed the bass got to hear about my fix.
Not as cool that he knew they screwed up his design.


Well here we go again.
Below is a seriously overpriced vacuum record cleaner I just got. Assembled it and it did a great job of spinning the record in a Tilt-a-Whirl, wobbly fashion Vs flat. After some inspection, the tiny weld that mounts the spindle to the motor was interfering with the aluminum platter that holds the record. Sure, a quick file job to put a bit of a chamfer on the underside eliminates the interference and allowed it to lie flat, but for what this thing cost I shouldn’t have to finish production for them. Pro-Ject’s response so far? “Sorry for the inconvenience, we have seen this recently on some units. Told them that was not acceptable and asked what they would do about it. Crickets so far.
Good thing I can fix stuff.
On the plus side, it’s an excellent machine.


QC does not deal with reliability.

You’re talking about a 40+ year old bass, nothing is designed to last that long.

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There’s your problem right there.

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Correct, but QC did not see that the plastic box wasn’t closed properly for gluing, which is what pushed down on the poorly placed connection and broke it.

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You’re assuming that any QC was even applied to it :joy: :joy: :joy:

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Well, most people don’t understand quality management at all. Every process inherently includes some quality control, it just might not be the right kind at the right time.

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True that.

Reminds me of when I hear a music store employee tell a potential customer that the store will make sure a proper setup is done for his purchase. :slightly_smiling_face:

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I still say you’ve got the best “man cave” going out there, John @John_E :wink:




Harley Benton might not be the best gamble these days…