I was watching video about pickup height regulation and author was claiming that using screwdriver with magnetic tip and soldering gun close to guitar pickups may demagnetize them. Is this really dangerous?

  • 5
    This could be better on the physics stack. That said, I think you'd actually have to rub a magnetic screwdriver against the pickup magnets to have any effect. Just turning some screws with it nearby doesn't seem like a problem to me. I've worked on computers extensively with almost all of my screwdrivers magnetized for getting close to 20 years now and never messed up a hard drive (like some say it would). Magnetizing a screwdriver takes some work. Demagnetizing a pickup seems unlikely to be something you could do accidentally. Commented Jan 10, 2016 at 20:53
  • @ToddWilcox: I agree, though I reckon the magnets used in hard drives are rather less fussy about demagnetising fields than the typical alnico magnets that most PUs use. Commented Jan 10, 2016 at 23:59
  • @ToddWilcox my friend that has degree in physics said that. It may influence but he wouldn't expect it to be noticable
    – teodozjan
    Commented Jan 11, 2016 at 9:31
  • The technical term for this is "degaussing." It appears to be a "thing" but the real question is: "how much and to what degree" can a screwdriver degauss. However all the searching online is going to be 100K questions in the form of this post. Most of what I see is more like "weakens the field" which means you need more gain(?). This is a lot different than "screws up the pickup"
    – Yorik
    Commented Jan 12, 2016 at 22:53

4 Answers 4


It is possible to degauss pickups, but it's not likely to happen by accident, i.e. accidentally touching a pole piece with a screwdriver is not likely to noticeably degauss a pickup, but sticking it to a strong rare earth magnet for example, can. The previous link describes an instance of this very thing happening, plus Chris Kinman's instructions for how to use the same magnet to re-gauss the afflicted pickup. Pickup maker Bill Lawrence also advises us not to worry much about subjecting pickups to minor EMF.

So for the specifics of your question, using a screwdriver with a magnetic tip near a pickup will not measurably degauss them. There is some discussion about the magnetic field from soldering guns degaussing pickups, but no evidence that I can find. In an overabundcance of caution you could use a non-magnetic screwdriver and use a soldering pencil. Or if you must use a soldering gun, it's easy to keep the transformer away from the field above your pickup pole pieces, but don't worry, magnetism from a soldering gun will not "flow" down the wires and degauss the pickups.


Strong magnets are a BIG no-no especially on the vintage spec pickups. The magnets in the pickups are very sensitive to strong magnets and will ruin your pickups...trust me on this one. I was removing metal shavings from my pickups and ruined the top 3 of my bridge pickup. What blew my mind was when I went to play, I switched to the bridge pickup and the top 3 strings were silent whereas the bottomm 3 worked fine....now that had me scratching my head.

  • Welcome to Music.SE! +1 for the first-hand experience, though as far as I'd rate it this just witnesses that vintage is rubbish, especially when it comes to the electro/magnetic components of a guitar. — What exactly did you do to those pickups, anyway? Commented Feb 27, 2017 at 20:47
  • I've found masking tape does a reasonably good job or picking up metal shavings stuck to pickup magnets.
    – tomgersic
    Commented Mar 7, 2017 at 5:22

Yup, just did this. Trying to get the metal shavings out and used a 400 lb test magnet along all my pole pieces. Now some strings sound ok and some are noticeably quiet. Good news is pretty easy to just replace all the pole pieces. https://www.stewmac.com/Pickups_and_Electronics/Pickup_Kits_and_Parts/Pickup_Kits_and_Parts_for_Strat/Alnico_2_Polepiece_Magnets.html

  • I haven't tried this but I would expect that removable pole pieces could be remagnetized and reinstalled. Anybody know if this would work? Commented May 14, 2019 at 18:17

At NO POINT does the author of the video claim that you shouldn't be using a screwdriver with a magnetic tip close to a guitar pickup.

Watch it again and listen more carefully: he claims that using STRONG MAGNETS DIRECTLY ONTO THE PICKUPS (to remove metal stuff from them) is a risk.

He does'nt say anything about magnetic screwdrivers.

FYI, "magnetic tip" screwdrivers have a very weak magnetic field so to make them harmless to electronic circuits. Thus guitar pickups won't be affected by using them.

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