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Old 08-02-2008, 08:39 PM   #121
J Kennedy
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They definitely breathe new life into the Fender single coils. Installed the same 2 inch bars on a Gibson SG Special with single coils and it gave the distinct sound, but the response was too uneven. The 3" bars may fix that (next project).

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Old 08-06-2008, 03:27 PM   #122
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Default SG single coils

Friends,

Info update on the Gibson single coil SG type pickups. My mistake previous.

I had installed the large neo bars and got beautiful sound but very uneven response. Concluded length was the problem by concentrating field around the ends (2 inch neodymium bar shorter than inferior stock magnet).

Problem is not length but the pole axis. The weak Gibson bars are polarized thru width and the KJ Magnetics bar polarized thru thickness. Gibson SG single coils have two weak, width-polarized magnets flush against a center inert bar that routes the individual string screws. (put the axe back together before taking pictures, would have helped)

Hotwire enhancement would likely best be achieved by cutting the string screws beneath the bar and placing a KJ bar over the inert bar, leaving the stock magnets in place. Easiest and still great enhancement is to use the small thin bar referenced earlier, two for each pickup:

Part# BX041-N50 (1 x 1/4 x 1/16 bar) www.kjmagnetics.com

Open the pickup case and just let these magnets suck onto the underside exposed length of the adjustable pickup screws, one magnet for 3 screws. Orientation is right angle to the stock magnets. Response is even, gain and tonal quality improved.

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Old 09-13-2008, 01:23 PM   #123
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Default Forcing fields, theories, experimenters welcome,

Friends,

Here’s another approach to getting some super charged sounds out of pickups. Anyone with their guitar already taken apart in pieces, give this a try. Feedback welcome since many hands and minds better than one. I'm revisiting the Gibson single coil with further improvement. Looks like some of this is repeated, sorry.

Several months ago I tried a magnet mod on a Gibson SG Special, replacing the two rather weak, generic bars with neodymiums. Result was a complete failure because of the pole axis. The neos from KJ Magnetics are polarized thru the thin face thickness, running the flux thru the pickup parallel to the screws. Seemed to be a good idea. Gibson bars polarize thru the width, two bars on either side of a right angle central stud. Flux goes perpendicular below the coils into the stud which then channels flux at right angles thru the adjusting screws (not the best utilization of the windings).

I took out the neodymiums and replaced the original magnets on either side of the stud, poles pulling at each other to at least get back to normal. Nice fit. I put the pickup back together and it was even worse. Low volume and muffled tone. Thought I’d shorted a few windings.

Turns out that getting the two poles north and south opposite was the problem. Same poles facing and repelling was counterintuitive to me at the time. I can see now in the original design that forcing a single pole on one side makes sense. I just finished reversing polarity of the two N50 grade thin bars mentioned earlier against the screws, one bar for each three protruding screws, important thing here being that the bars were forced onto the screws with the same pole repelling (all magnets working against each other in a sense). You’ve probably seen how magnets can repel same poles until they’re touching, then pull together. Great result in retaining warmth and adding some clear definition.

Problem here is that repelling poles can cause greater bulges in the field outside the coil area. This can be a problem picking up extra noise and affecting the sound of closely spaced pickups. Not a big problem with the Gibson so far since the windings are quite wide to begin with.

Lace pickups have designed more number of weaker micro fields to keep outside spread to a minimum, which they claim reduces noise (my hero Richie Blackmore, his playing anyway). My idea here is that a couple thin iron bars flat against the side of the coils would keep some of the flux within the coil boundary. Shouldn’t alter the density thru the coil enough to lose windings and might even be a plus. This could make major headway in reducing single coil hum. I don’t know if they make iron foil, but this would probably do the job better. Also haven’t researched where to find neodymium bars that are polarized thru the width. This would be killer for pickup systems using magnets/studs and perpendicular field routes.

Haven’t tried this on Fenders yet (iron bars to contain field or repelling poles). If it works as well as it does on the Gibson, more great sounds to be had. Something to explore. Any ideas or tangible results welcomed. Be a while before I can rip up the Squire...uh...the SQUIER.

Best to all of you,
John
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Old 09-13-2008, 02:01 PM   #124
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Quote:
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My idea here is that a couple thin iron bars flat against the side of the coils would keep some of the flux within the coil boundary. Shouldn’t alter the density thru the coil enough to lose windings and might even be a plus. This could make major headway in reducing single coil hum. I don’t know if they make iron foil, but this would probably do the job better.
Disclaimer: it's been over a decade since I did the relevant coursework, but I believe you are partly correct. The mechanism is that the iron provides a path with a lower reluctance (the magnetic dual of electrical impedance) than the air path, and more magnetic lines of flux will take the lower reluctance path.

The thing that's hard to figure is whether you are correct about lowering the field density in the coils. I'm guessing anything that cheap and easy would have been taken up already by the manufacturers, so it may actually lower the field density in places you don't want it to.

Anything ferromagnetic ought to work for doing your tests.
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Old 09-13-2008, 03:38 PM   #125
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Rob,

Input much appreciated. Thing that got me long time ago was that the obvious was too oft overlooked by the mfg. End aesthetic response of containing/distorting the field would by necessity be good or bad depending on the individual pickup design. Field containment would reduce noise definitely, but what the warp effect has on quality of sound is entirely trial and error and pickup specific. A quarter inch difference in a containment bar could significantly alter quality and nature of the pickup. Gibson single-coil pickups just happened to come out ahead of the curve forcing north poles from the bottom, but doesn’t mean the same operation on an Ibanez something-or-other might screw things up badly.

Any knowledge on an available ferromagnetic foil? Off the deep end, but think I’m on to something borderline prodigal.

Thanks,
John

Last edited by J Kennedy; 09-13-2008 at 03:40 PM.
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Old 09-13-2008, 05:09 PM   #126
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There's a commonly available material with a high permeability (low reluctance) that is known as mu-metal. It's an alloy. I expect you can buy foil, it's used in magnetic shielding applications. I don't have a source.

I did poke around in some tables and came up with the following possibly relevant trivia:

A reasonable ballpark figure is that iron has about 4000-5000 times the permeability of copper. So you'd almost certainly be starving the field in the windings if you had a highly permeable (low-reluctance) path nearby for the field lines to travel.

added: I think it's generally a productive question to consider: "can a magnetic field in a pickup be shaped in a way that improves the pickup's characteristics?" I have my doubts about this particular approach to shaping is all. And consider my opinion a layman opinion.
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Old 09-13-2008, 07:09 PM   #127
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I just want a simple strat mod that adds these 2 combos to the usual 5:

neck/bridge and neck/middle/bridge

Haha...already found it:
"...replacing (one of) the tone control(s) with a push/push pot which activates the neck pickup independently of the 5-way. This give 2 new sounds - "neck & bridge" and
"all 3"."



wait, maybe I want them in series when all 3 are on. I dunno what sounds better. oi!

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Old 09-14-2008, 08:22 AM   #128
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All 3 in parallel is amazing. More Strat than Strat.
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Old 09-14-2008, 09:29 AM   #129
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Rob,

The mu-metal looks promising if a bit spendy. Only drawback is the thickness, their thinnest stuff being too thick to mold like foil. Fast search shows there may be suppliers of iron foil, not as good but may work for the purpose. Will call the mu-metal folks and see if they have anything thinner. Your point about reshaping is at the core of this, how to contain the excess without reshaping and starving the windings. Seems like anything that contains efficiently would reshape, and the end result for good or bad would depend on the pickup. Maybe this is why the Lace group went to all the trouble of designing the micro fields. Would have been easier and cheaper to put the coil in an iron box if that had worked.

Policat,

If you don’t mind giving up one tone control, earlier in this thread there’s a way to convert the tone control to a blend control allowing 1+3 or 1+2+3. (Like Snoo said
1+2+3 more strat than strat. 1+3 more Beach Boys than Beach Boys Fender Jaguar sound).

You can change out the 250K pot to 500K to minimize bleed, but isolation is fine with the stock 250. Only other thing is to rewire the last tone control to global tone (wiring diagram was posted). The good point of this approach is that you can back off the 1 or 3 presence and get a lot of subtle variations not available when the pickups are either full on or full off. On my strat and squier, I’ve dumper both tone controls for blenders and installed the DPDT center off phase switches, kept the 250K pots. Vast soundscapes are there that strats just can’t get out of the box. Doing the simpler single tone control mod is fast and you don’t have to drill new holes or buy extra parts.

John

(Edit)

With the parallel wiring and blend, there is the thought expressed somewhere here that the bleed kills the idea. There is bleed even with a 2 meg pot. You can hear the bleed by tapping on the linked pickup with a key or something magnetic when the pickup is faded out. However…with the stock 250’s and the polarity switches in place, turning on or off the pickup doesn’t make any difference in the sound. So there is bleeding, but at least what’s left of my ears can’t tell any practical impact. My advice here is that if you’ve got the guitar disassembled, go for the full mod with phase switches and the neo magnets. Costs about $20 for the two switches and magnets. Will knock the socks off the Guitar Center guys.

Last edited by J Kennedy; 09-14-2008 at 04:11 PM.
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Old 09-14-2008, 01:26 PM   #130
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Only other thing is to rewire the last tone control to global tone (wiring diagram was posted). The good point of this approach is that you can back off the 1 or 3 presence and get a lot of subtle variations not available when the pickups are either full on or full off.

I need at least a global tone control so that's the solution

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Old 09-15-2008, 06:22 PM   #131
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Just droppin~in a line to say thanks for all this. Took a while to get my eyes back in their sockets and jaw off the floor of course. Lovin-it!
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Old 09-16-2008, 11:10 AM   #132
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Tweed,

Appreciate the encouragement. Next project is to get opposing poles to stick on the bottom of Fender pickups and see what that will do to the sound, and also to get some actual neodymium poles installed if I can find the right diameter. Hope to get back with some good results.

Best,
John
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Old 12-12-2008, 12:01 PM   #133
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My, what a wonderful thread this is! A thousand thanks! Now for the basics book first, then I'll try out some things learnt here...
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Old 12-12-2008, 12:14 PM   #134
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Default MU-metal

MU-metal is the best stuff I have ever found for shielding anything!! You have found the problem I found years ago- it is to think to really be usable for a lot of applications. Also, the stuff is dangerous to work with. It will cut you like a razor blade so use some thick gloves ( I have a small scar on my hand to testify! ).
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Old 12-13-2008, 07:11 PM   #135
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Default Neodymiums...the Dark Side

Friends,

Glad that this thread can still offer some inspirational tips. I did a couple mods last month that turned out screwed up and rendered one guitar “unusable” for a professional going into a studio. We fixed the problem and the guitarist feels way ahead of the stock axe, but there is a dark side to the process of neodymium field amplification. Should pass on the downfall to radioactive pickups and how to achieve balance in the face of overkill. All depends on your style if this is a show stopper or not. Will post details and OT string vibration trivia on how even stock guitars can be sending messed-up signals without you making some adjustments.

Best to all of you,
John

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Old 12-13-2008, 08:38 PM   #136
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This is one long and rambling manic episode.
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Old 12-13-2008, 09:15 PM   #137
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+1 to that!
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Old 12-14-2008, 09:59 AM   #138
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Default single coil pitch/volume distortion

This is a problem that has been around a long time and was I think first reported in Fender single coils with the introduction of Alnico magnets. As said, the style imposes how much of a problem it is, specifically if you play a lot of barr chords high on the neck. The guitar will never be in tune unless the pickup is backed down away from the strings.

We modified a Gibson SG with stock P 90’s, replacing the coils with Dirtyfingers. The guitarist trades out guitars between his Gibsons and a 2008 American strat. He was having trouble with the volume difference between the guitars and the Dirtyfingers made the gap wider. We did the neodymium additions to the strat and raised the pickups. Center tone was sacrificed for a 1+3, 1+2+3 blend. The strat was up there in lights with gain equal to the Gibson with incredible tone. Sounded good at my place anyway.

He got them home and cranked them up thru a Marshal stack, started playing the high barr chords (which I usually don’t). Got the call that something was seriously screwed up, everything out of tune and a major tremolo effect going on.

Some trivia on why this happens and reason to see if your guitar is doing this even stock off the shelf.

Double coils aren’t as much a problem because the magnets are usually bar types on the bottom of the pickup and a weak flux going thru the screws and poles. Single coils are often wound around the magnet itself and present a strong field coming direct at the string. Field of magnets drop of at the 1/x2 ratio or whatever so that smaller distances mean greater field difference the closer you are to the pole.

Pick a string and we get the normal fundamental and harmonics but there’s also a distorted oval motion going on like a jump rope. The jump rope swings close to the pole and there is a marked increase in volume, several cycles per second giving a tremolo. On the downward pass, a strong magnet pulls the string down and raises the pitch throwing everything out of tune. Sounds bad.

The effect is heard higher up because the strings are pressed closer to the magnet, but mainly because the center point of the string with the biggest displacement is shifted over the pickup. The stress also sets up a node for weird harmonics that wouldn’t usually be there. Mainly the low E and A are affected, 10th or so fret up and worse with lighter gage strings.

Fix is to lower the bass side of the pickup until the effect disappears or don’t play high up barr chords. Note that adjusting out the pitch distortion has to be done with all the pickups. Neck pickup is worse than a middle pickup. A pickup close to the bridge has to be really strong to have much effect, but you can be playing the bridge pickup, getting the warp and the problem coming from a neck pickup that’s not even in the circuit.

About the only other thing I have of worth about any of this is a simple mod on a strat that makes a big difference in being able to cut through the computer environment. Solder in two .005 mfd capacitors in series across the two non-grounded terminals of the volume control. This gives you the equivalent of a Tele filter at about half the value, passing higher frequencies. Best effect for me is in the volume range between 7 and 10 where you use the volume control to adjust the bite. Gives a lot of fine control over what goes into compression and distortion effects.

Best,
John
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Old 12-14-2008, 05:54 PM   #139
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cold sweat...trust me about the capacitor bridge
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Old 01-06-2009, 07:55 PM   #140
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Default Gibson design and Fender invasiom

Gentlemen,

Just spliced in a couple capacitors in my Epiphone 3 pickup black Les Paul clone (Alnico magnet pickups). Tested it with friends next to a 40 year old Les Paul Custom, brass metal pick-guard and all. Epiphone way superior sound with the simple modifications outlined earlier..

Going further, tear open the back plate. On the volume pots, solder in a .001 mfd capacitor across each of the two ungrounded terminals of your volume controls. (Radio Shack yankee price currently $1.49 for the two caps). This will give you controlled bite and presence as the volume is turned down. Tried several values but .001 seems best to me. Many guitars follow this wiring format, so works on most two pickup double coil designs. May have to experiment with the right capacitor value for the specific guitar. Every axe a unique creation with individual needs.

Best to all of you,
John

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Old 02-29-2012, 12:46 AM   #141
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Someone linked this thread in another forum, which drew me here, so I read a couple pages worth of posts.

I realize this is an old and apparently dead thread, and I'm sure the OP meant well, but I would highly caution anyone reading these guitar mod schemes that much of the info is flat-out incorrect, or will cause damage to your instrument or should never be attempted by anyone who is not an experienced guitar tech, or shouldn't even be done by a tech (and most reputable ones would refuse to butcher, for example, guitar pickups in these ways anyhow. Just for example, the idea of pushing pole pieces through a bobbin is one of the best ways to break your inner windings of coil, rendering the entire pup useless).

I'm not going to waste my time covering each little topic here, but let me offer at least one example. At one point the OP was suggesting replacing volume pots with 2 meg pots, because the stock 250k pots on many gits, such as on most Fenders, breed off treble and don't allow the full sound of the pickup to come through. Yeah, well, there's a very good reason why 2 meg pots never come stock on gits -- the pickups would sound utterly horrible if run through 2 meg pots. You don't WANT every bit of signal to pass from pickup to amp!

And don't even get me started on the suggestion to run Elmer's Glue all around inside a hollowbody guitar to "tighten up" the sound or get more "definition," as the OP calls it. Guitars are made other than solid for the very reason of producing different note articulation. Duh.

Look, this thread is the perfect example of, although honestly intentioned here I believe, yet how there is a huge mass of bad, false and incorrect information on the Net these days. Just 'cause this sits in the REAPER forum doesn't mean anything here is safe, wise or of any merit. Sorry to say, about 95% of what I've read here so far is utter crap. You can even tell from the lack and incorrectness of much of the OP's terminology that this person is just some bedroom dabbler and certainly no professionally trained anything. I do believe all this was meant in good faith, but only an idiot would try any of this (or a very spoiled rich kid who never worries of destroying any of his guitars).

You have been warned. Do not try this nonsense yourself. There are far better ways to improve your sound. Might I suggest merely playing 4 to 6 hours a day, instead of fooling with things so much?

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Old 02-29-2012, 03:13 AM   #142
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+1. Had failed to notice this thread earlier, but an awful lot of it IS flat out wrong or at the least a very dodgy way to mod a guitar.

Only try this stuff on cheap crap guitars you dont care about if they are destroyed, guys.

Pouring PVA glue into a semi just made me puke.
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Old 02-29-2012, 03:27 AM   #143
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Telenator View Post
Someone linked this thread in another forum, which drew me here, so I read a couple pages worth of posts.

I realize this is an old and apparently dead thread, and I'm sure the OP meant well, but I would highly caution anyone reading these guitar mod schemes that much of the info is flat-out incorrect, or will cause damage to your instrument or should never be attempted by anyone who is not an experienced guitar tech, or shouldn't even be done by a tech (and most reputable ones would refuse to butcher, for example, guitar pickups in these ways anyhow. Just for example, the idea of pushing pole pieces through a bobbin is one of the best ways to break your inner windings of coil, rendering the entire pup useless).

I'm not going to waste my time covering each little topic here, but let me offer at least one example. At one point the OP was suggesting replacing volume pots with 2 meg pots, because the stock 250k pots on many gits, such as on most Fenders, breed off treble and don't allow the full sound of the pickup to come through. Yeah, well, there's a very good reason why 2 meg pots never come stock on gits -- the pickups would sound utterly horrible if run through 2 meg pots. You don't WANT every bit of signal to pass from pickup to amp!

And don't even get me started on the suggestion to run Elmer's Glue all around inside a hollowbody guitar to "tighten up" the sound or get more "definition," as the OP calls it. Guitars are made other than solid for the very reason of producing different note articulation. Duh.

Look, this thread is the perfect example of, although honestly intentioned here I believe, yet how there is a huge mass of bad, false and incorrect information on the Net these days. Just 'cause this sits in the REAPER forum doesn't mean anything here is safe, wise or of any merit. Sorry to say, about 95% of what I've read here so far is utter crap. You can even tell from the lack and incorrectness of much of the OP's terminology that this person is just some bedroom dabbler and certainly no professionally trained anything. I do believe all this was meant in good faith, but only an idiot would try any of this (or a very spoiled rich kid who never worries of destroying any of his guitars).

You have been warned. Do not try this nonsense yourself. There are far better ways to improve your sound. Might I suggest merely playing 4 to 6 hours a day, instead of fooling with things so much?
I don't necessarily disagree with you, but I wouldn't discourage anyone from experimenting, given that the consequences are taken into consideration.
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Old 02-29-2012, 06:58 PM   #144
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Grey Ross Compressor......best box I ever had. Gave it to someone to fix and never saw it again. What is closest to it? Any ideas?
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Old 03-01-2012, 01:36 AM   #145
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Quote:
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Grey Ross Compressor......best box I ever had. Gave it to someone to fix and never saw it again. What is closest to it? Any ideas?
Tried the Boss CS-3? I use one occasionally, but I have an Alesis 3630 in my rack that is my usual one.
I tried an MXR Compressor in the 80s... don't know the name, but it was bright orange.
I had a Ross Chorus way back in the 80s. Did a great job, cheap as chips.

Agree with above comments. Saw this thread the other day and thought... hmmm, sounds like a cunning plan to screw everyone's guitars up... did get me thinking though. I'm seriously considering getting the gear to wind my own pickups.
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