May 24th, 2012, 01:43 PM
I finished my first scratch build a couple of days ago, there's some pics etc here (http://www.tdpri.com/forum/tele-home-depot/328403-first-scratch-build-ominous-thinline-content.html).
I wound my own pickups, apparently that's something that a few people are interested in at the minute so I thought I'd post something about my experiences. Forgive the lack of exciting action shots - I was busy winding pickups :razz:
This started life as a Toyota sewing machine. I stripped it down to improve its speed and handling:roll:, but mainly to remove the noisy sewing related crap, and hopefully harvest some useful parts. The sum total of the 'useful parts' turned out to be a metal bar and two rubber feet, which became the wire guide.
May 24th, 2012, 01:56 PM
I got A5 magnets from here (http://www.cermag.co.uk/buy_guitar_pickup_magnet.html) and it turns out that vulcanised fibre board for Fender flatware is the same stuff as Ďknife handle spacer materialí, which meant that I could buy a sheet in the UK for a fiver.
In retrospect, I should have bought a kit from either Stew Mac, or more likely Tub Pickups (http://www.tubguitarpickups.co.uk/guitar-pickup-kits.php) in the UK. You donít appear to save any money buying all of the components individually and that fibreboard stuff is a PITA to work with. The required eyelets are also difficult to source without buying a big bag of them from the USA, so I went with 5mm diameter ones that came with a punch thingy. They are considerably bigger than they need to be, but appear to be doing the job.
For the all-important wire, I researched Tele pickups comprehensively. I then came back from the pub on a Saturday night and apparently (hilariously) ordered a reel of 44AWG from Brocott, seemingly on the grounds that I could wind some hot P90s at some point in my future. In fact, from recollection, I was after 45AWG like Bare Knuckle use in their Pig90s but I couldnít find any.
This meant that I was going to get scorchio-hot Tele pickups, or crappy muddy ones. I scoured the web for info on single coil pickups that are wound with 44AWG (there arenít many) and did a bit of maths, aided by this (http://www.salvarsan.org/pickups/Coil_Estimator.html) rather handy calculator
This is the business part of my winder. The beautifully drawn arrow points to a reed switch which closes once-per-turn of the bobbin, thanks to the bar magnet (under the arrow) which is held onto the machines axle by magnetism :mrgreen:
The switch allows a 9v pulse to be sent to the counter, which, um counts...
May 24th, 2012, 02:20 PM
Probably the most technical part of the build is illustrated here:
A piece of teak (which was apparently used to practise sawing fret slots in a previous life), with a hole drilled through the middle, countersunk and a machine screw superglued through there. Tool station in the UK sell decent double sided tape very cheaply. If you stick masking tape to the bobbin and the pickup before attaching the one to the other (with double sided tape), it makes it easier to seperate the two afterwards and you don't have to pick double sided sticky crap off your pickup.
44AWG is basically the devilís pubes. Maybe the slightly thicker (and more Tele appropriate) wire is also a nightmare, but this stuff snaps if you look at it funny. Self-adhesive felt pads came to the rescue here, stuck on my thumb and finger to run the wire through Ė considerably less snappage.
I put 12,513 winds on the bridge pickup, giving a DC resistance of 15K. The neck pickup just about accommodates 10,020 winds, coming out at 11.13K. I (badly) wrapped them with some generic string and wax-potted them in candle wax (too impatient to order paraffin stuff).
They are not shrinking violets. I had to change the pots up to 500K and drop the tone cap to 22nF from 47nF because they sounded a bit thick with standard Tele values. They have a considerable output, possibly louder than my Bare Knuckle Warpigs (when coil tapped) and would probably not be your go-toís for authentic vintage tonez. They are however a bit good for aggressive overdriven stuff (my bag) and piano chiming cleans. The bridge bites like a harmonically complex bear trap (no shrill ice-pickiness though) and the neck has an ace rounded, jazzy, dense vibe to it. Thankfully, no mud though. Position 4 on the switch offers a more than passable impression of a grunty humbucker too, which is nice. Iím still adjusting the heights of them, this typically takes me ages though to get things exactly how I want. Iím fussy like that.
May 24th, 2012, 08:50 PM
Thanks for the posts! I'm thinking if winding for my next build.
May 25th, 2012, 01:05 AM
Great post, rackham! That first shot of your Toyota machine looks like the Terminator--AFTER the fire! Kind of scary, actually. Looks like it did the job, though.
Devil's Pubes, eh? You might want to get a copyright on that--could be a good seller for the new Rackham ElectroMagnetic Sensor Devices, Guitars, et. al, Ltd. firm. Give Bare Knuckles a run for their money.:grin:
May 25th, 2012, 06:17 AM
Ta guys. Yeah, the machine does look quite purposeful...I sawed the casting off on the left hand side to allow me to potentially mount another flywheel/bobbin thing on the left hand side for winding in the opposite direction. Haven't got around to doing that yet though - I stuck the neck pickup on face-first to achieve a reversed wind this time around.
'Devil's Pubes' - I'll investigate the potential for copyright :lol: Not sure there are many products out there that are named after their maker's dislike of the components.
May 25th, 2012, 07:44 AM
Ta guys. Yeah, the machine does look quite purposeful...I sawed the casting off on the left hand side to allow me to potentially mount another flywheel/bobbin thing on the left hand side for winding in the opposite direction.
All you really need to do is mount the bobbin upside down.
If you're winding with the base of the pickup stuck to the winder, all you need to do is flip the bobbin over and stick the top side to the winder.
Cut a small trough in your wooden mounting plate to clear the magnets for staggered pole pickups. It's a cinch!
May 25th, 2012, 01:03 PM
Thanks Telenator, I've not tried staggered pole pieces yet, but I'll definitely route a channel in that mounting plate.