$vboptions[bbtitle]

43 vs 42 awg wire for pickups

Webfoot
September 4th, 2012, 01:14 PM
For the same magnets (say Alnico V) and the same number of turns...

What is the sound difference between 43 and 42 awg?

Whats the trade off?

Does one add more...

- clarity
- volume
- bass or treble

GCKelloch
September 4th, 2012, 06:02 PM
There's also coil tension, dimension and it's relation to a given field, whether the coil has eddy significant currents, and how the core might produce eddy currents, and whatever else I don't know to consider. An easy answer would be convenient, but individual winding experiences can be based on any of these factors affecting the result. Not to mention how those examples were tested.

Given a perfect coil, thinner wire should produce less mid resonance, a lower Q factor, and a lower inductance, because the coil is smaller. It will also produce a higher fundamental to upper harmonic ratio for each note, and a greater sensitivity to smaller vibrations due to more of the coil being closer to the core. There should be potentially higher output, because the fundamental is the loudest harmonic, but it may not sound like it's louder. The lower Q factor would also lower the output at the resonance, so it's hard to tell if it would actually be louder, or not.

As an example: the Wilde MicroCoils are "perfect" flawless coils wound with very thin ~46g wire, and a very low wind count. They have a very low Q, a very strong fundamental, and are very sensitive. Since the fundamental is so strong, they have a very wide dynamic range. I'm not sure, but other innovations in the design may actually boost the output, so I can't really compare output to a standard SC. Because of the combination of the low Q and increased fundamental, they sound like they register more bass than other SC's. Since the biggest vibrations are the lowest notes on the guitar, more bass is actually produced. Again, no easy answer.

Mreilander
September 4th, 2012, 08:07 PM
If all other factors are equal,(ie number of turns, tension, magnet strength) you will have more top end roll off with the 43 awg. That's it.

GCKelloch
September 4th, 2012, 09:34 PM
No, that's what I'm saying. I don't think that's true. The Q factor should be lower, so it will seem like the highs roll off more, but I think the inductance also drops a bit, so there will actually be more high end extension with the same capacitance load, and greater sensitivity to higher frequencies to boot. The balance of highs (or really upper mids depending on the resonance under a capacitance load) will drop a bit, but the resonance, therefore extension into the high end range goes up. Since there will likely also be a greater fundamental ratio, it seems like there's more bass, further giving the impression of less highs. Also, thinner wire has more of a potential for high end canceling eddy currents, especially when hand wound.

RandomUserName
September 4th, 2012, 09:46 PM
Id say, from all the reading I've done on the science of pickups, that Narcoleptigon is right on the money. Theres not much difference between the two. Idr if he mention the increase in output from more of the coil being closer to the magnets.

copperheadroad
September 4th, 2012, 10:06 PM
the 42 gauge will have a little more bass & treble & clarity ,plus the pup wound with 42 gauge will be a tad louder

Webfoot
September 4th, 2012, 10:57 PM
So the 42 gauge would give you more sparkle (?) to the sound?

But the 43 would be a better bell tone?

Just making the above hypothesis up (ha)... but am interested in quantifying which is better.

Seems for a neck pickup you may want more clarity so the 42 would be preferred (again... another made up assumption).

Thanks

Mreilander
September 4th, 2012, 11:12 PM
42 awg will give you more clarity, all other factors being equal.

No, that's what I'm saying. I don't think that's true. The Q factor should be lower, so it will seem like the highs roll off more, but I think the inductance also drops a bit, so there will actually be more high end extension with the same capacitance load, and greater sensitivity to higher frequencies to boot. The balance of highs (or really upper mids depending on the resonance under a capacitance load) will drop a bit, but the resonance, therefore extension into the high end range goes up. Since there will likely also be a greater fundamental ratio, it seems like there's more bass, further giving the impression of less highs. Also, thinner wire has more of a potential for high end canceling eddy currents, especially when hand wound.

I don't disagree with you entirely. I'm just trying to keep it simple and let him know what to expect to HEAR.
Your thoughts on the Q factor are sound, I would disagree on inductance and overall otput dropping though. If both the 42awg and the 43 awg have the same amount of turns, they should have the same amount of wire strands in a cross section. The overall length of th 43 awg will be slightly shorter than the 42awg due to less of a compunding circumference to go around the bobbin, but not enough to cause a significant drop in output. I have 2 sets in production, with the only difference being one is 42awg and one 43awg. What you HEAR is a little less top end with the 43awg, making it great for bright guitars.

GCKelloch
September 5th, 2012, 01:09 AM
Yeah, output is tricky. Lower Q factor gives lower output at the resonance under the same resistance load, but that doesn't necessarily mean overall output is lower. If there is actually less wire, inductance may drop, but the increase due to more of the coil being closer to the core, and possibly even the strings, might counter the loss. I think it does, but I'm not sure. Even so, there should be an increase in fundamental ratio, which produces a sweeter sound, and actually better individual note definition. As you say, the overall effect will be that it's not as bright sounding, even if there is more high end extension.

GCKelloch
September 5th, 2012, 01:12 AM
So the 42 gauge would give you more sparkle (?) to the sound?

But the 43 would be a better bell tone?

Just making the above hypothesis up (ha)... but am interested in quantifying which is better.

Seems for a neck pickup you may want more clarity so the 42 would be preferred (again... another made up assumption).

Thanks

You may very well prefer a sharper sounding pickup in the neck, and a smoother one in the bridge, depending on your needs. I know I do.

Rob DiStefano
September 5th, 2012, 06:47 AM
the 42 gauge will have a little more bass & treble & clarity ,plus the pup wound with 42 gauge will be a tad louder

+1

there are reasons why leo dropped using 43awg in his tele bridge pups about a year after the first broadcaster/nocaster was born.

imo, it's hard to beat the sonics from a tele bridge pup that uses 42awg and a5 mags.

spankdplank
September 5th, 2012, 11:35 AM
I have wound tele neck pups with 42 and 43 AWG, and tele bridge pups with 42 and 43 AWG. My non scientific and very subjective experience has been that you need more turns and more wire and a higher DC of 43 wire to get the same volume as you get from 42. A pup wound with 43 AWG needs to be wound to perhaps 7k DC to have the same volume as a 6k pup wound with 42 AWG. The 6k 42 AWG will be a brighter than the 43 AWG wound to 7k and the 43 AWG 7k will be middier.

For example, a typical 60's tele was about 6k and 42 AWG at the bridge and about 6.8 k and 43 AWG at the neck. Both with A5. Even if you take the cover off of the neck pickup, the bridge will still be louder and brighter and the neck will be quieter and middier.

Webfoot
September 5th, 2012, 01:25 PM
I must be processing this backwards (not uncommon for me - insert smiley face here)... I was thinking you would want 42 for the neck for more clarity and then 43 for the bridge to tone down the treble. I am sure all combinations have something to offer.

Rob DiStefano
September 5th, 2012, 01:42 PM
43 for the neck because the bobbin's footprint is the smallest in the fender pup lineup and 43 wire is smaller than 42. 42 for the bridge because it just sounds better. the very vast majority of single and dual coil pickups employ 42awg coil wire.

far Far FAR better yet, replace that wimpy tele neck pup with a good strat pup. remove a strat pup's cover and it'll fit just fine in yer tele body and pickguard. best of all worlds - tele bridge pup, strat neck pup. twang on, rock on, pop on, jazz on, bluez on ...............

AJBaker
September 5th, 2012, 03:42 PM
I must be processing this backwards (not uncommon for me - insert smiley face here)... I was thinking you would want 42 for the neck for more clarity and then 43 for the bridge to tone down the treble. I am sure all combinations have something to offer.

The Baja Tele does this! Twisted neck pickup with 42 (like a strat pickup) and broadcaster style bridge with 43 wire.

kokodin
September 5th, 2012, 07:08 PM
I think now i known why my awg41 angled bridge paf overdrive the amp so much. Max cleen volume setting on the guitar is set on 7. My pups are something around 4,3 k each coil http://www.tdpri.com/forum/tele-home-depot/258706-i-made-myself-pickup-p.html Do you think that replacing wire to thiner one would help? I think that dc signal is simply to high but i don't have any voltmeter that accurate to measure it with. But that be like the output is over 5-6v because it clip the signal on 5,2v zener diodes which protects input fet transistor. Is it possible to have output signall that high anyway?

GCKelloch
September 5th, 2012, 08:25 PM
I have wound tele neck pups with 42 and 43 AWG, and tele bridge pups with 42 and 43 AWG. My non scientific and very subjective experience has been that you need more turns and more wire and a higher DC of 43 wire to get the same volume as you get from 42. A pup wound with 43 AWG needs to be wound to perhaps 7k DC to have the same volume as a 6k pup wound with 42 AWG. The 6k 42 AWG will be a brighter than the 43 AWG wound to 7k and the 43 AWG 7k will be middier.

For example, a typical 60's tele was about 6k and 42 AWG at the bridge and about 6.8 k and 43 AWG at the neck. Both with A5. Even if you take the cover off of the neck pickup, the bridge will still be louder and brighter and the neck will be quieter and middier.

That's good info to get an idea of the tone difference. I'm not saying 43g will give you the desired tone for the bridge, as Rob has pointed out. Keep in mind that when Leo changed to 42g in the bridge, distortion wasn't yet a part of a guitar's tone, so a brighter sound would help cut through a mix without sounding brash. Same reason Strat's didn't put a tone knob on the bridge pickup. Lead Strat guitar tones were clean, bright and bell-like, a la Buddy Holly. Of course, no absolutes here. It makes sense than neck Tele's used 43g, given the subdued tone.

One thing: thinner wire has a higher Rdc value. It doubles every 3 gauges. A 7kHz 43g would be about the same wind count as a 6kHz 42g pickup. There would also be slightly less wire for the same wind count, given it's smaller volume.

I have 2 HB's with 42g wire, and 2 with 43g. They all average about 4.5H inductance. I use a very low capacitance cable, so the resonace of each pickup is above 5kHz. Neither seems any sharper sounding than than the other, but the 42g ones might be with a higher capacitance cable. One thing I noticed even before I knew the wire guage was that at least one of the 43g HB's (GFS EHV bridge) is the clearest sounding throughout the spectrum. I think the bridge Dream 180 is 43g, and has the same type of clarity, but the brass bass-plate and cover around the coils accentuate the bass and upper mids in actually a very interesting way. It's very bell-like, but with a crisp attack and fat bass. The bass is a little muddy, probably due to the base-plate eddy currents, but it sounds good overall.

GCKelloch
September 5th, 2012, 09:07 PM
I think now i known why my awg41 angled bridge paf overdrive the amp so much. Max cleen volume setting on the guitar is set on 7. My pups are something around 4,3 k each coil http://www.tdpri.com/forum/tele-home-depot/258706-i-made-myself-pickup-p.html Do you think that replacing wire to thiner one would help? I think that dc signal is simply to high but i don't have any voltmeter that accurate to measure it with. But that be like the output is over 5-6v because it clip the signal on 5,2v zener diodes which protects input fet transistor. Is it possible to have output signall that high anyway?

First check here: http://www.tdpri.com/forum/tele-home-depot/258706-i-made-myself-pickup-p.html

That Rdc value sounds reasonable for 41g Strat type pickups. They generally use 42g wire. If you're having unpleasant preamp input clipping, you may need to adjust the pickup height, or adjust the preamp input gain somehow. Hi-Z pickups produce much less than 1v, so I don't know what is happening in your case. Is your preamp Hi-Z, or Low-Z? You need a Hi-Z preamp with those Hi-Z pickups. If the preamp is Low-Z, you need Low-Z pickups with only a few hundred turns. I think Bill Lawrence told me he used 38g wire in his Low-Z pickups in the 50's. They will have lots of highs, but should sound very clear, full and sweet through a Low-Z setup. If you build your own gear, especially If you like clean tones, Low-Z is the best option.