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Cover Technology Breakthrough - Telecaster neck pickup cover

Discussion in 'Just Pickups' started by rigatele, Nov 10, 2016.

  1. rigatele

    rigatele Tele-Afflicted

    Apr 20, 2014
    Canada
    I know, it sounds like spam. But I'm not selling anything. In fact, I regret that I am not in a position to profit from this, but I really think that this is an important discovery so I've decided to just dump my findings for the world to see. Let's start with a simple Tele neck modification.

    Basically, what happens here is that when you follow my recipe here, you will have a chrome plated cover on your neck pickup, that has little or no effect on the tone (if the cover material is brass, it will have little effect, if the cover material is nickel-silver it will have no effect - totally transparent). It's tested and proven, but I'd be thrilled if more people could try it.


    Here is the proof:

    GdCbqCv.png
    The full technical article is available in PDF form at the end of my blog post here:http://kenwillmott.com/blog/archives/246

    I have also covered humbuckers in my article, which involves a similar mod. But I thought this neck mod would be of the most interest on a Telecaster forum.
     
    kingvox, Blue Bill, SURF and 12 others like this.
  2. Antigua Tele

    Antigua Tele Friend of Leo's

    Jun 2, 2014
    west coast
    I'm glad you shared this, because it proves that the open top style like this

    [​IMG]

    is not necessary, and is likely to cause more eddy currents than your "T cut" mod, since the circumference is still continuous. That "T cut" can be made so fine with a laser cutter that I bet you'd not even see it.

    This is a big deal, people have used mirrored plastic covers to get the right look without the dulling effects of eddy currents, or took the cover off completely, which is unattractive, and by cutting a cover in this manner, a real metal cover becomes almost entirely transparent, while still providing the same shielding.

    I hope someone can make these and sell them for a reasonable price, because it's hard to make small straight cuts with a jewelers saw, and more conventional tools.
     
    bparnell57 likes this.
  3. rigatele

    rigatele Tele-Afflicted

    Apr 20, 2014
    Canada
    I have made my prototypes with a small diamond wheel in a Dremel tool. It is difficult to get a uniform cut with it. I have enquired about machining, and most lasers can only cut stainless steel or aluminum (I suppose nickel-silver hasn't even been tried). The laser company referred me to a high pressure water cutting place and they can do it, but there are additional problems to be worked out. I'm still looking into it.

    Indeed, the open top style that you show above is an absolute fail with regards to eliminating eddy current losses, contrary to a "common sense" look at it. It's a fine example of how far pure guesswork that appears to be common sense will get you. Practical, thorough research must be the foundation for any progress that is to be made in this area.
     
    Doug 54 likes this.
  4. spartan warrior

    spartan warrior Tele-Meister

    It is very interesting work that you have done and you are to be commended for putting it out in the public domain for us all to benefit from.

    It goes to show that some of our long held "beliefs and understandings" are little better than old wive's tales.

    I tip my hat to those of you who are prepared to put in the hard work necessary to help move our understanding forward.

    Well done
     
    Doug 54 and Stingfan73 like this.
  5. rigatele

    rigatele Tele-Afflicted

    Apr 20, 2014
    Canada
    Thank you, kind sir! I plan to follow up with a practical build, but the covers haven't arrived yet. Here is one humbucker version, in the cutting jig:
    CIN_0385.jpg
    I'm still fooling around with machining, which I have not much experience with, and not many tools. I found that this type of cut with a hacksaw leaves too much rough stuff on the edges to make finishing possible. The diamond wheel cuts well, but is hard to control by hand.
     
  6. rigatele

    rigatele Tele-Afflicted

    Apr 20, 2014
    Canada
    I would be quite pleased to see any company produce them, but I don't want to see anybody try to patent it.
     
  7. Rowdyman

    Rowdyman TDPRI Member

    Age:
    63
    99
    May 17, 2013
    Eastern Canada
    Why do I need "permission" to view the link at the beginning ?
     
  8. Stingfan73

    Stingfan73 Tele-Afflicted

    May 9, 2012
    The East Coast
    I continue to find you have provided great, thorough and well-documented research and findings, and add tremendous value and knowledge to the guitar-playing community with your input. We are ALL better for it. Thank you.
     
  9. rigatele

    rigatele Tele-Afflicted

    Apr 20, 2014
    Canada
    It's a link to a private gallery. It's not the way I wanted to post. I hope everyone can see the images now that I changed the permissions. I better repost it anyway.
    Willmott_modification1a.png

    Also some caveats - the magnets must be insulated with tape so they don't contact the cover. The cover may be grounded at the single tab but nowhere else. The main slot may extend all the way to the ends, but only has to reach to the middle of the end poles - it should make no difference in the performance, just a construction detail. I think it looks better when it only extends to the poles.
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Nov 11, 2016
  10. Derek Kiernan

    Derek Kiernan Friend of Leo's

    Sep 7, 2008
    Princeton, NJ
    Looks good. Why cover the poles in tape? The practical issue in general is making sure the coil doesn't have continuity with the cover through the poles, but the coil shouldn't be wound directly on the poles in the first place, which is an easy way to get shorts that do send the signal to ground. I imagine the concern here would be the same and shouldn't apply to modern manufacturing with a plastic bobbin used for the coil form in Fender examples, etc, but may apply to some "vintage" recreations from smaller makers.
     
  11. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

    Apr 18, 2014
    Near Detroit, MI
    .

    Waterjet will give you the best cut finish if done as finished parts. You can get better results if you back up and cut before the plating process so the parts can have any burrs removed or back up further and make the stamping die set pierce the slots while forming the parts.

    On the slotted humbucker design, do you need all six slots or what happens if only the outer two are cut, the inner two, ... or some other pattern?


    .
     
    Doug 54 likes this.
  12. rigatele

    rigatele Tele-Afflicted

    Apr 20, 2014
    Canada
    Actually, many of my plots showed disturbances when the poles were allowed to contact the cover. The poles in those prototypes don't contact the coil, all of them use plastic bobbins. I think in the case of humbuckers, there are currents where the poles contact the baseplate. So with proof in hand that it is a problem, I have to act. It's interesting to know why, as time goes on I will investigate further.

    The case of single coils is not yet firmly established, but I am worried that the two sides of a slot will be short circuited by a pole. It's less likely, but having seen a problem with the humbucker, I'm inclined to prescribe tape in all cases (I am actually using sheets of heavy duty Lee photographic filter material because I have it on hand, it's robust and heat resistant).

    There is a precedent for it, in the black plastic sheet that fits under the cover of the Filtertron type. I admit that it might not be there for the same reason.
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2016
    kingvox likes this.
  13. rigatele

    rigatele Tele-Afflicted

    Apr 20, 2014
    Canada
    A stamping die would be ideal, but I've heard numbers like $50,000 for that. The minimum rule for a humbucker is, there must be a continuous electrical break between all six pairs of poles, each slot must originate directly on top of one pole, and end directly on top of the other. I haven't tested your proposal, but that follows from the tests I did on eddy currents in close proximity to the poles, that it would not work.

    That minimum requirement can be optimized by extending the slot beyond the top of the pole, as far as you like (in practice, just past the edge of the coil is good). But you might choose the minimum configuration for aesthetic reasons. Relative to no slot at all, the slot extension is only a small improvement over the minimum.
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2016
  14. Derek Kiernan

    Derek Kiernan Friend of Leo's

    Sep 7, 2008
    Princeton, NJ
    Yeah, it might be helpful to know exactly why it's happening, but I agree that tape is not a bad solution for a general case and isn't something that compromises the aesthetics of the mod.
     
  15. Antigua Tele

    Antigua Tele Friend of Leo's

    Jun 2, 2014
    west coast
    I'm not sure what the mystery is as to why you'd not want the poles to touch the cut cover; it will short out the cuts. The AlNiCo is more resistive than the brass covers, so it's like shorting the cuts with a very low value resistor.
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2016
  16. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

    Apr 18, 2014
    Near Detroit, MI
    .

    Yeah, $50k can easily be possible for stamping tooling you want a million hits off of it but equally likely can be much less. Depends on who is doing it and what press and so on. Brass is pretty soft so you don't need as hardened of tools as if doing steel. There are temporary and low volume die tool materials that can work too -- especially if considering testing the market or a startup business. Low cost low volume tools until sales increase and can directly or that give solid forecasts of sales to justify high volume $50k tools.

    Since your icon lists Ontario ... there are some automotive stamping supplier facilities around Windsor that could do something like this (and piece price is probably a little lower than US even though right across the boarder), or I could work through some contacts I have to produce quotes for a ramp up. PM me if that's that case.
    A 'kickstarter'-like project via Tdpri, I'm just thinking outside the box here, to set up some sort of initial order for replacement covers that pay for materials and initial low volume tooling. If low volume tooling could be done for "$10k" and a thousand Tdpri members are interested in paying $11 each and they do the cover replacement on their guitars? I'm guessing at those numbers but perhaps it could work.

    Keep generating test data that could convince Tdpri members they want to replace covers on their Tele neck pickups and any humbuckers installed.
    How can inline caps replicate the 'sliced cover' designs for tonal effectiveness? Is that an alternative to correct eddie-current-filled non-sliced covers?

    .
     
  17. Antigua Tele

    Antigua Tele Friend of Leo's

    Jun 2, 2014
    west coast
    I figure any boutique Tele pickup maker, who offers open top as a neck pickup option, would be interested in offering this to customers who want that Strat like clarity in the neck without having to see exposed pole tops.
     
  18. LtKojak

    LtKojak Tele-Meister

    184
    Sep 10, 2013
    Milano, Italy
    Although this could be considered a "betterment" from a purely technical point of view, I'm not so sure if the player with "golden ears" will get along with the added top frequencies... he/she might percieve it as "harsh".

    I, personally, am all for it. But then, I'm not a Tele player, so what do I know, uh? ;)
     
  19. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

    Apr 18, 2014
    Near Detroit, MI
    Traditionalists will see the slots and won't want the mod because it doesn't look vintage. There are a lot of them, concerned with features like pushback wiring 'for tone the way Leo intended'. It's probably a sizable market segment like those against relic guitars. Some players want performance and that's good -- many players complain of muddy pickups and this can cure that problem.

    The selling point for these will be brightness and articulation plus noise shielding. Tele neck pickups without muddiness and brighter humbuckers that don't soak up the background noise thrown off by computers, televisions, dimmers, and other gear. The humbucker market is likely larger than the Tele one - high gain metal players for studio work would be among first adopters willing to buy conversion kits. Demonstrating how the Tele mod can improve twang and 'chickin pickin' could help grow interest by Tele players.

    I have two guitars with similar humbuckers, one has covers and the other open face. They both have full-foil cavity shielding, and shielded internal wiring so overall they are both quiet. However, sitting in front of the laptop the uncovered one is much noisier. I made a grounded foil 'cap' for the un-covered one just to compare what is getting thrown off by the computer equipment and the change with and without that shielding cover is pretty dramatic between the two conditions.

    The number of players recording close to computers is pretty high, using amp sims or just working the controls for starting and stopping multi-track recording -- they probably don't realize how noisy that proximity to the equipment may be hurting their tone. That's the segment that will eventually be most interested in this feature.

    .
     
  20. rigatele

    rigatele Tele-Afflicted

    Apr 20, 2014
    Canada
    When you put it that way, I agree. The steel parts of the humbucker are conductive enough to pose a problem but not the magnets. I would like to try it, but I don't have any covers or Tele pickups to try right now. I believe you mailed me some, so I should be able to try when they arrive. :)
     
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