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Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups Warmoth.com

My Homemade Pickup Winder

Discussion in 'Just Pickups' started by kingvox, Sep 23, 2017.

  1. kingvox

    kingvox TDPRI Member

    29
    Mar 23, 2017
    USA
    This was born out of desperation to try winding pickups, and just going for the absolute bare minimum with what I already had available.

    (With the exception of the Mojotone Hand Guided Tensioner: I splurged for one of those and am glad I did. Being completely new to this, hand guiding the wire led to me breaking it multiple times, and almost giving up out of frustration)

    And I wanted to get it assembled fast so I could get winding ASAP.

    First I'll break it down step by step:

    I made this little fixture to assemble the flatwork/magnets. Cut and beveled a piece of plywood, and drilled it out. I think I just put a bottom piece of flatwork on it, and drilled right through it on my drill press, with a bit slightly undersized so it wouldn't ruin the flatwork.

    And then I opened up the holes with a bit about .003" larger than the rod magnets, and then epoxied some pickguard blank material on top of it to get it to the right thickness. And then drilled it out again. Then I awkwardly cut the whole thing in half, as close to the center of the holes as I could, with my Fret Slotting saw from Stewmac.

    The only reason for the pickguard material was because it was the only thing I had that was around the right thickness. Although in hindsight I do think it makes it less prone to cracking while hammering the flatwork on. I did go over all the holes in the plywood with superglue to toughen them up and prevent just that from happening.

    I either hammer them in the bottom flatwork to get them started, or (as I originally planned), use two locating dowels on the outside E pole pieces, assemble both pieces around them, then use a steel rod chucked in the drill press as an arbor to press the magnets into the flatwork, thru the holes that I drilled about .003" oversize of the rod magnets.

    The holes have to be wide enough for the rod magnets to slide in, but need to be firm enough to keep them in place. I overlooked the fact that when you cut the whole thing in half, you significantly increase the total size of the hole, as you're removing thousandths of material as you saw it out.

    Anyway, the holes were probably slightly bigger than they needed to be, but it worked fine for holding the flatwork together and keeping the rod magnets trued up as I pressed them in.

    When I have the inner rods mounted, I take the locating dowels out and press in the outside E magnets, then hammer the top flatwork on. The body of the fixture ensures that the distance between the bottom and top pieces will be consistent.

    I measured my CS '69 pickup and copied the distance between the flatwork pieces as close as I could (I think it's about .445" if I remember).

    [​IMG]

    I made the traverse limiter by cutting a wood dowel, drilling a hole through it, then sawing it in half. Then I mounted a steel rod with two drill stops on it between the dowel halves thru the holes, and 5-minute-epoxied the ends of the rod in. As you can see I wasn't very careful with the epoxy :p Then I just Titebonded them to a plywood square as a base.

    The steel rod is an old transfer punch that I cut to size. And then polished by chucking it into a drill and running it over increasingly fine grits of sandpaper, then hitting it with Blue Magic metal polish at the end before sliding the drill stops onto it.

    [​IMG]

    I used the non-polished half of the transfer punch that I cut as a mount in the plywood block that I drilled out. I used my Woodpecker Mini Square, a 2" clamp, and a trigger clamp to make sure that the rod was at a perfect 90 degree angle to the plywood block while the 5 minute epoxy set up. The 2" clamp held the Mini Square in place, while the trigger clamp pulled the rod taut against the square. I think this is actually pretty important, so here's a pic of how I did that:

    [​IMG]

    I used the Mojotone Hand Guided Tensioner in my left hand, while my right thumb pulled the trigger on the drill. And held it steady. I didn't mount the drill on anything, just had it standing there. Setting the drill stops on the traverse limiter was a little scary knowing my drill could possibly move. Or even the limiter itself.

    But the mat I have on my workbench provided enough traction to keep them in place. It ended up being a non-issue. I just think it's not worth the hassle and sweat in the future to do something so unstable, but for just starting out it got the job done, albeit awkwardly.

    In the future I'd like to set up a more foolproof method for the traverse limiter, as IMO this seems to be the most critical aspect. If the wire goes out of bounds, you're all done. I did get this to work well enough to wind a pickup but it was a challenge, and my hands hurt a lot when I was done. Having the limiter and the winder on the same fixture would be ideal, like on a traditional winder.

    I also filed the eyelets flush with the flatwork. I don't have an eyelet setting tool and I wanted to make sure the wire didn't snag on the eyelets. Seems to have worked just fine.

    Anyway, here's the final setup:

    [​IMG]

    That's about it for now. Only thing I left out was magnetizing the pickup, which I did using my Nut/Saddle Vise from Stewmac, as well as the Stewmac guitar repair magnets. Got the idea right from their website explaining how to do it, and it worked like a charm. Bottom of page here:

    http://www.stewmac.com/How-To/Onlin...hniques/How_To_Use_Guitar_Repair_Magnets.html

    I'd like to get a much more foolproof setup going, but I was itching to try my hand at winding a pickup, and this got the job done. And all in all it didn't take long to make all the parts for it.

    I only wanted to wind a handful of pickups and couldn't justify dropping hundreds on a pre-made winder, and so this basic winder was born.

    P.S. I just had the spool of wire standing straight up on the floor by my feet.
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2017
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  2. Steve Holt

    Steve Holt Tele-Holic

    736
    May 29, 2016
    Kansas
    Very nice work! I really like your bobbin assembly thingy you made. I may have to copy that for the next time I make pickups. I use my lathe with a 4 jaw chuck and the bobbin secured to a piece of wood cut to match the pickup. I set it to 500 rpms and set a timer for 16 minutes to try to get to around 8000 winds. It's not as accurate as a good winder with a real counter, but that's too much money for a few pickups here and there!
     
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  3. Rob DiStefano

    Rob DiStefano Poster Extraordinaire Vendor Member

    Age:
    71
    Mar 3, 2003
    NJ via TX
    brings back memories from nearly 6 decades ago. :D

    i forgot to add - ya done good. ;)
     
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  4. jvin248

    jvin248 Friend of Leo's

    Apr 18, 2014
    Near Detroit, MI
    .

    Looking great! I found drills had too much torque start/stop and broke the wire a lot. So I rescued a sewing machine, but have yet to build the winder with it.

    .
     
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  5. kingvox

    kingvox TDPRI Member

    29
    Mar 23, 2017
    USA
    Hey guys! I've been busy. This is my interpretation of my friend's idea. He never showed me his setup but he described it to me and I did my best to emulate it, with a few modifications.

    Rob's also been helping me out, and in the bottom picture is my replication of his hand guided tensioner. I still have to tweak it as I don't think I have the tension quite right (still getting loose winds, I think the kerfing clamp I'm using on the tensioner isn't applying enough pressure to the wire). Without all this help I'd have no idea what I was doing, so thanks guys!

    Anyway, here's what I've been working on. Quick verison in the YouTube video here. I'm embarrassed 'cause the coil looks crappy and my technique still sucks but I'm excited that the winder is at least working to *some* extent. You can see it in action at the end of the video although I was only running it at very low speeds:



    Parts list and how I did it:

    *Two 1/8" pieces of maple epoxied together (I didn't have any 1/4", no special reason I glued them together). I traced the flatwork out on each disc, and cut it out freehand with my precision router base and a standard 3/16" cutting bit from Home Depot.

    On the bottom flatwork I used Kwikwood Epoxy Putty: filled it, put Saran wrap over it, then pressed the flatwork onto it until it looked perfectly flush. I did the top flatwork second, and simply set it on top of my precision router base (with it upside down), and eyeballed it as well as I could. I set the depth of the router bit to match it as closely as possible, then freehanded it until it fit.

    I drilled the holes for the magnets way oversize, and just knocked out the middle with a chisel so there was plenty of room for the screw to hold the bobbin.

    *4-40 machine screw, 1.5" long. 4-40 nuts, #6 steel washers, and some special sized nylon washers they had at the hardware store. I ended up only using the nylon washer on one side, as it was too big for the faceplate to mount on it on the other side.

    *8-32 brass threaded wood inserts (for attaching the faceplate with 8-32 truss head machine screws). I screwed these into the maple discs on the drill press after threading it onto an 8-32 bolt that I cut the head off and put two nuts on. I put one insert in first, then made a pilot hole right through the faceplate hole for the second hole. I filed the inserts flush after installing. I was going to put 4 in, and I probably will eventually, but I got impatient, so for now there are only two machine screws holding the faceplate in place.

    I use my pickup bobbin spacer/assembly to make sure the flatwork doesn't compress when tightening the nut(s) on the machine screw. First I tie the wire around the pickup, then load it into the keeper, carefully put the spacers onto it...(I want to redo this, as the spacer is bigger than it needs to be, and might break the wire if I'm not careful)...

    Then tighten the whole assembly up, remove the bobbin spacer/assembly and attach the faceplate to the lathe.

    [​IMG]


    Next up is the little keeper for the actual magnet wire.

    I used these jars I got on eBay: http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-5...0001&campid=5338148343&icep_item=162099052842

    I epoxied a dowel in the center of the lid. I had to sand the dowel a bit so it was a snug but not too tight fit inside the coil spool.

    Then I drilled a hole in the bottom of the jar, where the 'dimple' is. I reamed it out with a standard reamer, then I just forced a wooden bead into the hole. It holds very tight. I made sure that about half the bead was sticking out under the plastic below it just in case the sharp edges of the plastic would break the wire as it comes off the spool.

    The bead keeps the wire in a neat position, and the plastic jar keeps the wire coming off the spool from going all over the place. I like it a lot!

    Then I screwed down a piece of craft wire to a piece of wood. I looped the end around a dowel to make a spiral. This is what I feed the wire through before tying it around the start lead on the pickup. The craft wire acts as a 'tension limiter' for the magnet wire as it comes off the spool.

    It's very light wire and has plenty of give to it. It 'bobs' as the winder spins and I've noticed that if the wire snags, the force seems to go into bending this thin wire, rather than breaking the magnet wire.

    I used my old "traverse limiter" from earlier in this post as a "tensioner" on the craft wire. It helps it stand straight up and not go all over the place. The drill stops actually work well for this. Glad to know that making this traverse limiter didn't go to waste :)

    [​IMG]

    I mount this assembly behind the lathe. The lathe turns towards me, and I've been winding with my hand above the bobbin, as opposed to below it. I've also been using a sheet of white posterboard below the winder assembly. It isn't in the picture, but it's just a piece of paper :p It helps with visibility. The white background makes seeing the wire much easier.

    Which gives me less of an excuse for still winding crappy coils :p They're still coming out loose, and horribly misshapen, but they work (for now). Just a testament to the fact that machines won't do everything for you...still gotta know what you're doing. I'm only on my 3rd pickup wind or so, though, so I'm not too discouraged yet.

    Moving on:

    I got this counter from eBay: http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-5...0001&campid=5338148343&icep_item=122211597394

    Supposedly it's accurate up to 1200RPM. I glued the magnet it came with to the maple disc so it'll trigger the counter with each pass. I just stuck the digital counter onto the lathe with tape for the time being. Seems to work well enough. I've been hanging out around 800-1000RPM for the time being so I'm OK for now.

    [​IMG]
     
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  6. Antigua Tele

    Antigua Tele Tele-Afflicted

    Jun 2, 2014
    west coast
    I'm just curious to know, why did you feel inclined to wind your own pickups? I wound a few dozen, but that was all for testing purposes. When it comes to making pickups I'd plan to use, they're easy enough to get for dirt cheap that I wouldn't want to deal with the hassle of winding just for that reason. I could use some of the test pickups I made, I'd just have to dip them in some wax, but again, not sure I'd even bother. The thing about the screw driver is that without a wind counter, you'll have to by dead reckoning, which makes it unlikely that you'd produce pickups that hit a particular target over and over again. You might wind a CS 69 one time, then a Texas Special the next.
     

  7. kingvox

    kingvox TDPRI Member

    29
    Mar 23, 2017
    USA
    Just a love for guitars and wanting to learn everything I can about them! That's reason #1. It's like a compulsion for me.

    I've worked with just about everything with guitars at this point...except pickups. It's been on my radar for a couple years, and these past few months I decided to just take the plunge.

    I pride myself on my Partscaster (cut a bone nut for it, re-radiused and refretted the neck to my specs, re-contoured, grain filled and finished the body, made a 3-ply wood veneer laminate and cut and stained a pickguard for it out of that), and that's another aspect of this too: I want to have my own set of pickups in there. And as of tonight I have a full set, although I know once I figure out how to do this right, I could get a set in there that sounds a lot better.

    I've been playing gigs recently and the enjoyment I get playing out has been coinciding with developing my tech skills and tweaking my guitar/amplifier. The enjoyments feed off each other and make me want to experiment more.

    That's also why I'm REALLY glad I didn't buy a pickup winder, and decided to go the DIY route. Just working on building a winder and running into problems and having to figure out how to fix them is really enjoyable to me. Having a really good sounding pickup is (almost) a completely separate enjoyment for me than the enjoyment of winding that pickup. And then THAT'S separate from the enjoyment of figuring out a way to build a pickup winder.

    I only own one electric guitar at the moment: my Partscaster. And I really like the idea of only owning one guitar, but that it's a constant work in progress. I've had 3 different necks on it in its lifetime, 10 different tone caps, a few different wiring and tone setups, and now it's onto experimenting with pickups. And by only having 1 guitar, I feel like it's as 'personal' as possible, and also cuts back on clutter. I want it to be the absolute best guitar I can imagine, but as soon as I get an idea to do something better with it, I just go list the old parts on eBay and start over again.

    And I have a penchant for painting myself into corners. I'm seriously contemplating selling my set of CS '69 pickups on eBay, which are the only commercial pickups I own anymore. And I've been gigging regularly.

    In other words, if I put those on eBay, I'd better learn how to wind a set of pickups that are reliable and sound good, because I'm out of options.

    Long story short: I am obsessed with everything guitar, I'm a tinkerer, and I can't help myself :)
     
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  8. Jupiter

    Jupiter Telefied Silver Supporter

    Jun 22, 2010
    Osaka, Japan
    It's fun!
     
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  9. LtKojak

    LtKojak TDPRI Member

    86
    Sep 10, 2013
    Milano, Italy
    Well... it kinda worked OK for Gibson in the '50s... does PAF ring a bell? ;)

    Anyway, what is with you and p'up winders, that you have to show such contempt, disdain and in this particular case, being patronizing and dismissive? Nobody likes a "know-it-all".

    Another thing, something you wouldn't know because YOU DON'T WIND PICKUPS, is there are some topics called TECHNIQUE and EXPERIENCE, something which allow hand-winders to achieve perfectly reliable, even results, p'up after p'up, batch after batch. So there!

    HTH,
     
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2017

  10. Antigua Tele

    Antigua Tele Tele-Afflicted

    Jun 2, 2014
    west coast
    Here's a really good technical document on the technical side of pickups http://www.planetz.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Pickup_Measuring_Technique.pdf

    If you're using a single wire gauge (I'd assume 42AWG), then you can guess fairly closely how much wire you've put on the coil based on DC resistance, and that will in turn relates fairly closely to the inductance. Assuming this is a Strat, you might consider putting the highest wound pickup in the bridge and the lowest in the neck, as that's how most "balanced" sets are set up nowadays.
     
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  11. Rob DiStefano

    Rob DiStefano Poster Extraordinaire Vendor Member

    Age:
    71
    Mar 3, 2003
    NJ via TX
    the better way to build a lathe winder is to make a disc platform (1/2" plywood, or so) that has a wide enuf diameter to extend beyond the body of the lathe itself. this will allow adding an optical digital counter to the lathe body, and have the trigger pointed at the back of the disc platform. one half of the disc platform's back side is covered with a highly reflective material, to bounce back the optical beam to the digital counter, and stoke a count for every full revolution of the disc platform. red lion is one such optical digital counter and trigger and it's accurate to about 20,000 rpm. i wind at constant 4,300 rpm, and use the simple velcro coil wire tensioning device. it all works exceedingly well.

    the exact center of the disc platform holds a machine bolt (4-40, 3-48, 2-56, whatever) that's about 2" in length beyond the disc platform. almost all pickup bobbin flatware has a hole drilled dead center. the built bobbin is attached to the disc platform via that machine bolt, held in place by a washer and starred lock nut.

    a coil wire travel limiter is not really necessary, in fact i consider it a detriment to a well wound coil. a coil wire rest that's aligned about at the center of the disc keeps the coil wire fed to the middle of the pickup - this is important.

    the built bobbin that will get coil wire wound on it needs to be prepped. its inner flatware edges need to be buffed with an abrasive to slightly round and eliminate the coil wire from catching it. the eyelets need to be filed or sanded flush as well. the bare rod magnets need insulation (thin tape) to prevent the possibility of shorting out the coil wire. cavalier bobbins get an added step - after the bobbin is built (on a 1/2 ton press), it gets water thin quality CYA injected at all points where the rod magnets meet the flat ware. this insures that the bobbin is strong and won't badly warp during coil winding. any excess CYA is sanded off during the flatware prep stage.

    so how does the coil wire initially enter the bobbin? easy - it's wound around the perimeter of the disc platform, which also creates the start coil wire lead length to work with for soldering to the bobbin's start wire eyelet, after the bobbin has been fully wound. ;)

    so how is a tapped pickup wound, with one or more eyelet taps? the answer is, essentially it's the same as building a non-tapped pickup, just a bunch more work. ;)

    r.
     
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  12. Antigua Tele

    Antigua Tele Tele-Afflicted

    Jun 2, 2014
    west coast
    I'm unlear, are you saying you should use no travel limiter and free hand it back and forth, or just hold the wire still and let it settle in the middle? I've seen pickups that both a fat middle, such as SSL-1s, and pickups with flat coils that appear to have been "layered". Do you believe one is better than the other?

    Regarding tapped coils, based on how Seymour Duncan does it, it doesn't look too difficult. You'd just stop at, say, 5000 turns, lift away some wire from the end of the spool where the tap eyelet is, tape it to the side of the winding jig to keep it out of the way, then continue winding another 5000 winds as you normally would. Note that you wouldn't break the wire, you just leave it intact, so it continues to carry a current. Then when you're done, you have a start, and end, and a mid-point handing off the end of the coil which you would strip and feed into a third eyelet as a tap point.

    That being said, I've found that there's a serious technical drawback to the a three lead tap; super higher capacitance. They end up setting the tap point to a low wind count to compensate for this high capacitance, which in turn mean a low inductance, below 2 henries. This makes for a weak output voltage. It is a design defect, in my opinion, because you're tapping from a very hot pickup, to an extra weak pickup.

    If you want a tapped pickup to truly function like a lower wound pickup, you have to disconnect the tapped coil at both ends, which requires four conductor leads, and that would just require that the mid point be broken, so you have two leads coming from the mid point instead of the one, and each lead gets its own eyelet. You'd then have to wire to a DP/DT to carry out the full disconnect.
     

  13. Rob DiStefano

    Rob DiStefano Poster Extraordinaire Vendor Member

    Age:
    71
    Mar 3, 2003
    NJ via TX

    ...................!!!......................
     
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  14. jvin248

    jvin248 Friend of Leo's

    Apr 18, 2014
    Near Detroit, MI
    .

    That bead in the jar is a perfect idea. Btw, that jar looks just like a couple of empty peanut butter jars we have around here to store odds n ends in. It was either Jiff or Kroger brand. The coil spring could be the tip from an ice fishing pole (they use a twitchy spring to signal when a fish is nibbling the hook), the wire is a good solution.

    .
     
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  15. Rob DiStefano

    Rob DiStefano Poster Extraordinaire Vendor Member

    Age:
    71
    Mar 3, 2003
    NJ via TX
    the larger 5 and 8 pound spools of coil wire i use are left at my feet on the floor, the coil wire comes up a good 3' to the velcro tensioner, and then at a right angle to lay on the coil wire rest, then round the bobbin. allowing full freedom of the coil wire to unravel off its spool when pulled on by the rotating bobbin aids when winding at the higher 4300 rpm speed.
     
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  16. kingvox

    kingvox TDPRI Member

    29
    Mar 23, 2017
    USA
    OK. Taking Rob's advice (or doing my best to with what I have available right now), I just tried winding a pickup without the front part of my plate. Just used the disc that attaches to the faceplate. Then put the 4-40 screw through it.

    The 4-40 nut ended up fastening down on top of the polepieces. It's all I have for now, and it seemed to work OK. Maybe not ideal but it seemed to hold the bobbin in place just fine.

    Does the lock part of the nut (I'm just using a regular nut right now) go onto the top flatwork? Going over the rod magnets seemed convenient since it wouldn't deform the top flatwork by overtightening it. What's the deal with the lock nut? Any advice?

    Anyway, it also eliminated the need to use spacers between the flatwork to keep it from compressing. That was a big pain. With this method I just looped the wire through the eyelet a few times, loaded the bobbin onto the disc, screwed it on and ready to go, no more fussing needed.

    I found that the top flatwork acts as its own "guide," in that if I hold the velcro tensioner at a decent angle, it can't really go outside of the flatwork without really messing up.

    I did use a piece of white posterboard underneath where I was winding so I could see the wire clearly. That helped a lot. I was still being careful as I got near the edges.

    I changed my position this time, and just rested my arm on the lathe and held the tensioner at a more natural angle for me. That seemed to help too.

    I prepped the flatwork too, which seemed to help. Went around the edges with a jeweler's file, then buffed them with a red Scotch Brite pad. I also flat filed the eyelets until they were completely flush with the surface. Then used the whip tip on my bottle of CA glue to lock the flatwork in with the magnets and let it set up for a little while. Then taped around the magnets before starting.

    I also made a block with the dimensions of the tape. Just used Scotch magic tape as per Rob's suggestion. Having the dimensions drawn out so I can quickly cut it to size has helped.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    My lathe only goes up to 2500RPMs.

    Unfortunately, my digital counter only goes to 1200RPM. When Rob was telling me about winding faster I just kinda thought, "Meh. I'm a beginner. I could be fine hanging out at 1000 or 1200RPMs, I'm sure."

    But now I'm already drooling over a quality digital counter.

    It was a rush going up to 2500. To me, as a rank beginner, that feels extremely fast, but it felt a LOT better than winding at 1200 or slower. I also noticed it seemed to run "smoother"...the wire looked "clearer" and not blurry at all as it was feeding onto the bobbin, and felt more solid.

    It was just more fun. But my counter couldn't keep up. The coil is tighter than any other I've wound so far, and looks pretty fat, but the counter says 6200 winds. I am almost positive that that's completely inaccurate, and I think for the while I was winding at 2500, it just blanked out.

    I also bit the bullet and kept tensioning my 1" C-clamp. The coil felt a little springy as I was winding, and I checked early before I got too far in. Tightened it up an eighth of a turn, wound a little more, tightened it more, rinse and repeat.

    I didn't break the wire, and my coil might be a TINY bit loose, but nothing compared to the last few I wound which were all over the place.

    The result is probably my best coil to date...uh, maybe my 5th pickup now? :p But seriously, not having ridiculously loose winds feels awesome. I can only imagine getting a better grip on this stuff.

    But yeah. A digital counter that could easily handle 4000RPMs might be overkill for my 2500RPM lathe, but I can always upgrade later.

    I'm going to be looking for a digital counter soon. I'm sold! Because now I have what looks like a decently wound coil (not WELL wound, lol, just better than the ones I did before), and I have no idea how many winds are on it because I couldn't help myself, and had to test out going higher than 1200RPMs.
     
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  17. Rob DiStefano

    Rob DiStefano Poster Extraordinaire Vendor Member

    Age:
    71
    Mar 3, 2003
    NJ via TX
    yer doing good stuff and learning what needs to be done along with what you feel most comfortable with doing.

    faster speeds will mean better wound coils. much past 2500 rpm and things can get hairy and out of control - this is where paying your dues and acquired experience will make it all worth while.

    the tensioner's setting with regards to rpm is what's needed to make tight, good looking coils.

    after the bobbin is built, file down eyelets flush (if necessary) and then use a 100 to 180 grit emery board on ALL flatware surfaces INSIDE the bobbin - the edges and the flatware itself. this also nicely cleans up any excess CYA, if you glued the rod magnets to the flatware. as you've experienced, the inner flatware edges become your coil wire "limiter fence" and keep the coil wire on the rod magnets.

    fwiw, tone kraft offers excellent flatware, and i recommend them.
     
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  18. jvin248

    jvin248 Friend of Leo's

    Apr 18, 2014
    Near Detroit, MI
    .

    Do you have a capacitance meter? I learned a lot about pickups in various guitars and pickups I bought once I could measure capacitance. I've had ohm meters forever and while kohms gave a general indicator of a pickups output, there was a particular feature it could not select from between the pickups I loved and the ones I hated. Capacitance measurements unlocked that sorting tool. Inductance is popular for people to measure but I really only found that to track close to kohms and would not let me sort like capacitance.

    I have a meter like the second link. The first link has a zero knob and may be more useful as I'd like to zero mine, but after using it for a couple of years I know what range I get that works so I can use it to sort with. It would never be useful to tell someone what measurement to aim for since my meter will be different than theirs. I had a friend measure the same pickups with his fancy Fluke and he couldn't get readings with his ... so maybe these are magic meters but they can sort good from bad. For similar kohm pickups, a good pickup will have less than half the capacitance reading of a bad (muddy) pickup.

    http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-5...0001&campid=5338148343&icep_item=161716108212

    http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-5...0001&campid=5338148343&icep_item=331282787475

    What I found is high capacitance in a pickup is what gives that 'muddy' tone. Machine wound perfect coils give you higher capacitance as the wire lays closer to each wrap and creates small capacitors that add up. Of course, higher windings for hotter pickups gives higher capacitance -- so the high output pickups struggle with mud. One of my cousins works in the solenoid actuator field building solenoids for automotive and agriculture equipment and he confirmed that they try to get more perfect windings to maximize electromechanical efficiency but the capacitance goes up as winding perfection is achieved. In guitars Hand-wound pickups will be generally sound 'better' than machine wound because the natural variation in putting down the wire and the tension changes break up the capacitance. So, you should A/B your pickups as you go to see these effects of tight vs birds-nest winding patterns.

    I have been convinced for a long while that internal capacitance is the tone reason boutique pickup winders can survive and thrive over the big factory pickup producers.

    Over time I've learned how to tame muddy pickups with pots and caps selection/swaps so I rarely need to change pickups these days. Worst offending pickups get a capacitor in series with the hot lead (I usually start with 0.047uF since these are handy).

    .
     
    FrontPU and kingvox like this.

  19. Strato50

    Strato50 Tele-Meister

    Age:
    50
    329
    Mar 30, 2017
    Port Arthur TX
    Very cool brother....send me some of those scatter winds....they seem to sound the best.
     
    kingvox likes this.

  20. Rob DiStefano

    Rob DiStefano Poster Extraordinaire Vendor Member

    Age:
    71
    Mar 3, 2003
    NJ via TX
    yes indeed :D
     

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