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Winding my own Tele Pickups? Advice?

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by cap217, Feb 20, 2012.

  1. cap217

    cap217 Tele-Holic

    585
    Jan 8, 2011
    Cleveland
    I can get pre cut bobbins (top and bottom). I can get the correct wire. I can get magnetized magnents. I can hand wind. I can solder.

    So I can make a pickup. But I dont want to if it isnt going to sound good. I have read and read on PAF winding but never took the plunge. Tele winds seem easier. Will my pickups not sound good bc I wont be using the "best" parts? Wire and magnents are the only thing that are going to be the difference. Besides experience obv.

    Seems like it could be fun to try and see where it goes. But I dont want to waste my time doing this if the end product is considered junk.

    What is the difference between a cheap $15 tele pickup and some botique winder? Material? Experience (# of winds, direction, technique)?


    also, am interested in the hand wound part of this. Fender used hand wound until 1965 then went to a machine. But was hand would really done by hand and no machine?

    Also, when you solder the first part of the wire to the eyelet. Is this always the hot side? Then you just wind and wind and wind and finish and solder the other end of the wire. Is that always the ground or does it not matter?
     
  2. motor_city_tele

    motor_city_tele Tele-Afflicted

    Apr 25, 2005
    motor city
    ***I can get pre cut bobbins (top and bottom). I can get the correct wire. I can get magnetized magnents. I can hand wind. I can solder.***

    Best to polarize the pickups after winding and potting.

    ***What is the difference between a cheap $15 tele pickup and some botique winder? Material? Experience (# of winds, direction, technique)?***

    labor.

    ***also, am interested in the hand wound part of this. Fender used hand wound until 1965 then went to a machine. But was hand would really done by hand and no machine?***

    Hand wound usually means "Guided onto the spool by hand"

    ***Also, when you solder the first part of the wire to the eyelet. Is this always the hot side? Then you just wind and wind and wind and finish and solder the other end of the wire. Is that always the ground or does it not matter?***

    If you solder it to the ground it will be ground.

    There are four different possible outcomes with a single coil pickup.

    CW North polarity
    CW South polarity
    CCW North polarity
    CCW South polarity

    You might want to read up on some of the free info offered at the stewmac.com website.
     
  3. cap217

    cap217 Tele-Holic

    585
    Jan 8, 2011
    Cleveland
    Thanks and I read up on that and other info.

    Let me ask a very simple question. What is the first step when attaching the 42g wire? Is it solder to the eyelet? If so, you said above that if I solder it to the ground, it is the ground. But what determines the hot/ground?
     
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  5. nickhofen

    nickhofen Friend of Leo's

    I think there is confusion about hand winding machines and automatic winders ,hand winding machines was something more than” hand guiding machines “ because someone was guiding the wire in the bobbin , the counting of the turns was made by the user of the turning machine ,that’s why there was a tolerance of 20% at the pickups!!!!
    Do you what to expect when use alnico ,cunife or ceramic magnets in a pickup?
    If not google it .
    Make your own pickup and you learn from your mistakes my friend, we are all humans after all.
    Try it and I will be happy to hear your first pickup demo on youtube.
     
  6. cap217

    cap217 Tele-Holic

    585
    Jan 8, 2011
    Cleveland
    There is just so much info out there and it is just a matter of finding the right parts and putting in the time. What I dont want to happen is I start out and realize I am no good and by that time I could have bought 3 sets of XXXXX and been ahead of the game.

    I am going to have to think about this one.
     
  7. adirondak5

    adirondak5 Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    60
    Oct 24, 2009
    Long Island NY
    What do you mean wind by hand , are you saying that you want to spool the wire on a bobbin totally by hand with out using some type of pick up winding machine ?
     
  8. tap4154

    tap4154 Poster Extraordinaire

    Apr 14, 2009
    Southern California
    Check out this guy using a fishing reel to wind his pup:



    I have an OV I wrecked and may give it shot...
     
  9. R. Stratenstein

    R. Stratenstein Doctor of Teleocity

    Aug 3, 2010
    Loganville, Ga.
    1. I have not wound very many pickups, but from my research on the subject, I leave the starting end loose, taped behind the bobbin to stay out of the way, until the coil is fully wound. So the first step is to leave a fairly long pigtail, and wind the first few wraps by hand, until the wire is secure on the bobbin, then I carefully fold the wire under the bobbin, and secure it with a piece of masking tape. When done, I check the resistance on the coil before and after soldering the coil wires, and the lead wires to the eyelets, to make sure I've got a good connection.

    2. Hot/ground are determined, as noted above, by which end you solder to the ground, and which you solder to the lead that runs to the circuit. If done carefully, you could reverse the leads if you don't like the sound. Personally, I don't think that (or direction of wind, etc.) makes much of a difference, as long as you pay attention to the phasing, and some guys like out-of-phase pickups, so that's a variable, too.

    3. Yes, I think you are crazy to consider winding completely by hand. At the least, you'll consume far more time than it's worth, for no benefit. A while back one of our more accomplished builders, Scatter Lee, wound pickup(s?) using an adapted fishing reel to turn the bobbin. I recall his comments were to the effect that he'd had enough, and was going to find some kind of electric machine to do the turning. Eight to ten thousand of anything, done by hand, is a hell of a lot, and when you're trying to maintain a consistent tension on the wire, and manipulate the wind pattern (be it the mystical "jumble-wound", or carefully laid parallel layers), I can't see anything in it for you but hand cramps. Buy pickups before you do that. Or at least adapt an old fishing reel.

    4. I can almost guarantee that you'll produce pickups that sound as good as, or better than factory ones doing it yourself. For my first shot, I bought StewMac's kits for bridge and neck Tele pickups, 42 and 43 gauge wire, and tried to emulate as closely as I could, factory pickups. I was extremely pleased with the results, and saved a bit of money, too. The process does involve several steps, some specialized parts, but is not difficult, or require special skills.
    By the way, for me, the biggest challenge was to develop the right "touch" to maintain tension on the wire without breaking it. Took a couple of false starts but I finally caught on. This is about the only way you could be "no good" at it, and I can't imagine you not learning at least as quickly as I did, how to hold tension just right.

    I'd encourage you to give it a shot. (Using at least a mechanical aid, like a fishing reel, or an old sewing machine, etc.) You never know how well you can do until you try. I think some guys have tried successfully to wind their own pickups, but have decided it's better for them, to purchase ready-made pickups and spend their time working on other aspects of the instruments they build.

    And you can probably always buy some bargain pickups cheaper than you can wind them yourself, maybe even find used botiques and factory pickups of high quality, also cheaper. Winding you own, you have the satisfaction of having done it yourself, and you know how many turns of what wire, going in what direction, with what magnetic pole goes in which direction, and all the other little details.
     
  10. cap217

    cap217 Tele-Holic

    585
    Jan 8, 2011
    Cleveland


    Thanks, all makes sense but the one thing I am stuck on is what is the ground? I cant find any info on this but I can find info on everything else. I understand having extra wire and taping it and soldering last but is the starting side always the ground? I must be missing a very simple answer to this.

    Also, should I worry about the magnet and the quality?

    And if I order charged magnets that are cut and ready. Do I need to do anything else? I saw a demo where someone had a north and a couth on each side of the pickup winder and left them there while winding. Is this needed and what does it do?
     
  11. Michael Allen

    Michael Allen Tele-Meister

    131
    Sep 16, 2009
    Seattle
    If you buy quality magnets, they will have a large impact on the sound. For Tele, the baseplate for the bridge pickup will also effect the sound. Cheap parts equals poor sound in most cases. The quality of the materials you begin with is your limiting factor in my experience.

    Your pattern will effect the sound perhaps the most, but you won't be able to figure that out unless you wind hundreds. I've probably wound 20, both single coil and humbucker, jazzmaster, tele, strat. I just freestyle it trying to keep the coil even. I couldn't tell you how many turns per layer or what exact tension I use. But every coil I've wound I thought sounded terrific! Again, after 50 more maybe I'll think my first ones sound flat but I encourage you you will not be disappointed.

    I could buy a Fender but I get way more enjoyment playing my hand crafted instruments. Same with pickups, but the difference in quality is far less.

    As for how to wire it, you can flip flop the leads to reverse the direction of the coil. It doesn't matter. If you wire up strat coils and find the middle positions are quiet and dull you probably wired a pickup out of phase with the other pickup. Reverse the leads and you'll be in business. Some people think that having the positive of the coil on the inside of the wind effects the sound vs having the positive on the outside, due to some capacitive interaction but for us humans i doubt you could tell so long as you wire everything in phase.

    Check out the pickup forum on music-electronics-forum.com. It is a goldmine of theory and tons of answers to your questions and any more you'll come up with.

    Go do it, you will not be disappointed!
     
  12. Michael Allen

    Michael Allen Tele-Meister

    131
    Sep 16, 2009
    Seattle
    The polarity of the magnets allows for noise canceling. If you have one coil North up and one coil South up, and the windings are in phase, then when you parallel the coils you get noise canceling of hum. If you wire them out of phase, you will get signal phase canceling. If you orient them both with South up or both with North up, you will not get hum canceling.
     
  13. R. Stratenstein

    R. Stratenstein Doctor of Teleocity

    Aug 3, 2010
    Loganville, Ga.
    Yes, usually the starting end is the ground. Traditionally, it will be the black wire. On a Tele bridge pickup, the black wire is threaded through the brass eyelet, where it is soldered to the starting end of the coil, then around where it is soldered to the base plate, creating something of a "ground", and usually also giving you bridge ground from the pickup's being mounted in the (metal) bridge. The other wire, traditionally white, is soldered to the remaining eyelet with the finishing end of the coil wire. As noted above, this is traditional, and is not carved in stone, and a number of pickup builders do it the opposite way for various reasons.

    On the Tele neck pickup, wiring is the same, except the black wire is soldered to the eyelet with the starting end of the coil, and then around to the metallic pickup cover.

    You shouldn't need to worry about any magnetizing issues if you order pre-magnetized slugs. I use a cheap Boy-Scout type compass to check North and South. Like much of pickup winding lore, there is a lot of opinion on which is better, North up or South up, both PU's in phase magnetically or out of phase magnetically (as opposed to wiring phase), etc. etc.

    Here's a link to one of the more useful Q&A's, with excellent answers to many of your questions.

    http://www.guitartechcraig.com/techpckp/pickups.htm

    And another with some good info and vintage pickup stats:
    http://home.provide.net/~cfh/pickups.html
     
  14. cap217

    cap217 Tele-Holic

    585
    Jan 8, 2011
    Cleveland
    This is all great info. I think that I am taking on way too much at once. I am a guitar snob in a way and I know that I cant compete with the good winders out there. I am putting my time into the other parts of the build for now.

    I figure that I would have a very small parts cost to build pickups. I assume about $15 for the bridge and $20 for the neck (cover) and probably a lot of time. I would have at 4 hours of work and $10/hour about $80 into the pickups. We can get botique ones for $180/set. So I dont know if the cost/benefit is there right now. At least not until I can take it seriously.

    If I thought my work could stand up to the name makers work I would do it. But I dont think so. And, I can always sell a neck or painted body. I cant sell a home made pickup very easily I dont think.
     
  15. Nick JD

    Nick JD Doctor of Teleocity

    You don't make pickups to save money. You make pickups to have fun making pickups. :D

    And after you've made a few you have fun reading about "the magic" that boutique pickup winders possess.
     
  16. cap217

    cap217 Tele-Holic

    585
    Jan 8, 2011
    Cleveland
    I agree. I will try this in the future, just not right now.
     
  17. celeste

    celeste Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    55
    Jun 24, 2006
    Maryland
    +1 Same reason you build guitars.

    A functional winder can be cheap and easy to build. I thing I have $50-60 into mine, and half of that is for the digital counter. When I can get a 6 digit counter for $25, a Hall Effect sensor for $0,75 and a 1/16x1/32 neo magnet, butchering up a calculator make no sense to me.

    Induction motors can be speed controlled with a light dimmer, to a degree. I can say I have never broken a wire due to speed issues
     
  18. motor_city_tele

    motor_city_tele Tele-Afflicted

    Apr 25, 2005
    motor city
    whoa whoa whoa - don't give up so easily.

    winding pickups is pretty easy basically. it can be done relatively cheap and the wow factor is amazing.

    you have much of the materials already. you only need a few more things.

    20.00 sewing machine - garage sale
    3.00 rice cooker - same garage sale
    3.00 HF volt meter
    cotton butchers twine
    paraffin and beeswax
     
  19. Nick JD

    Nick JD Doctor of Teleocity

    A great way to get a motor and controller is to call a sewing machine repairer in the yellow pages and tell them you want to buy an old motor and foot pedal (the two plug together - really handy).

    Most of them will be like, "Winding guitar pickups?! Cool - pop round and we'll find you something!" They've usually got boxes of motors and footpedals from old broken machines ... waiting for that person who has a machine with a broken motor.

    Chances are, if you get one in a good mood - they'll give you a motor for free.
     
  20. cap217

    cap217 Tele-Holic

    585
    Jan 8, 2011
    Cleveland
    just to keep this going...

    I found MWSwire and they seem to be the best and cheapest place for accurate wire. So if anyone comes accross this thread and wants to know where to get parts I thought I would help since I did some research.


    What about the magnets? I would like to find the nice, high end, sand casted magnets precut and magnetized. Anyone?
     
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