An article from GITEC about the Fender Wide Range humbucker

Discussion in 'Just Pickups' started by Antigua Tele, Sep 17, 2019.

  1. TimTam

    TimTam Tele-Holic

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    Finally got around to measuring the CuNiFe pole piece magnet strength on my vintage original WRHB. As I noted above, Telenator had said it should be ~600 Gauss (60 mTesla; 1G = 0.1 mT), otherwise it might need re-magnetizing (eg he found only 200-300 G sometimes).
    https://www.tdpri.com/threads/new-cover-on-vintage-wide-range-humbucker.219330/#post-2605072

    I used the WT10A magnetometer ...
    https://www.tdpri.com/threads/chinese-magnetometer-going-for-about-100.805654/

    Most of the CuNiFe pole pieces measure ~50mT or more in situ, with the cover removed but otherwise intact (touching the tip of the pole piece, coming at it from away from the coil, ie not passing over other coil or poles). The readings were never very steady (ie they varied a lot with slight probe movement), but approx mT readings were ...
    North coil: screwheads 60 55 65 flattops 50 60 84
    South coil: flattops 55 62 50 screwheads 55 55 54

    Maybe the readings would be more stable if the coils were separated, and more stable again if individual pole pieces were separated ?

    In any case, it seems that they have not obviously lost much magnetism. It was last bought in ~1980, at which time it had been heavily used (cover was heavily worn), but has had very little use since. I am now about to put it into a Tele Custom partscaster.

    So my planned re-magnetization can be postponed for a while yet. ;)

    I have a shiny new reissue cover to put on it, although the Gitec finding that the original cover differs materially from the reissue cover (although ostensibly visually identical) has given me some second thoughts.
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2019
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  2. Ian T

    Ian T Tele-Holic

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    Interesting. I had an original WRHB years back that was noisy and weak. Seems like the magnets may well have been reversed.

    Antigua, I'd be interested to see your analysis of the Lindy Fralin Sunbucker pickup.
     
  3. Antigua Tele

    Antigua Tele Friend of Leo's

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    Those are stronger than I would have guessed, maybe due to their slightly larger size. 50mT is close enough to 600 gauss that I wouldn't think they need re-magnetizing. That's within the margin for error anyway.
     
  4. Antigua Tele

    Antigua Tele Friend of Leo's

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    I've never come across one, and for the price they're asking I probably wouldn't buy one any time soon. I try to go for affordable versions of pickups, unless its something exotic. Looking at https://www.fralinpickups.com/product/sunbucker/ they say the slugs are AlNiCo 5, but in the pictures they show, the slugs very much appear to be steal.

    The DC resistance is said to be around 10k, with one coil being 42 AWG and the other 43 AWG, and the coils are mismatched. They say that when split to the AlNiCo slug coil, it sounds Fender-y, so it's most likely that the AlNiCo 5 slug coil has more turns of wire with the 43AWG. Even with 42 and 43 AWG mixed, 10k would be about average for a PAF, but they say "75% Single Coil tone, 25% Humbucker"; if the 43AWG AlNiCo 5 coil has 75% of the turns of wire, while the 42AWG coil has 25%, that would make a lot of sense. Perhaps 6k turns around the AlNiCo 5 poles, and 2k turns around the slug.

    It's hard to say whether the screw coil or the AlNiCo 5 slug coil produces more output without testing, since not only are the materials different, but also the coils. Assuming the AlNiCo 5 slug has significantly more turns of wire, and it's wired in series, the AlNiCo 5 slug side is probably where most of the signal comes from. That's important because, if you want a Strat or Tele like single coils sound, you would probably have to orient the pickups so that the screw coils are facing inwards rather than outwards, which looks non-traditional, even though the point of these pickups is to look traditional.

    It seems like a legitimate design, and not just marketing magic, but since there are AlNiCo 5 pole pieces, excessive string pull might be an issue if they're set too close to the strings. The cause for it sounding like a single coil is probably due to it having low inductance, because it's not truly a single coil, but it's own admission, and guitarists tend to believe that any bright pickup sounds like a single coil, and any dark pickup sounds like a humbucker.
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2019
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  5. dreamingtele

    dreamingtele Friend of Leo's

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    Super interested on this subject! My bandmate has an original 74.. Ive held it, played with it, and heard it first hand.. it has a chunk of wood for a neck and lighter than any 70's tele I've ever held my hands on..

    I'm not a fan of HB pickups, except on a 335, I did liked what I heard with the original WRHB.. It has the spank of single coils yet when needed to be driven, it delivers amazingly too..

    It got me interested on the Reissues as two other band mates of mine also has a Tele RI, one thinline with WRHB's and the other one has the single coil bridge and WRHB for the neck.. I havent been able to do an A vs B on those teles with the vintage 74, but Im super curious on how to get that vintage WRHB tone with the Reissues.. it seems that this might be the only pickup that wont be ever replicated again.. if it can be replicated, then I'd want one to add to my collection!
     
  6. TimTam

    TimTam Tele-Holic

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    So it seems that original WRHB CuNiFe magnets lie somewhere around the middle of the pack as pickup magnets go ? ...
    [​IMG]
    https://wgsusa.com/blog/exactly-wha...charge-level-means-and-why-its-important-tone
    Note: Source's chart label 'Gauss in milliTesla' is non-sensical. Figures on the chart are in Gauss. Values in mTesla would be one tenth of those.
     
  7. Antigua Tele

    Antigua Tele Friend of Leo's

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    This chart is deceptive. The ways in which the magnetic pull effect the tone are complex and defy simple description. It's like describing the difference between wood wind and brass instruments, it's a difference of timbre, not of amplitude, yet this chart depicts differences in amplitudes.

    Brightness first and foremost relates to inductance, not magnetic strength. It's easy to prove, this chart shows the HiLo'Tron near the dark end of the spectrum, that's a *very* bright pickup. They don't show a Seymour Duncan SSL-3 or SSL-5 with AlNiCo 5 magnets, are very dark pickups, and yet the magnet strength is very high.

    I've never tried an actual vintage Gold-foil, but from what I've seen and heard, they're not dark like P-90's. The reason the "Alnico V Tele neck" would be dark is due to a brass cover, not the magnetic Strength. As it uses ALNiCo 5 poles, the magnetic strength should be a lot stronger than is indicated in this chart, and the only reason it would read lower is because the cover puts distance between the testing device and the tops of the pole pieces. And that brings up another cause of brightness and darkness that is not mentioned: eddy currents. Eddy currents won't cause a bright pickup to become dark necessarily, but they will make an already darker pickup even darker. Filter'trons for example, lots of eddy currents, still very bright, but a PAF with a brass cover; very muddy.

    The confusion comes about from the fact that Fender and Gibson, the most prominent pickup makers, chose opposite ends of spectrums in two separate regards; inductance and magnetic field strength. Fender chose low inductance and high field strength, Gibson chose the exact opposite (before Fender was making pickups). So of these two potential causes, magnetism or inductance, people assume magnetism, because it's the difference that is easier to observe, where as the real cause, inductance, is not easily observed, and people tend to gravitate towards explanations that are easy.

    Getting back to the WRHB, the Gitec data shows a loaded resonant peak over 3kHz, which is a higher peak than a PAF, which are usually around 2.5kHz. The CuNiFe represents higher magnetic reluctance than the steel parts in a PAF humbucker, so the output will likely be lower even if the magnetic field of the CuNiFe is a bit stronger. I didn't see inductance values, but the higher resonant peak implies lower inductance. So all around it's not surprising that it's a brighter pickup. Some have said they sound "thin" or "weak", that would come as a surprise, but adjectives are subjective. They might be thin and weak compared to a PAF, but maybe not compared to Strat pickups.
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2019
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  8. TimTam

    TimTam Tele-Holic

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    Yes I agree the direct 'brightness' vs magnet strength correlation is bogus. I was more interested in the magnet strengths. Do the magnet strength figures match your experience ? There doesn't seem to be a lot of data on magnet strength (and some pickup manufacturers don't even state their polarity, which affects pairing for RWRP). I was just looking at this vid, which suggests that Fender Tele magnet strength differs by over 100% between different pickup models. As with the vintage WRHB, it's good to have a standard against which to judge whether a vintage pickup's strength has deteriorated, and what the effect of re-magnetizing would be (mainly brightness ?). It also seems that pickup magnets are rarely charged to the maximum that they can sustain ? While the production blueprint for the original WRHB appeared to indicate CuNiFe magnetization of assembled pickups in-house at Fender, maybe some magnet pole pieces and bar magnets these days are bought in already magnetized (and never measured ?) ?


    Postscript: Just remembered this link to pickup data, which includes Gauss figures for many pickups ...
    https://courses.physics.illinois.ed...sults/Pickup_Data/Guitar_Bass_Pickup_Data.xls
    There are several data sets for CuNiFe WRHB magnets, with values in the range of ~450-650 Gauss (45-65 mT).
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2019
  9. tamer_of_banthas

    tamer_of_banthas TDPRI Member

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    i am in the same position you are. with two of these vintage wide rangers, and no clue which pots i am ultimately going to land on for my build(s). people say there is some magic to the old stackpole pots, but i imagine that is more of a "stacking tolerances" thing where the total impedance is affected by pots with inordinately high or low values. somewhere i have an old schematic for the proper "according to Fender" 1972 Custom wiring. unfortunately, there aren't many people on youtube who have tinkered with different pot and cap values on vintage examples of the pickups = [

     
  10. Marquee Moon

    Marquee Moon Tele-Meister

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    yeah, I'm in the camp that there is something special about pots. My old danelectro's have something special with the pots compared to my new ones. btw whats your set up? I'm have a super reverb, and I'm hoping these buckers will help me drive the amp without a pedal. I'm playing heavier music.
     
  11. tamer_of_banthas

    tamer_of_banthas TDPRI Member

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    i am also doing heavier music. or at least heavier than what i had originally envisioned for my current project.

    anyway, right now i am playing all Fender guitars through a Marshall 1987X, tubed with JJs (they are not terribly expensive). i have an old, off brand, non marshall cabinet with non greenback celestions. don't recall the exact models but i believe they are the standard issue 75 watt ones.

    for my gain sounds, i usually add in one of the following, in front of the amp.

    * demo tape fuzz clone (midfi makes the official version)
    * an EQD spires fuzz (i really don't use this one much. very temperamental.)
    * ram's head big muff (sounds fine with the marshall, but really shines on Fender amps)
    * Russian big muff (my 2nd favorite pedal, but not super versatile)
    * Proco rat (does not do a fuzz sound per se, but is excellent as an all purpose dist / gain)

    i've played through a couple vintage Super Reverbs in my time, and they're one of my favorite sounds. i don't know your exact preferences, but i think you'll be much better off by having at least one gain pedal to help you shape the natural sound of your amp, or even just something to use as your "red channel." and i say this as a former acolyte of the guitar > cable > amp religion.

    in my experience, the difference between humbuckers and single coils don't really provide a whole lot of extra drive at louder tube amp volumes. but, then again, i use lower output pickups from both camps.

    we are really living through a golden age of relatively affordable, high quality effects pedals, so you don't stand much to lose by trying a few out. i'm a huge television fan by the way. dunno what pedals tom verlaine ever used. probably nothing, but he operates in a higher plane of musical capability than mere mortals.

     
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