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Coil Tapping. How exactly is this done?

Discussion in 'Just Pickups' started by boneyguy, Jul 20, 2010.

  1. boneyguy

    boneyguy Doctor of Teleocity

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    Firstly I'll state that I am clear on the difference between coil splitting and coil tapping. I'm not asking about splitting. I realize the two terms often get confused.

    So how exactly is a coil tap accomplshed. I was always under the impression that you basically remove a bit of the insulation and solder (tap) into the coil wire at a predetermined point or points. Correct?

    Some questions:

    1. How do you remove the insulation? Heat? Scraping?

    2. How do you reinsulate the join?

    3. Is the same type/gauge of wire that's used for the tap wire the same as what's used for the coil wire?

    4. How does the tap wire exit from inside the coil?

    If anyone can include pictures or photos of the process that would be most excellent. I've always been curious about tapping and the actual mechanics of how it is done. Lots of detail would be appreciated.
     
  2. stevorc321

    stevorc321 TDPRI Member

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    From my brief reading on it (I have a tapped Zhangbucker tele pickup on the way) I don't think it's a mod you do on an existing pickup - I think it needs to be wound as tapped from the start. Saying that, you may be able to unwind some wire install a tap and then rewind...or perhaps you could install a tap at the end of an existing pickup and wind some extra wire on top of that.
     
  3. boneyguy

    boneyguy Doctor of Teleocity

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    Yes, I realize it's not a 'mod' so to speak.

    This is not something I'm wanting to do to a pickup I've got. I just want to understand how it's done simply out of curiosity.

    And I hope you enjoy your Tele pickup from David. I think he does great work. I've been wanting to buy some of his pickups for quite awhile now. Someday I'll make it happen.:D
     
  4. benbo

    benbo Tele-Afflicted

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    Ok in short, I am winding a pickup, I wind to a pre determined turns count or DCR, I take a lead wire, wrap the coil wire a few times on to it, solder it, tape lightly, and continue to wind to the finish or to the next tap depending on how you want to do it, so you could have one tap at say 6K then another at 8K then the full coil at say 10K. I have done a few like this and I think Don Mare has done some too. Well every winder has probably done some lol.:lol:

    Keep in mind this is the short version, there is more to it than this but I didn't have time to write out the whole process.
     
  5. boneyguy

    boneyguy Doctor of Teleocity

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    Thanks Benny. That helps a lot.

    I've done a pretty thorough internet search and I can't find anywhere that gives a really detailed description on tapping.

    Is there a site that anyone knows of that would give some of the details that Ben didn't have time to cover? I'd sure appreciate it.
     
  6. garymaddox

    garymaddox Tele-Afflicted

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    In order to maintain continuity, you would need individual winds for each "tap". You could probably have a common ground but you would need individual outputs. If you had 3 taps, you'd have 3 grounds soldered together and 3 hots coming out. That's the only way I can think to do this. You would probably also need to use very thin wire in order to put three individual coils on a single field.
     
  7. boneyguy

    boneyguy Doctor of Teleocity

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    I don't think so.

    Here's my understanding.
    The term 'tap' is used because, as Ben described, you are 'tapping into' the coil wire. There is only one coil wire, just like in a typical pickup, but you are short circuiting it (tapping it) at various points along it's length. The short circuits (taps) are engaged or disengaged using selector switches.
     
  8. benbo

    benbo Tele-Afflicted

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    Yes this is exactly right. You will still have 1 continuous wind just adding a tap to the wind at various points.

    Yes 1 ground and 3 other wires if you have 2 taps and a full output of the coil. Hope this helps.
     
  9. garymaddox

    garymaddox Tele-Afflicted

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    I wish Don Mare or someone that knows how to do this would chime in. Pickup wire is so damn thin, how do you make the connections and re-insulate???
     
  10. slowpinky

    slowpinky Tele-Afflicted

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    Great thread! - my knowledge of this is non - existent so please excuse my "noob -ness".

    Is it usual to just tap humbuckers or do single coils get a look in. The only 'coil tap' I have had in a guitar is with my old Ibanez AS200 but I have a Lace Hemi that I was thinking of putting in the neck of a tele with the idea of using the tapping option(s).
     
  11. boneyguy

    boneyguy Doctor of Teleocity

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    Yes this helps a lot Ben. Thank you.


    Benbo is a pickup maker and he has already responded twice in this thread. In his first post he basically answers the questions you have posed.

    It would be nice to get Don's take on things as well though, I agree. If I recall correctly Don offers tapping options on his pickups so my guess is he has a great wealth of experience with it.
     
  12. benbo

    benbo Tele-Afflicted

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    Ok when I do it and Maybe Don has a different approach but, When I get to where I want the tap, I reel off enough wire to work with, I take some fine sandpaper, I like 300 Grit wet/dry and sand off a small spot on the wire, I take the small lead and take the coil wire I just sanded and wrap it around the lead wire I then solder the connection, I put a piece of tape on the windings already on the coil and place the tapped part on it and tape over that, I make a few wraps by hand with the coil wire around the bobbin to seat the tap in place and start winding again.. Oh, I tape down the lead wire and run it to an eyelet I have put in the bobbin for it. It can make the coil have a small bump in it but after you wind a lot more turns it isn't very noticeable.

    This is just how I do it and I am up for ideas if Don has a better way to do it.
    Hey Don, you out there?
     
  13. copperheadroad

    copperheadroad Tele-Holic

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    cool ....hi Ben . i never tried adding a tap but it is certainly interesting what would be better i wonder adding a couple extra eyelets or using something like a tiny humbucker lead wire i would say eyes
     
  14. Zhangliqun

    Zhangliqun Tele-Meister

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    It's really very simple and benbo has it pretty much on target. On thing I would add is that on a Fender style pickup, you need 3 eyelets instead of two.

    Say you want a 9k pickup with a tap at 6k. You wind it up to 6k, wrap the wire a few times through the extra eyelet, then bring it back to the coil and keep on winding to the 9k spec. The end.

    But no, you can't add a tap to an existing pickup -- unless you wanted to just add turns to an existing pickup. But you couldn't take a 9k pickup and install a 6k tap, unless you unwrap it to 6k and then wind on 3k worth of wire again.
     
  15. benbo

    benbo Tele-Afflicted

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    Thanks Zhang, I knew it was a better way of doing it. I do add the extra eyelets though, so with 2 taps you would have 4 eyelets, 1 for ground/start, 1 for the first tap, 1 for the second and 1 for the finish.
     
  16. copperheadroad

    copperheadroad Tele-Holic

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    needless to say going from 6k to 9 k, would not be 42 gauge wire on a strat bobbin so have you ever tried 2 different size wire on 1 bobbin like 42 to 6k and then 43 or 44 to the 9k
     
  17. boneyguy

    boneyguy Doctor of Teleocity

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    Great question. This is another thing I was wondering about, using 2 different wire gauges on the same wind.
     
  18. copperheadroad

    copperheadroad Tele-Holic

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    42 would work for a tele for several taps but a strat its all about the glassy tone of 42 gauge wire and your only getting 8k or less on a bobbin
     
  19. Don Mare

    Don Mare Tele-Afflicted

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    correct... u just can't reach into a finished pickup and add taps..
    its only done as its being wound on the winder.

    both methods that I know of were explained above.

    DM
     
  20. boneyguy

    boneyguy Doctor of Teleocity

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    Thanks Don.

    I'm not sure why there's been so many comments that tapping can't be done to a finished pickup because I was never confused about that to begin with.:lol: Nowhere in my OP did I even mention anything like this. I had to bring this up because I find it quite hilarious that this point has continued to be repeated by several people throughout this entire thread.:lol:

    And ya wonder how rumours get started.

    "Psssst.....hey did ya hear.....that boneyguy fella thought ya could tap a finished pickup.....whad a maroooon!!! Whad a nincompoop!!!" :lol:

    But seriously folks, thanks to everyone who helped me get to the bottom of this coil tapping buisness. Much appreciated.
     
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