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Estimated pickup resistance vs’ output?

Discussion in 'Just Pickups' started by ChiTownJimbo, Jan 25, 2021.

  1. ChiTownJimbo

    ChiTownJimbo TDPRI Member

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    What’s the acceptable +\- on a pickups resistance rating. And how much of a difference is actually noticeable? I know resistance is not the “be all/tell all” for a pickups sound, but it’s part of it. Right? Just an example. If a pickup lists at 8.2k but actually reads 7.8 on a multi meter, how noticeable, all other things else being the same, is that .4 going to be?
     
  2. DougM

    DougM Poster Extraordinaire

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    IMO, you'll hear no difference with that little variation. Meters have tolerance levels too, so that pickup might read 7.8k on one, and 8.2k on another one.
     
  3. Antigua Tele

    Antigua Tele Friend of Leo's

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    With 42 AWG, I'd say you have to jump in increments of at least 500 ohms to notice a difference.
     
  4. Peegoo

    Peegoo Poster Extraordinaire

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    +1 on all the above. Other factors are in play as well: how the coil is wound affects the coil's inductance, which influences the tone of the pickup. The strength of the mag field is a huge factor in the power a pickup generates.
     
  5. eclecticsynergy

    eclecticsynergy Friend of Leo's

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    Another factor that affects the DCR reading is temperature.
    A coil will read significantly higher if warm, and lower if cold.
     
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  6. DougM

    DougM Poster Extraordinaire

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    He was asking about DCR differences in two examples of the exact same pickup, which would conceivably have the coil wound the same way with the same magnets.
     
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  7. sjtalon

    sjtalon Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Sure some MAY/COULD hear a slight difference in a TRUE blind test, of the same guitar, with said pickup in the SAME position.

    However, you can turn the mount screws of a pickup one turn or so and have almost the same effect tone-wise, or output-wise, and that act making some type of difference as well.

    And then you can argue because this is boiling down to wondering about a DIFFERENCE. So lets say, in the above, one can TRULY hear an audible difference of some kind. Well good for you. NOW it turns subjective because of this DIFFERENCE that is noticed. Is it a good, or a bad :D. How can there be a science to which one is BETTER ??

    I think in folks coming up with different readings than the mfc. some feel cheated, or that they just aren't satisfied they are getting EXACALLY what they should get out of the box.

    Worst things mfc. can do in a way is print that.


    The thing is though, inconsistencies in wire diameter (-/+ tolerance of a spool), ambient temperature, readings from my meter, your meter, their meter, wire wrap variations in the mfc. process. ANY of those things are going to result in readings being all over the place anyway.
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2021
  8. Wallaby

    Wallaby Tele-Afflicted

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    .4k is enough of a difference to be audible to me in that range, with enough variables the same to feel confident.

    If the pickup output was over 9k I don't know that I would be able to hear it, but I've heard enough of my own samples from approximately 7.2k to 8.5k to know.

    The more important thing to me is how it sounds actually mounted in its intended guitar and adjusted optimally, in my opinion. All the factors and parts work together.
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2021
  9. tfarny

    tfarny Friend of Leo's

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    Based on my experience with standard-construction tele bridge pickups, and understanding all of the caveats above, I wouldn't expect to hear much difference between pickups that are less than 1kohm apart. And for the differences to be pretty subtle even then.
    I did own a dual output Cavalier that had a little bit more difference than that, and the difference between "hot" and "not" was very small, too small to be worthwhile. The dual output one I have now measures just around 7k on the light tap and over 10k on the heavy tap. There is a modest difference in output, treble and midrange EQ, but they are still more similar than different (same construction, same magnets, same guitar).
     
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  10. jvin248

    jvin248 Doctor of Teleocity

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    .

    +1 on temperature, winding tension (that can further stretch and thin the wire), magnets, pickup height setting, wire variation from the factory spool.

    +1 a "One kohm" range is audible given using the exact same Pots 'n Caps (and that means physically the exact same ones, pots range by 20% and so two guitars can sound vastly different .. usually leaving players to assume it's "the tone wood!"), same pickup height settings, strings, etc.

    The 1kohm difference is the performance characteristic of vintage Strat pickups (5.5kohms) vs modern (6.5kohms) vs Mustang/Tele/Duosonic pickups at 7.5kohms (yes, Tele has some geometry differences and sometimes a steel baseplate).

    You can adjust pickup heights and wipe out a lot of the differences, easily. If you are playing with more distortion than clean you can wipe out a lot of variation.

    I avoid the companies who try to convince pickup buyers to use their unlabeled charts for Bass/Mids/Treble rather than concrete measurements. All pickups should have measurements and a tolerance range (even if it's scary wide -- work on fixing that 'Mr Factory' that's what Quality is) just like every other manufactured product out there.

    Imagine if the pack of strings you bought said "these are Rock strings, you'll get some bass, some mids, and some treble while they may be too hard to bend or too squishy to stay in tune, you'll like them" Rather than showing "0.009", "0.010", and so on. Or your picks never showed "Heavy 1.2mm" and instead gave you a chart "you'll sound like BB King, Jeff Beck, or the Nickelback guys".

    On similar pickups, same geometry, close kohms, same magnets, and wire/coating I've found the biggest variation to tone is how they are wound and the resulting internal capacitance. A pickup's capacitance alters if it will sound clear and articulate or muddy and muffled that you can't turn the tone knob enough.

    .
     
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  11. Antigua Tele

    Antigua Tele Friend of Leo's

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    Pickup makers like to talk about "output", DiMarzio in particular, but as mentioned, the output is more a function of how close the pickup is to the strings. The strength of the magnet factors, but so does the pole piece type, since it becomes an extension of the magnet.

    The real meaning behind DC resistance and in turn inductance is how much treble is shaved off of the output signal at the end of the guitar cable. It's sort of a coincidence that higher output and less treble both correlate to higher DC resistance and inductance, as well as to better sounding overdrive. In the 70's and 80's the boosted output of a pickup with 50% more wire pushed an amp into overdrive, but after master volumes became standards, that no longer mattered, and now the functional difference is the treble attenuation. Less treble makes the overdrive sound smoother, because then the amp/pedal clipping harmonics don't overlap with the natural harmonics of the guitar.

    So it's a question of how much wire do you have to add or removed to a pickup's coil before the difference in treble content becomes obvious. I'd put it at 500 ohms, and if you look at the pickup offerings of various pickups makers, they have models such as "vintage" or "texas blues" or "overwound", and the difference between them tends to be no less than 500 ohms.

    Keep in mind that if they use finer wire than 42 AWG, the DC resistance jumps a lot higher, even though the turn count is only slightly higher. Therefore inductance is a better measurement, if you have access to it.
     
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  12. DeepDangler

    DeepDangler Tele-Meister

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    Resistance of a pickup only tells you the amount of windings and is variable based on temperature and multimeter used. It’s only useful for comparing pickups with similar construction and magnets.

    I think 10% is a fair tolerance but wouldn’t return a pickup I thought sounded good because the DCR was wrong.
     
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  13. TimTam

    TimTam Tele-Holic

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    Fender specify "+/- 10%" for the DCR of their pickups (for example in the listing of all their pickups in the Custom Shop catalog). But it's not clear how this figure is arrived at. Is it 3 standard deviations, or is it 95th percentiles, or is it just some max and min DCRs they measured once for a batch ? Are all their pickups actually measured to ensure they fall within this range ? Given typical wire tight tolerance, and auto-counting winder machines which presumably wind exactly the same number of winds on every pickup with the same wrapping pressure, I'm somewhat surprised that it could be as large as +/- 10%. That's 4.5k to 5.5k on a nominal 5k pickup.

    As far as the significance of DCR in relation to output is concerned ... measure a pickup's DCR, then remove its magnet(s), then measure DCR again. It will be the same. See a problem ?
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2021
  14. sjtalon

    sjtalon Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I think you are splitting hairs sir.

    These things aren't built for some component for the space station.
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2021
  15. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity

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    just remember, DC, i. e Direct Current has ZERO application in a pickup, unless ya wanna fry it .... Direct Current pushes a voltage straight through a wire.. much like water through a hose... the resistance, the DCR, measures how much the wire fights the DC as it travels the length.. that's measured in Ohms.

    in a Guitar Pickup.. there is NEVER any DC.. (except in an Active Circuit, which is not a point of this discussion, but ya gotta feed the Pedantic..) the signal does NOT travel all the way through the wire, instead it oscillates back and forth... more or less like Alternating Current... but AC is not the correct description due to the fact that the pickup is producing the oscillating signal at multiple frequencies simultaneously.. all traveling back and forth at differing rates... visualize changing classes in HighSchool.. everyone going where they need be but few going the same direction or to the same destination at the same time..."Impedance" is what is used here..

    So while the OP was discussing two identical pups with subtly different DCR's .. other's "tune in" to glean info... so . .

    it's entirely possible to have two pups from different manufacturers, with apparently the same DCR, wire gauge, and number of turns, same type magnets, yet one can "blow" the other off the table... conversely it's possible to have the same scenario but one pup show a significantly lower DCR and still be louder than the one with the higher number.

    As Bill Lawrence taught us, The DCR is about as important as the color socks you're wearing..

    I often have guys ordering a custom guitar specify the DCR of the pickups.. :rolleyes: I have to fight the urge to ask them at what temperature, with what AWG wire, a wound at what tension and with what thickness insulating coating... but... no sense in frying their brains... :p


    r
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2021
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  16. schmee

    schmee Doctor of Teleocity

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    Pretty minimal at .4 off nominal I think. A 6k pickup vs an 8k pickup I can definitely hear.
     
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