Fender CS Nocaster Bridge pickups - wound with 43AWG or 42AWG wire?

Discussion in 'Just Pickups' started by DHart, Jul 15, 2019.

  1. DHart

    DHart Friend of Leo's

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    Back in "the day" of the original Broadcaster/Nocaster bridge pickups, 43 AWG wire was used in the bridge pickups. Then in late 1951 or so, apparently Fender began using 42AWG wire in the bridge pickups.

    So, what does Fender wind today's CS Nocaster bridge pickups with? 43AWG or 42AWG wire?

    Fender marketing says that today's CS Nocaster pickups are "true to vintage specs", but does that mean they're using 43AWG wire to wind them with TODAY?

    Does anyone know?
     
  2. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    Don't know the answer, but my preferred 50s style pickups, Fred Stuart Blackguards, use 42 for the bridge, 43 for the neck, both plain enamel.
     
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  3. Teleterr

    Teleterr Friend of Leo's

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    isn't the info on Fenders site ?
     
  4. archetype

    archetype Fiend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Never has been.
     
  5. SPUDCASTER

    SPUDCASTER Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    Seymour Duncan also claims it's Broadcaster bridge pickup is a "faithful tribute" to the 50's icon.

    They're using A5's and with a DCR of 8, more than likely, 42AWG. Both confirmed here by Seymour Duncan member Dave.

    Not sure Fender will be any different. The marketing would appear to be consistent with the two.

    But, if they sound good. It makes no difference how they're constructed.
     
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  6. DHart

    DHart Friend of Leo's

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    It isn't vitally important to know, but I've been building a database of Tele pickups, and their construction, and I would like the information on the pickups to be as complete as possible. :)

    I would think that someone here on this great, knowledgeable forum must have determined this?

    If we never know, it won't be the end of the world. :rolleyes:
     
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  7. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    I'd email consumerrelations@fender.com. They'll probably be very responsive.
     
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  8. guitarmojo

    guitarmojo TDPRI Member

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    Can we get access to said database?
     
  9. SPUDCASTER

    SPUDCASTER Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    Several people here come to mind.

    Antigua Tele and Fender53(I think that's it) have compiled some data on the subject.
     
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  10. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Why Fender doesn't list the wire gauge is a mystery.
    What I do believe that I "know" is that a Tele bridge pickup wound with 43awg to the listed resistance of 7.3k with be pretty durn bright, but the A3 magnets may dull that very bright coil a bit.

    I have three Tele bridge pickup with A3 mags, two with 42awg @ 6.8 and 7.3. Both a a bit dull toned to my ear, where A5 with those coils are generally nice and clear but not painfully bright.

    Turn count as opposed to resistance is what adds output and darkens the tone of the coil.
    The higher resistance of the thinner 43awg wire reads more resistance on an otherwise less hot less dark less powerful more bright coil.
    To get the same resistance with 42awg you need to wind more turns which cuts that shrill high end.

    I have an original pre '51 lap steel pickup that reads 6.39k, was wound when Fender only used 43awg and A3 magnets, and sounds very shrill and bright at the bridge. Comparable to an A5 42awg pickup of maybe 5.39k.
    So if the Nocaster is 7.3k of 43awg it should sound like maybe 6.3k or less of 42awg.
    Almost nobody likes the ice pick tone of a Tele bridge pickup in that coil range.
    My guess would be that it's 42awg but I have not played one, just base this on popularity and descriptions of the pickup with few complaining it's too shrill and bright.

    It might be fair for Fender to wind the coil they feel sounds like a Nocaster including the correct magnets but 42awg wire.
    42awg is a little cheaper to wind since it's stronger and less prone to breakage.
     
  11. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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  12. warrent

    warrent Friend of Leo's

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    Custom Shop Specs and description note no size mentioned on wire.
    upload_2019-7-16_13-52-22.png
    upload_2019-7-16_13-54-17.png
     
  13. Teleterr

    Teleterr Friend of Leo's

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    Wow my experience w AlNi 3 is 180* reversed. Fender '52 RI Tele and one of Rob s . Both are more bright to my ears. Both are in one piece body's, so that's a factor, but both seem sweeter and brighter w-out icepick, than 5.
    IME previously every 42 and 43 sounded like what they are gauge wise as well as their individual parameters. BUT w AlNi 3, it's seems far more subtle, the Ryu Hydra Lion has 43' but I might not have noticed it on any of it's taps if I hadn't known.
     
  14. archetype

    archetype Fiend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Thanks for the link.

    I'll be the first to call into question the OP's ears and possibly expectations. Calling the Twisted Tele/Broadcaster set "harsh" is unusual. Calling the '62 Custom Telecaster set "very bright and harsh" is quite unusual. I have both of these sets in Telecasters and like the tones because they are the opposite of harsh and bright when the height is properly set.

    Maybe the heights weren't dialed in or the OP had an inherently bright Baja 50s. In any case, I think the OP's evaluation of the '51 Nocaster is suspect.

    The Fender Custom Shop design guide lists the '51 Nocaster pickups thus:

    Neck, 7.90K, Bridge, 7.72K. Both are AlNiCo III, enamel wire, DCR is +/- 10%, magnets are flush, no mention of wire gauge.

    That's the only instance I've found where Fender has provided any specs on these pickups. Perhaps specs don't matter as much as we want them to. For me, it's the tone that a winder can produce for me and not how the winder produces that tone.
     
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  15. DHart

    DHart Friend of Leo's

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    I agree that specs themselves don't really matter - it's the tone that matters. But some of us with a bit of an analytical mind are curious of the technical differences between pickups. And the more we can understand about how different specs translate into different tone, the happier some of us are. :D Others, could not care less about the specs of pickups - they just play. It's all good.

    I didn't find the Twisted Tele/Broadcaster set "harsh" at all. I found them to sound good, if not quite what I prefer, when compared to some Cavaliers that I have. (The Cavs are the best sounding pickups I've ever heard - when well matched to volume pot specs and the guitar they're mounted in. Fender pickups generally tend to sound excellent - especially their Strat pickups, but somehow their Tele pickups sound slightly less complex and interesting, to my ears, than the Cavs.)

    In my experience with a Fender Broadcaster (A5, 7.3k) bridge pickup - I found it to be nice sounding, not overly bright, but still just slightly lack luster (in the guitar I had it mounted in).

    I AM enjoying the Fender Nocaster (A3, 7.3k) bridge pickup (in a different guitar than the Broadcaster was in) more than I enjoyed the Broadcaster bridge pickup, but it's very difficult to compare at this point, as my Broadcaster bridge pickup isn't mounted in a guitar, at present.

    My gut tells me that the Fender Broadcaster and Fender Nocaster bridge pickups are both wound the same and only difference is that the Broadcaster has A5 mags and a plain copper base plate and the Nocaster has A3 mags and a tin-plated copper base plate. Their DCR numbers are pretty much identical. If I had to guess, I'd say they're both wound, with the same number of turns, of 42 AWG.

    My experience with A3 mags vs A5 mags is that the A5s tend to be a little sharper/brighter and are thus quite well-suited to pickups placed in the neck position.

    With bridge pickups, I like the ever so slight rounding of the highs that come with the A3 mags. Pickups in the bridge position - any pickup in that position - doesn't need any help in being "bright".

    I just wrote to Fender customer relations and inquired about the gauge of wire used to wind the Nocaster bridge pickups. We shall see what they have to say about that.
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2019
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  16. archetype

    archetype Fiend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Oh, I'm as analytical and curious as you! I'd love to know Fender's complete '51 Nocaster pickup formulae, but in the end it's the tone, for me. I've got one that's slated to go into the bridge of my James Burton Standard.
     
  17. DHart

    DHart Friend of Leo's

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    I'm all about tone, as well. As for the Fender Nocaster bridge pickups, I know what their tone is like - and not only in the bridge position of the guitar.

    This sound clip is from my Triple Tele, which has THREE Nocaster BRIDGE pickups in it, one each at neck, middle, and bridge positions. Volume pot is 520k. Tone pot is 480k. Both dimed.

    I like a bright and crystal clear Tele. For me, these Nocaster bridge pickups deliver great tone in every position.

    Four sections to the clip:
    1- Nocaster BRIDGE pickup - in NECK position
    2- Nocaster BRIDGE pickup - in MIDDLE position
    3- TWO Nocaster BRIDGE pickups combined - in NECK & BRIDGE positions
    4- Nocaster BRIDGE pickup - in BRIDGE position

     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2019
  18. Zepfan

    Zepfan Poster Extraordinaire

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    I think Rob DiStefano wrote about this once. If I remember correctly, the first pickups had A3 magnets and 42awg wire. Then they went with 43awg wire later, but changed back to 42awg wire with A5 magnets because of a shortage of A3 magnets.

    Maybe Rob can chime in to confirm or set me straight on that.
     
  19. DHart

    DHart Friend of Leo's

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    Original 1950 Broadcaster then Nocaster bridge pickup was A3 mags and 43 AWG wire. At the end of 1951 and moving into 1952, Fender changed to 42 AWG wire and, I believe, has used 42 AWG, almost exclusively?, in Tele bridge pickups and all Strat pickups ever since.

    So, TODAY'S Nocaster - if entirely true to the original (1950- mid1951) Nocaster bridge pickup - would be wound with 43 AWG wire.

    BUT, Fender has been using 42 AWG wire on its Tele bridge pickups and Strat pickups for decades... so my hunch is that today's Nocaster bridge pickup is probably also wound with 42 AWG. I would like to confirm that, just for the "heck" of it, though.
     
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  20. Rob DiStefano

    Rob DiStefano Poster Extraordinaire Vendor Member

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    the 1950 leo fender "spanish guitar" (that was the original name) used 43awg coil wire for both the bridge and neck pickups, with a3 mags for the bridge and a5 for the neck. in that year both the "esquire" (same name for both 1 and 2 pickup models) and later the 2 pickup model became the "broadcaster" (the single pickup remained the "esquire"). these pickup spex remained even when the headstock label had to be removed in january of 1951, due to the gretsch drums "broadkaster" dispute. after the spring of 1951, when don randall came up with the "telecaster" name for leo's 2 pickup model, the transition began for substituting 42awg coil wire for the 43 used in the bridge pickup, over the original a3 rod mags. over some guestimated range of time that spanned into 1952, the rod mags were changed to a5. so, any leo fender 1950 guitar would have its bridge pickup wound with 43awg coil wire. that means "spanish guitar", "esquire", "broadcaster" and the 1951 no-name "nocaster". any change beyond using 43awg coil wire and those a3 magnets for the bridge pickup can't be considered a 1950 fender pickup. were there slight component variations? i would say, absolutely. to leo, it was just business. just as we know that there were lots of variations in the amount of coil wire around those bobbins, along with the considerable variations in coil winding tension of that hand guided wire, which can easily change the coil wire diameter, thus changing its resistance.

    as to what fender uses for their pickups today, and what names they use that reference the 1950's, i have no clue what FMIC is doing let alone thinking these dayze (but i'll bet it has something to do with business marketing). my only interest is what fender offered from 1950 to 1965.
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2019
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