Fender Wide Range Humbuckers

Discussion in 'Just Pickups' started by Telenator, Mar 27, 2008.

  1. jivetrain

    jivetrain Tele-Holic

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    the cost is in no way unreasonable; the way i see it is that you're restoring the price of a real wide range humbucker back to what it used to be before the massive inflation that's taken place over the last few years. the prices you estimated are exactly what the originals typically went for on ebay a few years ago when the prices were sane, so to get a faithful reproduction of that design in new condition, for the same price the old beaten up pickups sold for, is a pretty fair deal. it's no small amount of money, but considering that the originals are now climbing towards $600 each, it's still a good value.

    i strongly encourage you to follow through with your plan, not just because i want one of your pickups, but because it would be a really interesting experiment to see just how many people line up to get one. there's an obviously high demand for a design like yours, but you'll have to rely on word of mouth alone in order to supply it, so there's no telling what will happen. if your pickup sounds the way you say it does, i think it'll catch on pretty well.

    incidentally, just how many of these do you think you'd be comfortably able to produce for the time being?
     
  2. Telenator

    Telenator Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    Well jivetrain, I'm not really considering going into the pickup business. I have posted this stuff around the guitar forums and there seems to be a growing interest, (maybe more than I bargained for!), but it really was my intention to just make these for my own personal project and because someone said, "it can't be done." Nothing gets me fired up quicker than a challange like that! LOL! You've seen my Rickenrockers? It's a good thing.

    Ultimately, there are probably 20 or 30 people out there who have a solid interest in actually sending me their MIM pickups for a retro-fit so, I'm not going to quit my day job! LOL! It's just a project I'm doing that my guitar tech friend has also taken an interest in and is helping me. If we help a few other people in getting a superior replacement for some of those MIM re-issues, then that's a good thing at the end of the day.

    The one area where this might take off a little is with all the pro guitar builders who now might be able to offer a Telecaster with a killer set of wide range humbuckers. Right now, the only choices are Vintage, or Re-issue. There are some pickup makers out there who make excellent versions of the wide range humbucker but they don't "look" like a wide range humbucker. I think that is a BIG advantage with the retro-fit process I'm doing.

    Anyway, there I go dreaming again. There will be some of these around but going into actual production on this is probably not going to happen. If the demand is there, I'll certainly consider it but the reality is, there may be a small bubble of interest in this and then like most other things it will fade.

    Lets get that great tone while we can!
     
  3. quartermiler45

    quartermiler45 Tele-Meister

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    I completely agree, as I've said before, the price is not unreasonable considering a single p/u goes for 2 or 3 times that amount. Def count me in with those 20 or 30 who have a solid interest. I was so excited when I read about this project nearing completion that I spent Sunday lunch telling my wife about it like a kid on Christmas. I'm sure she could've cared less but I already told her I'm saving up to get a set of these p/u's. Well maybe not TOLD, politely asked.:cool:
     
  4. Telenator

    Telenator Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    LOL q45! I'm pretty excited too! I was actually shaking a little when I was about to compare mine to an original. It was a little scarey. The rewind should get us a lot closer to the sound of the original. Even if we can't absolutely nail the tone of the original, these pickups will be very close, and heads above the MIM's they started out as!
     
  5. Telenator

    Telenator Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    Guys, I wish I could just give you all a bunch of these and share the wealth. But the bobbins are in such small quantity that they're hand machined, one at a time from delrin, a super high quality plastic that machines like brass and has excellent dimensional stability. The magnets aren't too terribly expensive but, it takes hours to chuck them up one at a time to grind them round like a screw head, and them clamp them in a vice one at a time to hand cut the faux screw slot. Then my good friend and guitar tech scatter-winds each coil by hand, sets the magnet stagger, charges the magnets and assembles the pickups one at a time. Then they get wax potted to prevent feedback at high volumes. It's a fairly expensive, time consuming process. That's why the price is where it's at. I am in no way trying to charge what the market will bear. It wasn't really my intention to start selling these things but as interest grew, it's the only way we're gonna get a few of these out there. I have fully disclosed all of my methods, winding specs, and a complete drawing (coming soon) of my bobbin design so that others may benefit and use this information to build these themselves should they desire to. Honestly, I won't be retiring from selling a few of these pickups! It's just a cool project that keeps off the streets and keeps my wife mad at me most of the time, (as it should be), while I obsess over my guitar fetishes.
     
  6. quartermiler45

    quartermiler45 Tele-Meister

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    I hope you don't think I was saying your prices were ridiculous. I was trying to show how fair and reasonable your prices are. Thanks again for sharing your knowledge and hardwork with us!
     
  7. Telenator

    Telenator Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    No. It's all good. I totally appreciate your perspective. I guess I'm just a little skittish that people might think I was trying to charge alot of money because of what the vintage pickups cost these days. This whole experience has been very positive so far and I just wanted to try and keep it that way. OK, I admit it. I'm a little too sensitive about these things at times, but, well, it is the internet and we all know how the best of intentions can blow up in your face sometimes. Thank you for participating in this thread and bringing the good vibes along with you.
     
  8. jivetrain

    jivetrain Tele-Holic

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    i think we all understand why your prices were set at the level they were, it was obvious from the photos you posted that these pickups are high quality in construction. i really was impressed by how good they looked, very professional, and your account confirms that they're just as good on the inside as well. there's no argument about whether your price is justified; the only reason the subject of costs has come up in the last few posts is that people are appreciating the value of your design compared to the originals. in addition to giving a few people a better pickup, another important service you'd be providing to the members of these various boards is saving them hundreds of dollars by offering an alternative to the high prices on ebay. that's pretty much all that we've been saying, i hope it wasn't misinterpreted as something bad.

    i notice you seem to be a little reluctant to guarantee a pickup to everyone who lines up asking, which is also understandable since you probably won't be able to make enough to go around. i hope you don't feel like we're pressuring you into it any; it is your choice how many of these to make, or whether you make any at all. still, i hope you'll be able to retro fit at least enough pickups for those of us who are readily able to send in our pickups and pay for the service... although considering that we haven't even heard them yet, it's probably too early to be getting zealous anyway...

    as a side note, i really can't wait to hear what they sound like, the curiosity is driving me mad.
     
  9. Telenator

    Telenator Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    You guys are great. It's all good. I'm really thrilled with the enthusiasm of everyone here and with the progress of this project.

    I have the newest version of the pickup is installed and it sounds really sweet! It's wound 4% hotter than the first one in an effort to bring out the mids and fatten up the highs a bit.

    The interesting thing is, the extra winds seem to have taken the sound slightly further away from an original WRHB, but the sound is so good, I'm not sure which way to go now. Part of the concern is that my '72 Re-issue Tele is a bit bright and slightly void in the mids so I have a fairly limitted range of testing. When I play the guitar and switch back and forth between my pickup and the MIM re-issue, the MIM sounds very weak and void of character. I'll be testing this again tomorrow against an original 74 Tele Deluxe. Thinlines and Deluxes are very different but the pickup voice is still fairly obvious. Once I've tested that and approve, I'll get a couple of these out there for others to try before settling on the final version.

    I might be able to throw a quick sound clip together tomorrow. I like this new version a lot. The previous one had the lows of the original nailed but the highs just weren't as saturated. The new one has better saturation in the mids and highs but the character of the bass has changed. It's still tight and sweet, but much more complex now than the originals. In the end, it may not sound exactly like an original, but it is worlds ahead of the MIM Re-issues, and in my opinion, right up there in "quality of tone" with the originals.
     
  10. gibsonjunkie

    gibsonjunkie Tele-Afflicted

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    I'll get to hear them first!

    Bob, when you stop by to pick up your new amp tomorrow we can try and record a couple clips!:D

    [​IMG]
     
  11. Telenator

    Telenator Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    YOWZA! It really does exist for $399 delivered! You da man Nick. I can't thank you enough for ordering it on your card while I was out in the field. I would have missed it if you hadn't called. What a guy!
     
  12. gibsonjunkie

    gibsonjunkie Tele-Afflicted

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    Houston, we have a problem - I know the box felt light when I put it in the car, but I never expected this...

    [​IMG]

    Well, I guess there's no reason for you to come up tomorrow, is there?

    :D
     
  13. Telenator

    Telenator Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    Well guys, here's what we've got.

    I tested the re-wound pickup over the past few days and it smokes! It really sounds awesome. But I have two problems.
    1) Although this pickup sounds terrific, totally blows away the MIM Re-issue, and has a unique sound of it's own, the latest version sounds less like the original.

    2) I have also found some new, yet conflicting information about the original pickup. I have read that the original bobbins have 5000 winds each, and then I have read elsewhere that they have 6800 winds each.

    Now, 6800 winds certainly explains the 10.6k reading, and it also explains the sound of the original pickup being saturated the way it is. But 6800 winds with alnico v magnets is not really a good thing. If I were to do a pickup with 6800 winds per coil and alnico v magnets, it would be VERY LOUD and over saturated so, we're going try something a little different.

    The next incarnation of this thing will have about 6400 winds and we're going to cut about 3/16" off the magnet's length to reduce the overall magnetic strength of the pickup. The original CuNiFe magnets are not very strong. That may be the reason there is a thin bar magnet under the bobbins and 10.6k worth of windings. The new version with the cut magnets should get much closer to the sound of the original. I was going to post sound clips of the current pickup we have but will wait a while because I don't want to confuse the issue with the goal here.

    We intend to continue on this path in getting the pickup to sound like the original. In the meantime, the current version absolutely sings! I played it on a gig last night and was extremely pleased. Very unique, cool sound. The closest thing I could call it is a "Fender Les Paul." The best attributes of both! It's sounds like an extended range P90, or the fattest single coil, chimiest humbucker you ever heard. It has the smooth highs of a humbucker with the tighter lows of a P90 and none of the darkness often heard in humbuckers. I'll put this pickup aside for future use!

    Anyway, that's the story as it stands right now. We have an awesome pickup that doesn't sound close enough to the original for me. But we're getting there. I just love a good project!
     
  14. Newfie_J.

    Newfie_J. Tele-Meister

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    I am sure there are alot of Wide Range fans who would love to have a choice of a stock Telenator WR or the (((((!!!!new and improved!!!!)))) Telenator WR special. Choice is good. But of course that means more work.
    Amazing project. Good Luck.
     
  15. quartermiler45

    quartermiler45 Tele-Meister

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    Telenator,

    I'm curious to know if your next generation of p/u's don't achieve the sound you desire will you go back to the a previous generation and settle on that one? I'm just curious. Also it really impresses me how committed to this project you are.
     
  16. spankdplank

    spankdplank Tele-Afflicted

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    Telenator--I have taken my cunife pole pieces out of my old WR and they seem to have less magnetic pull than an alnico V rod magnet. This softer magnetic field would explain why a pickup with a 10.5 dc resistance doesn't sound like a hot or overwound pickup. Perhaps if you went with the higher wind per coil, but made your pole pieces from alnico II or III, or slightly demagnetized your alnico V poles, you would have a level of magnetism closer to cunife, and the higher winding would get you closer to the WR sound. Great job and thanks for the thread.
     
  17. Telenator

    Telenator Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    Thanks for your interest guys.

    Yes, if this next generation of "weak magnet/hotter wind" doesn't work out the way I'd like, then yeah, we will go back to the pickup we have. It toally smokes the MIM Re-issues, and in some ways I strongly prefer it to the original WRHB. The original does have a real, sweet, juicy, saturated sound to it and I think we're on the right track. I have more invested in this now than I care to discuss, (don't tell my wife), but that's the way us guitar folks are. We gotta keep trying new stuff and hopefully find something that is not only HUGE sounding, but unique at the same time. A twisted lot we are!

    spankdplank, that is exactly the direction we're going. The formula is finding the right "magnet/wind ratio." I'm not sure we're quite sophisticated enough to partially de-gauss alnico v magnets, and alnico II and III are not too easy to come by. Besides, alnico v has a brighter sound which will help with the darksound often associated with over-wound coils. This has turned into a fascinating project that is forcing me to learn things I never knew before. There are people in the biz with far more knowledge than I will ever have in pickups and I'm sure they have most of this stuff figured out already, but I think the key thing here is, these new pickups "look" right. That's important to a lot of people! It was important enough to me to start this project!
     
  18. gibsonjunkie

    gibsonjunkie Tele-Afflicted

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    Sounded pretty darn good to me, so far Bob. Keep it up - you'll find "the Grail".
     
  19. jivetrain

    jivetrain Tele-Holic

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    i'm glad that sound quality is your highest priority, rather than vintage accuracy. it's necessary to accept that you'll probably never get the pickup sounding exactly the same as the originals while using alnico, so it's not worth sacrificing any of the good traits your pickup has now for the sake of making it closer to the original. even if it's more similar to the original, if that new design winds up compromising any good qualities of the pickup, i say ditch it. you're already well aware of this, i just wanted to say i support the notion.

    from what you say the pickup must be fairly close to the originals already, not exactly there, but it's got to be far more similar than any other pickup out there. i think that's good enough; the important thing is that it sounds both great and unique at once, which is the reason the originals are considered great pickups in the first place. also, the idea that your pickups may actually surpass the originals is really exciting too; in what ways do you prefer yours?
     
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