I'd like to learn about pickups

Discussion in 'Just Pickups' started by Wallaby, Oct 15, 2020.

  1. Wallaby

    Wallaby Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    I'd like to learn more about pickups.

    I spend a lot of time adjusting my pickups and listening to them and tweaking them, and with some pickups I try different magnets. I guess I just enjoy it, trying to predict and understand the effects of adjustments.

    I'd like to learn about how they're made, put together, the magnets, polarity, windings, the wires, gauges, the "recipes" if there are such things.

    I might try making one using a drill, I am not sure.

    Can anyone recommend some books or manuals or required reading?

    Thanks,
     
  2. teletimetx

    teletimetx Doctor of Teleocity

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    Here’s a book:

    https://www.amazon.com/Guitar-Pickup-Handbook-Start-Sound/dp/0879309318

    The book is ok for learning the historical development of pickups, certainly as a starting point. Not sure if it’s worth more than $15 or so - maybe in e-format?

    There’s also a large number of how-to vids on the U-tube, at the Stew-Mac website and from Mojotone.

    Many good threads in our DIY sub-forum, including home-made winders and turn counters.

    #awg42clownwig# !!!
     
  3. rigatele

    rigatele Tele-Afflicted

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    What is your main area of interest? Construction, theory, history... ?
     
  4. teletimetx

    teletimetx Doctor of Teleocity

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  5. TimTam

    TimTam Tele-Holic

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  6. Wallaby

    Wallaby Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    Thank you for the links and resources and advice.

    I am not sure what my purpose is for wanting to know more, other than trying to increase my knowledge.

    I have gotten a lot of enjoyment so far from swapping magnets and figuring out "what's different" after doing that.

    My area of interest is in construction.
     
  7. wabashslim

    wabashslim Tele-Afflicted

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    Try swapping the wooden or plastic shims back & forth. According to some that makes a difference too. I'm skeptical but then I'm ignorant about such things. I also believe in tonewood and cannot be swayed.
     
  8. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

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    .

    The pickup rabbit hole is deep.
    Get a meter that can measure capacitance, inductance, and resistance plus a second standard multi-meter that can measure voltages.
    Rank your current pickups from best sound to worst sound and measure them. Is there a measurement that reveals to you a correlation to what you like the sound of? I found, for a given pickup geometry and wire gauge, that capacitance of the pickup predicted if it would be muddy (that I hate) or bright and articulate (that I desire). You may find something else.

    Then go through with your most and least favorite pickups and see how swapping pots 'n caps can change the tones. Measure all the parts you test with, don't just rely on what is printed on the package.

    You'll need a guitar to test your pickups in easily. Go through this thread and see if something fits with a beater guitar you have or put together. https://www.tdpri.com/threads/rule-the-tones-many-guitars-in-one.630170/

    Hand drills have too much torque and too fast stop/start such that they break the wire. Better off using a sewing machine motor, that's what Fender used in the 50s. Don't need to destroy a sewing machine, just buy a sewing motor and controller off ebay/amazon for $20.
    Seymour Duncan started winding with an old 78rpm record player.

    .
     
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  9. dan40

    dan40 Tele-Afflicted

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  10. Wallaby

    Wallaby Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    Nice, keep it coming, I appreciate it!

    I've been staring at LCR meters.

    I have a multi-meter I've been using to test potentiometers actually. Very handy.

    @wabashslim tell me more about wooden vs plastic shims, I haven't heard about this before ;)
     
  11. wabashslim

    wabashslim Tele-Afflicted

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    Look this page over. Note the price difference between the two.
    https://www.stewmac.com/SiteSearch/?search=pickups parts

    In the past I've seen references to "tone" & "authenticity" regarding vintage replicas by builders but honestly never investigated beyond a glance. My initial reaction was "hmm, sounds pretty anal".
     
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  12. Wallaby

    Wallaby Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    Oh, THAT, now I get it! I think that's a dog-whistle to those with end-stage fully-metastasized vintage-itis.

    I "get" that the materials matter, and I've heard with my own ears particular differences, so I don't immediately discount the various things I read. When I find out that they really do make a difference I can hear, I want to figure out scientifically why they matter, at least at a level I'm capable of.

    But the marketing lingo can be pretty funny for sure :D
     
  13. Collin D Plonker

    Collin D Plonker Tele-Afflicted

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    I often wonder about winding my own, as well. I noticed there are winders out there that are not labeled for pickups but are otherwise the same. They cost a lot less. Sure, you can make them with a drill, but wouldn't you like to know how many winds you are turning?
     
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  14. Wallaby

    Wallaby Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    I'm sure I would, that is an excellent point!

    I don't exactly know what I need, but I'm learning fast.

    I'm still figuring out how to gear up, basically.
     
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