Is it possible to take off some windings from an existing pickup?

nosuch

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Here's the situation: My ES 330 sports two P90 which are mounted with dog-ear covers – not height adjustable. The neck pickup is considerably louder than the bridge pickup and IMHO it could use some more treble and clarity. It is good, but it could be a little better in my opinion. A friend of mine put Lollar pickups in his 330 for that reason.
Now I'm thinking that the pickup may be just a little bit overwound, taking of some winds may get the desired tones. I wouldn't do it myself, but I'm asking you good guys: Is it possible to just take off some windings?
 

hamerfan

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Taking off windings is doable, but does not help you. I give a not overly technical explanation: The windings on the outside of a coil a very inefficient towards volume, they are far away from the magnet. The outer windings add 'resistance' and capacity to the coil, therefore just subdue trebles a bit.
In your case the best bet is to swap the two (or just one) magnets to A3 with lower magnetic force. You can buy them on eBay. They are standard sized. Look at some tutorials a YouTube how this is done. Much easier than winding down a coil.
BTW there are shims for dog ear pickups. Maybe rising the bridge could be an option too.
 

Wallaby

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++ What @hamerfan said

BTW there are shims for dog ear pickups

You could also try swapping the neck and bridge pickups, but it might be more of a project than you want.

I'd rather keep the existing pickups as-is and try adjusting their heights first, and completely different pickups next.

There are "50's wind" P90's out there that seem like a good match for an ES-330, IMO.
 

jvin248

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.

If you remove 15-20% of the windings you will get what you are after, weaker output and clearer tone (less internal capacitance).

Just think about having two Strat pickups with the same magnets in them, one at 6kohms and the other at 4kohms, and they will sound different while providing different output volumes.

With fewer wraps you will pick up less noise. But if you are chasing noise reduction, then swap the two wires to the jack, if that is what is in the guitar, with shielded cable while in there soldering.

If you have soldering skills you can do it yourself. Just need patience and don't rush unwinding the wire as it's thin and easily broken if pulled too hard. Scrape off the coating on the free end before trying to solder it.

.
 

nickmsmith

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Absolutely, you can.

But whether the effort, skill, and risk are worth more than living with it, or buying a new pickup..
Not to me.
 

fender4life

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Taking off windings is doable, but does not help you. I give a not overly technical explanation: The windings on the outside of a coil a very inefficient towards volume, they are far away from the magnet. The outer windings add 'resistance' and capacity to the coil, therefore just subdue trebles a bit.
In your case the best bet is to swap the two (or just one) magnets to A3 with lower magnetic force. You can buy them on eBay. They are standard sized. Look at some tutorials a YouTube how this is done. Much easier than winding down a coil.
BTW there are shims for dog ear pickups. Maybe rising the bridge could be an option too.
Coulda fooled me. I did exactly what the OP is asking with my former 2012 giibson special. The neck was too hot and muddy and overpowered the bridge. Unwound about 1k off the neck and the neck and bridge were then better balanced. By the way, i DID try A3 and A2 mags in them too but the tone just went to ****e to my ear at least. Lost everything i loved about P90s. Also trie a single magnet and again no joy. Unwinding it did the trick.
 

old wrench

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Sure - you can partially un-wind a pickup and then patch it back together - but if it was me, instead of screwing around stripping part of the windings off - I'd just strip it right down to the bobbin, and then using new wire, wind it the way I'd like.

Very little additional work, and you've got a pickup that's just as good as new ;)

.
 

fender4life

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Sure - you can partially un-wind a pickup and then patch it back together - but if it was me, instead of screwing around stripping part of the windings off - I'd just strip it right down to the bobbin, and then using new wire, wind it the way I'd like.

Very little additional work, and you've got a pickup that's just as good as new ;)

.
Yeah, but how many people have a winder?!
 

TeleBackelaer

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++ What @hamerfan said



You could also try swapping the neck and bridge pickups, but it might be more of a project than you want.

I'd rather keep the existing pickups as-is and try adjusting their heights first, and completely different pickups next.

There are "50's wind" P90's out there that seem like a good match for an ES-330, IMO.
He specifically said they were not height-adjustable. Come on...

Anyway, if you're not experienced in winding pickups, well then don't try to unwind them either. I'd say drop another P90 in either postion to balance them. Most importantly: hit up some of the winders here to figure out what they think would be the best solution.
Because you know, those guys actually know what they're talking about.
 

telemnemonics

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Fralin used to offer to do that for free, I forget the details but if your pickup was hotter than you wanted they took it back and unwound it down to brighter lower output.
Ive unwound vintage pickups that had a break in the outer windings too.
 

telemnemonics

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Taking off windings is doable, but does not help you. I give a not overly technical explanation: The windings on the outside of a coil a very inefficient towards volume, they are far away from the magnet. The outer windings add 'resistance' and capacity to the coil, therefore just subdue trebles a bit.
In your case the best bet is to swap the two (or just one) magnets to A3 with lower magnetic force. You can buy them on eBay. They are standard sized. Look at some tutorials a YouTube how this is done. Much easier than winding down a coil.
BTW there are shims for dog ear pickups. Maybe rising the bridge could be an option too.
I’m not sure where you get the info that less windings or more windings doesn’t significantly change tone?
You may be the only one who has that opinion!

Also while swapping to A3 mags will lower output, it will NOT really add brighter tone, A3 delivers duller softer tone just as more windings dulls or darkens tone.

A5 with less windings will sound brighter and clearer.
A3 with the more windings will sound just as muddy and not actually brighter.
 

telemnemonics

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Here's the situation: My ES 330 sports two P90 which are mounted with dog-ear covers – not height adjustable. The neck pickup is considerably louder than the bridge pickup and IMHO it could use some more treble and clarity. It is good, but it could be a little better in my opinion. A friend of mine put Lollar pickups in his 330 for that reason.
Now I'm thinking that the pickup may be just a little bit overwound, taking of some winds may get the desired tones. I wouldn't do it myself, but I'm asking you good guys: Is it possible to just take off some windings?
An experiment you could try for free is to loosen the bridge pickup cover screws and slip some cardboard or anything under there then tighten again with the pickup higher and closer to the strings.
If the balance is improved, you can buy dogear shims that fit under and raise the pickup.
Ive also made a dogear height adjustable with a hand cut black foam rubber shim, sandwiched under the cover.
You might need longer screws too though.
 

Antigua Tele

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Taking off windings is doable, but does not help you. I give a not overly technical explanation: The windings on the outside of a coil a very inefficient towards volume, they are far away from the magnet. The outer windings add 'resistance' and capacity to the coil, therefore just subdue trebles a bit.
In your case the best bet is to swap the two (or just one) magnets to A3 with lower magnetic force. You can buy them on eBay. They are standard sized. Look at some tutorials a YouTube how this is done. Much easier than winding down a coil.
BTW there are shims for dog ear pickups. Maybe rising the bridge could be an option too.

That's actually not true. The amount of voltage out of a loop of wire is proportional to the flux change across the loop. It's doesn't matter how wide the loop is, just the flux change through the loop. That's the functional premise of an Illitch noise cancelling coil. If the loop were wide enough, it would capture the return path of the magnetized string, and that would cancel out the change in flux, but the loop area would have to be very wide for that to happen. It's more possible that happens with the outer windings of a Jazzmaster coil, which is somewhat wider than a P-90.

Each loop of wire in the coil generates a voltage by itself, a coil of wire is just a whole bunch of voltage generating loops wired in series. If you start taking turns of wire off, you decreased the series voltage, little by little. That's why a hot pickup with so many more turns of wire produces a stronger voltage output, regardless of geometry.

The drop in inductance would also do more than reducing resistance of capacitance towards raising the resonant frequency of the pickup, because the inductance of a pickup is proportionately huge compared to either the resistance or the capacitance. Taking turns off a P-90 would make it quieter and clearer sounding. I've never done it myself, but I bought some P-90s that had an unusually low DC resistance and inductance and sure enough they were a lot clearer, , are just 5.4 henries, down from a typical 6 to 7 henries.

I think the biggest issue with taking off turns is just that the fine wire is hart to work with and it's possible to break the pickup all together if not careful.
 
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wildschwein

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I would try a cap first. Rolling off some bass can help you preceive the sound as more trebly. Removing some bass from its frequency response will also slightly lower the overall amplitude of the pickup.


If you have a spare tone knob you could also try the G&L-style bass cut which works great on neck pickups to cut some of the flab:

2K4l8E9.jpg



Another option is to employ an LCR filter like the Wilde Q filter or the Kent Armstrong Tone Choke. They can be set up with a tone knob to roll off some of the midrange which cleans up the sound a lot and perceptibly lowers the output a bit. These are a really great tool to go from quieter rhythm parts to louder fatter leads with the turn of the knob. You can also ride the gain a bit too:


blqfilter_2048x2048.jpg
 
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Antigua Tele

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No, no ,no ,no ,no.

P90 Shims

This is the way.

Another low tech solution is to mount it like a Tele neck pickup, with those rubber tubing nibs around the mounting screws, so as you screw the dog ear down, it will float over the guitar, and you can set the height however you like it. I did this two my Epi Casinos, and it has the added benefit of taking the mass of the pickups up off of the sound board of the guitar.

You can't really see it, but the bridge pickup is hovering slightly.

1648187770897.png
 

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