OK, it's time for a DPP Tele.

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by TRexF16, Mar 22, 2019.

  1. Barncaster

    Barncaster Doctor of Teleocity

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    With the rods all oriented north polarity up and aligned, it's time to press on the upper flatwork. Sometime a little tweaking is needed to get the rods properly aligned with the upper flatwork. This is critical as if this is not done, the sharp ends of the magnets will broach out the flatwork holes a bit and compromise their holding power.
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    Upper flatwork pressed on. This is my first time using white/ parchment flatwork. Looks pretty sharp!
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    Add a touch of medium CA on either side of the magnets along the centerline on both top and bottom for strength. If this is not done, especially at the outer magnets, the pressure exerted by the coil winds can cause the outer ends of the flatwork to bow giving the pickup kind of a bow tie look. Try to keep the CA out of the winding land area or the CA fillets will take up precious magnet wire real-estate. It's in the details.
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  2. Barncaster

    Barncaster Doctor of Teleocity

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    In the old days, Leo used to lacquer dip the bobbing to form a dielectric layer on the magnets. This was done because years of playing sweat can work its way into a pickup causing corrosion on the magnets and possible magnet wire insulation damage resulting in a shorted pickup. No bueno. The lacquer dip was cheap but not a terribly robust dielectric layer. I use a single wrap of good old vinyl electrical tape. When cut to the appropriate height, it's really solid.
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  3. Barncaster

    Barncaster Doctor of Teleocity

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    Like so.
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  4. Barncaster

    Barncaster Doctor of Teleocity

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    As we are getting closer to winding, it's time to prep the Strat neck pickup. Taking a close look at it I could see that the leads were very short, indicating that it had probably served in the bridge position of a Strat at some time. Also, it had been repaired at some point. The ending coil wire was not wrapped through the grommet per standard methods but rather around the base of the white cloth covered lead. The leads had to be replaced but with the coil wire terminated like this, it was just easier to rewind the coil.
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    The wire was snipped off. By the presence of the extreme white powdery particulate, I could tell this was potted in stratght paraffin wax. Paraffin gets very crumbly with age which is why I use a mix of bees wax and paraffin. The bees wax does not dry out with age like paraffin. Jars containing honey were found in King Tut's tomb with bees wax-sealed lids. The seals were intact when the tomb was open. Enough said on the bee product! As a cost-effective alternative, a small dollop of vaseline in a paraffin wax pot helps to keep the paraffin from drying out. Works well.
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    Under the paraffin I did not see any evidence of a lacquer dielectric layer. Each rod magnet was checked for continuity from side to top and it confirmed that this pup did not have a dielectric layer applied to the magnets. From an engineering perspective, modern poly magnet wire insulation is probably way more robust than the vintage Formvar so perhaps a dielectric layer is redundant. I'm not taking any chances and this coil, after clean-up, was given a solid electrical tape wrap.
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  5. TRexF16

    TRexF16 Friend of Leo's Vendor Member

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    More. More! I love it Rob, let's see the rest of the p/u build.
     
  6. Barncaster

    Barncaster Doctor of Teleocity

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    Time to wind! 42 AWG min build poly was used. Standard stuff these days and works very well. I used the ACW-2 (ammo can winder #2). It is a straignt forward rig made from a .308 ammo can. In it is mounted a small DC ball bearing motor, a Cub counter and a custom-built, 9v-powered Hall-Effect sensor triggered by a neo magnet on the back side of the platen. The beautiful Hall-Effect sensor unit was built by our very own Rick (R. Stratenstein). Notice the flame in the base? Sweeet. It is driven by a lab grade DC power supply. Some folks here use AC motors, some DC. Tesla or Edison, your choice as both spin the shaft.
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  7. Barncaster

    Barncaster Doctor of Teleocity

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    The bobbin is held on the platen with super strong double stick carpet tape. This gets renewed every few pickups.
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    The coil wire lateral travel is constrained as it is guided on the bobbin with two stop collars on the guide rod. This huide rod has a magnetic base and I can slide it around the side of the ACW-2 at will to suit the dimensions of any given job. They are set in place with allen key grub screws.
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    The wire itself is guided and evenly tensioned onto the coil using a clothes pin-tensioning device. It is a wooden clothes pin with two strips of velcro loop thumb-tacked onto each side of the jaw. The through bolt and wing nut are there to give the device the ability to apply additional, controlled tension should a build warrant it. I have never broken a wire due to inappropriate tension using this device in 6 years of winding. I wouldn't wind without it. This is my variation on the invention of our own Rob DeStefano. He makes excellent pickups (Cavalier) and is a vendor here on TDPRI.
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    An action shot.
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  8. Barncaster

    Barncaster Doctor of Teleocity

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    The bridge got a little over 9000 winds and the neck 7500.
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  9. Barncaster

    Barncaster Doctor of Teleocity

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    Now as this set will be noise cancelling in the middle position, two things have to happen; 1. The magnet arrays in each pickup have to be of opposing polarities, that is, one all north up and the other all south up. 2. The directions of the coil windings have to be opposite, that is, one coil wound clockwise and the other counter-clockwise. Technically two single coils with these relationships in a guitar, when connected serially, become a humbucker and provide what is called "common-mode noise cancellation". In the industry, this is often seen as "RWRP" or reverse wind, reverse polarity. I take one shortcut here but it technically is valid. I wind both coils in the same direction but swap the leads, that is, black to beginning, white to end on one coil and the opposite on the other. The net effect is the same as if the lead relationships were identical and the coils wound in opposing directions. And there was much rejoicing...

    After the winding is completed, the beginning and end coil wires are threaded through the brass flatware grommets about three times. Also through these grommets are where the pickup leads are terminated. For lead wire I use old fashioned, tinned, wax cloth-covered wire. Garrett has been making this stuff for probably over 100 years. helmut HATES that I don't use modern Teflon coated leads but I figure as pickups operate at the millivolt level, there's little risk of fire. In an amp on the other hand, I tend to think a little more modern in material choices but I digress. The leads are stripped using a modern stripper and the ends put through the grommets and soldered into place. I use Kester lead solder. It flows beautifully but you have to use a fume extractor with this stuff or you will roll back your IQ pretty quickly.

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    The Tele bridge pickup needs a few more steps for lead connection at this point. Leo designed the pickup with a copper-clad ferrous base plate. The copper was purely to keep the steel base plate from corroding. This plate serves several purposes. Being ferrous, it interacts with the magnet array to alter the shape of the magnetic field in relation to the coil. This results in an augmentation of the sound. Helps the lower end. It also forms the ground path for the strings as the a jumper wire is soldered from the bottom of the ground lead pickup grommet to the baseplate. As the strings touch the saddles and the saddles touch the bridge and the grounded base plate touches the bridge through the mounting screws, the Tele therefore has no need for a dedicated bridge ground wire. I've successfully never used one on any of the many Teles I've built and owned.

    Additionally, the Tele Bridge pickup magnet array is insulated from the ferrous base plate by a piece of tape. Leo used celophane tape back in the day. I use electrical tape. The magnets in Gibson PAFs and P90s by comparison have grounded magnets. I have yet to do a Tele bridge pickup comparison between grounded and non-grounded magnets. Can anyone comment?
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  10. Barncaster

    Barncaster Doctor of Teleocity

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    I also twist the black and white leads together. This results in a shielding effect and helps to reduce the classic single coil 60 cycle hum.

    At this point I take the extra step of protecting my coils with a wrap of cloth electrical tape. This not only girdles the coils but it lets the potting wax pass through and with bridge pups results in a cleaner look as all the copper is not showing through the string wraps. On the neck pickup, a wrap of this cloth tape helps to protect the coils from accidental installation trauma. Every little bit helps.
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  11. Barncaster

    Barncaster Doctor of Teleocity

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    Next is wax potting. There's a touch of debate around the subject. Potting ultimately immobilizes the coils and pervents any micro-motion of the windings which could, under high volume/ gain situations result in unwanted feedback through the amps. This really helps in situations where unpotted coils are not evenly wound and suffer an impact. This can cause windings from a high spot on the coil body to slip to a lower spot and lose tension. This resuls in the coil having loose winds and becoming microphonic and possibly unusable. With wax potting, even a really poorly wound coil will keep its integrity after impacts so I consider it cheap insurance and I know the coils will function as designed in any situation, regardless of volume and/ or gain. With all of the hand winding that Leo's old crew did, regardless of operator experience level, as long as the wind counts were close to target, potting made even really poorly wound coils completely usable and reliable. And I've seen some ugly vintage coils. I believe this was the real reason Leo potted his single coils. He was a practical guy. But I digress....

    For potting I use a paraffin/ bees wax blend. Wax has a flash point of 390 degrees F. A double boiler is used for safety. I use an old sauce pot with a 3"x3" wood block to keep the coffee can holding the wax off the bottom of the pan. The buzz has always been not to exceed 140 degrees F but I find that temp too low. I use 180 degrees F and the pickup comes up to temp quickly allowing quick penetration of the coils. After the wax has liquified in the can, which can take 30 minutes with a roiling boil, I turn the burner down to simmer and measure the wax temp. At 180, I lower the pickup in by the leads and hold it suspended away from the sides and off the bottom. The little bubbles stop after about 5 minutes. Remove to a paper towel. Carefully dab excess wax off with another paper towel.
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    And there you have it. The neck pickup will be used with a standard white cover so only the D and G poles are proud. Combined with a 9.5" radius fretboard I believe these will do quite nicely.
    Rob
     
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  12. brandonh

    brandonh Tele-Meister

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    Fantastic! It’s already crazy to me that folks are out there hacking away in garages making killer guitars, but DIY pickups is just a whole next level of cool. Thanks for taking the time to document the process, Rex and Rob.
     
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  13. Barncaster

    Barncaster Doctor of Teleocity

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    We build guitars because we love them and share the knowledge here to build community. I think this forum in particular is one of the best on the web.
     
  14. TRexF16

    TRexF16 Friend of Leo's Vendor Member

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    Rob, that is a fantastic documentary. I'll be thrilled to receive these, and will try to make the DPP Tele worthy of them. I hope to get some work done on it later today.

    Thanks again,
    Rex
     
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  15. Barncaster

    Barncaster Doctor of Teleocity

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    Are you going to give us a demo Rex? No pressure... LOL
     
  16. TRexF16

    TRexF16 Friend of Leo's Vendor Member

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    I still owe you demos on the Baladcasters too. I promise to do so on this one. I have to learn:
    1) How to record a decent video and post it online.
    2) How, in said video, to present the illusion of guitar proficiency.
    The former can doubtless be sussed out through online research; the latter probably only through the miracle of lots of video editing. But I'll give it a shot.

    Cheers,
    Rex
     
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  17. Barncaster

    Barncaster Doctor of Teleocity

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    Ah yes, retirement has its privileges.... Congratulations by the way. All of your home town’s stray wood will now live in fear.
     
  18. TRexF16

    TRexF16 Friend of Leo's Vendor Member

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    I want a parchment single-ply pickguard for this project but one cut for a Strat neck pickup seems to be a custom proposition from Warmoth or some such. I only have black, pearl, and cream blank stock on hand so I just grabbed a nice Allparts single-ply parchment Esquire pickguard off of Amazon and figure I'll just cut/rout it for the Strat neck pickup.
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    It's a 5 hole but I can add the other 3 if it wants 8 to lie flat.
     
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  19. TRexF16

    TRexF16 Friend of Leo's Vendor Member

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    I got a bit done today. The first task was to get all the remaining holes drilled, primarily the ferrule and electrosocket/jack holes.
    I do the ferrules the pretty much standard way but I'll show the pics just in case it's new to anyone. I already showed how I screw down the bridge and use the holes in the metal to guide my drill bit (#31 in the case of the Wilkinson) I sink these holes no more than a half inch. This lines them up nice. Then I mount this board with a .120" pin sticking up through it onto my drill press table.
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    I have a 5/16" forstner bit chucked so it lines up exactly with the pin. I leave just enough room to move the guitar boady between the bit and the pin when the chuck is all the way up.
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    THen is just a matter of slipping each of the string through holes in the top of the guitar body over that .120" indexing pin, pressing the body flat, and bringing the forstner bit down to the top and run it in about 3/8" deep. Everything indexs nice and straight.
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    Only now do I drill the through holes, well, through. I run the bit through from the two existing holes to meet in the middle, using the divots in the center of the ferrule holes like centerpunch points.
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    Lotta words and pics but might help someone.

    Cheers,
    Rex
     
  20. TRexF16

    TRexF16 Friend of Leo's Vendor Member

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    Also drilled the electrosocket and jack holes today. All you need to use an electrosocket is a 7/8" hole, but I normally start with a slightly inset 1" hole so the outer edge of the electrosocket sits flush inset into the wood. But sometimes, finish builds up too thick in the 1" hole and when I go to insert the electrosocket I end up damaging the finish. Today I remembered I have a 26mm forstner bit, which is just a touch over 1". I figure this flake finish is going to be building up quite a bit so I used the 26mm to do the initial countersink before sinking the 7/8" hole through into the control cavity.
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    Should end up with a nice fit after the finish with no chipping.
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    I also got everything sanded down and the first coat of Z-Poxy on the back.
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    I squeegeed it on the flats but used a nitrile gloved fingertip to work it about halfway around the sides - figured If I do that from both sides I'll get the edges fully covered.
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    And, for Rob:
    I went ahead and drilled a hole for the grounding wire to the bridge plate "just in case." I had never heard your point from the pickup build post above that a steel based Tele bridge pickup doesn't need a ground wire to the bridge so I'm going to try it without it. I trust your experience. But that little hole is there from the bottom of the pickup rout to the top under the bridge just 'cause maybe it might have a different bridge pickup some day.
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    That's it for today, getting ready to take the Mrs. out for a nice evening.
    Cheers,
    Rex
     
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