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Discussion in 'Just Pickups' started by Tatercaster, Dec 10, 2015.
Will a pick up work laying on it's side? Does the orientation of the coil matter?
It possibly will work but The magnetic poles will be pointing away from the strings
so it will have far less output
What if the poles had a 90 degree bend in them?
^^^Yes it should work, and the two ends would reinforce each other ie, in phase. But I'm guessing you would have to have it close to the strings, because the magnetc lines of force would be farily confined. Interesting idea. I think it would sound like a humbucker without the humbucking.
P90's and Humbuckers, to name a couple, do exactly this.
^^^^ I think the OP is talking about laying the coil on its side, with the core parallel to the plane of the strings. - Neither P90s nor humbuckers do this. In fact, offhand, I can't think of a pickup that does.
Yes. This is exactly what I'm suggesting. A piece of steel channel with the coil wrapped around the middle and a magnet on the outside edges.
Considering the large number of pickups available these days I can't help thinking at least one of the manufacturers must have experimented with flipping a pickup ninety degrees but has not pursued the idea. One can only assume the results were not equivalent to or better than the traditional arrangement and there were probably seen or unseen drawbacks with changing the orientation of a pickup.
You can lay the coils side ways, but the magnets has to face the strings in order to give them a strong enough magnetic field. I'd think the volume of flux lines that run perpendicular to the coil winding when the coils are on their sides would be a lot less than when the coil is oriented vertically, hence why 99% of pickup have their coils oriented that way, buy I've never messed with a sideways coil pickup, so I'm not sure.
The Lace Holy Grail has sideways coils
and these, I think they're "Sidewinder" noiseless P-90s.
A string vibrating very close to the point of a magnet (bar or cylinder) where the flux eminates/returns, creates a great deal of disturbance in the electrons in the coil, so you get electron movememt= sound. Strings vibrating parallel to the flux lines create very little, if any, disturbance of the magnetic field, hence less movement of electrons in the coil's windings, and little or no sound. Coil orientation is not as important as magnet orientation, so long as the coil is within the magnet's flux field.
Lace speciously claims their sideways "Holy Grail" pictured above doesn't suffer the treble losses of usual stack designs, but I don't see how that would work, and furthermore, they could not have patented it too tightly since sidewinder pickups have existed for decades. What are the drawbacks of the sidewinder design that keep so many pickup makers sticking with the traditional stack?
Q Tuners do this. Sideways coils with neo cores. http://www.q-tuner.com/about-q-tuner/
I think there is a Bill Lawrence humbucker with this construction...
Also (correct me if I'm wrong) - weren't the original Firebird pickups done this way?
The original firebird pickups were designed to be PAF's in a smaller package. Same coil orientation.
the original gibson early 60's firebird pickups were not a rehash of the PAF formula and therefor they are not mini-humbuckers.
firebirds are totally diff'rent with respect to magnetics placement and have an alnico bar magnet inside each coil, whereas a PAF has a single bar mag that shares both coils that have ferrous inserts (rods and screws).
the diff'rence in tone between a PAF standard or mini and a true firebird is night and day. firebirds have a very single coil flavor to their tone, unlike most other dual coil transducers.
most, if not all, passive transducer pickups are designed to be used in a specific manner, with few adjustment parameters (coil height and maybe magnet height). flipping a pup on its side makes no sense, but hey, go for it.
Rob, do pole pieces have to go through the center of the coil or not? If not, a couple of blades on either side of the coil and magnets on the outsides of those blades would work?
something ferrous or magnetic needs to be inside a transducer coil. a PAF hb has a bar magnet that touches the 6 screws inside one coil and 6 ferrous slugs inside the other coil. with a firebird, there's an alnico bar magnet inside each coil.
I just tried this out with some loose pole pieces, a loose coil and some masking tape... and it didn't work out. The reason was because magnetized side walls didn't bring the lines of flux down the center of the coil. You just somehow need to arrange for the magnetized string's flux to be on axis with the coil, and unfortunately, outside blades don't make it happen.
That's not strictly true, it just happens to be the most practical way to do it.
Another way to arrange a pickup, for the sake of argument, which is not practical but illustrates a point, is to A) have a thin neodymium magnet on top of an air coil, which would orient the string's magnetization correctly (but cause excess string pull provide little benefit otherwise), or B) put the magnetic on the opposite side of the string from the air coil (which would require a pickup that encompasses all six strings), but the important point is that you don't even need permeable cores in the middle of the coil so long as somehow you can line up the flux to be on axis with the coils.
Some food for thought: the Hilo'tron pickup places the magnetic bar beside the coil. The pole pieces help guide the flux from the magnet to the strings, and then from the strings to the coil:
Heh, you live and learn.
And thanks to Antigua for the reminder about sidewinders - I had forgotten about them.
A bit of blogging. After many decades of mucking with electrics and not connecting with them, I finally found a connection point through vintage string-through pickups, especially the pre-war horseshoe. It's a pity the these designs aren't really compatible with ordinary" guitar playing.