Question about strange DCR reading on Fender CS 51 Nocaster neck p/up

Discussion in 'Just Pickups' started by theprofessor, Mar 25, 2020 at 12:10 PM.

  1. Tone Specific

    Tone Specific TDPRI Member Vendor Member

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    We believe they do, this is is why we use different wire in different designs. It’s not always so simple as to say one is better than the other. It’s all in the way that you use it.

    The difference in tone produced by PE vs Formar vs Poly has more to do with the thickness of the coating than it does the composition of color of the coating. When dealing with 42, the thickness of the copper itself is always 42. The thickness of coating on the wire varies from PE vs Poly vs Formvar. Although you can get Poly in many different sizes and Formvar and Plain Enamel may have different diameters based on the manufacturer, typically Formvar is fattest, PE is next and Poly is thinnest.

    The reason why the thickness of the coating of coil wire matters is because it can make your coil more or less copper-dense, along with being slimmer or fatter. A Strat pickup wound to 6.0k will sound different with different diameter of 42 because the physical properties of the pickup change based on this wire thickness.

    Another thing to consider is that using wire with thinner coating allows you to put more wire on the bobbin. This become important when trying to put 42 on a Tele Neck. You have a small bobbin & you’ll run out of room if you don’t use a thinner wire. This is also considered when making Higher output Strat pickups. You won’t find too many Strat Pickups using 42 formvar that read over 6.8 or so.

    Poly is cheapest and is easiest work with so its used in alot of cheap pickups. It gets a bad rap because of this but when applied correctly it’s every bit as useful as PE & Formvar. We use it in our Punchy Tele & Strat designs. The old Tim Shaw Gibson humbuckers used it as well as the we’ll regarded Tim White Humbucker.

    Then you got 42 v 43 which is another can of worms. Beyond that you’ve got magnets and various other techniques used from winder to winder.

    Bottom line, you have two very different Neck pickups. The one that sounds best sonically is for you to decide. You should try them both and report the sonic differences.
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2020 at 11:17 AM
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  2. Teleterr

    Teleterr Friend of Leo's

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    Coating also would change inductance, capacitance, and resistance due to the wires being closer or farther apart. Now whether that makes a difference... I m sure there's a thread or seven.
     
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  3. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    Well there are multiples of techniques... of course, using a mechanical method to remove the coating means the overall diameter of the wire at that crucial point is reduced unless the method is delicate enough to handle a piece of very soft copper that's .0025" in diameter, assuming is wasn't stretched when the winding tension was applied.. Noit hardly likely..

    Even chemical removal can be aggressive though to etch the copper, reducing it's very small diameter..

    The coating has no impact on the sound..OTHER than the thickness of the "enamel" is a factor in calculating the overall density of the winding as computed in number of wires per sq mm in cross section of the wound pickup. Formvar, and double coated Formvar, being thicker will result in less wires per sq mm and "plain jane" enamel or other coatings. being thinner, conversely permits more wires per sq mm.. and even this metric can be altered by regulating the heat of the potting process or lack thereof.

    that density impacts the voice of the pickup... so it's not the chemistry of the coating, it's the physical metrics... and those sonic attributes can be manipulated, negated, magnified, by other techniques/materials used in manufacturing the pickup.. such as the heat during the potting as I just mentioned above..

    Thus you don't wanna just say, I want Formvar on Forbon bobbins with A3 magnets to get a vintage sound... it's not that's simple, if you're targeting consistency in a production run..

    But.. If you're a hobbyist, making your own set... it's not really important, you have a far better chance of making a great sounding pickup, just buying whatever wire you can find, assuming it meets the correct criteria for winding pickups. Same with the magnets and bobbins. However, duplicating that set will be a bit more challenging..

    r
     
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  4. Tone Specific

    Tone Specific TDPRI Member Vendor Member

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    This is true, you don’t need to be so aggressive to remove 100% of the coating. Just gentle run through a loose pinch of very fine sandpaper. If you can remove/scuff the coating just a little, then that’s enough & the solder will easily and quickly melt the rest.
     
  5. schmee

    schmee Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    ^^^^^^THIS is a possibility.
    I will also say, for some reason, some pickups, usually HB's.... will not stabilize when testing the resistance. Some just jump all over, some creep up. Go figure. But at least once I discovered it was my VOM battery.
     
  6. Danb541

    Danb541 Tele-Meister

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    Agree, I've had the same experience with bad batteries which is why I posted it. I have also had pickups that have readings that jump around and wont settle but still work fine. I will say the jump in readings the OP is experiencing are pretty drastic, I don't recall getting readings that far apart.
     
  7. Antigua Tele

    Antigua Tele Friend of Leo's

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    It doesn't affect the sound. People have their beliefs, but there is no audible difference.

    I bought eight unpotted single coils from @kingvox , and measured them. Four were wound with Remmington "plain enamel" and four with "enameled copper", and posted the values https://guitarnuts2.proboards.com/thread/8795/capacitances-enameled-copper-plain-enamel The average capacitance of the "enameled copper" was higher by a trivial amount, around 10pF to 20pF, which is within the margin of tolerance for hand wound pickups anyway, so it could own to winding variation and not necessarily the coating. I've measured dozens of Fender pickups though, with formvar and enamel alike, and the capacitance is always in the same general area, 90pF and the low end as 120pF at the high end. I checked the deilectric values for these difference subtances, in all cases they're around 3.5 to 4.5, so they all behave about the same, and the difference could as easily be attributed to the build thickness, not the material itself. Interesting, water has a very high dielectric value of 80, so if you water log and unpotted coil, it can increase the capacitance by almost double, as discovered here https://guitarnuts2.proboards.com/thread/8739/wax-potting-experiment-capacitance-microphonics

    But taking a step back, to even suggest that capacitance has a unique affect on the tone would be misleading, because it combines with the inductance to create a resonance. Adding a higher capacitance or inductance will move the resonance down, so a higher capacitance is no different than had the pickup been wound a little hotter. Capacitance can make a CS 69 sound like a Texas Special, if the right amount of capacitance is added to the circuit. It would take around 1500pF, or 1.5nF, to shift the resonant peak by that amount, though. The 10pF to 30pF differences were talking about with different insulations are completely inaudible. The LCR meters are revealing a difference that our ears can't detect. Water-logging the pickup, on the other hand, has the potential to increase the capacitance by double or more, depending on how much water the coil could uptake, and that could move the resonant peak downwards enough to be heard.

    In truth, what seperates most of the pickups on the market is their inductance, especially with the numerous AlNiCo 5 Strat sets, the only meaningful difference from one to the next is the inductance. Seymour Duncan has a dozen different AlNiCo 5 models that use the standard PAF platform, and they have lots of names and marketting jargon, but the only effective difference between all of them is the inductance. There's been a whole system of fiction and make believe built up, by the companies and the customers alike, around what boils down to a linear variation curve between all of these products. They'll say things like "this pickup has a sweet high end and compressed mids", it's just a difference of inductance. Or "this pickup is super articulate and unforgiving", again, it just has a difference in inductance. The pickups are being given credit for effects which owe to other psychoacoustic factors.

    Fender says "Enamel-coated magnet wire for warm vintage tone" https://shop.fender.com/en-US/parts...p-texas-special-strat-pickups/0992111000.html , I think that constitutes false advertising and that they're doing damage to consumers by promoting the idea that the enamel coating is impactful upon the tone.
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2020 at 12:52 PM
  8. Antigua Tele

    Antigua Tele Friend of Leo's

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    There is probably oxidation on the copper wire of the leads.
     
  9. schmee

    schmee Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    Have you ever had any that the vom just flashes a number on off? I've had that too. ... but the pickup worked fine..
     
  10. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    What??? a guitar manufacturer using misleading advertising?? Oh NooooOOoo Say it ain't so.. :p

    I've been hollering that pretty much since I joined the forums.. it's got me in trouble a time or two.. but.. guys. . . read Antigua's post again.. and again . . that pretty much says it all..

    It's just ya have good winders, and not so good....

    r
     
  11. theprofessor

    theprofessor Friend of Leo's

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    So it sounds to me like, once again, it's basically down to physical characteristics of the pickup (magnet type, height, diameter), bobbin footprint, and so forth. Then the wire, whatever kind it is, is essentially about diameter. And once diameter is accounted for, it's just winds around the coil. Turn count relative to diameter of the wire (which includes or doesn't include its coating).
     
  12. Antigua Tele

    Antigua Tele Friend of Leo's

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    The diameter of the wire itself isn't important, but the build thickness has a slight effect on capacitance, as mentioned above. 42, 43, 44 AWG, doesn't matter, because it's the resultant magnetic field that matters, while the difference in series resistance is trivial. That being said, if the coil ends up being thinner relative to it's height, the capacitance will be higher, and that is seen with Tele neck pickups, which have a higher capacitance due to their tall, thin geometry.
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2020 at 1:51 PM
  13. Antigua Tele

    Antigua Tele Friend of Leo's

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    To say it's misleading is generous, it's a blatant lie. The enamel wire does not, in fact, give the pickup a "warm vintage sound".

    But the problem is that, just as much as Fender wants to assert that it does, guitarists want to believe it. The idea that you can have a "perfect guitar" in a Chinese Squier for $300 is not good enough for some people, they want the guitar to cost $3,000, they need a reason for it to cost $3,000. It's sort of like diamonds, there's a shared interested in artificially pushing the value up. So what to do; make it in the U.S. where labor costs are astronomically higher, assign the guitars some superficial upgrades, and of course, tell some brazen lies about magical pickups and tone woods.
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2020 at 1:49 PM
  14. theprofessor

    theprofessor Friend of Leo's

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    What I mean by the diameter of the wire is that the diameter of the wire affects how much can be wound around the coil. In that respect, diameter does matter, right?
     
  15. Antigua Tele

    Antigua Tele Friend of Leo's

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    As a practical matter it affects the maximum size, but 8,000 turns of 42, 43 and 44 AWG will all yield coils that sound alike, because the difference of resistance and capacitance is too small to be noticed.
     
  16. Tone Specific

    Tone Specific TDPRI Member Vendor Member

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    While we respect everyone’s opinion, our experience tells us there are noticeable differences in the tone, response & feel of the different materials discussed here.

    If you start with premise that all types of coil wire sound the same, then you can use certain measurements to make a compelling case. I once read a sheet about 20 years ago that used certain measurements to explain that a certain SS amp sounded pretty much identical to a tube amp. After some real world comparisons, it was clear that the SS amp in question was a very different animal than any a tube amp. It was a good amp as are many SS amps but it was different than the tube amp, despite the compelling measurements and charts.

    Now we won’t make the case that equally wound PE vs Formvar on fully charged A5 Strat Bobbin will be as drastic as a Strat vs. a Humbucker but If you take the time to listen as you play, you should notice a different in tone, different response to your playing and what some would call a different feel.

    When we say “play” we don’t mean randomly strumming a cowboy-chord, slamming a power chord, or stiffly fumbling through a scale. If you sit down and play something musical with some nuance and varying dynamics as you play, then you should have a clear preference between the two coil wires. This is even more noticeable in the bridge position if the guitar. You get less string vibration about the bridge pickup & in our opinion pickup differences are most noticeable in this location of the guitar.

    Countless number of pretty well known pros have backed us up on this theory. Many of these guys have ordered multiple sets and compared them on stage & in the studio. They almost never come back to us with a wishy-washy opinion. They always have a clear preference. This also occurred during the beta-testing phase of our designs where everything except the wire was equal in two pickups being compared.

    We are dealing small percentages here but these difference are important to getting the desired final result. This is why guys spend so much time testing different speakers, strings, saddles, blocks, guitar picks, etc. 10 percent here or there can mean a lot in an artistic endeavor.

    Next time you compare wire types try varying your pick attack & then put the pick in your pocket and play with your fingers. You should hear & feel a difference.
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2020 at 2:23 PM
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  17. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    Better watch out.. You're getting dangerously close to becoming a intellectually compatible friend. :D

    r
     
  18. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    here's a little factoid... the AWG of a wire need only be within a specific margin .. I used to have a chart from Elektrisola Bill Lawrence sent me listing a few hundred types, including their dielectric coating.... it was pretty interesting...and while that margin is very small.. that times 8000 turns can add up...

    a 42 AWG at the low end is so close to a 43 AWG at the fat end, that simply applying the correct tension could result in the 42 equaling a 43.. tension matters..

    r
     
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  19. Antigua Tele

    Antigua Tele Friend of Leo's

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    The difference between amps and pickups is that amps are complex systems, pickups are not. Fender style pickups in particular, are laughably crude. But there is another kind of complexity in relations to pickups: the player themselves. There's one aspect to pickups to make them more complicated for the player than almost anything else, which is that it takes a lot of time to swap out a pickup. Nobody can genuinely A/B pickups, not us, not "the pros". Pedals and amps are easy to compare, and their differences are more genuine. We are left to our devices as humans when it comes to comparing pickups, and that's why we use to many sensitive feely words, like "sweet" or "harsh" or "punchy", because all we are left with are vague, amorphous feelings and memories. If someone tells us something about the sound of a pickup in an authoritative tone, we're not really in a position to refute their claims. Whose to say an SSL-5 isn't punchy? Prove me wrong.

    There have been pickup "quick swap" guitars, where for example you slip the pickup into the back via cartridge, but those systems never gain popularity. But why not? Pedal boards with twenty pedals are popular, amp modelers with a dozen amps are popular, who are pickup swapping systems not popular? The reason is most likely because anyone who uses one soon discovers that all pickups pretty much sound the same, and that such a system is virtually pointless.
     
  20. Antigua Tele

    Antigua Tele Friend of Leo's

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    This is yet another reason to not use DC resistance as a proxy for turn count estimation.
     
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