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Discussion in 'Just Pickups' started by CFFF, Oct 21, 2019.
I found these
Look like a triumph of form over function
First Act. Although never seen them with the black covers and rings. Actually pretty good pickups.
I agree about the curvy cuts. But the cover cutout does actually perform a very useful and proven function. Like Filtertrons, a cutout in any humbucker that encloses the perimeter of the poles without any join in the middle, almost completely eliminates eddy losses in the cover. Thus, you have the mechanical protection for the coils, with the clarity of a coverless build. Note that this is not true of single coils, because they don't benefit from the eddy current cancellation that occurs in this case.
I have just looked at First Act guitars. Interesting designs. A little like old Volkswagen motorcars
yep, 1st act. I've got a couple of those, and they both have pups that look like that.
Some sources indicate they are Kent Armstrongs
The cut outs look like plastic to me so maybe they would have less function if this is so?
Is the tops made from plastic?
I don't recall exactly, in your research did a humbucker cover need to be cut all the way down the side, or just a single coil cover (Tele neck pu)? I would think even a humbucker cover would have to be cut all the way down in order to break continuity around the perimeter of the cover.
The First Act pickups are plastic cases. Just 'two-shot' in dual color here. Most of them are a single color -- all black. They are quite nice sounding pickups, lower internal capacitance for similar output to many of the popular expensive brands, but of course since they came in $75 retail guitars imported from Asia most have never tested them out.
Here is a picture with the back removed showing the internal construction. I did a refurb on a First Act a while back.
I have since given this guitar to friends for their kids. I told them they won't get much selling it, but after the work on it they'll need to spend quite a lot to get one that plays better.
The Bikini covers originated at the First Act Custom Shop that ran right outside Boston from 04 to 12. Pickups were generally custom wound Kent Armstrong's on those. Once production of the Asian made CE, ME, and now AL series got into full swing they kept on with that bikini styling. Some had covers some didn't but you could still see the outline. We call those Humpbacks and kind of their own thing. Close but certainly not Kent Armstrong's. Notice no humps on these. Those are First Act Custom Shop Kent Armstrong's
I found these strange looking pickups in the mid 80’s. Wish I still had them.
In a humbucker, the induced voltages in the cover oppose each other because of the opposing magnetic polarity and so no current will flow, as long as there is no return path around each individual coil. A gap between the two coils guarantees that there isn't a return path so the perimeter doesn't matter. Unfortunately there isn't such serendipity with a single coil.
This assembly displayed virtually the same cover losses as a full cover:
In the following arrangement, the thick copper wire displayed almost no difference whether present or absent:
But this generated huge losses:
It looks cosmetic. They could have just exposed the coils, but maybe they were just trying to achieve a certain look. The Filtertron uses a plastic sheet to protect the coils. The plastic certainly makes no electrical difference.