# Strat-ish Suggestion?

Discussion in 'Just Pickups' started by IowaCorn, Jun 16, 2016.

1. ### Antigua TeleFriend of Leo's

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There's a big difference between observing a difference and knowing what caused a difference. You can't say "A causes B", but you can say "I observed difference B after I made change A", then your statement is accurate and doesn't place any burden upon you to explain said cause.

The fundamental is more energetic than the harmonics, that's a given, but what gives you cause to believe that the the flux of the fundamental is stronger, or has a further reach into the coil, than the harmonics?

Keep in mind that the harmonics are riding on the fundamental since it's just the one string providing all of the movement simultaneously, so that when the string is swinging closer to the coil, providing a fundamental flux change, all of the harmonics are coming with it too, also getting closer in to the coil. I see no reason why there should be a change in proportionality between fundamental and harmonic depending upon either the distance of the coil, or the magnetic strength of the string.

Bringing the pickup closer to the strings definitely creates a different tone, but I don't think it's because of a changes in harmonic proportionately with the fundamental, but rather the shape of the waveform changing as result of the flux being proportionately stronger when the string swings closer to a pole piece that is nearer. Magnetic strength decreases exponentially, so the closer the string is to the magnet, the more distorted the transfer will be, the further away it is the more linear it will be.

Last edited: Jun 27, 2016
2. ### Antigua TeleFriend of Leo's

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I've been meaning to make a graphic of what this idea for a while, so I just whipped one up:

The boxes represent the area where the string movement occurs depending on whether the pole pieces are nearer or further the string. Since the string moves the same amount no matter how far the pickup is from it, the boxes are the same width. The important thing is that the flux curve is more rounded in when the strings and pickup are set closer together, and a straighter more linear curve when the pole piece is further from the string.

Voltage occurs whenever the string moves, and drops as the string slows down, so there is an instance of voltage on the trip towards the pickup, and then another instance of voltage when the string moves away from it. One direction is positive current, the other is negative, depending on the polarity of the magnet.

When the string and pickup are set to be closer together, the greater curve means the change in voltage will be relatively lopsided, with more voltage being generated then the movement is close to the pole piece and less when it's further. If the pole piece and string are farther apart, then the curve is more linear, the generation of voltage is more linear and not so lopsided.

I'm not sure what effect this has on the tone (yet), but it's safe to say that this is a difference that occurs when the pickup height is adjusted.

The other difference is in terms of how much voltage comes from string movement that is parallel to the face of the pickup, you get less of that the closer the string is to the pole piece, but it makes only a small contribution to the even harmonics.

Last edited: Jun 28, 2016
3. ### Dan Spiffy NeumanTele-Holic

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I had one custom made by http://dylanpickups.com/ He wound a strat pickup onto a Tele frame so it would drop right in. Sounds GREAT.

4. ### GCKellochTele-Afflicted

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Antigua Tele, I didn't mean to imply the magnetic flux in the fundamentals is stronger, but I did badly word my explanation of why the fundamentals are stronger with a thinner wire coil. It's not how far into the coil vibrations of a given level of magnetic strength reach, but the total wire surface area they span that matters. I guess it's the same reason larger diaphragm mics have a stronger proximity affect. Larger vibrations are stronger when closer to a larger diaphragm - - perhaps depending on the diameter of the source emitting those vibrations? I'm actually not sure of the various mechanical elements involved, or if larger vibrations change more substantially than with a smaller pickup at a distance. I may have confused that with the change in overall timbre from greater sensitivity, but like a larger diaphragm mic, the larger vibrations are proportionally stronger. That's my understanding, anyway. Do with it what you will.

Magnetic flux change in the string as it swings closer to the magnet creates asymmetric wave cycles. Not sure of the exact effect, but I think it decreases the fundamental, making the next few higher harmonics more prevalent. The hysteresis factor of the string may counter the effect to whatever extent. The same thing can occur in a push/pull amp if the tubes are differently biased. A weaker fundamental may be partly why AlNiCo II pickups (with a shorter field throw) generally produce a different sound than AlNiCo V, as the pickups are adjusted closer to the strings to compensate for the weaker field. Maybe the reason Wilde Microcoils have a metal bar under the Nd magnet is to somehow make the field above it more consistent in strength above the coil to the string, as if it is emanating from a greater distance, so there is effectively less vibrational asymmetry?

If those two factors are indeed in operation, wire surface area would then affect the proportional level of stronger vibrations, while the magnetic field throw affects the proportional level of the first few harmonics. They aren't quite the same thing, and can be configured to alter the note timbre in subtle ways.

Say, we've really wandered OT with all this. We should take this discussion elsewhere. I have some ideas that might interest you. I'll PM you.

Last edited: Jul 1, 2016
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