Telenator Wide Range Humbuckers

Discussion in 'Just Pickups' started by chucksmi, Feb 14, 2009.

  1. Telenator

    Telenator Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    One thing you guys need to know about the "originals" is that they varied greatly in production specs and quality.

    When you click "BID" on ebay, are you really getting what you think you're getting in a WRHB?

    Our research has shown that vintage WRHB's come in a few different varieties. Some, very good. Others, much less desirable. And there's no way of knowing what you're getting without dismantling the pickup.

    Did you know that Fender used different types of wire on the WRHB's?

    In our research we opened a few original pickups and were alarmed at what we found.

    Some of them are wound with enamel wire (the good stuff), while others appear to be wound with urethane wire.

    In our development, we wound up one of our WRHB retro-fits using urethane wire and tested it. The sound was atrocious! The pickup lost alot of it's low end charm, the highs became harsh and bright, and the mids developed a nasty honking sound. After about 3 minutes we shut the amp off in disgust. It wasn't even close to the quality sound of the original, or retro-fit pickups wound with enamel wire.

    When you're buying a vintage WRHB, you really don't know what spec you're getting and $400+ is a lot to spend on "the unknown."

    Our research also uncovered that the stock vintage coils had anywhere from 6500 to 6800+ winds on them. Not very consistant.

    I have photos and specs on all this stuff that I can pull together a little presentation if anyone is interested. It sort of helps to de-mystify some of the attributes of WRHB's and also explains why at times, the reviews of the vintage WRHB's vary so wildly form person to person.

    We've all read the reviews where some claim WRHB's sound harsh, (urethane wire) while others claim they're rich and creamy sounding. (enamel wire)

    Sure, a vintage WRHB will retain a good value and if you're a collector, and that's a good thing. But if you're shelling out big bucks for a vintage sound, you may not be getting what you expect. And there's no way of knowing without taking the pickup apart to examine it. I don't think too many sellers on ebay are going to take the covers off for you.
     
  2. Parma_TeleMon

    Parma_TeleMon Friend of Leo's

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    That would be way cool, when you've got the time, of course!
     
  3. Alamo

    Alamo Doctor of Teleocity

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    Interested? heck, yeah!

    if you can spare some time, please go ahead.
     
  4. Telenator

    Telenator Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    All right. You'll have to give me a week or so to pull it all together. There's a lot of info and it needs to be organized in simple terms and presented clearly. Information is a great thing when presented properly.
     
  5. spankdplank

    spankdplank Tele-Afflicted

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    Telenator--Many thanks for all your work, and for sharing it. As an amature pickup winder and an original WR owner, I look forward to your posts.
     
  6. robt57

    robt57 Telefied Ad Free Member

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    The build thread on his project ruled in a 'Major' way IMO!! Education 101 through Honors class on WRHBs for the reading. Best information pool on WRHB in existence I would say. That I have come across for sure. That and that little Fralin snippet on the pole mods/removal/dropping etc are WRHB knowledge heaven. :cool:
     
  7. Newfie_J.

    Newfie_J. Tele-Meister

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    Yeah. Thanks for the education.
    I have spent too much time trying to make those mediocre mexi wideranges sound more to my tastes.
    Maybe my tax refund will be very nice to me this year.
     
  8. Telenator

    Telenator Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    I am often astonished at some of the threads I read where they're heaping praise on the Re-Issue WRHB's. Then I'll read another thread where people are completely disgruntled with the dark tone and lack-luster performance. Just goes to show, we all like different things.

    There are people who have all the hub bub about the original WRHB's and spent a lot of dough to buy one, only to find that they don't like it at all! It's crazy I tells ya! Everyone likes something different. One thing is for sure though, the originals (the ones made with enamel wire) are waaaaaaaaaaay better than the Re-issues, which incidentally, are said to made in Corona CA.
     
  9. GUITARmole

    GUITARmole Tele-Afflicted

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    A "few" different varieties?

    Shocking!! :eek: Again, how many is a "few"? I'd be interested to see the numbers...how many were examined, how many had urethane wire, and how you determined it was urethane. Also, was the possibility of the pickup having been rewound ever considered?

    WOW! It's amazing that the sound was so atrocious and so different from the enamel wire that you had to shut the amp off in disgust!! I never knew that wire could make that huge of a difference whereas in the construction of your pickups substituting a completely different kind of magnet and bobbin apparently has no affect on the tone whatsoever :rolleyes:

    Even more amazing is that the bright highs and nasty honking mids seem to more closely describe the sound commonly associated with original WR humbuckers! "rich and creamy" are terms more commonly associated with typical PAF style humbuckers.

    Ooooh! I can hardly wait!!:rolleyes:

    Again, shocking :eek: Shocking that you destroyed original WR humbuckers by unwinding them yet accurately counting all 6800 winds...and shocking that by "handwinding" your retrofits you can offer more accuracy than Fender did in the 70's at which time their manufacturing was highly automated.


    ...sounds like this is a big sales pitch for your pickups. Shouldn't it be moved to the classifieds section?
     
  10. Telenator

    Telenator Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    Whenever someone posts something like this I immediately look at their posting history and try to understand where they're coming from. I have to say, the above post is a bit out of character for you GUITARmole.

    You have an impressive knowledge of amps and have been very helpful to many people here. I don't doubt your experience or expertise after reading several of your posts. What does strike me as being a little bit odd is that you're obviously not extending the same courtesy here.

    If you have misunderstood something or have questions, I'll answer them to best of my ability and based on the facts as they have been uncovered. But when you come from the position of doubt and distrust, there really isn't anywhere to go.

    We're having a good time with this. The retro-fit WRHB works real well and people who hear it get pretty excited about it. That's a good thing. Right?

    I will not defend my position here but will attempt to address your concerns. If you want to argue, e-mail me and I'll give you my phone number so we can talk. You have your doubts and I understand that. But there are better ways of addressing them.

    We did purchase and dismantle 3 70's WRHB's that were dead and in original condition. The solder joints were original. The original tape wrapped around the coils cannot be removed without destroying it. These pickups were not re-wound.

    We also had access to several others for the purpose of comparison and discovered differences in sound when compared side by side. We found that all 3 dismantled pickups were inconsistant with the printed, documented specs on these pickups.

    So where does that leave us? It left us with the task of taking the best examples we could find and using them as our standard. Once a standard was established, we then took our test guitars equipped with our pickups and hit the music stores where we found 5 examples of original 70's Teles with these pickups.

    These guitars were found at Guitar Center in Manchester CT, Guitar Center in Orange CT, Sam Ash Music in New Haven CT, and two other guitars from private collections.

    Someone tried these pickups and started a thread about it. We're discussing it. I have offered to post photos to substantiate what has been discovered. If that's not enough, I don't know what to tell you except, I would never barge into one of your threads like you have here. Your posting history speaks for itself. I have no reason to doubt you. Please extend the same courtesy.
     
  11. GUITARmole

    GUITARmole Tele-Afflicted

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    Hey Telenator...yes, looking back at my post it really was rude and I apologize for my over use of sarcasm. It was definitely not cool on my part to barge in on the thread out of nowhere with such an inflammatory post :oops:

    That being said though, I won't apologize for the content or my opinions which I stand by. Yeah, it was presented in a rude way and I shouldn't have been so sarcastic. Still, I think I made several valid points that needed to be made for the sake of discussion when it comes to WR humbuckers.

    There's no need to investigate where I'm coming from (just ask and I will tell) and I don't have any desire to argue either. Many of our differences in opinion are subjective anyway so there's no point in argument.

    As for doubting your expertise...well maybe I'm not being fair. I'm just basing my assumptions on previous posts on this forum in which I've felt that you've been less than "upfront" when it comes to the manufacturing of your WR clones. We've argued several times on the forum about WR humbuckers and your retrofit project in the past and I think I've been pretty vocal about my opinions on how unrealistic I thought your endeavor was. In all fairness, we've both been right and wrong.

    I remember when you first started posting about your desire to remake the WR humbucker at which time I don't think you had even heard or owned an original example of the pickup you were trying to copy. Next I told you (in probably a rude sarcastic way) how you were crazy if you thought you would be able to pull off manufacturing the WR with CuNiFe magnets due to the expense and difficulty of finding the raw magnets. You know what? I was right! ;)

    Next it turned out that you were going to make replacement poles for the reissue pickups and sell cheap retrofit kits to everyone on the forum and I and others pointed out how that was also unrealistic. -We were right on that one too.

    What you DID manage to successfully do was to make a retrofit pickup that was good enough to sell. Believe me, I DO respect you for that as I fully understand the amount of time, research, and work that goes into creating something...let alone refining it to the point of being marketable. If you're having a good time with it, if people are excited about it, and you're selling a few...then GREAT!!! That's cool and I congratulate you.

    Now the thing that makes me irked...and that got me started on my sarcastic rant in the first place has to do with your lack of disclosure and the secrecy of your WR project. I just seems like a slap in the face to those on the forums who have freely provided you with so much info to withold your expert findings on the WR humbucker. It also seems as if many of the "facts" that you do disclose are very self-serving. For example, you imply that your retrofit is a great bargain because if you buy an original there's a good chance it will sound like crud due to poly wire, etc. You hint that people should buy a retrofit because of the inconsistencies you've uncovered in the originals...but you don't disclose exactly what the inconsistencies are and how you discovered them. For that reason, being the skeptic I am, it makes me take on a position of doubt and distrust; and there really is somewhere for you to go when confronted with that position...PROVE ME WRONG!!

    I often times find by being the devil's advocate it can create spirited discussions that are much more informative and worthwhile than the typical threads about why John Mayer's music is horrible and/or why relic'd guitars are stupid and pointless.

    For instance by discussing the differences you found in the various WRs you examined maybe other discoveries could be made. Maybe what you said about enamel vs urethane wire is valid, I just want to know how you came to that conclusion so I can make up my own mind. Maybe the differences you found in tone were due to something else entirely (magnet strength, number of winds) in which case another conclusion and opinion can be made...for all I know CuNiFe might loose it's magnetism easier than Alnico and by recharging our original WR humbuckers the sound could improve greatly...

    It would be great to see pictures of the pickups you tore apart since most (all?) of us aren't going to spend $300 on an original then tear into it to see how it works. Maybe it would help someone fix their original or determine that it was one of the "bad" ones so they can get it rewound with enamel wire! Maybe it would help others find the ones with the urethane wire if that's the variation they prefer.

    Lastly, we don't have to (and likely don't or will not) agree! I'm sure your retrofit is the most accurate re-creation of what you consider the ideal WR humbucker...it might not be accurate to my idea of what a WR should sound like though...and that's "OK"!
     
  12. Telenator

    Telenator Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    Wow dude, some of what you're saying is pure fantasy.

    I have indeed disclosed everything I've learned about this pickup process and I am at a loss to understand why you think I haven't. The winding specs, the magnet specs, everything, and yes, I did own a '72 Thinline but if you had actually read the threads here or elsewhere, you would know that.

    You'll also notice that, among all the people here, you're the only one that is on a mission to expose me for whatever it is that you think I am, for the greater good of the people. I'm just not seeing that.

    From where I sit, there is a project here. It has been documented and disclosed all along the way. Your style of endless questions and accusations (which have all been addressed in the threads if you read them) are becoming boring and trite.

    I'm sorry you feel the need to take this approach and attempt to taint the good will here that so many of us have enjoyed.

    If you have a question and can ask it without all the drama, I will, as I always have, answer it to best of my ability. If you insist on persuing this fantasy quest of yours, I'm going to have to put you on "ignore."
     
  13. fezz parka

    fezz parka ---------------------------

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    I think it's great you're making a decent sounding retrofit for the pickups that they make now. The new ones are marginal at best.:D

    The problem with them is that they will not have the same resonant peak that the original Wide Range Humbuckers had due to the fact that they don't have the CuNiFe pole pieces. They'll sound like a good A5 humbucker, and sound much better the stock RI's, but won't have the same vibe as a good original. Those original WRHB's are the shizzle.
     
  14. Telenator

    Telenator Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    I've come to believe that while the magnet material does play a role in the sound, the magnet mass, (for lack of a better technical term) also plays a HUGE roll. The CuNiFe magnets are fairly weak, (gauss around 17 or 18), so by making the alnico V rods (gauss 25) smaller, we have reduced the magnetic field which changes the way it plays on the coils and seems to effectively simulate the CuNiFe vibe.

    I won't make any outrageous claims here. Just that we feel we have a pickup that achieves what we were after, and many people seem to agree. I have a set in my '72 Re-issue and I'm happy. After that? I dunno.
     
  15. spankdplank

    spankdplank Tele-Afflicted

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    Dumb question, but why not use A-III or something closer to the gauss of cunife, and then make the pole pieces closer in size to the originals?

    BTW--as a longtime original WRH owner/player, I have completely enjoyed all your posts and really appreciate the information you have provided.
     
  16. Telenator

    Telenator Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    Thanks spankdplank!

    That is a good question.

    Honestly, when it became clear that CuNiFe was not a viable option, and alnico v is the most common and readily available rod magnet, that's what we went with. One of the other concerns was making the core of the bobbin small enough to accomodate all 6800 turns of wire without letting the wire directly contact the magnets. When I designed the first set of bobbins, I didn't have an actual WRHB to take accurate measurements from so, I looked at the size they needed to be to match the holes in the chrome cover and extrapolated all the other dimensions from there. Point being, using a larger diameter magnet (larger bobin core) at that time made it questionable, (at least to my calculations) that I would be able to fit 6800 winds. The cost of having the first 4 bobbins machined was way too much to screw up so I took a conservative approach.

    I just wanted to end up with a good set of pickups for a '72 Thinline partsocaster build I was doing. I used to own an original '72 and bought it brand new! Just trying to re-live a little of the old glory! LOL!

    Anyway, as you can see, the project mushroomed out of control and here we are!

    Hopefully, I'll have some new sound clips up by next week that demonstrate both neck & bridge pickups and all 3 switch position tones.
     
  17. boneyguy

    boneyguy Doctor of Teleocity

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    Hey Telenator. Where can I find the sound clips that you've already done? Can you post a link or give me a clue or two.:lol: Thanks.
     
  18. jivetrain

    jivetrain Tele-Holic

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    i could have sworn that there was a seven page thread where telenator made the details of his pickup construction clear. the bobbin size, shape and material, type of magnets, type of wire, number of winds... what is it that he didn't disclose? do other pickup manufacturers give you more information about what they sell, or even as much?

    ...didn't he just do it? in this thread, in the post you were responding to? :confused: i thought his account of dismantling the pickups was pretty self explanatory.
    i see absolutely no reason to doubt that the original wide ranges were inconsistent; they were made in the CBS era. how many guitars do you think were faithfully produced to the exact same specs from the start of the 70's to the end? you can express doubt that telenator can achieve much more consistency while hand winding, but you have to admit that telenator and his winder are a hell of lot more concerned about consistent quality than CBS fender ever was, right?


    i'm way biased towards telenator's side of the argument because i know how good the pickups are and once you've used them it becomes obvious that he put more than enough work in designing and building them to make the best possible pickup he could. i've got a few records with good examples of original wide ranges and that's what i hear coming from telenator's pickups, but to be honest i don't even care about how faithful they are to the originals. they're great pickups when taken on their own merits.

    you don't have to take my word for it; how many people who have actually used these pickups have come here to complain about them?
     
  19. fezz parka

    fezz parka ---------------------------

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    That sounds like it would work, Bob. Did you make 'em threaded so they can be raised or lower the help balance it out like the CuNiFe pole pieces? This is an interesting thing you're doing. Two thumbs up!
     
  20. Telenator

    Telenator Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    Thanks guys. I truly apprecitate the vote of confidence.

    Chris, the research I came up with on the topic of magnets suggested that Seth Lover was looking to use alnico v in the first place. But CuNiFe being 60% copper, 20% nickel and 20% iron was maliable enough to cold roll or die thread into threaded rod. One of the reasons the original magnets are as big as they are is because of the high copper content. It required that the magnet be large enough to create an adequate magnetic field. This led to, (in my limited opinion), the need for 1 meg pots.

    A relatively "hot" pickup with weak magnets will sound like mush. Since CuNiFe is not a strong magnet, it seems likely that the 1 meg pots were used to give 'em some snap. We have tried 500k pots and they just don't sound as good.

    So to fully answer the question, no, we did not use threaded rod as alnico has this nasty habit of shattering when you try to machine it. Besides, the cost to produce these retro-fits is very high already. Adding yet another process to the works would put it out of site. The magnets you see in the photos have been hand ground to look like screws and give an authentic appearance.

    We played with the magnet stagger and after much hair splitting found that each guitar required it's own custom stagger to be absolutely 100% positively perfectly balanced. Or, we lowered the pickup height a little and it all smoothed out. Hope that answers your question.
     
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