Who wants to finally understand pickups, wind, etc.?

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by jfgesquire, Dec 5, 2019.

  1. jfgesquire

    jfgesquire Tele-Holic

    May 23, 2018
    Lake View
    Once and for all...

    I was trying to explain this to someone else and it became this:

    It starts with the clock-face rule...

    Do you remember the experiment where you use the + and - of a lantern battery and a wire wrapped around a bolt to create a magnet?


    Well, that’s it! That’s the basis for everything below.

    Looking at either end (face) of the coil, if the current is flowing clockwise, that face is the South Pole.

    Conversely, if the current is flowing counter-clockwise , that face is the North Pole.

    Just like the current flow creates the magnetic field, the opposite is also true: If you put an existing magnet with a North and South Pole inside a coil, the current flow is also predetermined by the clock-face rule.


    OK, let’s use the guitar pickup to explain everything.

    Have you ever seen that test using a multimeter to find the positive and negative lead? That test doesn’t care which lead starts the wrap and which finishes it. You tap the pole pieces with something metal, and if the voltage increases first, then decreases, then the lead attached to the “hot” on your multimeter is the + lead.

    In my coil examples below, black and white go together as the start and finish of a wrap, respectively, and green are red go together as start and finish, respectively.

    Using a single coil pickup, with South Pole facing the strings, if I wrap the coil clockwise, which lead is positive and which is negative? Black would be positive and white would be negative!

    But if I wrap the coil counterclockwise South Pole at your face, starting with black, then what???? The clock-face rule says if South is facing you then you have a clockwise current flow.... the magnet wins!!!!! The current is still going to flow clockwise even though my wrap is counter-clockwise... and white is your positive and black is your negative.

    Let me stop right here....this talk of negative and positive has NOTHING to do with which lead goes to your switch and which lead goes to ground. The “current” of the magnetic field is different from the “current” of the guitar circuit.

    Let’s use a standard Seymour Duncan humbucker to illustrate. And this will tie EVERYTHING together.

    Seymour Duncan, for the most part, uses the same black/white and green/red pairings.

    We will use a bridge humbucker that has the slug coil closest to the neck, North Pole, and the screw coil closest to the bridge, South Pole. Seymour Duncan uses black and green as the start wire on each coil and white and red as the finish wire on each coil respectively. But Seymour Duncan wraps BOTH coils clockwise!!!!

    Wait! How can that be? I thought humbucking had to be reverse wound / reverse polarity?

    There’s the trick!!! It needs to be Reverse Current Flow, NOT Reverse Wound.

    The North Coil is WRAPPED clockwise with the Black and White wires and the current FLOW will be clockwise, starting with black from the switch and ending with White. But if you do the multimeter test and tap on the pole pieces, you will see that Black is actually negative.... Clock-face rule!

    Now for the South Coil.... the White gets attached to the Red, in Series, and then Green out to Ground. We know the coil is wrapped clockwise, starting with Green, but the current FLOW is going the opposite direction.... Red to Green, Counter-Clockwise!

    If you do the multimeter test, you will see that B to W, and then R to G, is - to + for each coil, another way to confirm RF/RP for humbucking. They are “in phase”!

    So there you have it... the pickup is Reverse FLOW/ Reverse Polarity and does its job as a humbucker.

    For my next feature.... Stacked Single coil pickups!

    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2019
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