44 guage P Bass?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by flynnbass22, Aug 30, 2015.


  1. flynnbass22

    flynnbass22

    Jun 27, 2011
    So i want to get into building pickups and of the ideas i had was doing a P style pickup with 44 guage wire. Has anyone ever heard of such a thing or know of someone who has built one like that?
     
  2. Seems like a rather arbitrary choice to make. Do you have a lot of 44 gauge wire lying around, or something?
     
  3. flynnbass22

    flynnbass22

    Jun 27, 2011
    No but i know Rickenbacker has used 44 guage wire since the 60s and thaught itd be an interesting idea for a P pickup considering Ricks have that trebly tone and meshing the two ideas together. I dont see why it would be arbitrary. Nothing wrong with trying something new.
     
  4. MPU

    MPU

    Sep 21, 2004
    Valkeala Finland
    You will not get more treble or bass just by changing the wire gauge. Neither will you get that Ric sound to your P pickup. You will get a bass pickup for sure, you may or may not like the sound. There's nothing wrong in trying, you have only little copper wire to lose.
     
  5. flynnbass22

    flynnbass22

    Jun 27, 2011
    Correct me if im wrong here, but i thaught that was the point of using different guage wire was to get a different tone. Besides overall design and magnet type. From what ive read on the duncan blogs the general idea was that using a smaller guage to the same ohm as using a thicker guage you get something completely different.
     
  6. MPU

    MPU

    Sep 21, 2004
    Valkeala Finland
    You will get different tone. Thinner wire= less turns for same resistance=brighter pickup. You'll get the same by underwounding the pickup with the same wire it is wound at the moment. It's number of turns that does make the difference, not resistance.
     
  7. Will_White

    Will_White

    Jul 1, 2011
    Salem, OR
    If your winding for resistance you will get a thinner more trebly tone with less output because you'll have less turns, if you wind for turns you'll still get a more trebley sound because the physical dimensions of the coil is smaller, but you will get slightly more output since mite of the coil is closer to the magnets. Where thinner gauge write excels is by getting more turns in a given space, eg large magnets, or a humbucking j pickup, or high output pickups.
     
  8. It's been years since I've wound much experimentally, but IME, the perception of brightness in a pickup tends to be more to do with the height of that resonant peak than its actually frequency.

    The treble from an undamped pickup coil is actually pretty huge, but once it's loaded by volume and tone pots that is tamed quite a bit. With the same turns, but thinner wire, the pickup will have a higher impedence (Z) and whatever treble peak you make will be damped even further by those pots. You will also have a bit more stray capacitance and a bit more inductance. And FWIW, these will lower the frequency of the resonant peak. So once you wire this into a passive bass, you'll not only have a treble peak that's lower in frequency, but lower in amplitude as well. IOW, a darker sounding pickup.

    If you wind for resistance with thinner wire, well, you'll end up with less turns, so I'd guess less capacitance and less inductance, so yeah as others have said, a brighter sounding pickup, but brighter because of a higher frequency of that peak. But hearing that difference when loaded by a couple of 250k pots would be extremely subtle I'd think.

    Years ago I did a little experiment. With a humbucker, normally the difference from series to parallel is like night and day. But if you buffer it (so the peak doesn't change amplitude) and alter the gain at the same time (to make up for the parallel setting being 6dB quieter and to give your ears a level playing field), even though that resonant peak shifts by close to an octave, the difference is audible, but very subtle. Like I said, the big difference we hear is because the height of that peak changes so much, much less because of its frequency shift.

    TBH, I'd think that back in the 50's Leo just wanted as much output from the coils as possible to help the signal to noise ratio of his amp designs. I'm guessing that he simply tried thinner and thinner winding wire to get as hot as possible pickups until he was getting too many breakages during the winding process. Then settled on 42 guage as a nice compromise. If his pickups and speaker cabs were too midrangey, well the tone stack, with its huge mid scoop, took care of that!

    If you are keen to make pickups, I'd strongly recommend hitting up e bay for a dual trace 'scope so you can measure the resonance of your pickups. Also get into spice (or alternatively some nice maths) so you can work out that stray capacitance. If you want to mess around with magnets and bobbin designs, then you'll need a driver coil and a sig genny to work out whats going on south of 1kHz...
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2015
  9. MPU

    MPU

    Sep 21, 2004
    Valkeala Finland
    Or just start winding and listening... Copper wire is recyclable and not too expensive, magnets and bobbins are cheap too. There's plenty of good sounding pickup models around and most of them has been reverse engineered at some point.
     
  10. With respect, I wouldn't recommend this approach. I believe it is a big waste of time. Especially since these days 'scopes are pretty cheap. And a computer can be used as a signal generator also for cheap. Certainly listening, gigging, recording are important, but without some basic test equipment you are flying blind. I wound my first pickup as a teenager in the pre-internet days, and needed a lot of guess work just to make bobbins, and work out how to actually wind them. But these days there's so much info and video on actually making bobbins and winding that a half-competent beginner should be making clean and neat pickups after a week or so. And then looking for the next challenge. Tweaking.

    Probably all of the well known winders will tell you they started by winding and listening. And some probably went on blindly for years this way. But all will tell you they wished they were scientific from day one.
     
  11. MPU

    MPU

    Sep 21, 2004
    Valkeala Finland
    Well I started with just winding. Took me one day to get my first multicoil pickup made. If you're making J-, P-, or MM-pickups you can easily wind working pickups without almost any measuring. Info about wires, magnets and bobbins is all over the net. Then by altering one variable you can get different sounds. The same applies to any other design. Get the basic info, try it out and alter if you wish. No need for guessing, just some research before winding. It's about how the pickup sounds, not about how it looks in the scope or modelling software.
     
  12. Of course. This hardly needs stating. And if you read my post, I'm fairly clear on that too. But understanding basic electronic principals and testing techniques will help you understand why they sound that way.
     
  13. MPU

    MPU

    Sep 21, 2004
    Valkeala Finland
    Sure. But if you are a hobby winder like me trial and error may be cheaper and faster than learning to use and read scopes and gauss meters and use that data. Most hobby winders make copies of existing designs anyway.
     
  14. iiipopes

    iiipopes Supporting Member

    May 4, 2009
    I have a Rickenbacker HB-1 in the D-G segment of the P position of my custom half-fanned P-J . The pickup has about 14 kohms' worth of wire on it, (sorry - I have no clue what that translates into as to number of winds on the bobbin) with the composite bar magnet and two blades. With the magnet and the blades, it has about the same inductance as a conventional P-bass pickup with the alnico slugs (remember - alnico is reactive with the coil due to the iron content of the magnet slugs, which raises the inductance, and the composite magnet is not, although the blades are, so it balances out). To my ears, the HB-1 sounds very, very similar to a P-bass pickup, with maybe a tad more mids @ 1.3 kHz. I have just never cared for the offset of a P-bass pickup. YMMV.
     
  15. flynnbass22

    flynnbass22

    Jun 27, 2011
    Thank you for the info guys! Ill post about the first one once its done.
     
  16. flynnbass22

    flynnbass22

    Jun 27, 2011
    Gonna do an MM first but after my initial research into pickup building the 44 P was an idea i had. Gotta try a bit of everything.
     
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