Making Pickups

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by daveze, Jul 28, 2003.

  1. I'm interested in making a bass guitar, still in the idea stages, mostly because of a lack of moolah, the green folding stuff.

    Being in Australia, its not easy to get a huge range of pickups/electronics. True, I can order pretty much everything I want, but at a significant expense.

    So I'm keen on doing as much as possible myself, hopefully including doing the pickups too. I'm thinking of doing a passive wiring setup, using the 'my amp has an EQ, why double up' kinda logic, along with the 'thats freakin expensive, especially for a uni student' economic theory.

    I know that I'm not going to be terribly good at this the first time through, so I'm probly going to design them so that I am able to swap in some professionally made pups.

    I know a lot of the basic sorta stuff, more windings = higher output (due to more resistence) but less treble response, and vice versa. Is designing a pickup more of a matter of trial and error, because I noticed that Aero will custom make pups if you know what you are looking for.

    Basically what I want to know is how do I design a pickup for certain circumstances, how many windings, what sort of gauge does the winding wire need to be.

    Josh D

    PS. I ran a search but didn't find a dedicated thread, so I thought it may be useful.
  2. ashtray9


    Aug 1, 2002
    Tempe Arizona
    I really can't tell you any useful information, but way to go! Even if you mess up the windings, you'll probably get some cool unique tone from it.

    Ever listen to the guitarist from Queen? I think he might have wound his own pickups and as a result gets that amazing tone.

    Anyway, good luck.
  3. Josh - A couple of sources;

    - Luthier Jason Lollar is pup guru who has written a book on the subject. Among other aspects, it tells you how to make your own pickup winding maching -

    - I bought a book, Animal Magnetism for Musicians by Erno Zwaan. It's out of print, I think, but has them (where I got mine).
    Besides getting into pickups, it has about 50 pages on bass construction.

    You might also consider contacting an Australian pup maker, Chris Kinman, or checking out the info on his website. His pickups are red hot in the guitar world -
  4. Chop

    Chop Commercial User

    Dec 12, 1999
    I would second the two recommendations to take a look at material by Lollar as well as Animal Magnetism...

    Also, check out the Musical Instrument Maker's Forum.

    There are plenty of builders there who wind their own. If you become a member (free) you can take a look at their archives...which has a ton of info.
  5. DW


    Jun 22, 2000
  6. thumbtrap


    Jun 26, 2003 There's some die hard diyers over there, including folks who've done their own transformers, and pickups.