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Making your own Rick style pickups?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Simski, Oct 2, 2010.

  1. I am about to start working on my first homemade bass guitar, modeled on a Rickenbacker 4005. I have thought of going as far as making my own pickups for it and there certainly seem to be a lot of kits and tutorials ready for making single coil bass pickups. As far as I can see (I am not an electronics expert), their pickups are hi gain single coil but is that the same as meaning that one could make some oneself?
  2. Stealth


    Feb 5, 2008
    Zagreb, Croatia
    Any pickup can be homemade, provided you have the right material and you know what the pickup looks like. As far as Ric pickups go, you could use 43 AWG wire, steel polepieces (some have used steel screws with large, round heads which were flattened even beforehand) and a ceramic bar magnet underneath.

    At least this gentleman used to make them that way.
  3. Hi, thanks for the answer. So I could use fx these:
    And then shape the bobbins by hand from a piece of black fiber and buy or make an aluminium bracket for the bottom?
  4. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Inactive Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    Rick pickups use 44 AWG wire.
  5. I noticed a thing regarding the Rick pickups - instead of using magnets in the bobbins they use steel plugs or screw under which is placed a magnet. Does this in any way change the sound of a pickup?
  6. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Inactive Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    It usually gives a warmer tone because the steel increases the inductance. Also except for the toaster pickups, which do use alnico V rod magnets, most Rick pickups use ceramic magnets. Usually when you use ceramic magnets, you use steel poles.
  7. Okay, thanks. Is it the same type of bar magnet that is used for regular humbuckers?
  8. Hi again. Just to make sure that I have understood everything correctly - a humbucker magnet has its polarity across its width so that each coils is connected to the different poles, one becoming North and the other South. A Rick pickup has one flat magnet underneath the coil but has only one coil. I would imagine that such a magnet would have the poles on each of its flat sides instead of across? If so, a regular humbucker magnet would not work? That being the case, is it then possible to change its polarity? I have seen StewMac's kit for changing the polarity of Alnico poles but can the same principle be applied to a bar magnet where the poles are not just switched around but also moved?
  9. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Inactive Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    The magnets on the Rick pickups have their poles on the flat surfaces, not on the ends.

    The bridge pickup uses a large rubberized ceramic magnet. At least the older ones did. I'm not sure about the newer pickups.

    Here's a '73 4001 Bridge pickup:

    Attached Files:

  10. Once again, thanks for the answer. Is it possible to change the magnets polarity so that the poles are on the flat sides? I have yet to find bar magnets where that is the case. Also, where can I find ceramic magnets? I have tried Google a great number of times but either I get a forum question asking where to buy them or someone selling magnets for a fridge.
  11. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Inactive Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    No, you can't change the orientation of ceramic magnets without special equipment.

    Refrigerator magnets often have a striped pole setup where they alternate N/S/N/S, etc. So you can't use those.

    There's a lot of places to get magnets. You can even get some ceramic and neo magnets from Radio Shack that might be used for a pickup.
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