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Pickup design questions

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by neurotictim, Apr 15, 2015.

  1. So I'm designing a pickup. Mostly for fun, just to see if I can, and what it might sound like. I have been intrigued by the Wal design for years, having only played one or two but remembering the distinctive tone very well. I understand that the sound of a Wal is a combination of unique pickups and SVF circuit, not to mention player, but anyway, that's my inspiration.

    So I've been screwing around a bit, researching all over the interwebz, trying to come up with a useable design. So far I think I've been pretty successful, in the sense that I have a much greater understanding of what makes a pickup than I did a week ago. But I'm left with some questions that have me stumped.

    First of all, I'm going to make a 5 string pup - purely because that's what I want - with 18mm spacing over the poles. The overall idea is to machine a stainless steel bar with height adjustable stainless steel poles, which will then be attached via epoxy on a 3D printed backing plate to N52 bar magnets. I will 3D print bobbins for each individual pole, and wind those bobbins with 42/43/44 awg wire. (Haven't decided on gauge). There will be two bars of 5 poles each, with 2 poles for each string. The neck side will have the south pole up and wound clockwise, the bridge side will have the north pole up and wound clockwise. I will run each string pair in series, then combine all five string pairs in parallel, for a 2 conductor pickup (plus shield).

    So I plan on doing two bars, or a total of 10 bobbins. Here's where I run into trouble. I started off with a goal of 2.5k ohms per bobbin, so that I would have a total of 5k ohms per string pair. Then I would wire all five string pairs in parallel and have a nice, neat final resistance of 1k ohms.

    The problem is that the more I research it, the more I find that resistance is only one factor, and if I wanted 2.5k ohms per bobbin I'd have to wind a touch over 1500 FEET of wire. For 10 bobbins, that's over a pound of wire for one pickup. Seems excessive.
    So now I'm thinking I'll just make my bobbins, wind them till they're full, then put a meter across the leads and see what I get before potting them.

    Anyone care to chime in with thoughts or experiences?

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