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Pickup making tutorial

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by wilser, May 26, 2007.

  1. oZZma likes this.
  2. Wilser, thank you SO much! That's a great little tutorial.

    On your pickup winder, does the wire guide move back and forth to wind the wire on there nice and neat?
  3. not yet, I'm currently doing scatter hand guiding. I'm working on a few ideas for an automated traverse, but not putting much time on it at the moment.
  4. Rodent

    Rodent A Killer Pickup Lineā„¢ Commercial User

    Dec 20, 2004
    Upper Left Corner (Seattle)
    Player-Builder-Founder: Honey Badger Pickups & Regenerate Guitar Works
    excellent details Wilser :hyper:

    all the best,

  5. sargebaker

    sargebaker Commercial User

    May 2, 2004
    Montreal QC CA
    owner/builder, ISLAND Instrument Mfg.
    Wilser would you take orders for custom pickups? (sell just the pickup..)?
  6. Greg Johnsen

    Greg Johnsen

    May 1, 2005
    Hickory NC
    awesome tutorial man! This might actually end up saving me some money on the next build if I decided to do pickups!

  7. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001

    Is the last pic the magnetizing jig, with the neo mags embedded in there somewhere?
  8. yes, they are inlaid in the two upright fences (one fixed and one adjustable for different height bobbins).
  9. scottyd

    scottyd Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2006
    Waco Tx
    Builder/owner Redeemer Basses
    Where do you find the time?? Thanks for what you do!
  10. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    Not to beat a dead horse, but you say you spend about five minutes per bobbin, with about five passes- so you run them through reeeeeeally slowly? Is there a way you check for full magnetization?

    I should probably find some more in-depth info somewhere.
  11. yes, I run them through really slowly stopping for a few seconds on each magnet several times. There are 2 oposing magnets on each fence on the jig, so it's getting pull from both poles. I have no way to check magnetization, but my method is based on the experience of a few well known guitar pickup makers and also this is the same method described on the stewmac site. If you do find a way to check magnetization without spending thousands of dollars on a gauss meter, please share. They do come out pretty strong, as strong as the factory magnetized ones (from mundane side by side testing.
  12. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    You could build a little jig with a space to place the pup in a repeatable position, and something nearby that would act like a string (probably just an old string between two "saddles" and something to tension it). Then do one magnetization pass, move the coil to the new jig, clip the wires to an AC voltmeter, and pluck the string (figure a good way to do it fairly repeatably). If you do this after each magnetization pass, you should see increase in output until the magnets are fully "charged," and then no further gains.

    This wouldn't necessarily confirm that your magnets are at 100% capacity (although they probably are), but it would tell you how many magnetization passes were actually needed to do as much as it will do, without wasting your time, such as if you find out that it only takes two passes, after which nothing more happens.
  13. Musiclogic

    Musiclogic Commercial User

    Aug 6, 2005
    Southwest Michigan
    Owner/Builder: HJC Customs USA, The Cool Lute, C G O
    very cool Will
  14. wRaith


    Aug 22, 2005
    Sydney, Australia
    I have a question. If I made 2 single coils in this fashion, how do I wire them together as a humbucker?

    BTW, awesome guide mate. I've looked everywhere on the net and wasn't able to find a decent one until now. Very helpful.
  15. Thank you. I'm glad to help. The main reason why I wrote it is because of lack of information on the 'net. Even the couple of books that discuss it (even Animal Magnetism for Musicians, which is a dedicated book, but it's kind of vague on the trivial details) were either too quick and non-detailed, or too much details and the information was burried in pages of tech specs.

    I wind both coils on the same direction. The polarity of the magnets is different. To get a humbucker you have to use either both starts as hot or both ends as hot. The idea is to have the signal go in one direction on one coil and the other direction on the second coil.

    Hope that helps.
  16. wRaith


    Aug 22, 2005
    Sydney, Australia
    When you say the polarity is different, do you mean that when put together as a humbucker, one of the coils is "north up" and one is "north down"?

    How do I know which lead from which coil to use as the hot and which to solder to the other coil?

    Sorry if these are silly questions.

    P.S. Where can I source pole-pieces (preferably on the net if it's a US retailer as I'm in Australia)?
  17. Not at all, these are all questions I had before.

    1. Yes, one is north up and the other is south up.

    2. doesn't matter, you can do either as long as both coils are the same hot (both starts or both ends) if you do same direction winding, or both different (one start and one end) if you wind the two coils in different directions (one going and one coming).

    3. I found a couple of dealers on thomas register, they do not have online stores. Check out the music-electronics-forum.com, there are several aussie winders there.
  18. Thanks for the post, excellent job
  19. anonymous278347457

    anonymous278347457 Guest

    Feb 12, 2005
    Thats a really great guide.

    What do you mean by charging the magnets? Don't magnets have polarities already?
  20. Nope. My winder's counter/motor controller is triggered by a magnet inlaid in the mounting plate. So if I use already charged magnets the counter goes crazy (the sensor is extremely sensitive) so I wind with the magnets not charged. Alnico is just a metal alloy that holds magnetic charge very well, so they manufacture it un-magnetized. You can either have them ship it that way or pre-charge them at the manufacturer's shop.

    So no, alnico (or any raw - uncharged magnet, for that matter) does not have a polarity until it's exposed to a more powerful magnetic source. Each material (used as magnets) has a gaussian threshold at which it'll become charged and hold the magnetic orientation. Alnico's just happen to be lower than an already magnetized neodymium, so it's a perfect charger!

    If I must wind with pre-charged magnets then I use a spacer between the mounting plate and the bobbin.

    Hope this helps!

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