popular numbers of turns

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by ILLINOX, Dec 1, 2012.



    Jun 20, 2011
    hello all,

    i have done a TB search for this and came up empty-handed, so i'll go ahead and ask:

    is there a reference for numbers of turns for popular pickups? i mean, if one wants to reproduce the sound of an MM, Jazz, Rick pickup, do we have a reference with those numbers?

  2. It's not just the number of turns. Magnet type (ceramic or alnico, pole or blade) bobbin size (width and height), wire gauge (42 or 43), insulation type (poly, enamel), wire tension. There are a lot of variables involved other than how many turns. Some say 6000 is the magic amount, though.



    Jun 20, 2011
    thanks for your response, Tedward.

    i have considered most of these factors by myself, but watching youtube videos and asking around hasn't been very fruitful. So I'll refine the question:

    If I wanted to make a large (1/4") pole humbucker, like an MM,
    and using magnetized steel poles,
    with a bobbin about 3" long (thinking 5 string jazz bass string spacing here,) and I don't have any way of measuring wire tension, so just finger tight,
    and 42 gauge is readily available

    what difference would height of bobbin have,
    and what difference would number of turns have? (6000. I've heard many say 3500 - 4500. now i'm more curious than ever!)

    thanks for any help you can give me.
  4. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    Here's some standard figures...

    For a Jazz, it's about 9,000 turns for a 60s model, and 8,000 for a 70s model. P bass is 10,000 turns per coil. Musicman Stingray is about 4550 turns. Those all use 42 gauge wire. Ricks use 44 gauge wire, and have changed over the years. The vintage pickups used about 5500 turns, and the newer ones are more around 7500 turns or more.

    You can find more of this kind of info over at the pickup makers forum:


    The tone of a pickup is combination of things. The shape and size of the bobbin (tall vs wide), the type and strength of the magnets, what kind of steel you use if you have steel poles, and the thickness of the magnet wire and its insulation, etc.

    And with the number of turns, you have the factor of how many turns per layer.

    Be prepared to break a lot of wire in the beginning, and trying out new pickup ideas involves winding, testing, rewinding, testing, etc.

    But when you get something that sounds good to you, it's a rewarding feeling, and is kind of fun.


    Jun 20, 2011
    As always, sgd, a very helpful answer. Me, I'm pumped. I expect it to be a fun road to go down.
    I've got a camp job coming up in Canada in a few weeks here, so I think I'm going to grab some materials and spend my time in my jail-cell camp room winding different configurations and trying them out.

  6. wcriley


    Apr 5, 2010
    Western PA

    Get this book: "Pickups, Windings and Magnets" by Mario Milan. The translation from Italian to English isn't the best, but it has some information you might find useful.


    Jun 20, 2011
    oh cool. thanks wcriley