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Sidewinders, Multi-coils and other hard to find pickups

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by orange joe, Jan 27, 2015.


  1. orange joe

    orange joe I am serious and don't call me Shirley

    Sep 7, 2012
    Albany NY
    I got roped into the Sgd situation because I wanted to know about sidewinders.After all that was said and done I ended up with a sidewinder from Big T pickups.I am now pretty interested in the multi-coils everyone is talking about.I just wanted to open up a general discussion on the more unusual types of pickups.I am still learning about pickups.I just got a set from Big T pickups.A sidewinder for the neck and a humbucker for the bridge.I'll have a multi-coil on the way in a month or so.I'd like to hear your opinions and experiences on less common pickups.What are the differences of these type of pickups and more traditional style pickups?Also if there are any other interesting pickups out there you'd like to mention by all means.
     
    Sartori likes this.
  2. IWieldTheSpade

    IWieldTheSpade

    Mar 15, 2010
    I'm about to take the leap into trying out a multicoil. I really like the tone of Wal basses, so after playing exclusively PJ's on my fretted basses for quite some time now I thought I might try something different. As it's just for a personal project though, I'm going the most cost effective way possible and making my own pickup from a cheap spool of wire and some sewing bobbins :D I'm quite eager to see how it all turns out.

    As far as my playing experience with less common pickups goes, I've made a low-z pickup for the neck position of my strat with some heavier gauge wire, which had a transformer attached to match it with the other pickups. I really liked the sound that one - it has a a surprisingly bassy tone but a lot of brightness too. I'd say something like that would probably sound a bit brittle in a bridge position though
     
    big_teee and orange joe like this.
  3. big_teee

    big_teee

    Sep 16, 2014
    Mid-South USA
    I'm anxious to see how your multi-coils turn out.
    I'm waiting on some parts, and I'm going to make a test Multi-coil Pickup too!
    GL,
    T
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2015
  4. orange joe

    orange joe I am serious and don't call me Shirley

    Sep 7, 2012
    Albany NY
    Yeah i'm trying to find a cheap bass with a MM shaped pup for a multi or just get a cheap one and route it.You know for the sake of science
     
  5. MPU

    MPU

    Sep 21, 2004
    Valkeala Finland
    I have one multicoil pickup ready for shipping if anyone is interested. PM if you want it.
    Marko
     
  6. big_teee

    big_teee

    Sep 16, 2014
    Mid-South USA
    I'm going to start my Alnico Rod Multi-coil as soon as my supplier gets the Rod magnets in.
    It should be a fun project.
    I'm content with the Sidewinders, but I've got to try the Multi-coils, to see what I've been missing.
    T
     
  7. MPU

    MPU

    Sep 21, 2004
    Valkeala Finland
    Sidewinders are nice sounding pickups. I've made quite a few different models, some with only ceramic magnets, some with steel blades and the latest ones with adjustable pole pieces like original Q-tuner J pickups. 4000 rounds of 42AWG per coil seems like a good starting point for ceramic magnet sidewinders.
     
    Meyatch and orange joe like this.
  8. big_teee

    big_teee

    Sep 16, 2014
    Mid-South USA
    I like the Ceramics with blades, I stick to Soapbar style Sidewinders.
    I've noticed that Sidewinder builders all have a different idea what they should sound like.
    I think that is because there is no established Sidewinder data, it is a shoot from hip proposition.
    They are neat pickups.
     
    orange joe likes this.
  9. orange joe

    orange joe I am serious and don't call me Shirley

    Sep 7, 2012
    Albany NY
    ^^^^I think this is one of the reasons this style of pickup appeals to me so much.there is not starting point like a p or j pickup.no point of reference.It really give the winder creative freedom
     
  10. Michedelic

    Michedelic MId-Century Modern

    Check in with Curtis with any questions...
    http://curtisnovak.com/
    It might take him a while to get back with you, as recently his dog has had health issues, but he's a very knowledgable guy.
     
    orange joe likes this.
  11. Mmmh, so what differences could one expect between a sidewinder and a multicoil pickup?
     
  12. IWieldTheSpade

    IWieldTheSpade

    Mar 15, 2010
    I'll leave it to the real pickup makers here to give a proper answer, but from what I know sidewinder pickups are kind of like a single coil in tone but humcancelling? As mentioned above though, there's a lot of variance in the way they're built.

    Multicoils tend to have a fairly beefy but bright tone to them, a la Justin Chancellor from Tool or Suck My Kiss by the Chili Peppers.


    Big T, MPU: Do you think neo rods would be too much string pull in a multi coil? I'm still debating over what magnet type would be the most suitable
     
  13. big_teee

    big_teee

    Sep 16, 2014
    Mid-South USA
    I agree that a Sidewinder is like a Single coil but hum cancels.
    Actually more like a P90, both use two bar magnets Head to head.
    I do mine North/blade/North.
    Having the two magnets greatly increase the magnet flux, making the pickup bright.
    You can increase the turn count to even out the brightness.
    The Multi-Coils, are supposed to maintain the brightness, because of all the turns on a small round bobbin area.
    My version is going to be with 3/8" A5 Alnico rods, and on the outside will look just like a MusicMan Pickup, but will have the 8 Multi-coils.
    Like I say, it should be a fun experiment.
    I too need to find a Import P-Bass, and rout 2 large pickup holes for testing.
    Neos directly under the strings, would probably be too strong.
    Neos are usually used with steel poles or blades to give a warm up the Neo tone some.
    T
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2015
    orange joe likes this.
  14. orange joe

    orange joe I am serious and don't call me Shirley

    Sep 7, 2012
    Albany NY
    My experience with sidewinders has been single coil clarity and snap with a more mids then a single coil.Sort of a "flatter" pickup tonally
     
    Sartori likes this.
  15. Toptube

    Toptube

    Feb 9, 2009
    I have SGD sidewinders. Ceramic and Neo versions. For educational purposes, I will comment on the tones and tone differences.

    SGD Ceramic sidewinders: Tonally, these are a really interesting pickup. First off, there is absolutely no hint of "modern" tone in these. They have a curious high end extension, such that it almost seems to add extra syllables into the 'growl', if you understand what I mean. and they have a very quick response, as you would expect from Ceramic. However, most of the action is in the mid and high mid. Yet, they are not clanky or sharp sounding. The highs are "open" but still stay warm (which makes this one of the best sounding bridge pickups I have ever used). But they also do not have a notable low end extension. Low mid in particular, is shy.

    When you run two together, you get a fantastic natural compression, which really juices up their upper end growl. Many pickup sets wish they did something this cool, with both run together.

    the problem is that they are very low output. You pretty much need a pre-amp to get the best from these.


    SGD Neo Sidewinders: I have no idea what the difference is with these, in terms of construction; other than that they have neo magnets instead of Ceramic. However, the sound is totally different. Immediately noticeable is that they have a lot of weight in the low end and the output is medium-medium high. They aren't particularly "open" sounding, they are a bit neutral, in that sense. Which makes them really sensitive to placement. This is a sweet neck pickup. It's like a really heavy handed P pickup. the overall tone is really lush and big. But still open enough to give the expressiveness people want in a neck. The high end is a touch modern, especially in the bridge position. But all other frequencies stay lush and warm. That low end weight also keeps it slamming in the bridge position, as well. It get's really focused and deliberate, as a bridge pickup.

    Both together, the low end extension on these is a really grabbing experience. Especially with the bridge pickup raised a bit closer to the strings.
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2015
    blindrabbit likes this.
  16. big_teee

    big_teee

    Sep 16, 2014
    Mid-South USA
    I get pretty good output from my Ceramic Sidewinders.
    On your Neo Sidewinders, I don't know anyone right now that makes those.
    If you like them, better hang on to them.
    Thanks for the Info!
    T
     
  17. edwinhurwitz

    edwinhurwitz Supporting Member

    May 13, 2003
    Boulder, CO
    Endorsing Artist: DR Strings, SMS
    The only sidewinders I've owned were Lane Poors and I loved them. Very clear and deep tone. But, they were insanely noisy, so I sent them back and he was going to wind me some new ones, but everything went pear shaped, so no more of that tone for me.

    My favorite pickups that I have right now are some really ancient Alembic pickups, I'm guessing ca. 1973. They are rectangular but have trapezoidal magnets (and coils?) and super low impedance (between 700 and 800 ohms). The are in a standard Series II setup, so they are single coils with a third pickup with no magnet blended in via the three channel pickup to cancel noise. The system works well, although it took a while to get completely dialed in, and the tonal clarity is unmatched by any other pickup set I've used, including more modern Alembic pickups. The bottom end is simply glorious. I don't know what the magnet material is, Rick Turner would most likely know, as he made the pickups. The only downside is that they squeal pretty loudly if they get too close to my fEARful. Interestingly, that doesn't happen with the Sunn 200S, so it's obviously some very high frequency oscillation.
     
    hieronymous, SherpaKahn and big_teee like this.
  18. IWieldTheSpade

    IWieldTheSpade

    Mar 15, 2010
    Just finished winding the coils for the pickup, but it'll be a bit longer before I actually get to test them - I'm not 100% on what magnets I want yet. Winding with a sewing bobbin winder and thread bobbins doesn't exactly give a perfect result, but gets the job done well enough if care is taken. I'll post some pics after they're potted if anyone would like to see?
     
    orange joe likes this.
  19. Toptube

    Toptube

    Feb 9, 2009
    I would like to see the guts, yes!
     
  20. edwinhurwitz

    edwinhurwitz Supporting Member

    May 13, 2003
    Boulder, CO
    Endorsing Artist: DR Strings, SMS
    This sounds very cool! I'd love to see the results and hear them as well. Good for you for taking this on.
     
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

     
    Apr 20, 2021

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