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Sourcing customized pickup parts?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by fourstringbliss, Jan 11, 2012.


  1. fourstringbliss

    fourstringbliss Supporting Member

    Oct 5, 2003
    Puyallup, WA
    I want to start making my own line of bass pickups but the pole pieces are not the standard easy to come by size. Any idea on where I can have custom pole piece assemblies, custom fiber bobbins, custom magnets, and custom pickup covers made?
     
  2. Don't know how much it'll help you, but home depot sells long round steel rods in many different thicknesses. I was actually thinking of buying one of those and cutting off a few pole sized pieces and making a pickup myself.
     
  3. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
  4. fourstringbliss

    fourstringbliss Supporting Member

    Oct 5, 2003
    Puyallup, WA
    Thanks!! I wondered if I could have them do that. Do they make custom pickup covers as well? What about the pole pieces? I want them to be height adjustable like G&L MFD and Dimarzio Model J's.

    I'm pretty excited about this - I've got some really good ideas, IMHO (of course :D)
     
  5. fourstringbliss

    fourstringbliss Supporting Member

    Oct 5, 2003
    Puyallup, WA
    That's a good idea, but I don't really want to manufacture the pieces myself - I'm no good with fabrication. :(
     
  6. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    Custom Pickup Flatwork - Mojotone.com

    They don't make custom covers, but they have a nice selection to choose from.

    For pole pieces, you would use steel machine screws. The ones DiMarzio use are standard hex head screws. G&L use custom threaded parts that thread into steel collars. You can have that kind of thing made, or do it yourself with a tap and die.
     
  7. fourstringbliss

    fourstringbliss Supporting Member

    Oct 5, 2003
    Puyallup, WA
    To be honest, I'm modeling my pole pieces after G&L MFD pole pieces (but they won't look the same so it's not a complete rip-off) but I'm not sure if I'd be using the same soft iron or what I'd be using. I don't want to copy what they've done and wander into legal and ethical issues, I just like the idea of a single large height adjustable pole pieces with a hex hole. Maybe I should make the hole a different shape and include a little custom adjusting wrench? Heck, I could make it a round hole with Phillips head grooves at the bottom.
     
  8. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    The G&L pickup was patented in 198o (#4220069), so the patent is expired. There is no legal issue with doing something similar. They also had another one involving slotted head poles in 1987 (4686881).

    There isn't an ethical issue either, if you think about all the Fender and Gibson pickup copies on the market. How many vintage style Jazz pickups are there? How about P style? PAFs? There was a patent on all of them once. And look at all the Jazz style basses on the market? Theres nothing at all original going on there except the headstock shape and some different hardware.

    Patents are a way to give the company a head start, and when they expire it's then legal for other companies to do the same idea.

    Now making an exact copy does make sense since you can buy them from G&L, but you can make something similar in different shapes that you can't buy from them, or just something different enough so differentiate yourself from the original.

    Regarding the poles; don't use something that requires a special tool. That becomes aggravating when you need to find the tool for the job. I'd go with hex screws since they don't have a head, unless you want a head, and then you can use a hex cap screw, or a regular. I'm also go with phillips for a regular screw, because slot head screws are evil! It's too easy to slip off and gouge your bass.

    That's my 2 cents anyway.
     
  9. fourstringbliss

    fourstringbliss Supporting Member

    Oct 5, 2003
    Puyallup, WA
    Excellent! I want to use the exact same kind of pole pieces because I really like the design - I've got an L2000 Tribute that I like a lot. I'm going to have to buy one of their pickups and pull it apart to see how the pole pieces are positioned in the pickup. I just hope nobody gets upset with the idea that I'd be copying their look. Other than the pole pieces my pickups are going to be different. I don't plan on having the top of the threaded pole piece sleeve be grooved like theirs - mine will be smooth.
     
  10. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    Look up the patents.
     

    Attached Files:

  11. fourstringbliss

    fourstringbliss Supporting Member

    Oct 5, 2003
    Puyallup, WA
    I didn't think to do that. Thanks!
     
  12. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    You can learn a lot looking at pickup patents.

    And hang out here a while. You'll be rubbing elbows with the likes of Jason Lollar and even Rick Turner, though he hasn't been active for a while.

    Pickup Makers Forum
     
  13. fourstringbliss

    fourstringbliss Supporting Member

    Oct 5, 2003
    Puyallup, WA
    Thanks for the link to that forum!

    How would I find the diagrams about those pickups?
     
  14. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    Go to Google patent or pat2pdf.org and type in the two patent numbers I listed.
     
  15. fourstringbliss

    fourstringbliss Supporting Member

    Oct 5, 2003
    Puyallup, WA
    Gotcha, thanks! I'm reading through the patent abstract with all of the pictures and it's heavy legalspeak.
     
  16. bassbenj

    bassbenj

    Aug 11, 2009
    David,
    WOW! That's a cool link to pickup parts!

    I was about to post a question myself. I am looking for a way to put dummy coils on my SX basses to cut single coil hum. I don't want to spend $400 for Nordies on a $150 bass.

    Hence the original idea was a dummy coil made out of old Jazz pickups with the magnets removed. I have an old Jazz pickup but taking the magnets out looks like a chore.

    Now you've given me the idea of getting some nice bobbins and a roll of wire from StewMac. How hard is it to wind these coils without breaking wires etc.? Could you supply dummy coils with no poles or magnets? Any "cheap source" ideas of things that might come apart easy?

    Thanks in advance.
     
  17. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    Just be aware that dummy coils alter the tone of the pickups unless you do them actively.

    Also, while you don't want magnets in them, you do want a steel core to help induce hum into the dummy coil. It should also be in an unshielded area, assuming that the pickups are unshielded. It could be installed under the pickup.

    I coil make a dummy coil. I'm not sure well it would work.
     

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