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Unwinding a mini humbucker?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by cassius987, Oct 30, 2010.


  1. cassius987

    cassius987 Banned

    Apr 20, 2007
    Denver, CO
    I'd like to have a pair of HB-1s (Rickenbacker mini 'buckers) that were wired down to around 10 k-ohms versus the stock 14-15. I figure if I knew how, I could unwind each coil to 5 k. Is this a difficult procedure? Harder with a humbucker?

    While I'm at it, is there a proper way to convert an HB-1 or other wood screw using pickup so it will just take machine screws like a neck Hi-Gain in a Ric bass? I have a way of modding them so they take machine screws but the results just get the job done, adjusting the pickups down the road can be tricky.
     
  2. Rick Auricchio

    Rick Auricchio Registered Bass Offender

    What problem are you trying to solve by removing windings?

    The output will certainly be greatly reduced, if nothing else.
     
  3. cassius987

    cassius987 Banned

    Apr 20, 2007
    Denver, CO
    I have rarely found less windings = less output to the extent people say it's a problem. I'm just trying to get away from the mid-heavy voice of these pickups, as I like them in all other ways but that for the application I'm thinking of. Fewer turns should decrease the mids.
     
  4. Wouldn't it be much easier to simply cut some of your mids on your EQ/DI/console?
     
  5. cassius987

    cassius987 Banned

    Apr 20, 2007
    Denver, CO
    Yeah but that gets into what I feel is artificial sound. Once you get effects involved you lose some of the good qualities of your dry signal no matter what.
     
  6. ...well, I wouldn't really consider equalization to be an effect - I consider it more along the lines of signal processing, which really is quite necessary in many case - ever try to make a decent sounding recording without any EQ or compression?

    It should also be noted that the signal coming out of your bass is affected by your amp's pre stage, by the amp's tone stack (even if it's kept 'flat'), by the amp's power stage, and to a great extent by the cabinet. Even running through studio monitors as amps won't get you an uncoloured sound, as the room and what's in it (shape, furniture, wall and floor treatments, any audience) will affect the sound that is heard. So eventually, gunning for a 'pure' sound becomes an excercise in chasing one's tail.


    ANYWAY, back on topic, you should try changing your technique before you mess with your pickups. Where you pluck the strings has a huge effect on the sound, as does how you pluck them and what you pluck them with - it's worth experimenting, for example with different pick materials and thicknesses if you use them.

    I'd also respectfully suggest that perhaps you might want to swap out your pickups or even try a different bass, rather than performing a mod many would perceive as destructive (and thus killing off your resale value).

    But if unwinding your pups is what you really want to do, then yes, technically, according to my understanding, that will get you what you want. Yes, it will be difficult (if not impossible) because most pickups are potted in wax or epoxy, meaning that you will be unable to access the winding wire directly without removal of the potting medium, which can in some cases be destructive to the pickup. It will also be difficult because the winding wire is extremely thin and fragile (thinner than a human hair - a cigarette lighter can vaporize it completely).

    But yes, it can be done.

    As per your screw question, I wouldn't know, I've never used a bass with those pickups.
     
  7. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    Aren't those pickups encapsulated in resin? If that's the case, you can't unwind them.

    Less windings gives a flatter tone with a higher resonant peak.
     
  8. cassius987

    cassius987 Banned

    Apr 20, 2007
    Denver, CO
    I rarely do any EQ if I can help it but I'm no stranger to compression.

    Yes they are, so consider the thread kill-ified. John Hall confirmed this for me a day or two ago on another forum.
     
  9. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    Someone needs to tell him to stop winding them so hot. But hotter pickups was his idea back when his dad ran the company, so I doubt he would listen.
     
  10. cassius987

    cassius987 Banned

    Apr 20, 2007
    Denver, CO
    Well he knows how me, and my luthier pal from MO, both want a "cooler"-wound humbucker from RIC.

    The 4002 bridge pickup I have is just such a thing but is expensive and too specialized for RIC to bring back. It sounded so great when I had it in the neck position of my 4003FL; upright city. However in blend mode it doesn't play nice with other pickups.
     
  11. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    Is the Ric mini-hum the same size as a Gibson mini-hum?

    I'm making a set of mini-hums at the moment in chrome Gibson style covers. They are pretty much my regular neos in the smaller case. My neck pickup reads about 8K and my bridge is about 10K. So there are options for lower wound mini-hum sized pickups.
     
  12. cassius987

    cassius987 Banned

    Apr 20, 2007
    Denver, CO
    They are really darned close but I think there is a small percentage difference.
     
  13. Prostheta

    Prostheta

    Mar 19, 2010
    Pori, Finland
    Oddly enough, I was thinking this very same thing this evening (winding bass pups in minibucker housings). I came across this thread because of it. Chances are I was going to end up running into you in some form on this one David ;-)

    Currently my head thinks I can spin a couple of blade-type pickups and fit them in this replacement housing with a strip of Tolex or some other texture to block out the space. I've not got the inner dimensions of these covers though, but I'll sure have them if I buy a couple. ;-)

    How are the Ricky HBs "under the hood"? Simple polepiece (6x probably...) or a different design this time around? My preliminary design "idea" is for 4x sewing machine bobbins wound as individual coils (no idea of what resistance is appropriate yet) which (if I am thinking correctly) will allow me to combine the coils to buck hum or work as a "single coil". Experimentation needed I think.

    Sorry to derail the thread, although it does seem a little bit at a dead end already!
     
  14. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    They have dual blades and selenium cobalt magnets. Wound with 44 AWG wire, like all their other pickups.

    Here's the underside:

    IMG_0547.
     

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