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old fender pickup question

8/21/1999 11:31 PM
old fender pickup question
Does anybody know which type of p/u's (model, or if there was another fender guitar using these p/u's...) did the fender bullet deluxe had installed? (mine, made in '81-'83 has two pickups)  
After a lot of playing (while shopping around) different strats with different pickups, trying to find a p/u replacement for my MIJ start, it is still the sound I prefer.  
BTW, you're gonna hung me for this, but the better to my ears for the sound I'm after, where those on a chinese strat (I'm so sorry about that :) Not as cool and classy as good aged alnicos, but what the hell, they sounded pretty good.  
8/23/1999 2:00 PM
Mark Hammer
NEVER apologize, my friend, for knowing what you like.  
Remember that the sound the guitar makes depends on the match between strings and pickup and wood and picking style and amplification and effects and cable length and musical style. I can't imagine that a pickup which overrides everything else and imposes a tone and personality on the sound despite the player is a GOOD thing.
8/25/1999 1:15 AM
Re: old fender pickup question (long post)
YES. I agree with that.  
That's why I installed a SD hotrail on the bridge and de-installed it after a couple of days. (And I don't mean it may not be a good p/u, only that I couldn't "feel" them from the begining)  
My final decission (made by heart, as I could not hear them before buying) was a set of Fender's '50 Custom Shop pickups.  
I like them. Actually a lot. I didn't realise that what I was looking for was a real traditional strat sound.  
The neck p.u is so nice.  
I made a mod with a SPST (sp.?) switch that allows me to use neck & bridge in positions 1 & 5, and the three pickups at the same time in positions 2 & 4. Very simple to make that mod. Just conecting the two lugs corresponding to p.u's bridge and neck in the selector, to one lug each at the two-lug-SPST-miniswitch.  
<--- A bit up in the left window if using frames,  
there's a thread about Barden p.u's. And that takes me to a point I never understood; that is: why some (all?) manufacturers offer their pickups power by measuring resistance and things like that that they don't mean really much?  
I'll try to explain myself. Those on my other american made Fender are suposed to be old, weak and relatively "vintage", but are the only single coil pickups I've tried that are capable to clearly make that chuiiinnk sound when you pick&twist hard on a string.  
The Seymour Duncan Hot Rail, for example, couldn't do it at all. Nor the Texas Specials or American Standards I tried in a shop... except the ones on that chinese Squire I mentioned on my other post.  
And the CS '50's are also suposed to be low-powered-vintage p.u's -you know, the average 5 to 6Kohms-, and clearness and loudness apart, I think they deliver more usable "volume" than some other p.u's I tried, suposedly more powerfull.  
I know, talking of power about vintage fender p.u's - or vintage RI's- is not the word, but beside all their qualities, I only took them as an example.  
8/25/1999 3:29 AM
Mark Hammer
"That's why I installed a SD hotrail on the bridge and  
de-installed it after a couple of days."  
Interestingly enough, I inherited the same type of pickup from a friend who went through the same installation/deinstallation process.  
I'm getting tired of explaining things about pickups that manufacturers should be taking care of, but here are some things you need to consider:  
1) The DC resistance of a pickup is a very indirect measure of its characteristics. It is a bit like describing someone as 140 lbs. If they are 3'6", 6'3", a double amputee, male or female, that same weight means very different things. Similarly, a 6.2k coil will produce different types of sounds if it is #40AWG vs #46AWG wire, if it is wound close to the polepieces vs away from the polepieces, if it is tall and thin (like a Strat) vs short and wide (like a P-90 or Jazzmaster). If you wind 8500 turns of #40AWG or #41AWG wire around tall thin polepieces, the entire coil should have noticeably less DC resistance than a traditional Strat coil of 7600 turns of #42AWG, but it will wipe the ground with the Strat pickup in terms of output...UNLESS THE MAGNETS ARE WEAKER. That brings up...  
2) The same coil with different magnets can get you different sounds, especially different output levels. Years ago, you could buy "booster magnets" to stick under your Strat pickups to boost their magnetic tug and get more output. Unfortunately, this one-size-fits-all solution turned out not to be so universally effective, although the basic principle that stronger magnets gets more output is a sound one.  
What you want, of course, is a pickup with resonances that complement the way you play, and what you are playing it on. I play a mid 60's Coronet with homemade pickups that are quite crisp. Unfortunately, the body is so thin and light that there is little bass. Although the pickups are terrific in many ways, the sound is terribly thin because the resonances and range of the pickup does not offset the resonances of the body.  
Sometimes the resonance-complement can seem to be enhanced by magnets being older, or by switching to a heavier or lighter gauge of strings.
8/25/1999 5:21 PM

Hi, Mark. Have you ever wound a single coil or humbucker with 40AWG magnet wire? I have a spool and am thinking about rewinding a DiMarzio humbucker. Thanks!
8/25/1999 7:48 PM
Mark Hammer
I'm currently working my way through a spool of #41 since my #42 got trashed and the #44 was driving me nuts. Sonically, it's more than acceptable. I wound a homemade P-90 type that is terrific; cojones galore. Couldn't tell you about #40, but it should be fine. The up side is that sturdier wire reduces the need for splices when hand winding. The down side is that you are looking at a more sizeable coil. My guess is that you would be VERY lucky to stuff 7600 turns of #40 into a Strat pickup cover. It could be done, but you would have to be neat, and know how to make snug windings.  
Note that the resulting coil will have a lower DC resistance, although I wouln't think dramatically so, because thicker wire means a larger circumference for each turn. Lowering the DC resistance of the coil relative to the volume pot has the same effect as raising the value of the volume pot, relative to the coil; namely, the sound gets glassier and more brittle due to lower loading. Some, like myself, like it. Others don't.
8/26/1999 12:13 AM

Thank you very much for that so valuable info.  
At least for me, it is important.  

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