Tube Amps / Music Electronics
For current discussions, please visit Music Electronics Forum. New: view Recent Searches.
New: visit Schematic Hell!
The sunn still shines online!

Listen to great tunes streaming live right now!

ampage archive

Vintage threads from the first ten years

Search for:  Mode:  

Opinions on using solid silver wire for guitar wiring

2/29/2000 6:29 AM
Opinions on using solid silver wire for guitar wiring
Saw a site where a guy makes and sells solid silver wire , he claims that it is vastly superior for use in wiring up guitar circuits.  
Any experience/opinons, is it worthwhile?  
It would only cost about $15 or so .  
The price is ok, so how about it?
2/29/2000 6:53 AM
Joe Fuzz

No...don't do it. The pickups are made of like 1000 feet of copper wire. The 6 inches of wire that runs from the pickup to the jack isn't going to matter much in terms of resistance.  
True, Silver is the least resistive metal on the planet. Copper is second. But not by that damn much. The resistivity of silver is 9.9 Ohm*CM/ft and the resistivity of copper is around 10.7 Ohm*CM/ft. As a reference, the resistivity of gold is 16.7 and the resistivity of Aluminum is 17.0 (same units as above). So silver and copper are very close.  
Now, if you want to actually wind your own pickup with Silver wire...I'd still say "don't do it." There's too many other factors determining a pickup's sound: the number of turns and the strength of the magnet. If you need lower resistance in your pickups, change the gage of the wire you use to wrap the pickups, not the material.  
Finally, silver will oxidize (i.e. rust, tarnish) in a heartbeat. Copper oxidizes too, but slower. Gold never oxidizes -- that's why it's so popular in critical connections i.e. speaker output jacks.  
Save your money for effects pedals! And speakers!
2/29/2000 1:31 PM

Do ya suppose that's "your pal" Jimmy selling the wire? (See Jimmy's State of the Union in the open forum). I would have to agree with Joe. If your signal is already going through hundreds of feet of copper wire in your pickups, and then through guitar cables, and then through the wiring in amps, it probably won't make that much difference going through a foot of solid silver wire in your guitar.  
2/29/2000 9:55 PM
Also think about thee "BAD" metals in a tube. The steel leads on ICs and resistors and caps and.....  
Remember it is electrons that are bumping along at under 6Khz to 10kHz look in physics books and read alot elecromagnetics is fairly well understood.  
FWIW on of the biggest silver wire use I read about was the coil for the calutron used seperating U for the manhattan project they used the silver from the US mint to make it if what I read is true.
3/1/2000 12:29 PM
Dave H.

No silver wire for me. I like to have some nice high resistance carbon in series with the signal. My Tele sounds great with the vol pot rolled back to 8 or 9.  
2/29/2000 9:19 PM
Jim S.

Just curious... what does "CM" stand for? Does that represent the size of the cross-section area of the conductor?
2/29/2000 10:42 PM
Joe Fuzz

"what does "CM" stand for? Does that represent the size of the cross-section area of the conductor?"
Yes. It stands for "Circular Mils" or, even more complete, "Circular Milliinches." The CM is capitalized to prevent confusion with centimeters = cm.  
Wire area is funny -- you'd think the cross-sectional area for a circular wire would be calculated by A=pi*rē but it's not. The formula used is A=dē. You can think of it this way: it's the area of the smallest box that the wire would fit into, if you get my drift. Well, the "d" in the formula above is measured in mils, short for milliinches. When you square mils, you don't get "mils squared" but rather "circular mils."  
Again, I'm dealing with the American Wire Gage. It may be completely different in other countries. (You may even spell "Gauge" correctly!)  
1000 feet of 20 gage copper wire has 10.15 ohms. Using ratios, we can see that 1000 feet of 20 gage silver wire has 9.39 ohms. So if you use a foot of wire in your guitar you're talking about the difference between 10.15 milliohms for copper versus 9.39 milliohms for silver. And that's after you go through kiloohms worth of resistance in the pickups!  
So, what about winding your pickups with silver? Well, 1000 feet of 40 gage copper wire has 1,049 ohms. 1000 feet of 40 gage silver wire has 970.6 ohms. So there's an 80 ohm difference between the two for 1000 feet. Worth it for the money? Well, I don't think so...
   Page 1 of 5 Next> Last Page>>