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Insulating Strat bobbins.

4/2/2004 10:35 AM
Neil Insulating Strat bobbins.
Sorry missed out subject earlier.  
As readers will know I've somehow duffed up my latest pickups. Which hasn't happened since I started making about three years ago. I have no idea what's wrong and in a three part assembly Magnets / bobbin / wire this is driving me mental.  
I have read that some insulate the magnets on strat type pickups by using laquer, others tape ...can this be overdone and thus weaken the output ...should it be done at all.... what else could make a number of 7K strat pickups that are made with the same magnets and wire as all my other pickups turn out so dull and quiet? Poles correct... wire the same Resisance OK I cant work it out.  
Any help wuld be very much appreciated as Ive already rewound one and it was just as bad? Im trying to solve this over the weekend . Thanks Neil.
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4/2/2004 6:13 PM

Think we are all getting to the end of possibles.  
If the wires is okay, the bobbins are made the same, all soldering is fine, tension is similar, the only other true variable is the magnets.  
Simple cellulose tape (Sellotape)over the poles before winding will ensure no "shorts" just one wrap around will do. Yes it can distort but you shouldn't be getting them that hot. Its what we use without problem.  
I have a couple of batches of magnets that have been very inconsistent and now check all of them with a gaussmeter before assembly so they all fall within a set range of tolerances, basically find 18 mags with the closest readings.  
If you are in the UK and can wait a little whilst we move premises we can check them out with our kit if you wish, just email us "off-forum".  
4/2/2004 7:21 PM
Sheldon Dingwall

Andy, are you buying your cellulose tape with the correct width, or cutting it down?
4/2/2004 7:25 PM

Thanks thats very kind. I live in Scotland. I think you're right about the end of possibilities bit . As an experiment I stuck a good bar magnet under one of them with the polarity matched - no difference.  
BY the way if you are in the UK where do you get you're stuff from . Neil.
4/3/2004 10:00 AM
Dave Stephens
Neil: I had some thoughts about why your pickups suddenly suck. It may have to do with your winding tension. If you are winding too tight your wire will stretch so you will reach DC resistance quicker but you will have less winds on the coil. So you pickup will sound brighter. If you tension is less you will have more winds before you get to the same resistance and the tone will be less bright. It may be your earlier coils were wound tight. This is not a bad thing but tension can mess you up, try to figure a way to be consistent then judge your results from there.  
Also, try winding a coil and DON'T pot it then listen to it. I personally believe the less potting the better. Potting DOES kill some tone and it befuddles me why all these guys are vacuum potting trying to lock those coils solidly in wax or whatever. EMG pots in epoxy and their coils have no soul in them. Anyway, some thoughts. Look in the posts for info on charging magnets with a strong neodymium bar magnet. Dave
4/4/2004 12:48 AM
There are only so many things that can go wrong with a coil of wire and a magnet, huh?  
Dave, I've always appreciated the fact that there is no "potting vs. not potting" debate going on in this forum all the time. All realize the function of potting, and the potential to alter the tone. And when it comes to faithfully reproducing vintage pickups, potting (or not) does become a definite issue.  
Personally, I don't pot because it's a pain in me bum. And because I'm lazy. But to this point it would hold no advantage. I find no microphonic issues, but then again I play plugged directly into a tube amp.  
The other day I plugged a friend's guitar (with my rewound, unpotted pups) into a Digitech processor and then into my amp---holy cow---I couldn't get far enough from the amp. I had the volume on 1 and this thing was squealing like a stuck pig. I was on a 20-foot cable and hiding behind my water heater, and this thing was still wailing away. I suspect the Digitech presets were kind of treble-aggressive. I also suspect I wouldn't have had the same problem with some of the potted pups I own. I'll have to try them out.
4/3/2004 9:02 PM

This is very interesting Dave. By conicidence I rewound one of the "duffers" and did not pot it and it seems fine.  
I now suspect that I over solidified the coil. Ive been experimenting with potting using a diluted pva as the coil is wound and this has worked well previously and cut out the task of potting and cleaning after winding. I now suspect that I over did it somehow.  
I will continue to try and work through this one . Any other thoughts welcome on the pva issue or the issue of over-potting ( I had a strat I played for years it sounded fantastic -no unwanted squeal and yet the pickups made pretty good microphones if you spoke into them). Thanks all for your patience. Neil

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