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I tried rewinding a pickup. Yikes!!


 
2/14/2001 5:57 AM
John Fisher
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I tried rewinding a pickup. Yikes!!
I have an old "Dimarzio Super Distortion" pickup that had a bad coil in it. I have no experience in this but I tried to rewind it. First of all I had a hard time finding thin enough wire. The thinist I found was #41 which by the looks of it, is thicker that what the original was. The other coil measured over 6K (DC resistance).  
 
Just for fun, I made up a make shift winder using a variable speed electric drill with a step down transformer on it so it can go even slower. I wound the coil the best I could (sloppy) using my finger to control the tention. I don't know how many turns it was, but I just tried to fill up the bobin as much as possible. The restance of my coil was about 2K (bad). I then dipped it in hot wax and put it together.  
 
Although it worked somewhat, it sure was no "Super Distortion" (thin and weak sounding.) (Back to the drawing board)  
 
My question is: Has anyone here ever rewound a pickup with at least moderate success? How did you do it? Do you need a lot of fancy gear? or is there a homade way of doing it?  
 
Does anyone happen to know the wire thickness they use for a "Super Distortion" pickup?  
 
Any comments are well apreciated.  
 
Thanks!  
 
John Fisher
 
2/14/2001 1:03 PM
MKB
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I have rewound several pickups and made a P-90 from scratch. I have to give credit to this forum for the majority of my knowledge on pickups. It is a task that is perfected through practice; from the looks of your guitars you should have NO problem with pickup winding.  
 
 
 
Standard Gibson 'buckers and Fender single coils use #42 mostly. In general if you have a distortion pickup with greater than 10K resistance you are probably smaller than #42. I used #40 for my P90, 8K turns and it barely fit on the homemade bobbin. Only about 4K DCR, but it is very loud and clear sounding.  
 
 
 
Thinking about it, DCR is not as important in pickup winding as number of turns. If you could squeeze the same # of turns of #41 as the other coil has, you would have less DCR but more highs and maybe a little more output. It sounds like you didn't get enough turns on the coil.  
 
 
 
From playing with transformer winding, it seems that it is possible to estimate the windings on a pickup coil. You can measure the DCR and wire gauge, estimate the wire length from a wire table, and calculate the mean turn length of the coil. From this you could get an estimate of # of windings on the coil (but it may be a rough estimate).  
 
 
 
My winder is an old variable speed drill with a mechanical counter activated by a Hall effect circuit. It works real well but looks stupid. If you are going to try winding again, you may want to work out a winding counter (especially with humbuckers; they get real quiet if you match the # of windings).  
 
 
 
How many turns did you get on the coil you rewound?
 
 
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2/15/2001 8:24 AM
John Fisher
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Mike,  
 
I don't know the number of turns as I didn't have a counter so I just tried to fill it up as much as possible. I think the biggest chalange is to get the windings neat and tight enough to get a sufficient number of windings on the coil. (Any Tips?) Also I believe that If I don't get the coil up to par with the other coil that is still original. the other coil will rob most of the sound of the coil that I just rewound.(I think!) and there will be a lack of efficiency. Maybe I should just rewind both coils. To be honest, I am not a concerned about power as I am about clarity.  
 
Thanks for your input,  
 
John Fisher
 
2/15/2001 12:59 PM
MKB
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One thing to consider is making your own bobbins. I used 0.032" bakelite for the sides and some scrap oak for the center. If you have access to a drill press it is pretty easy to get accurate polepiece holes in the bobbin.  
 
 
 
My next pickup project (when I get the time!) is to make a humbucker with 4250 to 4500 turns per bobbin of #40. This will not fit on a standard bobbin, so I plan to make the bobbins a little higher. My guess is that this will make a stronger, clearer sounding pickup than #42 would, judging from the P90 experience.  
 
 
 
I mentioned this because you are very good with woodworking, already have some #41 wire, and the hardware for a humbucker. If you can't fit the turns on the bobbin you have, you might try making custom ones a bit larger for your larger wire.  
 
 
 
That's the great thing about winding pickups yourself; you can experiment until you're blue in the face and it only costs a little time!
 
2/17/2001 4:31 AM
John Fisher
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Mike,  
 
That's a very interestly idea I never considered before about making my own bobins. And it's true that making my own bobins will be a help in that I can make them a little wider to fit the slightly thicker gauge wire I have.  
 
This is beginning to get interesting and surly a new learning experience. I have heard that if the bobin is taller that the sound will be brighter and clearer.  
 
I like the idea of making the bobin with the bakelite sides and the oak center.  
 
This will probably get me into studying about different types of magnets to use which is something that I don't really know much about it. I will need to find out where to get them. Of coarse now I will make an attempt with the existing parts of my Dimarzio pickup. I am assuming that the pole pieces on the humbucker are just common steel. Is that correct?  
 
Maybe I will wind up with a pickup that I am more satisfied with then the "Super Distortion" which to me is almost a little too harsh for the tones I like to get.  
 
Thanks for your input,  
 
John Fisher
 
2/15/2001 1:02 PM
MKB
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Another thing that came to mind; some of DiMarzio's pickups have a patent on them, such as the Tone Zone. This patent refers to using the same number of turns but different gauge wire on the two coils of a humbucker. Wire size does seem to make a difference, so it may be something to experiment with.
 
2/17/2001 5:20 AM
Steve A.
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John:  
 
 
 
    Back in the early 80's I had a SD Broadcaster pickup that I thought was too muddy so I figured that I would remove a few hundred turns to increase the highs. Damn but I broke the wire off inside and never could find the two ends. So I carefully unwound the 43ga wire on toilet paper rolls and used it beef up a set of SD pickups. I had 3 different taps for the bridge pickup: stock (7.2k), 8.2k and maybe 9.6k. Plus two different taps for the neck pickup.  
 
 
 
    I had those pickups in my tele for 10 years, when I decided to try the stacked SD pickups to eliminate noise...   :(   But those custom rewound pickups will end up in another tele one of these days!  
 
 
 
    Was it Mark Hammer here who has been winding his own pickups for many years? I didn't think that it could be done by a mere mortal until I read his posts...  
 
 
 
Steve Ahola
 
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