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Handwound Pickups?

1/11/2004 3:26 AM
Jon Handwound Pickups?
I was wondering what the defintion of handwinding is? You see it on a lot of the smaller pickup makers' sites.  
I assume it doesn't mean literally winding the coil by hand. So what does it mean?  
1/11/2004 11:01 AM

Handwinding - in its basic is just that, winding wire onto a bobbin or former by hand.  
But can mean, guiding (or tensioning) the wire onto a spinning bobbin or former by hand.  
It is different to scatterwinding which can be accomplished by mechanical methods, although these would be regular scatterwinding and not random.  
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1/12/2004 1:55 AM
Dave Stephens
Yes, handwinding usually means HAND GUIDED. The old Fender pickups were all made this way and thats partly why vintage guitars are popular, because the pickups built by hand sound so much better than sterile factory made stuff that is all identical. There is an art to handwinding...I can just about guarantee that anyone on this list who makes pickups makes them differently from eachother and if eachl told to wind a 7k tele pickup you could probably hear differences between each one. To me thats very cool, like fine wines.  
You can control the tone you get by how much scatter you use and how much tension you use. A tighter coil gives you less induction, more scatter gives you less induction, a much tighter coil can boost the resistance etc. The only way to get identical coils is to do 'em the factory way and pickups from factories are generally homogenized middle of the road products that are uninspiring.  
A good example of this is Fender's Texas Speicals. I can't tell you how many times I've read guys buying Texas Specials (the name sounds very cool) which are supposedly overwound copies of SRV's pickups, and saying , "well they just aren't THERE." If you had someone make you a handbuilt set to those specs I bet they would sound way better than Fender's factory made product. The biggest joke of all is they recently found out that SRVs pickups were STOCK 60's Fenders, which were all hand wound. Not overwound either........Dave
1/12/2004 4:08 AM
Jason Lollar

"The biggest joke of all is they recently found out that SRVs pickups were STOCK 60's Fenders, which were all hand wound. Not overwound either"  
Whos they and why did it take them so long to figure that out? LOL  
SRV had clarity even when it was dimed.
1/12/2004 5:35 AM
Dave Stephens
Jason: its on the cover of one of the current guitar magazines, Guitar Player? I can't find it right now. Fender and Jimmy Vaughan collaborated and Fender took the guitar apart. It says the coils were stock. I read an article online (ToneQuest I think) by Cesar Diaz and he says Stevie blew a pickup up (how do you blow up a pickup?) and he personally installed a replacement. He says Stevie preferred the black bottom (top?) vintage Fenders and that they were stock. I"ve read some really ridiculous statements that SRV's pickups were overwound twice the amount (how do you fit up to 16K of 42 gauge wire into that cover, duh?), that they were rewound hot, which no one can verify and that Stevie recovered alien pickups from a UFO crash (ok, I made that part up, sorry). Cesar also went on a rant in the article about getting "good tone" from UNDERWOUND pickups if you're using signal processing, like pedals, rackmount junk etc. He seemed to be implying that Stevie's pickups were stock or even underwound. He cites Eric Johnson as an example of this, (like Eric's rig is about 84 pedals, 40 racks, and all kinds of electronic voodoo , exagerating again, sorry). Kinda sad to see a '57 vintage Fender strat have all that electronic crap overlayed on it.......  
Oh, bakc to the SRV strat. Fender is supposedly going to make several completely EXACT copies, right down to the ripped up finish and sell them for really big bucks......Dave
1/13/2004 11:43 AM
I cannot quite understand how scatter winding (more or less irregular, right) or tension could influnce the inductance. - capacity, ok and tension will increase the resistance of the wire by stretching it.  
But the inductance is very much definded by the # of windings, the core material and shape and the overall shape of the bobbin, isn't it.  
Also would be more careful in defining good and bad PUs. I think good or bad sound is a very subjective thing and even if you don't like a sound for one thing/song it might be great for another.  
After all I think most songs are played with "uninspiring middle of the road products"  
Still its ok for anbody to buy replacements I he/she likes to do and to sell them if they are asked for.  
PS.: I suppose nobody would have touched Montgomery Wards Airline guitar untill Jack White has made it his main guitar. 6 years ago you might have found it scrap yard and exchanged the PUs for SD Jeff Beck HBs....  
(or PUs you made yourself)
1/13/2004 6:28 PM
Mark Hammer

1) Having actually "hand-wound" pickups (i.e., the only thing between the wire spool and the coil is my fingers), I can testify that truly hand-wound would likely cost a few hundred clams per coil at minimum wage rates. More importantly, the term "going postal" would quickly be replaced by the phrase "going coilish". I don't recommend it to anyone.  
2) Inductance is determined not just by the number of turns but the actual circumference of the turn as well. Non-scatter-wound coils have what is essentially the smallest possible circumference per turn one could have on that coil at that point, and they do so by having each turn line up pretty much parallel to the previous and next one. In contrast, scatter-wound turns are not entirely on-axis or parallel to every other turn. That slight angle that is required to have a turn start over here and move over there produces a larger circumference. Make sense?
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