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Calling Dave Schwab...

5/18/2006 4:16 PM
Calling Dave Schwab...
We may be from different planets on the Les Paul middle tone, but that doesn't mean I don't think you don't have good advice to give. You said you've been playing bass for 37 years. If you are also a winder, then I suspect you've wound a few bass pickups too. If so, then I'd like to tap your brain. (Anyone else who can help out on this is welcome too.)  
I got a rewind request from a customer for an Gibson (Epiphone) SG bass pickup, the one that looks like a giant nickel PAF but with (obviously) 4 polepieces instead of 6. I told him that I've never wound or rewound bass pu's before but that I'd be willing to give it a shot and that if he didn't like the results, he didn't have to pay.  
I noticed on receiving it that the coils appear to be sitting on their sides and that they are wrapped in a translucent black plastic. This is all very curious and I'm tempted to just ship it back to him and tell him to take it to someone whose wound this kind of pickup before.  
But assuming I do go forward with it, what pitfalls are there to avoid, and is there a tone in such a bass pickup that is very different from your average (if there is such a thing) guitar pickup, etc. What about that black plastic -- is it crucial or can tape replace it? Etc., etc., etc.  
Thanks for any help.
5/18/2006 6:03 PM
Greg Simon
Thats a Sidewinder pickup. A lot of the old Gibsons used those, and some of them were wound as high as 22k! Which of course is a big reason why they sound like mud. Listen to a lot of teh Cream records and you'll hear the distorted and muddy tones these things put out. I'm sure Jason has probably rewound some of these with his considerable experience....not sure about others. To me they sound like crap, but what do I know. :)  
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5/18/2006 6:07 PM

Do you know what wire gauge they used?
5/18/2006 6:29 PM
Dave Stephens
You need a micrometer thats reads to five places after the decimal point, I got a Starret on Ebay for $60 bucks that works pretty well....
5/18/2006 6:32 PM

I've got one that reads to 10,000ths of an inch, e.g., 0.0001.
5/18/2006 7:07 PM
I have done a few before and this is only my impression. I used 43 plain enamal, wound both coils to the same turn count, I wound the coil closest to the bridge with about 40 to 50 TPL and the coil closest to the neck at about75 to 80 TPL, a little on the medium tension side on both coils, light potting only. Result was a very open but tight tone and the signature gibson tone was still there with no mud. Jason may have a better way of doing them than I do. The last one I did was back in about 1986 but I kept my notes. BTW it was an actual Gibson, not an epiphone, so yours may be different.  
PS- I dont remember what turns I wound it to or the actual ohms reading, sorry.
5/18/2006 7:12 PM
Dave Stephens
no you need one more zero to get somewhat accurate readings. Be careful if you rewind that to use the correct wire. Some bass players WANT the "mud" tone, so you should ask him/her if they want it to sound like it used to or to clean it up. I think those things were wound to some ridiculously high DCR if I remember right. they don't look fun to work on, but again if its an original its a historic pickup, take pictures and document with an LCR meter and calipers, figure out what magnets are in it etc. Jack Bruce made those things sound great.....
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