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 Post subject: Making pickups
PostPosted: Thu Feb 23, 2017 2:38 pm 
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First name: Bob
City: Kurtistown
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I have not followed this forum and I'm sure the issues I'm interested in have been addressed before but I did not find them. In 40+ years of acoustic building, I've not really had need of detailed electric pickup info. In the last 2 years, all of a sudden I'm building lap steels and teaching lap steel building. Now I need to learn a lot about pickups. I've been using Chinese pickups for the students and Seymour Duncan Antiquity pickups for myself. I'd like to start making my own pickups to accommodate different numbers of strings and different string spacing. A few questions:
1. Although I see lots of ideas for making pickup winders, I'm more likely to buy one already made. Not understanding these machines completely, I'm interested in feedback on the Stewmac catalog machines. I would assume that spacing of the poles is not an issue with them, but just checking.
2. Stewmac offers a number of cheap kits. but they are in standard pole spacings. I'm interested in suppliers where you can get all the components separately.
3. Also interested in a book/internet site that completely covers pickup building for the "Dummy".
Thanks in advance, Bob/Pegasus Guitars and Ukuleles

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 Post subject: Re: Making pickups
PostPosted: Thu Feb 23, 2017 4:05 pm 
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Joined: Sun Mar 06, 2011 12:04 am
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First name: Chris
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I remember someone's book about pickup making that featured a tarantula on a guitar.... At one time, I thought I should get into the pickup winding biz, but never followed through. I was already busy enough.

Now - SO MANY people and companies are offering pickups of all kinds out there, the market is glutted. I'm not trying to talk you out of it, but..... just buy the ones that will work on your guitars, unless you just have something very specific you want. Heck, you might be able to find someone to wind some to your specs....

Good luck, no matter which path you choose.

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 Post subject: Re: Making pickups
PostPosted: Thu Feb 23, 2017 5:18 pm 
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Walnut
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Joined: Thu Jan 12, 2012 7:54 pm
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Probably the best book to start with is Jason Lollar's Pickup Winding. It's a little expensive, but very thorough. You can order it at the Lollar Pickups website.


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 Post subject: Re: Making pickups
PostPosted: Thu Feb 23, 2017 6:51 pm 
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First name: Bob
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Chris-Thanks.I'm kind of stubborn about doing my own work, so anything that is within possibility I like to at least try. That has cost me a lot of $ over the years, but the satisfaction of the accomplishment is worth it to me. BMac- Thanks , I'll check out that book.--Bob

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 Post subject: Re: Making pickups
PostPosted: Thu Feb 23, 2017 8:18 pm 
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First name: Daniel
Last Name: Petrzelka
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Stew Mac, Mojo Tone, and Tone Kraft all offer various pickup parts and kits. Tone Kraft offering the most options for customization.

I use my mini lathe for a pickup winder, and programmed a simple arduino+hall effect sensor to count RPM/Winds. But the Mojotone winder has some great features, including a guass meter I believe. If you are going to buy one ready-made - that would offer the most features.

The Lollar book has come highly recommended from a number of winders I respect, but I have yet to pick one up. I started by reading about vintage pickup specs, and using online resources like this pickup wind calculator to help inform my wire gauge and number of windings.
http://www.salvarsan.org/pickups/Coil_Estimator.html

Like guitar building its either pure art, pure science, or some mystical combination of those mixed with vintage mojo - it all depends on who you talk to. I lean toward science when it comes to pickups, but I far from an expert.

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These users thanked the author dpetrzelka for the post: Hesh (Mon Mar 13, 2017 5:53 am)
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 Post subject: Re: Making pickups
PostPosted: Fri Feb 24, 2017 8:16 am 
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Location: Hummelstown PA
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I started making my own pickups the other year.....and honestly for what I have into a pickup labor/materials makes them a tough sell if I want to eat that day. But it is very cool when someone asks hey what pickups are those and I say "my own". And the tools and knowledge are actually more helpful for repair.

One big problem you will have is finding parts of any type for anything other than a standard set of 4 or 6 string pickups. Parts for more than 6 strings like you will need for an 8 string steel are not available in any of the parts catalogs I have looked through so you will need to custom source magnets and fab your own flatwork for bobbins which will of course limit you to fender style construction only.....

Winders, you can spend a lot of money on one. but again I do not know the commercially available ones that are priced in the range of a small shop will handle bobbins big enough to make 8 string pickups. I made my own winder cause I am a cheapo old Dutchman and well if I couldn't make a winder I sure couldn't make a pickup.... Here is minehttp://howardguitars.blogspot.com/2015/11/40-pickup-winder-here-is-look-at-myshop.html

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 Post subject: Re: Making pickups
PostPosted: Fri Feb 24, 2017 2:05 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jul 01, 2011 9:17 am
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First name: Michael
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http://music-electronics-forum.com/f11/

I wind singles and HB's for my guitar builds. I didn't learn to sell them. I wanted my pups on my guitars. Besides that- I think they're a rip-off retail. No offense meant. I'm not a Dutchman but I must related to Howard...I'm old and cheapo too.
I built my winder. After doing so I'm glad I didn't buy one.
I get most of the parts from Tone Kraft. ( I like having my name embossed on the flatwork)
I have Jason's book. It's good but not having it isn't a show stopper.

I'd recommend the link I included over any books and do have quite a few of them...Jason also helps at that site.

Good luck and have fun.
Mike



These users thanked the author Sandywood for the post: dpetrzelka (Fri Feb 24, 2017 2:16 pm)
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 Post subject: Re: Making pickups
PostPosted: Sat Mar 11, 2017 8:09 pm 
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Sandywood wrote:
Besides that- I think they're a rip-off retail. No offense meant.


If all you want are the standard Fender and Gibson types, then, yeah, it's fairly simple to make those. They were designed like 50 years ago, and it's easy to just copy those designs. All the R&D has been done already. Same with copying a Strat or Les Paul.

When you buy retail pickups you aren't paying for parts, or even labor so much as the winders knowledge. And then if you want something out of the ordinary, you either have to devise how to do that yourself, or you buy someone else's pickups.

I started rewinding pickups back in the late 70s because I wanted something different. In my case it was a low-z P bass pickup. Wasn't any place to buy those!

Then about 10 years ago I started working on my own bass pickups for the basses I was building, because I again, I couldn't buy what I wanted.

But if you are doing single coils and stuff, it's pretty easy to get all the parts and wind them yourself. There's not much to a Strat pickup, or even a PAF. It's hard to make a bad sounding pickup. :)


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 Post subject: Re: Making pickups
PostPosted: Mon Mar 13, 2017 7:12 pm 
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Joined: Thu May 20, 2010 11:20 pm
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First name: Bob
City: Kurtistown
State: Hawaii
Zip/Postal Code: 96760
Country: USA
Thanks for all the replies to my original post. I am into the winding idea for both the fact that I can't easily get the spacing/number of poles that I want commercially and just because I like to make my own stuff. The second part of that often leads to a $ drain, but it is personally rewarding. Thanks, Bob

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