Do wax kill PAFs?

Zhangliqun

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Not all potting is the same. I've found that if you mix the wax thinner (lower the ratio of parafin to beeswax) and don't leave it in the pot more than 5 minutes, you get squeal control with zero to negligible effect on tone.

On the other hand, some winders like Lollar claim that with the right tension and other factors, you can have squeal-free pu's without potting. I have no reason to disbelieve Jason and he's been at this a lot longer than me, I just haven't been able to figure out how to do that myself.
 

kevinT

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I didn't like the sound of my pickups when I used a lot of tension to avoid wax potting. When using a lot of tension, you're defeating the purpose of scatterwinding. The increased tightness of the coils decreases the distributed capacitance and to me dulls the sound. ...the pickup is not as dynamic and some high end is lost.

That is why I said what I said in the previous post....tension has more effect on tone than does wax potting.
 

captcoolaid

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It depends on how it is waxed and or for how long. Without giving it up differant wax times for differant products. were yours waxed he he he only the winder or assembler knows.
 

snaredrum

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aw, come on Hillbilly... i was eating onion rings... put a warning post before you put up a pic like that, man :)
 

Liam

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I didn't like the sound of my pickups when I used a lot of tension to avoid wax potting. When using a lot of tension, you're defeating the purpose of scatterwinding. The increased tightness of the coils decreases the distributed capacitance and to me dulls the sound. ...the pickup is not as dynamic and some high end is lost.

Probably teaching my granny to suck eggs, but tighter coils would mean an increase in capacitance, but the effect of this giving a duller sound is exactly as you state. C = (E0*Er*A)/d where d is the gap between parallel plates, I seem to remember for parallel wires the capacitance expression is a little more complicated, but definitely goes up as the gaps get tighter. I've got a full derivation of it somewhere...

Liam
 

rockmonkey

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An unpotted pickup will sound different than a potted pickup. It's hard to describe the difference with words but if I were to try I'd say the unpotted pickup is more "airy" with more complex overtones and layers while the potted pickup is sharper, more defined and clearer. One way isn't better than the other, it's more about the final tone you want.
 

kevinT

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Probably teaching my granny to suck eggs, but tighter coils would mean an increase in capacitance, but the effect of this giving a duller sound is exactly as you state. C = (E0*Er*A)/d where d is the gap between parallel plates, I seem to remember for parallel wires the capacitance expression is a little more complicated, but definitely goes up as the gaps get tighter. I've got a full derivation of it somewhere...

Liam

Thank you for catching that. You're correct. I was writing my response and edited a part of it without editing the entire thing when I made the change...I hate when I do that.
 

Sgt.Pepper

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i wanted to post something like this also, i read all about the OTP pick up thread last night, took almost all night to get through it too lol, and i like the idea of those pick ups, but i have modern amps...and i like to play the hard rock with some gain. I tend to love 57's but i like the OTP tone/ideals....so any guidance in the to wax or not to wax would be awesome....by the way Liam it was great to read your input on that thread, i really enjoyed it. I learned a great deal on that thread thank you sir!

Why not just play them without the covers? That should work.
 

MrRhoads

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If i´m getting this it seems like the only good purpose with wax potting is having the coils stay in place?
And waxing the coils (copper wire part) is not needed?
Only to wax below coils keeping them in place and get that unpotted tone?
I´m just guessing here
 

johnny q

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You can definitely lose some of the magic along with losing the microphonics. If I have to wax a pickup I start out by doing so very lightly (3 minutes in the wax pot), as you can often kill the squeal and leave the pickup quite breathy sounding.

However, it's not a foregone conclusion - some well-waxed pickups can sound great. (e.g. 57 Classics)

This hits the nail right on the head. I had someone lightly pot a set of Timbuckers for me (I know, shock/horror!) and when I reinstalled them they sounded NO different, except for the fact that they didn't whistle uncontrollably at bedroom volumes. So......it CAN be done if done right.

JQ
 

Liam

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Why not just play them without the covers? That should work.

My first Les Paul was almost new when I took the cover off the neck 490R because the whistling was a bit too much. The bridge cover followed shortly after for similar reasons. Since then nearly all my humbuckers have been nude, but the OTP covers look too good to take off, and the pickups haven't suffered from squeal at all.

The OTP guy must be doing something right...
 

jonesy

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Probably teaching my granny to suck eggs, but tighter coils would mean an increase in capacitance, but the effect of this giving a duller sound is exactly as you state. C = (E0*Er*A)/d where d is the gap between parallel plates, I seem to remember for parallel wires the capacitance expression is a little more complicated, but definitely goes up as the gaps get tighter. I've got a full derivation of it somewhere...

Liam

I didn't like the sound of my pickups when I used a lot of tension to avoid wax potting. When using a lot of tension, you're defeating the purpose of scatterwinding. The increased tightness of the coils decreases the distributed capacitance and to me dulls the sound. ...the pickup is not as dynamic and some high end is lost.

That is why I said what I said in the previous post....tension has more effect on tone than does wax potting.

I had one MLPF winder tell me that hand winding a tighter wrap on the wire will in give you a brighter sounding pu (vs dull lifeless)and another winder not on this forum told me that machine wound pu's will yeild a brighter tone as well. Not sure how much of your capacitance theory will apply to those statements, but I take them to be true. ;)
 

kevinT

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I had one MLPF winder tell me that hand winding a tighter wrap on the wire will in give you a brighter sounding pu (vs dull lifeless)]

There are always exceptions to the rule but I believe that it isn't because of the tension that it would remain bright, it could be the parts that are supporting the higher frequencies even with a tight coil. Also, the pickup maker may not be using as much tension as he thinks when he is winding, therefore the pickup will remain on the bright side. The only way to be sure is to use a tensioner and test the different tensions. I have done this and a very tight coil will reduce the dynamics of the pickup. You also have to consider that you're stretching the wire as well which will make it darker (lose high end) and will increase the DCR.

and another winder not on this forum told me that machine wound pu's will yeild a brighter tone as well. Not sure how much of your capacitance theory will apply to those statements, but I take them to be true. ;) [/COLOR][/B]

I use both methods and I can tell you that you can make a bright-sounding pickup hand guiding the wire or machine winding, and you can make a darker sounding pickup by hand guiding the wire or with a machine. It doesn't matter, it's all about the technique and how you manipulate the different componants and your methods (tension, pitch, scatter/pattern, etc...).
 

jonesy

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There are always exceptions to the rule but I believe that it isn't because of the tension that it would remain bright, it could be the parts that are supporting the higher frequencies even with a tight coil. Also, the pickup maker may not be using as much tension as he thinks when he is winding, therefore the pickup will remain on the bright side. The only way to be sure is to use a tensioner and test the different tensions. I have done this and a very tight coil will reduce the dynamics of the pickup. You also have to consider that you're stretching the wire as well which will make it darker (lose high end) and will increase the DCR.



I use both methods and I can tell you that you can make a bright-sounding pickup hand guiding the wire or machine winding, and you can make a darker sounding pickup by hand guiding the wire or with a machine. It doesn't matter, it's all about the technique and how you manipulate the different componants and your methods (tension, pitch, scatter/pattern, etc...).

I don't have any experience in actually winding pickups myself,(unwinding them :laugh2:) and do not claim to be an expert on winding them. I am largely going by what other experienced winders have told me and I make a mental note of what they say, just like I am with the information you have posted.

Different types of wire. and the amount of winds (more winds/ohms darker or loss of high end) and magnets will also have an impact on how bright a pickup sounds, I know this from tinkering over the years. Winding is not an exact science and methods will vary just like wiring guitars, but I can't see how a loose wrapped wind will produce a brighter sounding pickup by having larger air pockets between the wire? :hmm:
 

WolfeMacleod

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I had one MLPF winder tell me that hand winding a tighter wrap on the wire will in give you a brighter sounding pu (vs dull lifeless)and another winder not on this forum told me that machine wound pu's will yeild a brighter tone as well.

if all other things are equal, the tighter wound coil will be physically smaller and more compact that the looser wound coil. More compact = brighter and louder, even with the same resistance.
I believe that the tighter wound coil has more effect the stretched wire/darkness rule that Kevin mentions. Wire stretches, and he has a point, but you can only stretch it so much before it breaks.

A looser coil will require more turns to reach the same resistance as a tightly wound coil.
 

kevinT

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I don't have any experience in actually winding pickups myself,(unwinding them :laugh2:) and do not claim to be an expert on winding them. I am largely going by what other experienced winders have told me and I make a mental note of what they say, just like I am with the information you have posted.

Different types of wire. and the amount of winds (more winds/ohms darker or loss of high end) and magnets will also have an impact on how bright a pickup sounds, I know this from tinkering over the years. Winding is not an exact science and methods will vary just like wiring guitars, but I can't see how a loose wrapped wind will produce a brighter sounding pickup by having larger air pockets between the wire? :hmm:

I understand what you saying Jonesy:thumb:.

There are so many things that can change the sound of a pickup just by altering one thing a little more or a little less and sometimes it can make a really big difference.

Again it all depends on the amount of tension... What Wolfe is saying is true....you can have a tight compact coil that will sound loud and bright. But there is a point where you reach the peak level of sensitivity of the pickup or resonant peak and then after you reach that "sweet spot", you start to loose high end and dynamics...to me the pickup is not as colorful. The sweet spot where resonant peak is maximized is also determined by other factors such as the magnetic field and the metal components.

You might have a tight compact coil where there is a great deal of scatter or the pitch between each turn is large and it will keep the pickup well below it's resonant peak so the pickup will stay loud and bright even though the coil is tight with a lot of tension.....so there are different techniques that can cancel out the other...so to speak.

Based on materials, methods, and individual techniques, each maker will have different results.
 

5F6-A

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Based on materials, methods, and individual techniques, each maker will have different results.

isn't it beautiful? winding/designing/building pickups is a true art... no doubt about it.
 

PINKBITS

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i wanted to post something like this also, i read all about the OTP pick up thread last night, took almost all night to get through it too lol, and i like the idea of those pick ups, but i have modern amps...and i like to play the hard rock with some gain. I tend to love 57's but i like the OTP tone/ideals....so any guidance in the to wax or not to wax would be awesome....by the way Liam it was great to read your input on that thread, i really enjoyed it. I learned a great deal on that thread thank you sir!

I too like the 57's and Mr Liams many posts. The man knows his shit. :thumb:

I would also love to try a set from that guy over the pond. Maybe one day. :hmm:
 

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