Wound My First Pickups Today

akuster777

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After a couple dozen failed attempts, I finally wound some functioning pickups: Stratocaster-style single coils for a 1984 MIJ Ibanez Roadstar that I got recently--it only came with two of the stock single coil pickups (the bridge had been modded for a humbucker), and I didn't like how the single coils sounded together, perhaps because they were RWRP and sounded to me like they cut out to many of the highs when paired. Also, they ran a bit hot and seemed to lack nuance.

Moreover, I wanted to customize the lengths of the magnets so that my G, B, and E strings were all the same short size--for better balance for the way I play.

In my previous attempts to wind pickups, I tired a home-brew Arduino counter with a way-too-tiny tiny motor, and another home-brew winder I made with the motor from an old coffee grinder. But these wound coils way too loosely. Also, I became fixated on wind counts, and the counter I had made (with a hall sensor) was too finicky and was tricky to position for accurate counting.

So, I decided to forget about counting turns and simply wind until the bobbin was full.

I finally settled on using an electric hand drill (which actually made pretty nice, not very loose winds).

I got my magnets and flatwork from Addiction-Fx (http://www.addiction-fx.com/), and my heavy formvar wire from Remington (https://www.remingtonindustries.com/magnet-wire/).

I assembled the flatwork with lots of hints from a video from Schuyler Dean Pickups (see link in my next post).

When it was time to wind, I clamped the drill to my table, clamped an aluminum pole with two rubber washers to use as a guide, on a bench below I clamped a smaller clamp with two felt pads to adjust for tension, and I put the spool of wire loose on the floor.

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For the winder, I used a nail with two rubber tubes (strat pickup mounting tubes) surrounding the pickup, attached like a bit to my electric drill. I got this idea from Fabian's Tiny Workshop (see link in my next post).

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I wound the bobbin until it looked full. Then I did a test measure by scraping off some coating from the formvar and using my multimeter--it had continuity, so I soldered it with leads to make it a real pickup: 6.14 DCR. I learned how to solder it up from the video from Schuyler Dean Pickups (see link in my next post).

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I made another pickup the same way, and then soldered my new pickups into the Ibanez.

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There they are!

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And here it is. Of course I'm biased cuz I'm proud that they actually work, but they sound good to me! --- I'll do a deeper comparison of the sound to my other strat this weekend.

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It's super rewarding that these work after so many unsuccessful attempts. I encourage you to try!

My next winds will be some P90s...

Best wishes to all,

Andrew
 

BadMongo

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Very similar to the first winding setup I had - albeit even more sophisticated :laugh2:
I'd just done the tensioning with my fingers and mounted it with double-sided tape and a flat dremel grinding wheel chucked in a drill that I'd clamped to a table. Definitely a minimum viable setup but it worked, did a set of humbuckers and a set of single coils.
Late last year I wanted to do some more so I went ahead and built a little winder, no arduino setup but variable speed, reversible motor (that's also underpowered but works well enough), hall sensor good for 20 clicks/second so it keeps an accurate count, movable guides, and a felt tensioning system that gives me some control over consistently adjusting the tension - about $80 worth of parts but it works very well. I leaned pretty heavily on this:
and this:
though I do all the guiding by hand.
I've said it elsewhere but I think it's astonishingly easy to wind pickups that sound good, but I think repeatable near-exact results or winding for specific sounds are probably pretty tough to do.
 

akuster777

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Thanks, @CheopisIV !

So nice to hear a compliment from a pro! I'm certainly light years away from your winding talent. But it's fun for me to tinker!

I remember hearing how good your humbuckers sounded on the Doug and Pat show a few years ago. I hunted down a used pair of your Bluesman Roots that I really liked, but they left in a trade...

I'll definitely check out Barnaby's thread. Thanks again.

Best wishes,

Andrew
 

CheopisIV

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No worries Andrew, if you get stuck on anything hit me up in a PM. I got a lot of help from a few guys on this forum when I was tryin to figure things out and am always open to passing it on.

-Dave
 

DarrellV

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I remember hearing how good your humbuckers sounded on the Doug and Pat show a few years ago. I
Funny, that's how I found him!

Dave's a great guy and very helpful.

I commissioned him to rewind my 82 Shaws that the former owner had wax potted!

Maybe I got lucky, I don't know, but the sound is magic to my ears.
 

akuster777

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ha. I won't keep posting every time I wind a pickup. but I'm now onto this madness (see below): an epi dot studio 335 with a tv jones dynasonic and my newly-wound p90. no covers yet, just hearing how they sound: p90 is clear and punchy, and the dyna spanks

so fun

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captcoolaid

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To the auther, Cheo started the same way you did. I remember the questions from all those years ago. Do you rememnber cheo lol. Fuck that seem so long ago. Good job by the way its an easy addiction until you start over thinking it. I have been doing it for quite awhile and it became a tech obsession. I just recently pulled out the machine and have done a few things, my advice is do it from an artistic point of view. I am going back to that.

To me an artistic point of view would be how does the coil look and feel. That tells me everything. Again good job.
 

CheopisIV

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Hell yeah Rayne, but to be fair I'm still learning :run:

Everything I learned (well, aside from the failures and successes of practice) was from the people on this forum. There's a lot of resources out there and a lot of misinformation disguised in marketing claims and secrecy implying insider knowledge...hard to dig through it and it can seem like pickups are a hard thing to do. They are hard but not that hard... I've done worse ;)

Best approach is just to get in and do it! Make some that sound good and make some that sound bad, then figure out what did what. That's about it.
 

akuster777

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Thanks for the encouragement! I have a lot to learn, but after many failed attempts, finally some good luck winding with the drill.

I've wound 13 pickups now: a formvar a5 strat set of 3 (2 in my ibanez), an enamel a5 strat set of 3 (in an hardtail strat), a former a3 strat set of 3 (for a partscaster I'm building), an enamel a3 tele set of 2 with a 42ga bridge 43ga neck (now in my tele and I like these better than the fender custom shop nocaster set they replaced), an extra tele bridge, and that enamel a4 p90 (in the neck of an Epi dot).

I have the parts for 6 humbuckers from Philadelphia Luthier waiting on my workbench for me to get over my intimidation...
 

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