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I've never made a pick up but I like the look of the correct number of poles to strings (Ya OCD is strong within me) which is why I'm thinking I want to make a humbucker pick up with 3 or 4 poles.
First I need some clarification on Pup anatomy, a single coil the pole pieces are the the magnets vs the steel slugs and a bar mag in the bottom of a HB, Right?
In my thinking I'm wondering about the effect of a shortened bobbin on the length of wire used. While the # of wraps would stay the same it it will use less wire thus give less resistance right? Is this going to effect the field enough to worry about perhaps needing to overwind?
How much of an effect do you think shortening the magnet will cause? I know magnets are tough to cut, that's a hurdle I'll have to overcome and worry about either weakening or killing it all together in the process. I've also though of just finding the right size magnets but that maybe cost prohibitive. Which leads me to the thoughts of using neodymium because I've actually found some in what I think would be the correct size. Any thoughts on this part would greatly appreciated.
I'm sure I'll have more questions but these are the ones I've come up with so far.
Conatact Ted Crocker, Bob Harrison and / or Skeesix here at CBN for construction help with pickups. They all have built them and sell them, and various people swear variously by them (not at them ;-) ). Ted and Bob have ads to the right on each CBN page, and Skeesix has a Group called Skeesix CBG Pickups.
I make and sell pickups too !
yes mate you can get away with using a smaller neodymium than you would use if you were using alnico magnets - Neo magnets have a lot more power so you can go smaller - also if i make a pickup with neo magnets i use less turns'wraps of wire
making a humbucker differs from making two single coils - to get a true humbucker effect you need to have one pickup with the North poles of the magnet facing up and the other set of poles south and alternate the direction of the winding between the two wind one clockwise the other anticlockwise this will put them out of Phase to each other giving a great sound and the noise canceling effect - also for added effect you can wind one coil with say 10,000 turns and the other with 8,000 turns and you can even add a coil tap switch so the humbucker can be switched from a humbucker to a single coil
one thing you have to watch for with neo magnets is that there not mounted too close to the strings - because of there power they can slightly deaden the string vibration because of the magnetic pulling power
hope that helps :)
Sorry, JuJu, didn't mean to leave you out! Guess I'm just USA-centric, sometimes.
Which brings up a thought: is there any place where we can localize a list of all the pickup builders worldwide on CBN? I know Elmar Klinghoffer makes 'em, 407bug, I'm sure I'm forgetting the Aussies, and now Phillipe of Les Fab is rolling his own...would people find such a list of CBN pickup builders useful?
No worries mate i'm sure you just overlooked me lol ! - yep i'm sure at some point we did have a Pickup builders page - i think thats when Ted was here before !
but yes i guess it would be a handy page / Group to have
i'm just in the middle of making a batch of 12 Pickups - 4 x 1 string , 5 x 3 String & 3 x 4 String for a customer in Finland he's had around 30 off me to date i think he's eating them lol ! :)
As far as number of wraps, I haven't really found that much of a difference with 3-4 pole pickups, but with less poles, yes you will need more wraps to get the same volume.
For a humbucker, the magnet orientation and the direction of the winds have to be reversed on each coil. So, for example, coil 1 would be north pole facing up with a clockwise wind, and coil 2 would be south pole up with a counter-clockwise wind.
You don't have to literally wind the coils clockwise and counterclockwise. You can wind them both clockwise, then switch the leads on coil 2 and it will amount to the same thing.
I haven't tried this personally, but I believe you should be able to use use the same rod magnets as with a single coil pickup and just flip them north up for one coil and south up for the other coil. The reason that production pickups probably use one magnet is for cost savings. The magnet is the most expensive component of the pickup.
If you want to use one bar magnet, like Juju says, you have to make sure the orientation is across the width of the magnet, not the length, which is the usual case.
If you cut an alnico magnet, the heat can case the magnet to lose it's magnetism. However, you can recharge it with a large neodymium magnet.
Also ditto what Juju says about using smaller neo magnets for your pickup because of their greater strength.
Thanks to all for the great info! I might even start with the pole piece flipping idea and see how it turns out definitely sounds easier than cutting a magnet.
Now I'm off to order some supplies and see what I can come up with.
i dont think its about the number of winds so much as the total length of wire that you use. So a narrower pickup for three strings needs more winds than a six string pup. also big fat coils like a p-90 or a tele bridge pup use more wire with each wrap. I like big fat coils myself, more middly. Ive had really good results with rare earth magnets myself. Pull a couple of really good ones from a dead harddrive
I've finally made a start on Skeesix pole flipping humbucker idea/suggestion not to mention coil making in general.
Keep mind I already had a variable speed lathe and just needed a counter. I tried the reed switch and calculator route, by the 2nd calculator I had a working counter. However since my lathe's slowest speed is 750 rpm it wouldn't keep up. I tried all sorts of things but finally threw in the towel and got bought a counter from Ebay. Best 12.99 I ever spent.
I spent yesterday putting the counter together and outfitting the lathe for winding. Here's the final product.
With that all set I attempted to wind my first coil.
After many tries and an epic failure when my flat work fell off when I took it off the lathe after 9000 something winds. After I absolutely couldn't get the windings back on the bobbin to reattach the the bottom flat I decided to get the heartbreak over strip it all off and give it one last try.
By now I had everything dialed in and and plenty of practice, roughly 10,000 winds (only three wire breaks) I had a coil giving me 4.2k Ohms. : - )
Off the lathe, added magnets, wired a jack, and with the aid of some wood scraps I propped it up over my latest build for the moment of truth.
Little hiss when I turned the amp on and with a quick strum IT WORKS!!!!!! WooHoo!!!!!!
I need to trim up the flatwork as I had no idea how big it would need to be. At least now I do and and can plan accordingly for the 2nd coil. The halfway finished project. not real pretty but it works.
Get job on the winder! Yes, there is definitely a learning curve on winding. I have a whole box filled with windings from screwed up pickups. Eventually I'll take it up to the metal recycling place and get some money back on it. :>)
"Not really pretty"? You're kidding, For a first time home made magnetic pickup that looks like a beauty! Great job! Makes me want to do some winding too. Will have to give it some thought. I have no lathe, but maybe a fan? Remove the blade, add a counter, etc. I'll have to check around and see what I can come up with.
Here in China, I can buy 4 pole mag pups for bass guitars very cheaply, and I was wondering if there is a way I can use two of these cheap bass mag pups to create a hum-buckler for a 4 stringer CBG. After reading this thread, it seems I might be able to do it if I reverse the 4 magnets in one of the pups and wire it up backwards compared to the other mag pup. Does this make sense? This question is open to everyone...
That should work. The only caveat would be if removing the magnets would destroy the coil. Assuming you're talking about rod magnets - on the cheap pickups, the magnets would likely be inserted into a plastic bobbin vs. directly touching the coil. In that case, it should be no problem.