Hi All. I'm busy trying my hand out at building a 3-pole single coil pickup for my next CBG (probably a Steampunk). I have started the construction of the bobbin and am using 3 Alnico 5 pole pieces. I have built a jig for putting on the 42AWG copper wire onto the bobbin. I bought a Chinese-made magnetic induction LED counter to count the number of turns. Has anyone got experience of building there own 3-pole single coil pickup and do you have some words of advice? Many thanks! ... Ian

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I made my own pickup winder with a sewing machine motor and found that it was very easy to out-run the electric counter, so I added a mechanical counter, belt  driven off the drive spindle which is much more accurate. The photo is just after I made it, there are a few modifications including the mechanical counter which aren't on that shot. There's a knack to getting the tension right when winding and it does require a fair amount of patience to deal with the occasional disaster when the wire breaks mid-wind.

Brilliant! Many thanks Chickenbone John for the valuable information and the photo. I see that you used exactly the same magnetic induction sensor and counter that I have just bought from China! Interesting that sewing machines have always had the facility for bobbin winding and at a reasonable speed. My attempt uses a Bosch corded drill. However, I think at the slowest setting it may be a little too fast! I shall give it a go and see what happens. My first bobbin is a little small for the amount of turns that Ideally should have. I offer you this photo. I do follow your YouTube tutorials and extremely good they are!!

Take your time, do not rush or you can guarantee that wire will snap! I have never used a counter, just trusted to luck that I`d count it correctly. If you get anywhere near to the turns you are after and get a break don`t try to fix it but just go with what you have. You usually find what you have is more than good enough once it`s plugged in. My pickups have all been hand wound so it does take an age but, to me, it is very satisfying. Make sure, before you put your wax finish on that you get the plus/neg wires exactly where you want them and that they are properly secure. 

I know a lot of people use various winders but hand wound, although taking a while is satisfying and, in reality, doesn`t take that long! A hand wound jig does sound a good idea though ;)

Hi T-Belly. Appreciate your wise comments! I will probably only get to about 10 turns before the wire snaps but will persevere! I can't imagine how long it has taken you to hand-wind a bobbin with say 7,000 turns! Although you say it is very satisfying you must be extremely patient! Thanks again for the tips. bets wishes ... Ian

Well, I have just finished winding my first homemade bobbin using the jig I showed in the photo. Believe it or not there was no breakages and I managed 7004 turns. The resistance measured at 4.2K ohms and I have tested it using an amplifier and it works a treat! It is not the prettiest thing but as a first attempt I am chuffed! I will make more and better ones. I'm designing a 3-pole flat single coil pickup (flatpup) using NdBFe magnets  at the moment and will share the journey. If anyone has already done this I would appreciate some guidance otherwise it's trial and error! Best wishes ... Ian 

Here is the one I made:

Line up your wire guide stop carefully, 42 gauge wire is large enough to be pulled off spool but can be free spooled. Since you have already made one it will become easier to do your setup. Sooner or later you will get your wire hooked or snagged on the winder and not in the bobin if you do it might bare some of your wire coating I use nail polish to go over the area that got snag. Keep the tension the same from beginning to end. If you have to stop winding for any reason use tape to keep your tension the same, at the bobin and at your guide stop. Remember your windings and readouts if they change there is a reason. 



Hi Joe. Thanks for your valuable advice and comments. Your winder looks impressive! Have you published your design and instructions on how to make it? A video would be good. You must have made quite a few pickups. Have you made a flat pickup? Many thanks again ... Ian

Ian my winder is a copy from a You Tube video I saw a couple years ago. do a search on YT and you will find a few videos. I got all the parts on amazon and ebay.

This picture shows the jig and half of a flatpup. I used a 3" hole cutter cut the round in half the put 2 notches with predrilled holes to hold the pup in place. tape and super glue hold it to the winder.

This one shows the pup sitting in it.



My first flat pup I did not use anything but a drill driver and a paddle bit that I ground off the sharp points placed a magnet to hold the pickup in place and did not count the wraps and used wire i unwound from an old transformer not sure what the gauge was. It still sounded good on a cigar box guitar.

Brilliant photos! Many thanks Joe. Is the flatpup designed with a bar magnet down the middle and copper wire windings either side? I'm doing it a different way with no prior knowledge! I am taking photos at each stage and will share once finished and tested. Will be interesting! Best wishes ... Ian

Yes it was going to be a humbucker but I never wrote the windings on it so I don't know what to with it now except to cut off the unfinished side and turn it into a single coil. There are as many ways to make pups as there are people. Each looking for their own sound. I made a couple of single coil pickups out of maple and only the 3 pole magnets were in it no other metal. They sounded good.

I think it is the usual configuration for a flatpup. I show some photos of my attempt. The first construction failed to show any resistance at all so I thought the winding may have broken but I remedied this by re-soldering. This design won't allow me to do more than approximately 4000 turns but does give a coil resistance of 3K ohms which I think is not too bad!


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