View Full Version : Anybody Wind Their Own Pickups?
10-27-2007, 07:57 PM
I'm wondering how many people here have attempted winding their own pickups. I know that mastering the art of creating a truly great guitar pickup, and matching it to your tonal needs and guitar setup takes a lot of talent and practice, but is there anyone here that has tinkered with it as a side project of sorts? The materials themselves are relatively inexpensive, and setting up a winding machine to do individual pickups doesn't seen that difficult.
Has anyone here attempted this? If so, what were the results? What kind of setup did you use?
The reason I ask is that I'm considering attempting a pickup winding project, perhaps over Christmas break, and was wanting to get some first hand reports before starting out.
10-27-2007, 09:14 PM
Just jump in an try it. Make sure you get enough extra wire to feel free to strip a bobbin and start over if you don't like the results. I spent time learning with Seymour Duncan, Lindy Fralin, and Jim Rolph. In the end, who I studied with didn't mean much. It just takes doing it, a bunch of times, to really get any feel for how to manipulate the coils to your liking.
I made my first winder based on Seymour's first winder which I had a chance to wind a few coils on. Basically a spindle to turn the bobbin, belt driven (stepped down by pulleys at about 12:1 ratio) by a sewing machine motor, though I made a plate to adapt easily to different style bobbins. Then just a bar to guide the wire and a few stops to set the edges. I've made two much more advanced winders since then, but one I pretty much scrapped and the other sits in a corner of my basement, rarely used. I just like the simple primitive one.
I have no ambition to put pickups on the market - there are tons of makers out there making great pickups, and I just don't see any need for another. I pretty much do occasional rewinds and experimental pickups for odd projects.
Like you said, the materials aren't much and a winder is not too complicated either. All I can tell you is to dive right in and have fun with it. Don't get frustrated if your first one sounds great, then the second, third and fourth sound like crap. Just keep stripping them back and play with things like tension and winding pattern . Eventually you'll get a feel for what you like. In the end it may not be any cheaper than buying a few good custom pickups from a respected maker, but it's a lot more fun (so long as you're not too easily frustrated).
10-27-2007, 09:18 PM
I wind a few for my on guitars and they sound pretty good. But I also do a lot of experimenting such as stacked coils and such. I use a homemade winder that has automatic scatter and countdown circuit for preset number of turns. Having said all that you can wind a good pickup on just about anything and I think you'll be amazed at the sound. Thousands of pickups are wound by guiding and tensioning with your fingers, give it a try.
10-28-2007, 03:16 PM
I wind pickups for fun and profit, mainly fun. I have sold a few sets over the years to friends who were looking for something cool to drop into a guitar. Mainly I enjoy winding as a relaxing break from everything else that goes on in life. I built a winder out of parts from a sewing machine. Then I built a cam driven machine that scaterwinds somewhat automatically. It just isn't much fun to sit there and watch the machine do the work while you step on the pedal. Count on breaking some wire, a couple of dead coils here and there, and other problems along the way. In the end, putting your own pickup in the guitar you are playing is a pretty cool thing. For easy entry, stewmac sells some kits which have all of the parts except the wire. You can focus on getting your winder going and winding a few before you start tweaking the flatwork and magnets. PM me if you want some sources for supplies or need any help along the way.
10-28-2007, 11:16 PM
Very cool! Thanks for the advice guys...
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