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Opinion on StewMac newsletter

lemonman

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,100
I read the latest newsletter from Stew Mac at lunch, and was kind of shocked at the thought of a general repair shop rewinding a vintage pup:

http://www.stewmac.com/tsarchive/ts0175.html

Am I wrong to think that this is a major disservice to that customer, and to the future of that guitar? I would think that P90 should've gone off to Duncan or Fralin or someone else who specializes in pickup winding. Thoughts?
 

CyberFerret

Member
Messages
10,036
I read through the article, and this shop certainly didn't seem to be your everyday run of the mill dusty old 'general' guitar repair shop.

The tech had a decent pickup winder, and seemed to do quite a professional job of the rewinding. No problems there. I think a lot of people get wound up (pun intended :) ) about how 'sacred' vintage equipment is, and hesitate to send it to specialist repair people outside of the original manufacturer.
 

Steve Foley

Member
Messages
1,766
This was an old DEAD pickup, right? So what value is it, if it's not working.
I think the folks over at Stewmac know a thing or two about lutherie, being one of the major suppliers in the world.
I'm just curious, what you would have done or recommended instead. This isn't a "catty" question, just wondering what would have been a preferred repair method, or would you have just left it broken/dead?
I tend to take the same view as CyberFerret, about needing special folks to repair special gear. If it's broke, it ain't sacred, and is pretty much "useless". If it can't do what it's supposed to do, it seems to me it's only value is what you can sell it for, and whether it's cheaper to fix it or sell it. Sort of the ole "hopefully someone will find value in this old beatup piece of crap broken pickup, and give me tons of cash for it".
 

John Coloccia

Cold Supporting Member
Messages
9,584
It's just a pickup. The vintage ones, especially, were tossed together haphazardly on unreliable machinery. Different operators wound differently. Some made neat rows. Some made more zigzags. Some just did a sloppy job.

Rewinding a pickup is not a difficult job. If the guy doing it is even half awake, they can even duplicate the "style" of whoever wound it in the first place. I would say it's far more important to bring it to someone that you trust. They'll get it right, even if that means saying, "You know what, there's stuff going on here I'm not sure about...you should send the here because this needs a real specialist."
 

walterw

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
39,359
y'know, i kinda see lemon's point.

dan (and dan's guys) are gonna be top-notch, so that pickup will be re-wound right, but there's a certain "cachet" to who winds a pickup (deserved or not), and that can reflect on its perceived value. it seems like most of the "mojo" in a pickup's tone is hidden in the winding style and pattern.

i haven't bothered with a winding machine because who the hell wants "wally's re-wound pickups" when they can get them re-wound by say lindy fralin for what's likely to be around the same price?
 

SamBooka

Member
Messages
2,222
I don't like he he he he he I rewound the pick up and no one will ever know attitude but I guess it is really up to the owner to disclose that if he sells it

Otherwise no issues
 

whoismarykelly

Oh look! This is a thing I can change!
Messages
8,087
I cant imagine thinking sending it to them was a bad idea after reading the email. Did you even see all the attention to detail and process he took to get to the point of rewinding the pickup? Multiple steps of attempted repair before the rewind. Replication of the original look using all the original parts and tape. So on and so forth.
 

lemonman

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,100
This was an old DEAD pickup, right? So what value is it, if it's not working.
I think the folks over at Stewmac know a thing or two about lutherie, being one of the major suppliers in the world.
I'm just curious, what you would have done or recommended instead. This isn't a "catty" question, just wondering what would have been a preferred repair method, or would you have just left it broken/dead?
I tend to take the same view as CyberFerret, about needing special folks to repair special gear. If it's broke, it ain't sacred, and is pretty much "useless". If it can't do what it's supposed to do, it seems to me it's only value is what you can sell it for, and whether it's cheaper to fix it or sell it. Sort of the ole "hopefully someone will find value in this old beatup piece of crap broken pickup, and give me tons of cash for it".

I would have done one of two things: replaced it with a new one from Fralin/Duncan/Lollar/Throbak, etc, and stuck the old one in the case, or sent it out to one of the above specialists to have it rewound by an expert. I didn't mean to imply they were a run of the mill shop, or incompetent in any way. But to me, the value of that guitar dropped far more than it would have if the above mentioned guys had done the rewind.

As for pickup winding being overrated, the fact that everybody winds vintage copies, yet no one's really been able to nail the tone, tells you it's not just a simple matter of winding 10k turns on a bobbin & you're done. The guys who specialize are just in a different league.

Maybe the guy's good, and the thing sings like a canary. It just didn't seem like a good idea to me, both from a tone standpoint and a business standpoint.
 

levelfrets

Senior Member
Messages
591
I don't like he he he he he I rewound the pick up and no one will ever know attitude but I guess it is really up to the owner to disclose that if he sells it

Otherwise no issues
I think you took it out of context. His intent is like any decent repair shop to leave as little evidence as possible of any repair work. Going the extra mile.
 

Trebor Renkluaf

I was hit by a parked car, what's your excuse?
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
14,188
Ok I'm confused. He tried re-soldering the leads, that didn't fix the problem. He starts to unwind the pickup, doesn't find a break so he then decides to rewind the pickup and now it works. What did he fix?
 

walterw

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
39,359
What did he fix?
not sure what you're asking;

after significantly unwrapping it and still not finding the break, he came to the correct conclusion that the break was too far in to "rescue" the pickup, and re-winding was the only option.
 

mike shaw

Member
Messages
2,214
He fixed the pickup. He was looking for a break so he started unwinding the pickup If he found a break within a realitivly small number of winds, he can solder the broken end to the eyelet and the pickup would be fixed and the sound would be pretty close to the same as when it was working. BUT, if you unwind a lot of wire, the sound of the pickupwill be drastically altered, that's why it was completely rewound.
 

Drak

Senior Member
Messages
5,055
'Wally's ReWinds' has a certain marketing flair/flavor to it y'know ...could work!:beer
 

Trebor Renkluaf

I was hit by a parked car, what's your excuse?
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
14,188
not sure what you're asking;

after significantly unwrapping it and still not finding the break, he came to the correct conclusion that the break was too far in to "rescue" the pickup, and re-winding was the only option.
Gotcha - he decided to rewind from scratch. I originally read that as he just wound the old wire back on the pickup.
 

John Coloccia

Cold Supporting Member
Messages
9,584
Gotcha - he decided to rewind from scratch. I originally read that as he just wound the old wire back on the pickup.
Sometimes you can. For example, if you unwind the whole thing and the break isn't until the end, you can snip off the break, and rewind with the same wire. Ditto if the break is right at the surface...unwind a few winds, snip and solder. Once you're more than a couple hundred winds in, though, you're kind of committed. You can usually get away with 100 or 200 more or less winds without really doing bad things.

The way the article is written really doesn't make clear at all what he's thinking. I think he meant to say he was 300 winds in, not 3000. You would never take 3000 winds off a pickup. I would certainly remove 300 if that got me to the break, though, and then pop it in the guitar and try it. I can always completely rewind it later, but doing the least you can is always best.
 

jimshine

Member
Messages
1,594
As long as the rewinder used the correct winding wire, approximated the tension, turns per layer, and got the wind count in the ballpark, there isn't much more that can be done.
 

Keyser Soze

Member
Messages
1,472
Given that the original pickup was toast the choices are replace or rewind.

A rewind is not an irreparable act. If the results are not acceptable your options are to repeat the process or send it along to another.

Given a vintage pickup I'd offer the owner the option of sending it along to a big name, because I certainly agree with the previous poster that certain names carry cachet and inherent value (at a premium price.)

The other option being a no-name, but possibly just as good sounding rewind, at a lower overall expense.

If the owner is not a total cork sniffer the odds are he/she will be quite satisfied with the results of any remotely competent rewind.
 

levelfrets

Senior Member
Messages
591
Most of the "big name" shops that specialize in rewinds would never go the extra mile and try to unwind the pup to find a break in the wire. Most just cut the coil and rewind. That said there are benefits to using a smaller scale pickup winder who takes the extra steps which may save you from a rewind to begin with
 

Chris Scott

Member
Messages
9,268
I would have done one of two things: replaced it with a new one from Fralin/Duncan/Lollar/Throbak, etc, and stuck the old one in the case, or sent it out to one of the above specialists to have it rewound by an expert. I didn't mean to imply they were a run of the mill shop, or incompetent in any way. But to me, the value of that guitar dropped far more than it would have if the above mentioned guys had done the rewind.

As for pickup winding being overrated, the fact that everybody winds vintage copies, yet no one's really been able to nail the tone, tells you it's not just a simple matter of winding 10k turns on a bobbin & you're done. The guys who specialize are just in a different league.

Maybe the guy's good, and the thing sings like a canary. It just didn't seem like a good idea to me, both from a tone standpoint and a business standpoint.
You are right, imo, though Dan's no slouch in this dept.
 

sunburst79

Member
Messages
1,329
If it sounds good it is good.

Eric's written a couple of pickup winding articles. He seems to know what he's doing.
 






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