Why doesn't anyone do a real remake of the Fender Wide Range CuNiFe pups?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by NoahL, Feb 18, 2009.

  1. NoahL

    NoahL Member

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    These amazing pickups from the 1970 Teles have a voice of their own, like nothing else, I think. I wonder why, in this age of aggressive boutique pup-makers, nobody has tried to re-make them. Is the magnet material just too expensive for some reason? Do you know of anyone who purposely or accidentally makes a pickup that's reminiscent of them?
     
  2. Lammy

    Lammy Member

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    Someone over on TDPRI is retrofitting MIMs pickups with new bobbins and CuNiFe slugs.
     
  3. Mike Fleming

    Mike Fleming Member

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    I believe even he gave up, and went with alnico pole pieces (if we're talking about Telenator's thread). Although it sounds like he has gotten real close with the alnico.

    People on that thread, including Telenator, said the manufacturing is not a problem, but the minimum order from any metals place is between $50,000 and $100,000.
     
  4. Boris Bubbanov

    Boris Bubbanov Member

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    I guess there's always the possibility that as other business dries up, the metals guys will reconsider and lower that minimum order threshold. I mean, keeping the plant open and the lights on, no profit, is all you can hope for some difficult years.

    If they did Cunife once, they can do it again.
     
  5. DC1

    DC1 Member

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    What is it that you like about them? I've never tried them myself.


    dc
     
  6. Norcal_GIT_r

    Norcal_GIT_r Member

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    You need a small fortune to get the CuNiFe poles made.
    The demand for these pickups doesn't seem to warrant me to invest in the poles.
    I get asked a few times a year if I can make them but it's too few people to make it worth it.
     
  7. DC1

    DC1 Member

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    Years ago I knew the owner of Dobro before they sold it to Gibson. I asked him if they could make a Tricone with a metal body. It was such classic in terms of sound and the industrial art of the design that I couldn't imagine that no one would ever make them again.

    His response?

    "Oh no, the dies were lost, and dies are very expensive and there isn't enough interest, and there are too many parts to make and there aren't enough people who want them. They will never be made again".

    :thud

    Few years later I am rounding a corner at NAMM and what do I see...

    [​IMG]


    And Tricones! Several of them in fact.

    Someone had simply decided to do it.

    It's not us asking for these pickups that will make them appear, (although that is important) nor is it solely about difficulties in getting metal vendors, it simply someone deciding it is worth doing and investing the money and time in doing it.

    Sooner or later it will likely happen if these things offer something special.


    dc
     
  8. treedroppings

    treedroppings Member

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  9. DC1

    DC1 Member

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    There ought to be a way to reproduce the magnetic flux characteristics of that material. The magnets are not in the audio circuit, and given that, magnetism is magnetism, and should not sound different because of the material.

    Duplicate the magnetic flux, wire type and gauge, insulation material and general layout of these pickups should be doable.

    What do they sound like?


    dc
     
  10. zombiwoof

    zombiwoof Supporting Member

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    The problem is that the Cunife mags were one of the only magnets that could be machined into threaded polepieces. That's what those pickups had, the threaded polepieces with the screwdriver slot on top WERE the magnets. Other magnet types can't be machined like that, and the used of the magnets as polepieces seems to have a lot to do with the sound of those pickups.

    Al
     
  11. Shooter Bob

    Shooter Bob Member

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    You're exactly right. The material itself doesn't necessarily contribute to the sound except for it's specific magnetic field. One of the interesting things about CuNiFe is that it's most effective in a .200 diameter. As the rod gets larger, the magnet itself becomes less effective. I read that on a tech data sheet recently and was surprised.

    I'm Telenator from TDPRI and getting the magnet size just right was the key ingredient to making my retro-fits sound like the original. I'll never forget the day we were experimenting with different magnet sizes and plugged in the guitar with the .545 length alnico v rods. Our hair just about stood on end as we went back and forth between our pickup and two other original 70's guitars we had in the shop that day. We knew we had arrived at the right sound.

    Too bad there isn't a bigger market for this. I still have parts to make 12 or 13 more retro-fits. I get inquiries almost daily but the price tag is pretty hefty. I wish I could do them for less but it's just so labor intensive at this point and we'll never be compensated for the 8 months of development. Anyway, it's a cool project and,......I got mine! LOL!
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2009
    strangec likes this.
  12. NoahL

    NoahL Member

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    Aw, c'mon, do it for us. Imagine of Jonas Salk had said, "I got the cure for polio right here in my workshop, but I'd rather go eat an Egg McMuffin." If you're not gonna get your development costs back anyway, why not just do it for the good of mankind? Or at least patent the sucker so that when Fender decides to finally remake 'em, you get your development costs back.

    Bottom line: you can't tell the world you unlocked the secret to the CuNiFe sound and then tell us you're not going to share it.
     
  13. socalscott

    socalscott Member

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    I've replaced slugs with mag rods in HB's. Not sure how close to the Custom Tele tone, but in-coil mags take you into new sonic territory. Imagine over-wound Firebirds. Volume pot roll-off provides very Fendery tones. Very good in the N position and hot B pups.

    There are some mag rod HB pups made.
    SD StagMag
    Rio Grande
    Bill Lawrence

    Schecter and Tom Anderson
    Hybrid metal/mag/metal rods
     
  14. Shooter Bob

    Shooter Bob Member

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    Where did you get the idea I wouldn't share it?

    If you go over to the TDPRI, all of my research is right out in the open. You can read the entire process of how this retro-fit pickup idea came about. It's quite an enjoyable read as many helpful people were involved in it.

    If you want to get any of these pickup retro-fits, I still have enough parts for about 12 or 13. Just tap me an e-mail.

    It's all good man.
     
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