Yeah vintage PE was "simple." I mean it LOOKS the same as it does now, LOL... I meant no disrespect to your Dad, if he thinks old wire is no different than it is now, well throw the stuff in the garbage ;-) I have 6 pages of data that says different, done by the best magnet wire company in the business in their high tech lab. I don't have a lab handy in my shop, but I'm the one that asked the questions on what I wanted them to check, I directed the process, and they gave me more than I was expecting, a wonderful gift that we both learned interesting things from. I'll give you another example of an old timer not knowing much despite being directly involved in history. Seth Lover. There are many interviews with him online and in books. Seymour Duncan repeatedly asked him what kind of metal he used in the magnetic circuit. His answer was always "soft iron." Soft iron is not an alloy name and the term can mean almost anything. Duncan pushed him on it in one interview and Seth admitted he just went to the stock room and got whatever steel they had on hand. Despite being the inventor of that particular design (he didn't invent humbucking...) he had no idea what kind of alloys were used in it. The guy I talked to who was there also had no idea either. Does that make them dumb? No, they just worked someplace and used what the company bought. There's no attitude in that, its just a proven fact. The materials were all product of the technologies of the times. Those technologies are largely GONE. Steel isn't made in open hearth Bessemer furnaces since 1968, the copper in magnet wire is of superior purity than what they were doing, as well as all the other differences the lab found.
Yeah full moon! Offenses taken where none was intended, never fails...... 'scuse me while I kiss the sky ;-)
BTW, if you ever do find a NOS vintage speaker expect to pay a very hefty price for it, especially Jensens or Celestions. No one has equalled what they made in those days.
I've got a quad of 1970 014 Celestion greenies, later than what you're talkin about but still, they are forkin great speaks.
When you push back the cotten was the wire really tarnished?
The reason I ask is that at room temp cupric oxide is a semi conductor and has a dielectric value greater than 18 vs cotten and wax which are below 3. I haven't done the math to see what this would do but it is a "maybe".
Also was the resonant peak in the audio spectrum? And you didn't have any of the extra wire coiled right?
I'll be intrested to find out what you discover with your sweet score but there is another option you forgot in yoru first post. The new and the vintage could sound diffrent but not better or worse than the other
We had some guy try to sell us speaker cables for for 5 figures at a movie audio edit suite at a job I had in the late 90's. They had some potted super duper mystery boxes in the center. Pretty much the entire engineering department was in there for an afternoon trying to decide which was better...The final decision was that it was diffrent but not better or worse. Of course seeing as our stock "speaker cable" was romex we didn't buy the fancy ones.
I really never had considered that as an option before for some reason.
The video is great, do you know what effect having your guitar player stand on your double bass while you play it lying on your back has on tone.
What I said is that the old PE that I get from him is not as consistent as the newer stuff that I use. Thats my opinion.
Really good questions! Thats what its all about for me, asking the right questions ;-) The wire is tinned so no bare copper. But the outer tinned part, yes is a bit oxidized in that its not bright wire. Dielectric of 18 is not really enough to make such a big difference in such a short piece of wire. In my experiments with dielectric potting substances, I had to use stuff rated up in the 30's and 40's for it to be audible. The rez peak of an unconnected PAF was 6khz, 5khz with the lead attached. Pretty big drop! "Better" or "worse" are subjective, if there is notable differences I'll do a video of it and let viewers decide for themselves. I had a '65 Strat pickup in here that was intermittently working and listened to it, it sounded really good and had a quality I can't describe, rewinding it to same pattern and DCR that quality got lost. Its those mysteries that keep me asking questions....
I think actually Gretsch had a working product humbucker before Gibson did and one account I read that Gibson management asked Seth to make something like Gretsch was using.
COOL speakers, the old ones really can make an amp sound vintage.
Rob, I don't think that possum was questioning your fathers inteligence, but I am fairly sure that while he was working for lockheed etc the audio properties of the wire and the effect that a guitar string would have on said magnetised coils would not have been high on his research priorities. So I believe that both parties would have information that they would bring that may enlighten each other. And that is a discussion that I would like to listen in on!!!
Good comment nutsdan ;-) I'd love to see an actual metallurgical series of tests run on the copper in vintage magnet wire. Elektrisola told me the copper was less pure, but that was all they said about the copper. But that could have a significant effect, one turn of wire on a bucker bobbin is about 4 inches long, now multiply that by 10,000 winds for the average recipe, so you got 40,000 inches or 3,333 feet of wire. So a small difference in purity could maybe be heard easily.....or not? Thats what i want to find out. They did a bunch of other measurements so the copper was a very minor mention to my question about it.
The fact that they wound the bobbins "until full" showed that they weren't all that fussy on the details of the pickups.
Trying to recreate those pickups leads to to analyze all that stuff, but the steel used was not chosen for tone any more than the magnet wire or magnets. It had to be a functional pickup that met whatever limited specs they had.
The best gauge in wire effect IMO, I learned from J Grundy.
Measure Diameter, and Ohms per thousand feet or 10 feet.
I Think these things do effect tone.
I have experimented with larger, and smaller per gauge wire.
My preference is a larger per gauge for neck P/U, and smaller for bridge P/Us.
Per previous Posts, John duplicates old pickups, by choosing what diameter and ohms per foot the wire is.
I think he has it figured out, and you can do that with modern wire, but it does take a large stock pile of wire to choose from.
Plus you have to have all that data to know what your looking for in the first place.
So Possum, if you like the sounds of the new wire?
Maybe You can get real close, if you can find a wire of same Ohm per Foot, and same Outside Diameter.
Last edited by big_teee; 08-04-2012 at 05:32 AM.
There is one thing you can tell: the lack of brightness in the bass strings compared to the treble strings. That is a relative thing that survives all kinds of other frequency response changes. Remember, it is a result of geometry, the spacing between the two coils in the humbucker. This is a very obvious difference between humbuckers and single coils that rarely gets specificly mentioned, but it is such a large effect anyone can hear it, even without a good A/B test. It still amazes me that guitarists mostly accepted this huge change in tone when Gibson introduced its humbucker, considering the small effects that get blown up out of proportion these days.
I was bidding in that spool as well. I was wondering if the winner would be on this board.
Vintage yes was inconsistent, but the wire we're getting now is from Elektrisola, they are strict and very consistent in what they produce. REA was the opposite, you never knew what they were going to send you. But consistency really has nothing to do with what vintage wire is. To judge the purity of vintage magnet wire copper you first have to strip a bunch of it and make sure its dead clean or you're going to get alot of carbon showing up in the chem analysis. Then you'd have to get enough to do a vaporizing test which might be a chore. Other tests would be a good idea too. I save all the wire from rewinds, so some day may do that.
Wire diameter and ohms per foot is a bit simplistic. You're totally forgetting insulation thickness, and I don't mean "heavy" formvar, vs. "single" etc. Different manufacturers don't use the same standards. REA wire was a little on the thick side. The American Wire Corp. stuff from 2002 era and still some newer stock on Ebay has very thick insulation, its almost a heavy build its so thick. Totally opposite of what vintage wire is. I have some rolls of fake black PE, thats actually single formvar but the insulation is extremely thin so its a really dark sounding wire. Still trying to find a use for it, but eventually will. In the lab analyses the AWC wire was the least close to vintage, REA was a little closer than what we get now. But, basically right now you're stuck with what MWS sells and thank the tone gods that its very good sounding wire consistent from batch to batch. I don't wind by "ohms" I strictly use turn counts only.
Got a rare early Patent in today that reads 8.2K, customer thought it was dead, just needs a solder joint fixed, great research score to run it thru some tests and listen to it, obviously transitional throw over from '61, never saw a Patent that hot before. Luv this stuff!!!
No, Gibson didn't spec any alloys, but in one vintage era pickup they did specify a certain alloy, real obvious because its something you can't buy off the shelf at steel supply places. The parts in PAF's were the same as in P90's, basically off the shelf steel and screws. But you have to know what those alloys were, and also know that they don't exist in the same form now as they did back then. In my research I did plenty of tests and experiments by replacing PAF parts with my parts of modern steel alloys and the PAF parts don't sound the same as modern new steel does.
Last edited by Possum; 08-04-2012 at 06:11 AM.
I got a couple bags of vintage PE that I pulled off a couple of Vintage p-90's That I repaired .If anyone is interested
One's a '57 ,the other is a '58
"Pushback" wire is ,Wire with a foreskin.
If you're offering, I'll take it off your hands, especially if you know the year of the wire. Let me know....
"Pushback" wire is ,Wire with a foreskin.
Yep, good idea to keep it. I keep the wire from everything up to about 80's period and even some of that like the Shaws or Leo era G&L stuff. I have a dog ear P90 from the 50's in here today to rewind if I can't find a break in the coil. Wish I could find a way to unwind vintage coils without breaking the wire, but nearly everyone has some undercut wind where it snags. I like to unwind on a counter and watch the pattern as I go, very educational.
Last edited by RedHouse; 08-08-2012 at 11:02 PM. Reason: added smiley
1972 magnet wire wasn't substantially different than what we get now anyway, the biggest changes happened in '65, who knows why, probably a change in technologies. I soak coils in naptha, it doesn't hurt the wire or bobbin and really helps get 50 year old black glue from the tape off the coils, brushing with Q-tips helps the process. Some of that stuff just hardens too much and only scraping will get it off, especially where the black tape was used on the baseplate, you can never get the tape off that part on PAF's hardly ever without destroying the tape. I have a very early 50's P90 in now that I'm going to attempt to get the wire off intact, those things hold enough wire for a full PAF. Doubt I'll get it though.......
Wire with the diameters and ohms/foot you mention is basically AWG 42.5 size wire (albeit with a tighter specification for the bare wire diameter and, as it appears, a less tighter specification for insulation thickness when compared to modern wire).
So, just out of curiosity, are the wire diameters you mention valid for vintage wire while it is still on the spool or are these diameters valid for vintage wire after it has been wound on a bobbin ?
I just scored a 5lb. roll of PE from 1971 for $16, its 40 gauge. Very modern stuff. You have to be careful about this ohms per foot stuff. The data I got from Elektrisola was done in a lab, I'm not real sure you can get accurate measurements at home, I'm sure they have some kind of temperature controlled device and a high tech meter of some sort. The REA stuff always had ohms per foot written on each roll usually. I would think you'd need to measure a good long section, more than a foot then average it out since just a one foot piece is unlikely to match same from other parts of the roll. The actual insulation measurement can make your ohms measurement meaningless if its different from your other stock, so your wire could sound real bright or dark but have close ohm specs. Then there's bare wire spec which also varies, you have to acid strip the insulation or your measurement will be wrong. Elektrisola uses lasers to measure their specs and a simple micrometer is just not very accurate overall. I always mic new rolls of wire but in the end only winding coils and listening to a new batch is the final word.
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