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  • Several pickup questions.

    I have a set of Bootstrap strat pickups that are A5, 42AWG enamel, and a DCR of 6.2k/6.2k/6.8k. (the 6.8k may have been different but i think it was 6.8) Anyways, i didn't care for them and decided to try something. A few years back i had a set of fender 57/62's which are also A5/42AWG/ but with a DCR of 5.6K for all 3. So same spec as the Bootstraps except for the DCR. Now i hated the 57/62s because they were so weak and thin. But i had an idea to try this anyways.....unwind the bootstraps to 5.6k for all 3 just like the 57/62s. I had a gut feeling they wouldn't sound so weak and thin due to longwinded reasons i won't bother to go into. I've done this many times, removing wire from pickups to change the tone and lower output. So i did it to the bootstrap set. All 3 now read 5.6k like the fenders.

    The result was s i had suspected....they sound worlds different than the 57/62s even tho all specs are now the same. I fully understand that there are other possible differences that can influence tone like how tight the windings are, magnet gauss and quality etc. But these 2 sets are so different i don't feel like the could be that different. The 57/62s as i said were very weak and thin/anemic sounding with little low end. The bootstraps now at 5.6k each like the fenders are fat with big lows, full sounding, and punch hard. Totally different, as different as you could imagine. But they have that wonderful clarity and note seperation you get with low winds. I liked that about the fenders but not the thin weak sound. Boost the amp in the front end and the fenders would just sound plinky. The Bootstraps when boosted get even fatter and sustain like they should.

    Question....why? What is the most likely reason these set sound so radically different with the same wire type, gauge, DCR, and alnico type? My thought is magnet gauss. Maybe fender uses a weaker charge on their A5? I also have a set of fat 50s fenders which are the same spec as the bootstraps were befor i unwound them and they are actually no fatter sounding as the newly unwound bootstraps and in fact sound weaker ! Why? Second question....can magnets become degaussed at all when stuck to other magnets that are the same, IE: NOT rare earth but all of them alnico of one type or the other?

    Before you answer, there IS one difference in spec between both fender sets and the bootstraps....the boots are flat stagger while both fender sets are staggered. Maybe that could be it? I wouldn't think the stagger itself could cause that difference, but i'm wondering is because there are no shorter magnets and they are all longer than some if not all of the mags in the fender set that that could give them a stronger pull? Lastly, for the record i am not a winder, just a player who can't stop F'ing with things.

  • #2
    The Fender 57/62's have Formvar wire, which is typically a thicker insulation. That and a looser wind will produce a fatter/less-efficient coil with weaker note fundamentals. The old enamel wire tends to crack around the bobbin ends which can cause eddy currents that generally reduce highs. The A5 they use may also be a different formula than is used in the bootstraps. Stronger flux can actually produce a harsher/thinner tone as the increased string pull emphasizes higher harmonics. The Bootstrap A5 might even have higher permeance, which pulls flux lines from the strings down through the coil more, increasing efficiency without increasing pull on the strings. It may also slightly reduce the Q. Yes, the flat stagger means the D and high E strings aren't quite as loud and upper-harmonic emphasized. That gives the impression of more bass when strumming. All those factors might add up to make a substantial difference. How does Bootstrap stay in business with those prices? Very generous of him.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Fluoroscope 5000 View Post
      The Fender 57/62's have Formvar wire, which is typically a thicker insulation. That and a looser wind will produce a fatter/less-efficient coil with weaker note fundamentals. The old enamel wire tends to crack around the bobbin ends which can cause eddy currents that generally reduce highs. The A5 they use may also be a different formula than is used in the bootstraps. Stronger flux can actually produce a harsher/thinner tone as the increased string pull emphasizes higher harmonics. The Bootstrap A5 might even have higher permeance, which pulls flux lines from the strings down through the coil more, increasing efficiency without increasing pull on the strings. It may also slightly reduce the Q. Yes, the flat stagger means the D and high E strings aren't quite as loud and upper-harmonic emphasized. That gives the impression of more bass when strumming. All those factors might add up to make a substantial difference. How does Bootstrap stay in business with those prices? Very generous of him.
      Well, much of that is over my head but i was also thinking that staggered might be different not just because some strings are further than others, but also because i would assume (maybe wrongly so) that some of the magnets would be weaker than others due to the fact some are shorter than others. As to how he does it at those prices....his business model ! IMO he decided that rather then compete in a business that's become way over crowded, sell at a very tiny profit in order to pull a ton of orders and remain insanely busy nearly giving them away but in such high numbers that he's profitable.The difference is that unlike other winders he has to work long hours and be backed up all the time. So much so that his lead time is usually 4-6 weeks because he's so busy. And in fact he has ton close the site to new orders for a few weeks now and then because he has so many orders he at times gets too far behind to ever catch up if he didn't do that. So basically he made a successful go of it by doing it in a way that causes him to work harder than most people are willing to. Hard to best strat sets and tele sets at $50 with quality parts !

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      • #4
        I don't think the slight magnet length differences make near as much difference in tonality and output as does the relative distance of the magnets from the strings, although how far the poles stick out past the coil on either side does affect tonality due to the effect of stray flux lines. Flat pole pickups do give the impression of more bass, and comparisons of pickups I've heard with double thick "heavy" Formvar vs enamel insulation wire do seem to have more high-end, yet weaker note fundamentals. The latter effect has to do with larger vibrations not being quite as strong due to the flux lines passing through fewer winds on both axis'. You may also have the coil set closer to the string on the high E side. That increases fundamental strength. BTW, I meant to say the old "enamel" (lacquer) INSULATION tends to crack around the bobbin ends. Fender was initially instructed to heat the pickups to ~125 C shortly after winding to patch any cracks so those pickups would sound more like modern poly/aramid insulation pickups. Bootstraps may not do that to enamel wire pickups.

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        • #5
          Forget about DC resistance figures. They are useless. Detailed info:
          https://www.buildyourguitar.com/resources/lemme
          or
          http://www.planetz.com/wp-content/up..._Technique.pdf

          Helmuth Lemme
          Author of electric guitar books:

          "Electric Guitar Sound Secrets and Techology"
          https://www.elektor.com/electric-gui...edition-e-book
          and
          "Inside Electric Guitars"
          https://www.inside-electric-guitars.com


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          • #6
            Welcome Helmuth!

            You are a living legend, a true pioneer.
            Great to see you here.
            Last edited by Helmholtz; 09-07-2023, 05:25 PM.
            - Own Opinions Only -

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            • #7
              Yes, I was thinking that too
              My band:- http://www.youtube.com/user/RedwingBand

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