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Thread: Is 42/43 gauge wire required?

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    Is 42/43 gauge wire required?

    Busted a bucker when trying to split coils. (Used wrong size heatshrink tubing which I ultimately couldn't remove.) The thinness of 42/43 gauge wire, together with their non-availability in local brick & mortar stores, makes me just a little suspect as to my own ability to rewire a coil. I can get 36 or 38 gauge wire locally, and 36 or 38 gauge wire seems to offer much better project-completion potential for me. As this may be a one-off project (would have to rewire the non-broken coil as well), I obviously don't want to buy too much wire. I am going to jerry-rig a winder (with a counter) per the many examples available on line.

    Is it acceptable to use 36 or 38 gauge wire? Obviously, the number of windings will be reduced, but as compared to what? How do you know how many turns your coil should have in the first place? And if it turns out that output is too low, can you compensate for this with some kind of passive pre-amp or active pre-amp? (I found a guy online who has designs for each.)

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    Member Emeritus Forever Steve A.'s Avatar
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    I believe that if you want it to sound like it did originally you would need to use 42/43 gauge wire. However you might want to examine some of the DiMarzio patents which discuss winding a second coil with a thicker wire to produce a brighter sound more like a single coil. Lots of other good ideas in them, too.

    Patent US5908998 - High inductance electromagnetic pickup for stringed musical instruments - Google Patents

    This patent was used for their EJ Custom hb's and their Virtual P-90 and DLX-90 p'ups to get a brighter sound more like a single coil from a hb.

    Steve Ahola

    P.S. Here is a link for all of Steven Blucher's patents:

    https://www.google.com/search?tbo=p&...+L.+Blucher%22

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    You are correct, obviously, about matching wire gauges between coils. However, even if I do that, considering that my coil would be scatterwound (I'm human and not an NC machine), if I wanted matched coils, using same wire gauge wouldn't get me there.

    BUT YOU RAISE AN INTERESTING POINT. If all I am really doing is playing around with sounds (I forgot to mention I already had a suitable complete humbucking pickup replacement in reserve), then your suggestion to mate whatever it is I wind with my existing undamaged coil might just give me some interesting sounds. After all, experimentation is both means and ends for the inquisitive.

    Regarding those patents, the first one I looked at has the polepiece & slug of each polepiece/slug pair "misaligned" from each other on either side of its associated string, each equidistant from the vertical plane of the string but on opposite sides. Very interesting.

    Still, assuming I use 36 gauge wire, how do I calculate (or guess) just how many turns I'm going to need?

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    Member Emeritus Forever Steve A.'s Avatar
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    I've been using 38GA magnet wire to wind dummy coils per the Chiliachki patent used by Suhr and Ilitch. For a single coil pickup with a DC resistance of 7.0k wound with 7,000 turns of 42 GA wire you would make a dummy coil of 200 turns of 36GA wire with a DC resistance of 250 ohms and a diameter of 8". Obviously the circumference of a HB coil is much smaller than that so you'd need a lot more turns to get 250 ohms. The game plan here would be get the sound of the split coil but have it humcancelling. Here is the patent:

    Magnetic pickup device for a stringed musical instrument with large free shape low impedance coil - United States Patent Application 20050204905

    BTW are you sure that the coil can't be fixed? I've "gone fishing" on broken coils looking for a pair of leads which will give me most of the expected DC resistance- sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.

    Steve

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    ToneOholic! big_teee's Avatar
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    Not Required, but depends on what tone and brightness your shooting for?
    If you want traditional sounds, I would buy the Smaller type wire.
    If is a neck pickup, I would stick to 42.
    If it is a bridge, either 42, or 43.
    Larger wire will be brighter.
    Feel free to experiment.
    Magnet Wire
    They sell in small rolls.
    T

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    Last edited by big_teee; 02-08-2013 at 07:48 AM.


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    Pickup Maker David Schwab's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sam Spade View Post
    Busted a bucker when trying to split coils. (Used wrong size heatshrink tubing which I ultimately couldn't remove.)
    Never pull the shrink tubing off. Use a razor blade or X-Acto knife and cut it off.

    The thinness of 42/43 gauge wire, together with their non-availability in local brick & mortar stores, makes me just a little suspect as to my own ability to rewire a coil. I can get 36 or 38 gauge wire locally, and 36 or 38 gauge wire seems to offer much better project-completion potential for me. As this may be a one-off project (would have to rewire the non-broken coil as well), I obviously don't want to buy too much wire. I am going to jerry-rig a winder (with a counter) per the many examples available on line.

    Is it acceptable to use 36 or 38 gauge wire? Obviously, the number of windings will be reduced, but as compared to what? How do you know how many turns your coil should have in the first place? And if it turns out that output is too low, can you compensate for this with some kind of passive pre-amp or active pre-amp? (I found a guy online who has designs for each.)
    You can use the thicker wire, but you wont get enough turns on to get the type of tone you are probably looking for. Thicker wire will give a bright clear hi-fi type tone. The limited winding space for winds will mean it will have a lower impedance, and lower output too.

    You can get 42 gauge wire online.

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    If one is winding a pickup of one's own design, you can use whatever the heck you want. When rewinding an existing pickup, though, you have to use somethng that conforms to the physical space provided by that pickup. And there are serious limits as to how many turns of #38 (or even #40, for that matter) that you can fit on the bobbin/coilform provided. Putting 2000 turns of #38 onto a bobbin that was expecting around 4000 turns of a much thinner gauge will get you something, and maybe even something you like, but it will not get you anywhere within commuting distance of the original tone or signal level.

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    ToneOholic! big_teee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Hammer View Post
    If one is winding a pickup of one's own design, you can use whatever the heck you want. When rewinding an existing pickup, though, you have to use somethng that conforms to the physical space provided by that pickup. And there are serious limits as to how many turns of #38 (or even #40, for that matter) that you can fit on the bobbin/coilform provided. Putting 2000 turns of #38 onto a bobbin that was expecting around 4000 turns of a much thinner gauge will get you something, and maybe even something you like, but it will not get you anywhere within commuting distance of the original tone or signal level.
    I agree totally on the size and space limitations.
    I just built a mini bucker for a friend.
    He Wanted all the same things that you get out of a big bucker.
    Got most of what he wanted, but if compared to a full sized bucker, so, so.
    For most applications, IMO good ole 42 AWG in the right quanities is hard to beat.
    T

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