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Thread: Question about magnet wire

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    Question about magnet wire

    I am new to the forum and pickup winding. I am at the stage of buying magnet wire. I saw the offerings from remington and they sell single coated and heavy coated wires (described as enameled, so i'm not sure if they are SP or SPN or something else). Could you let me know what is the difference? I would like to wind both strat single coils and humbuckers, so please give me an advice. are both necessary, and should I not even bother with them and get the more expensive plain enamel version?

    Thanks, Gorjan

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    Supporting Member SonnyW's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gorjan View Post
    I am new to the forum and pickup winding. I am at the stage of buying magnet wire. I saw the offerings from remington and they sell single coated and heavy coated wires (described as enameled, so i'm not sure if they are SP or SPN or something else). Could you let me know what is the difference? I would like to wind both strat single coils and humbuckers, so please give me an advice. are both necessary, and should I not even bother with them and get the more expensive plain enamel version?

    Thanks, Gorjan
    The term "enameled" as used by Remington and some others is just a generic description of coated wire. Their main supplier is Elektrisola and that is also how they use the term, which is probably why Remington uses it that way. They aren't trying to imply all the wire is plain enamel. That is really only important to pickup winders not all their customers. You have to look at the description of the wire to find out the insulation type. And poly can mean several different things. Here is an excellent reference to help educate yourself on the wire types. I use this website a lot. (This is from the Elektrisola website.)
    NEMA

    The above reference is better, but a quick explanation is SP means single poly and SPN means single poly with a nylon overcoat. HPN would be heavy poly with a nylon overcoat. There are also different meanings for heavy. The single build wire is dipped only once, but some wires are dipped twice or three times to build the insulation thickness.

    Basically, for single coil strat pickups you would probably like the heavy coated versions better. Most of the original strat pickups used heavy formvar. For humbuckers you would probably like the single coated versions better. But the single coated wire can also be used to wind strat coils, the ones from the mid 60's used PE. If it is plain enamel wire the description will say so and the price will be much higher so it is pretty easy to tell. There is plenty of discussion about the effects of different wire types all over the forum, so do look at some of the threads or search for the term you are curious about like PE or SPN. I would say for starting out, the most versatile overall and cheapest would be 42 SPN.

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    Last edited by SonnyW; 06-18-2013 at 04:24 PM. Reason: typos
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    ToneOholic! big_teee's Avatar
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    Hi gorjan:
    Welcome to the B/H Forum.
    A little history of wires used in vintage Pickups.
    50s-Early 60s, Fender used a lot of 42 HFV, Heavy FormVar wire on Single coils pickups.
    So a Cheaper alternative to 42 HFV is 42 HP, or HPN, which is Heavy Poly, or Heavy Poly Nylon.
    Later Fender, and Gibson Pickups use 42PE, or 43PE which is Plain Enamel wire, which is a dark color.
    So 42 SP, or SPN would be an economical replacement for the more expensiv PE.
    I highly recommend first starting with the SP, and HP wires and get your winding perfected.
    Vintage replica Pickup Winders use HFV, and PE wires, but it costs much more.
    I have some of all types, but mainly use SP, and HP wires.
    So say you want to make some Single coils and Humbuckers and want to just buy one wire?
    I recommend just buying a roll of 42SP, or SPN, whatever is for sale at the time.
    For consistency sake I would get a 5 inch roll of the 42SP, in the 6-7 lb size.
    Anyone else got any info for Gorjan?
    T
    ** I guess Sonny and I were busy typing at the same time!

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    Last edited by big_teee; 06-18-2013 at 05:05 PM. Reason: Spelling and left out words!
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    Supporting Member SonnyW's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by big_teee View Post
    ** I guess Sonny and were busy typing at the same time!
    I was just about to say the same thing but you beat me to it. I guess I can blame it all on Bill Gates.

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    Thank you, many things are starting to make sense now. Just a quick tip, I will order one heavy build large spool and one single build large spool (unfortunately I can't tell if they are SP or SPN). From the single spool there is one natural and one red spool. Does it make a difference? Which one is better?

    Thanks for all of the information, Gorjan

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    ToneOholic! big_teee's Avatar
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    Don't know if you are looking at Ebay, or on their site?
    Magnet Wire - Large Spools
    You can call them, and they have many different weight of large spools.
    Tell Larry that Terry and Sonny told you to call them.
    If you get a red 42SP, and a Natural 42HP, then you can tell them a part easily when on a pickup bobbin.
    Good luck,
    T

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    Great idea

    Thanks again, Gorjan

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