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Thread: Tightening Up Attack

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    Question Tightening Up Attack

    First post, be gentle. I've wound up my first handful pickups. I need some tips on tightening attack. I've made two different styles of pickups both sound pretty good, but the attack is not at tight as I'd like. Even though they are different builds they have the same issue. I tried them through my Plexi clone and a Friedman HBE.

    Do I need to: wind a little tighter or wind neater? = lower inductance = brighter attack? On both I tried for 75 TPL to the best of my ability. I think they are wound decently tight, the coils are firm and do not bow out in the middle.

    Pickup 1:
    53mm bobbins
    Elektrisola P155, 42awg
    A2, 430ish gauss
    1022 slug, 5950 turns, 4.81k
    1018 screw, 5650 turns, 4.63k
    6.1H @ 120Hz
    5.8H @ 1kHz

    Pickup 2:
    53mm bobbin
    Elektrisola P155, 43awg
    A5, 690ish gauss
    1022 slug, 6500 turns, 7.21k
    1018 screw, 6500 turns, 7.30k
    7.4H @ 120Hz
    6.9H @ 1kHz

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    Quote Originally Posted by radrobgray View Post
    Do I need to: wind a little tighter or wind neater?
    I'm no expert, but I'd say wind a little less.

    "Vintage" PAF wind is considered ~5000 turns/coil, ~3.8H @1kHz.
    Some like fewer turns for neck, more for bridge: say ~4750 turns neck, ~5500 turns bridge.
    With inductance much over 5H, loaded resonant frequency goes down to Sludgeville.
    Try being a bit more conservative in varying from a classic formula.

    Don't worry- the folks who actually know what they're talking about should be here soon.

    -rb

    PS: You didn't mention baseplates or covers. A brass cover can ruin your day.

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    Last edited by rjb; 02-07-2018 at 12:40 AM.
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    ToneOholic! big_teee's Avatar
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    Welcome!
    It being 53mm I presume Bridge? Those turn counts should work for bridge pickups.
    Is it possible you just need to raise the pickup, or raise the poll pieces a bit?
    A picture of the pickup in the guitar would be nice.
    T
    ++Not an answer to the question, but if you care to experiment?
    The less the tpl, the larger the coil, the larger the coil, the futher the wire is from the poles and magnetic field.
    Try a 42 SP pickup with higher tpl, this might brighten and tighten the attack?
    Let us know how it turns out.

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    Last edited by big_teee; 02-07-2018 at 12:15 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by big_teee View Post
    Welcome!
    It being 53mm I presume Bridge? Those turn counts should work for bridge pickups.
    Is it possible you just need to raise the pickup, or raise the poll pieces a bit?
    A picture of the pickup in the guitar would be nice.
    T
    ++Not an answer to the question, but if you care to experiment?
    The less the tpl, the larger the coil, the larger the coil, the futher the wire is from the poles and magnetic field.
    Try a 42 SP pickup with higher tpl, this might brighten and tighten the attack?
    Let us know how it turns out.
    Correct, bridge pickups. I have the pickups 1/8"-3/16" from the string. What is a "higher" TPL? I did 75ish should I shoot for 100? I wound another set of the pickup #1 I managed to lower the inductance to 5.9H @ 120Hz. I still need to try it out though.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by radrobgray; 02-07-2018 at 04:01 AM. Reason: add photo

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    Quote Originally Posted by rjb View Post
    I'm no expert, but I'd say wind a little less.

    "Vintage" PAF wind is considered ~5000 turns/coil, ~3.8H @1kHz.
    Some like fewer turns for neck, more for bridge: say ~4750 turns neck, ~5500 turns bridge.
    With inductance much over 5H, loaded resonant frequency goes down to Sludgeville.
    Try being a bit more conservative in varying from a classic formula.

    Don't worry- the folks who actually know what they're talking about should be here soon.

    -rb

    PS: You didn't mention baseplates or covers. A brass cover can ruin your day.
    I'm trying out a few EVH style winds. Basically the first pickup is a 78 and the second is a Super Distortion with an A5. No covers normal nickel silver baseplate material. They aren't flubby or loose, they just aren't tight and punchy in the initial treble attack.

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    Since I am a hand winder, and don't use any auto traverse, I lay the wire down by hand, I guess on TPL.
    I would think 90-100 tpl sounds about right.
    I would also wind the coils tight, but without stretching.
    On my Frankie coils, I use 50mm bobbins.
    I wind somewhere around 6000-6100 turns on slug, and 5800-5850 on screw coil.
    A2 magnets at full gauss.
    If you have several different magnets, I would swap through them, and try different gauss levels.
    GL,
    T

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    Last edited by big_teee; 02-07-2018 at 05:44 AM.
    "Here I come to save the day!"
    That means that Mighty Mouse is on the way!
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    Bent Member Chuck H's Avatar
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    I wouldn't discount the notion of mismatching the coils a little. For very little added noise you can really open up the tone. I have to wonder just how precise the old Gibson pickup coils matched. Pretty close was probably fine as far as a manufacturer was concerned. And they weren't using digital counters

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    If all else fails, remove the 1022 slugs and put soft ferrites there as I did.

    But try everything else first! (hey, did anyone ask about the potentiometer values?)

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    Quote Originally Posted by darkfenriz View Post
    If all else fails, remove the 1022 slugs and put soft ferrites there as I did.

    But try everything else first! (hey, did anyone ask about the potentiometer values?)
    CTS 500k on both guitars. Pickup #1 is in a guitar with only a volume. Pickup #2 is in an HS with a master volume and tone.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck H View Post
    I wouldn't discount the notion of mismatching the coils a little. For very little added noise you can really open up the tone. I have to wonder just how precise the old Gibson pickup coils matched. Pretty close was probably fine as far as a manufacturer was concerned. And they weren't using digital counters
    Pickup #1 is offset by 300 winds. Which seems inline with the suggestions above.

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    Have you used other pickups in the same guitars with the same amps that gave you better performance? This is along the lines of what darkfenris mentioned about pot value (which would change the resonant peak). That is, it's difficult to know if the pickups you made are under performing without a base line. You said:

    "but the attack is not at tight as I'd like. Even though they are different builds they have the same issue. I tried them through my Plexi clone and a Friedman HBE"

    But that doesn't tell us the pickups alone are responsible. Another guitar with another pickup doesn't count either. It would have to be the same guitars and amps you're testing your pickups with to know that your pickups are actually under performing in this quality you're after.

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    "Now get off my lawn with your silicooties and boom-chucka speakers and computers masquerading as amplifiers" Justin Thomas

    "A shot gun delivers a force that exceeds the operational range of most systems, such as pumpkins." Antigua

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck H View Post
    Have you used other pickups in the same guitars with the same amps that gave you better performance? This is along the lines of what darkfenris mentioned about pot value (which would change the resonant peak). That is, it's difficult to know if the pickups you made are under performing without a base line. You said:

    "but the attack is not at tight as I'd like. Even though they are different builds they have the same issue. I tried them through my Plexi clone and a Friedman HBE"

    But that doesn't tell us the pickups alone are responsible. Another guitar with another pickup doesn't count either. It would have to be the same guitars and amps you're testing your pickups with to know that your pickups are actually under performing in this quality you're after.
    I tried the pickups in both guitars through the same amp rig. Previously the guitars had the same pickup builds, but made by a pro winder. I'll try a higher tpl and see what happens.

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    ToneOholic! big_teee's Avatar
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    When I first started winding about 10 years back, I used to break wire a lot, winding by hand.
    Took a while to get it all worked out.
    One thing I noticed when I wound that tight, was good attack and great pick harmonics.
    Without the breaking, try winding tighter, with more tpl and see if it makes any difference!
    I added some calculated trembucker data.
    T
    **Also according to your picture, I've found that a tremolo guitar is usually not as hot or have as much sustain, as a fixed bridge guitar, especially if it has a bolt on neck.
    But, with a large tremelo block, they usually sound pretty good.
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    Last edited by big_teee; 02-07-2018 at 10:21 PM.
    "Here I come to save the day!"
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    Member GunbarrelCustom's Avatar
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    Raise the action a bit on your guitar and if itís a bolt on larger neck screws can help.

    You may want to remagnetize the A2 to get more punch or try a 3, 4, 5 or 5 unoriented alnico magnets. With all the material changes in the 40+ years since VHI matching the sound may require mixing different materials or carefully experimenting with magnet strength with each magnet type.

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    Woodgrinder/Pickupwinder copperheadroads's Avatar
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    Take Big T's advise ,the way coils are wound alone can easily tighten up give you a more increased pick attack ,just remember it also gives you a thinner tone .

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    Last edited by copperheadroads; 07-01-2018 at 05:52 PM.
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    Will raising the pot value or using a lower value tone cap effect attack? I've always been curious about why some guitars are livelier than others. Has anyone come up with a formula for this?

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    ToneOholic! big_teee's Avatar
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    Caps and Pot values, can effect brightness.
    A larger value Tone Pot, can give larger bass, treble rolloff.
    Liveliness in a guitar, can be many things, also can be an accumulation of things.
    Tone wood
    nut type and fit
    bridge type and fit
    neck pocket fit on a bolt on guitar
    pickups
    String size and type
    And, the combination of all the above.
    Good luck finding the attack you're looking for!
    T

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    Last edited by big_teee; 09-21-2018 at 05:02 PM.
    "Here I come to save the day!"
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    Yeah, I know all those things contribute but there has to be a way to figure it out so it's predictable. We know how to get resonance peaks electrically but I suppose what we need is a way to sort out mechanical resonance too. There has to be a sweet spot where we can find that sustained resonance.

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    ToneOholic! big_teee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by netfences View Post
    Yeah, I know all those things contribute but there has to be a way to figure it out so it's predictable. We know how to get resonance peaks electrically but I suppose what we need is a way to sort out mechanical resonance too. There has to be a sweet spot where we can find that sustained resonance.
    Here in the B/H forum, we keep it all nice and simple.
    Good luck corralling attack.
    T

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    Last edited by big_teee; 09-22-2018 at 09:45 PM.
    "Here I come to save the day!"
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    Senior Member LtKojak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by netfences View Post
    there has to be a way to figure it out so it's predictable.
    Unless you wind with a CNC winder with auto-traverse, predictability is simply off the table.

    You can find the "sweet spot" where "attack" (do you mean "pick attack" or "articulation"?), but you'll need to wind many bobbins with different turn counts, TPLs, coil geometries and even how you put the start lead in the coil matters, until you "get it". It's NOT something you can get by adding numbers in a spreadsheet.

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    ToneOholic! big_teee's Avatar
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    This thread IMO is a bit on the Smoke, Mirrors, and Snake oil side, of pickup building.

    With that said, there are so many things that attribute to the sound of an electric guitar.
    I will attempt to cover some of them.
    The guitar itself is a main part of it.
    IMO you can't have great pick attack, without great sustain.
    The Les Paul that we think about when we consider hot humbuckers is to be considered.
    The mahogany body and set neck contribute greatly, also the tuneomatic bridge and stop tail, add sustain.
    Before discussing pickups, consider the type and gain of the amp.
    When I think hot les pauls, I think of Marshall from days of old.
    Pedals also add to the equation.
    Volume and tone pot, & cap values, helps set the tone.
    Don't forget tone robbing covers, and brass baseplates.
    Type of steel in fillister head screws, and slugs, also make a difference.
    So last but not least are the pickups.
    You can make low, medium or overwound pickups. A multitude of magnet types, and strengths.
    So before you go trying to do everything with tpl and tension of the pickups, consider all the above mentioned parts of the equation.

    T
    **I've never heard the position of the start lead being a big contributing factor, or issue.
    However I still do it the old fashioned way, on the bottom through a hole, or notch, cut in the bottom of the bobbin.

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    Last edited by big_teee; 10-07-2018 at 07:01 PM.
    "Here I come to save the day!"
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    ToneOholic! big_teee's Avatar
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    No ads please, in the B/H section.

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    Last edited by big_teee; 10-08-2018 at 05:50 PM.
    "Here I come to save the day!"
    That means that Mighty Mouse is on the way!
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    Senior Member LtKojak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by big_teee View Post
    No ads please, in the B/H section.
    Do you consider it an ad?

    That's... unfortunate, because it shows a pretty obscure, overlooked detail in p'up winding with actual tonal impact, that's not that nuanced, if you ask me.

    Sorry if I broke the rules, Tee. I thought it was pretty interesting, specially to the rookie winder.

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    Bent Member Chuck H's Avatar
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    I didn't open the link because I'm not a pickup winder. But since I posted on this thread I'm "subscribed". I did wonder about the edit when I saw that it happened. Are we sure it wasn't simply one of those sites that just brims with popups. I don't really consider that an ad per se. Just a little annoying. If the point of the link isn't selling anything (though of course any popups are) I still wouldn't think "ad".

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    "...less ear-friendly but handy for jazz." Leo_Gnardo

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    ToneOholic! big_teee's Avatar
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    IMO everything from that site is an ad.
    Since I didn't want the ad to become the debate, I deleted it.
    Please convey your point without the use of an ad.
    T

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    "Here I come to save the day!"
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