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  1. #1

    Winding Pickups: Unbalanced coils question

    Hello all, I'm new to winding pickups and have had success with the first 2 sets of Humbuckers I've done. In the second set I went with unbalanced coils ala Lindy Fralin's Unbuckers, 5K/3.5K in the bridge and 4.5K/3K in the neck, Alnico 4's. They sound fantastic and differ from the first set I wound, which was balanced. A bit more of the single coil sound. I chose to do the slugs with the higher winds based on some info I found on StewMac's site, but afterwards I saw that Fralin and Lollar choose the pole piece coil for the higher winds rather than the slug.

    My question is, does anybody know if it makes a difference?

    Cheers,
    Phil

  2. #2
    Les Paul Forum Member LtKojak's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Location
    Milano, Italy
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    Re: Winding Pickups: Unbalanced coils question

    Quote Originally Posted by philbard View Post
    does anybody know if it makes a difference?
    Of course it does. And just by analyzing the physics of it, the answer should be right before your eyes, although the effect is a lot less noticeable in neck p'ups, due to the physics of harmonic content of the strings read by the poles.

    Don't expect to find a lot of reliable info on the web about this topic, as this is part of "proprietary information" most commercial winders won't reveal publically. The only clue I could give you is the following: in bridge p'ups, the dominant coil is the slug one, and in neck p'ups the dominant one is the screw one.

    Another thing: talking DC readings without mentioning the wire gauge makes no sense at all. Useful references are: amount of turns, TPL aka turns per layer, AWG# aka wire gauge, Max-Nom or Min-Nom spool, type of wire insulation, like Plain enamel, Poly, Nylon, Formvar, single or double coating, and the most useful of all measures, Ohm per Foot.

    Capacitance and Inductance are useful units of measure too.

    Hope that helps,
    Pepe aka Lt. Kojak
    Milano, Italy
    https://soundcloud.com/theodore-koja...hy-bro-project
    Hy-Bro Test Sound Files

  3. #3

    Re: Winding Pickups: Unbalanced coils question

    Quote Originally Posted by LtKojak View Post
    Of course it does. And just by analyzing the physics of it, the answer should be right before your eyes, although the effect is a lot less noticeable in neck p'ups, due to the physics of harmonic content of the strings read by the poles.

    Don't expect to find a lot of reliable info on the web about this topic, as this is part of "proprietary information" most commercial winders won't reveal publically. The only clue I could give you is the following: in bridge p'ups, the dominant coil is the slug one, and in neck p'ups the dominant one is the screw one.

    Another thing: talking DC readings without mentioning the wire gauge makes no sense at all. Useful references are: amount of turns, TPL aka turns per layer, AWG# aka wire gauge, Max-Nom or Min-Nom spool, type of wire insulation, like Plain enamel, Poly, Nylon, Formvar, single or double coating, and the most useful of all measures, Ohm per Foot.

    Capacitance and Inductance are useful units of measure too.

    Hope that helps,
    Ouch. I suppose that since I'm new to the pickup thing I'm opening myself up to being talked down to, but as I am new that is why I asked the question. And as for stating all the parameters of the wire and winds, I'm not sure how this bears on the concept of choosing slug or screw poles for the greater number of winds to create the midrange scooping I'm seeing from the unbalanced coils.

    42 poly wire. Ohm/ft not supplied, I measured 2.3 but this seems doubtful.
    5K coil: 6380 winds
    4.5K coil: 5810 winds
    3.5K coil: 4540 winds
    3K coil: 3946 winds

  4. #4

    Re: Winding Pickups: Unbalanced coils question

    Ouch. I suppose that since I'm new to the pickup thing I'm opening myself up to being talked down to, but as I am new that is why I asked the question. And as for stating all the parameters of the wire and winds, I'm not sure how this bears on the concept of choosing slug or screw poles for the greater number of winds to create the midrange scooping I'm seeing from the unbalanced coils.

    42 poly wire. Ohm/ft not supplied, I measured 2.3 but this seems doubtful.
    5K coil: 6380 winds
    4.5K coil: 5810 winds
    3.5K coil: 4540 winds
    3K coil: 3946 winds

  5. #5
    Les Paul Forum Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    England
    Posts
    447

    Re: Winding Pickups: Unbalanced coils question

    Quote Originally Posted by philbard View Post
    42 poly wire. Ohm/ft not supplied, I measured 2.3 but this seems doubtful.
    The spec for 42 AWG copper wire is 1659 ohms per 1000 ft @ 20 deg C so 1.66 ohms per foot would be the expected reading. When measuring with a multimeter the resistance of the test leads will need to be taken into account (short the test leads together and note the reading then subtract this from your measured reading). Of course when when measuring resistances at low levels such as this there are other factors that can affect the accuracy of the readings, temperature, the resistance of the connection between the test probe and the wire, etc.... For all practical purposes the specified value of 1659 ohms per 1000 ft can be used.

  6. #6

    Re: Winding Pickups: Unbalanced coils question

    Quote Originally Posted by PaulD View Post
    The spec for 42 AWG copper wire is 1659 ohms per 1000 ft @ 20 deg C so 1.66 ohms per foot would be the expected reading. When measuring with a multimeter the resistance of the test leads will need to be taken into account (short the test leads together and note the reading then subtract this from your measured reading). Of course when when measuring resistances at low levels such as this there are other factors that can affect the accuracy of the readings, temperature, the resistance of the connection between the test probe and the wire, etc.... For all practical purposes the specified value of 1659 ohms per 1000 ft can be used.
    Thanks, that's helpful, I do understand about coil resistance and have seen the variation in readings due to temperature etc. Still the original question was about the concept of unbalancing coils and how choosing either the slugs or the screws for the larger wind affects the overall tone.

  7. #7
    Les Paul Forum Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Location
    Wales, U.K.
    Posts
    313

    Re: Winding Pickups: Unbalanced coils question

    Quote Originally Posted by philbard View Post
    Thanks, that's helpful, I do understand about coil resistance and have seen the variation in readings due to temperature etc. Still the original question was about the concept of unbalancing coils and how choosing either the slugs or the screws for the larger wind affects the overall tone.
    A bridge position humbucker ' sees' more string energy over the slug coil as its further from the bridge than the screw coil.
    The opposite in the neck position.. Makes sense?

    The effect in the neck position is far less pronounced than at the bridge, this may account for Gibson winding their screw coils hotter than the slug coils on the Burst bucker range.
    This produces a bridge coil with a subtle lift in the highs from the extra turns on the screw coil.

    The neck position really benefits from extra turns on the screw coil, creating a voicing with some of the characteristics of a great P 90, enabling the two humbucker to be wound with specs that are very close in d/c resistance yet individually distinct and full of character.

    Just to confuse you I've a set of custom winds waiting to be fitted where the slug coil in the bridge is hotter than the screw coil at 8.4 k ( 4.1k screw _ 4.3k slug).
    How this will work remains to be seen, but I'd be happy to report if it's of interest!

    BTW : If I've made mistakes in my post I'm always appreciative of those that can correct me

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