Pickup winding

I’m on a forced vacation for a few days, because I mangled one of my finger tips this week.  I was surface grinding some steel, and was flipping it over to do the second side, and used my hand to sweep some iron dust off of the magnetic chuck.  Well, the grinding wheel was still spinning, and my middle finger touched it, and got sucked in.  The wheel was about 3/16″ from the surface of the chuck, so the tip of my finger got squeezed to that thickness, and a healthy amount of flesh was removed.  Hurt like hell for an hour or two, and now I’m babying it until it grows back…

So, the moral of that story is, shut the machine off before sweeping it clean, or use a brush.  😉

So, since I can’t do any heavy work, I decided to wind a couple pickups this morning.  I think I’ve posted some pics of my winder, but haven’t really gone into detail.  So here goes.

First step in making a neck position pickup is to solder the end of the wire to a lead.  I use black for the “start” lead and white for the “finish” lead.


Here are the bobbins.  I go over them with a file to remove any burrs that might snag the delicate wire.  I’m using 42 guage wire for the neck pickups.


Now the black lead is run through a hole in the bottom of the bobbin, and glued in place with superglue to immobilize it:


Now the bobbin is screwed to the winder:



I use a calculator to count the windings.  There is a switch connected to the “=” button which is struck by the crank on the reel.  So you enter 1 plus 1, then crank away.



Here it is at 950 cranks, which is 4,940 windings,  I went all the way to 1125 cranks with this bobbin.


Which resulted in a DC resistance of 4.03 K ohms, which is what I was shooting for.


Now the wire is immobilized with a piece of tape, and the white lead is soldered on:


Then the coil is wrapped with tape to protect it:


Then the process is repeated 3 times, since I’m making 2 humbucking pickups.  The bridge pickup is wound with 43 gage wire, to 6.5 K ohms per bobbin.  This is because the strings are moving in a smaller arc at the bridge position, and so to get the same output, you need more DC resistance.

I’m waiting for the rest of the parts to come in.  When they do, I’ll continue this tutorial.



3 thoughts on “Pickup winding

    • Hey Chris!
      More or less. I was expecting two checks this week, since I gave them two invoices, but I only got one. So I’ll probably get the second one this next week.

      Do you still want to come over this summer? I’d be glad to help with gas money.

      • Yes I want to check out your latest stuff. You don’t have to buy me gas. It’s a pleasure visiting. Let me know when it’s a good time to come.

        It’s typical they would pay you that way. After years of working for myself I’ve learned you have to be tough with people because they will take advantage of you. That’s why I asked.

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