guitar Pickup Technogy basics

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D.C. Resistance.

What is Scatter Winding a Pickup.

What is Scatter Winding a Pickup.

  1. D.C. resistance can be checked with an Ohm-meter, better if it's a digital multimeter.  The readings are usually given as general technical specs.  These readings are generally recorded at room temperatures of 68 degrees Fahrenheit.  The resistance for any model is usually the value resulting from the average of several units measured, therefore it is quite normal to find slight differences between what is stated on the box or technical specifications of the pickup.  The resistance increases with high temperatures, so that if a pickup is measured with a room temperature of 96 degree F it is expected to get higher resistance values recorded on your meter.

Tension on the winding also affects the results.  With high tension the wire tends to stretch and become slightly thinner, especially around the corners, with a proportional increase in resistance.  The turns may be more or less tight, regular or irregular. 

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What is Scatter Winding a Pickup.

What is Scatter Winding a Pickup.

What is Scatter Winding a Pickup.

Scatter winding is a process of adding wire to a pickups bobbin non-uniformily.  In the process of machine wound pickups wire is laid precisely onto a bobbin one layer at a time.  This leads to a uniform sound for each pickup and there is less treble produced.  Scatter wound pickups tend to have brighter trebles and are carefully made by human being.

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Capacitance.

What is Scatter Winding a Pickup.

Magnets Bars and Poles.

 Capacitance is the property of an electric conductor that characterizes its ability to store an electric charge. An electronic device called a capacitor is designed to provide capacitance in an electric circuit by providing a means for storing energy in an electric field between two conducting bodies.  

I'll bet that really cleared the air.  We've found that each pickup made at Sound Laboratories has clear beautiful plush sound.  We are always amazed when a customer comes and we swap out their old pickups for one or a set of ours.  If we're amazed you should see our customers faces.

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Magnets Bars and Poles.

The Most Important Variables in a Pickup Coil

Magnets Bars and Poles.

There are so many different factors that go into a pickup build which effect the tone of the pickup.  Pickup wire gauge and amount of wire used are 2 factors.  Basically we have 2 kinds of magnets, Alnico and Ceramic.  There are several different grades of Alnico, and the different grades are based on their metallurgical makeup. The most popular for guitar pickups are Alnico 2, 3, and 5. Generally speaking the grades are not in order of “awesomeness.”  The numbers simply denote a particular metallurgical composition of aluminum, nickel and cobalt (Al-Ni-Co) . 

​Alnico 2 is the most popular magnet used in Humbuckers.  They tend to have a slightly soft attack, generally warm tonal characteristics and a slightly loose, bouncy feel.  Pickups of this sort are generally not wound for high output, when pushed they develop a nice singing quality and make a nice pickup for leads. Players who like to work their amps hard versus using pedals will love Alnico 2.  

Alnico 3 magnets are used in Humbucker designs and Telecaster style pickups. Common in early Telecaster bridge pickups. It has good attack qualities, and a clear high end that some would describe as “grainy” and complex. In humbucker pickups, they create a nice balance of warmth, bite and clarity. Tighter sounding than Alnico 2 pickups, leads are crunchy and pleasantly tight, and don’t get slushy in the neck position. A nice pick for both rich complex cleans and medium gain rock.  

​Alnico 4's are not as common as Alnico 2, 3 and 5.  The belief is that Alnico 4 combines the warm feel of  Alnico 2 but with better attack and note definition.  Try it you may just love it.  There is no bad pickup, you just have to know where it works best.  

​Alnico 5 is one of the most popular magnets.  Popular in both our Humbucking and Single coils designs.  The go great in Stratocasters, Telecasters, and anything with a P-90’s. They have a strong output, clear tone, and punchy attack. Most Stratocaster's pickups use Alnico 5.  Compared to Alnico 3 they may lack a little sonic complexity, but for those about to rock, Alnico 5 is a very good choice.  

Ceramic is quite strong and gives a very bright tone. It retains articulation and clarity even with heavy distortion which makes it well suited for heavy distorted types of music.  

Permanent magnets are supposed to lose 1.2% of their power after 2 years, then about 0.2% in the next thousand years. unless shocks, exposure to high temperatures or a much stronger magnetic field which could affect the magnets alignment.

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Soldering​ Technique

The Most Important Variables in a Pickup Coil

The Most Important Variables in a Pickup Coil

Much like playing and instrument soldering is a practiced skill.  It's not hard at all once you get it.


  Irons can range from $15.00 to hundreds of dollars. Get one that is between 30 to 40 watts.  Temperature controlled irons are very useful especially if you plan to move on to other projects like modding microphones and more.  You have to be careful not to over-heat volume / tone pots or you'll kill them with ease.  Sometimes it's best to have backup parts.    

Soldering skill comes with practice.  


Damian Panitz started soldering back in the early 1980's at his grandfathers Brownsville, Brooklyn alarm business as a junior alarm technician.  

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The Most Important Variables in a Pickup Coil

The Most Important Variables in a Pickup Coil

The Most Important Variables in a Pickup Coil

1) Each kind of wire is delivered with some allowance on it's specification.  Slight variations in diameter from the nominal value may happen.  

2) When the wire is wound around a bobbin or magnet variations in tension can cause occasional stretch reducing the diameter of segments of the coil.  When repeated turn after turn a noticeable increase in the total resistance will occur.  

3) The coiled wire has its own capacity and acts as a small capacitor, cutting the highest frequencies.  The more turns there are in a coil the more trebles are cut.  

4) In each coil there are "eddy" currents affecting the timbre positively when the phenomenon is limited.  

5) The more regular turns and have even tension the lower the content of the "eddy" currents.  The sound is cleaner or, less rich.  Looser windings would give a brighter tone however if too loose feedback can be an issue.  

6) Wire coils have resonance and the relationship between the intensity of the magnetic field, the number of turns and other factors determine the frequency peak level sensitivity aka resonant peak.  The greater the number of turns, the lower the frequency at which resonant peak happens. 

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