Coil winder 3 – guitar pickups

There is no ‘Mic of the Month’ article this month – normal service will resume in July. You can read the archive HERE.

Since the Meteor ME307 coil winder arrived, things have been rather hectic and we’ve been busy getting it working, and having some fun winding transformers, inductors and pickups. The friction wheel / clutch that drives the lateral action was worn, but we were able to get a good used replacement part from Poland, and everything is working well.

Hungry? P-p-p-pickup a P90…

James from Hungry Ghosts came down to the Xaudia workshop for an afternoon, which we spent rolling our own guitar pickups. James wanted a pair of P90s to replace the stacked humbuckers on his ‘Vintage’ guitar, and I was still playing about with options for my Reverend Slingshot.

P90s are pretty simple things. We made the base plates by drilling and tapping a bar of 5mm square mild steel, and two “Alnico-5” magnets were glued to this, side by side, like this.

We wound four bobbins, at 7000, 8000, 8500 and 9500 turns, reverse winding some so that they could combine to give a humbucking effect….

Dipping the magnets in hot wax prevents microphonics, and we rigged up a ‘redneck’ wax potting system using a £10 slow cooker from Tesco. This works really well and I’ll describe it in a separate blog post. That done the pickups could be assembled and wired.

I found some nice deep headed screws which made perfect pole pieces for the pickups. Here is the finished P90…

And the new pickups imbued James’ guitar with a spooky pink glow!

OK, we made the last bit up but they do sound astonishingly good. 9500 is quite a lot of turns for a P90, but the pickups all had plenty of clarity and no shortage of bottom end either.