Monday, March 19, 2012

Copper Coils, Magnetics And A Hot Wax Bath

Today I wound a set of single coils for my latest Highline Envirocaster Single Cutaway. Here are some photos and details regarding the process:

I used my ghetto winder to fill the bobbins with 9,400 turns of 42 AWG poly nylon insulated wire. Each coil showed a DC resistance of 7.0 Ohms on my meter. That's a bit hotter than the norm for single coils, but the thick wire should produce wide ranging tone.

To magnetize the Alnico V slugs, I use a vice with four neodymium magnets (two on each jaw, with north polarity on one jaw and south on the other). I slide the pickup into the field and quickly pull it out. The result is a fully charged row of slugs. However, for the best tone, the magnetic field needs to be weakened (degaussed) slightly. To do this, I place a 1-1/2" thick block of Maple against one set of neos and slide the pickup between the block and the other set. To check my efforts, I use a homemade gauss meter to test the strength of each slug before and after degaussing. Of course I won't know for sure how they'll sound until installation is complete.

The last step before installation is to pot them for ten minutes in a 150° bath of paraffin and bees wax. This will reduce microphonic feedback, especially with regards to squeal.

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