Ash at Oil City answers pickup questions:

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OilCityPickupsOilCityPickups Frets: 5059
edited February 2019 in Made in the UK tFB Trader
As I'm no longer posting in the main area if the forum I thought I'd set up a little area here to answer general pickup questions free from some of the 'aggravation' present in other areas :-)
thegummy said:
Hopefully one of the very knowledgeable people can answer this:

When a pickup has a coil tap (genuinely meaning a coil tap, not a split) - when it is in the tapped setting, would it act exactly like as if the pickup only had that much wire to begin with?

Or does the fact there's extra wire on there, even if it's disconnected, affect the signal in some way, even if subtly?

I.e. is a coil tap always a compromise or can a hot pickup with a tap give the same sound as a lower output pickup (if it happened to be otherwise made the same)?


Right, everything you do to a pickup affects things subtly ... and adding a tap wire is no exception. The unused part of the coil is shorted out when a tap is engaged, but the 'primary coil' is then wrapped in a jacket of copper, so is a touch less susceptible to interference. There is a slight increase in inductance and there may be some effect on eddy currents in the pickup, but the overall effect is very negligible indeed.
Let me give you an example from my own range: My Thames Delta alnico 5 medium/low output Tele bridge pickup is the core wind for my 'Diesel Tap' tapped high output single coil. In other words I wind a Thames Delta, then take out a wire ... then carry on winding to produce the secondary coil that makes the pickup a Diesel Tap. I've tried both pickups side by side many times ... and there's no discernible difference between my Thames Delta and my Diesel Tap on low power.

In answer to this:
CCMW335 said:
Hi Guys,

I just acquired a nice 1980s 335 in a trade with a friend which has a changed bridge pickup. My friend believes it's possible it could be a later sixties paf patent sticker number with the sticker missing. Wonder if any of you eagled eyed experts on here can tell with any degree of certainty from the pics I have. 

Pics to follow


The Bobbin mounting screws look wrong if the first illustration is supposed to be a late sixties 'Patent' Gibson ... they should be cross head not flat blade of course they could have been changed. The flat blade screws fitted remind me of seventies DiMarzio screws.
Professional pickup winder, horse-testpilot and recovering Chocolate Hobnob addict.
Formerly TheGuitarWeasel ... Oil City Pickups  ... Oil City Blog

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  • CMW335CMW335 Frets: 752
    @TheGuitarWeasel Thanks for the info Ash, sorry you have felt the need to deviate from the main forum don't know the background to that at all but never nice to hear though glad your not lost to the forum altogether.
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  • crunchmancrunchman Frets: 6001

    Ash, sorry to lose you from the main part of the forum.

    I have a question about magnetic pull from pickups in the neck position.

    Do you know which types of pickups have the least magnetic pull?  Are humbuckers better than Fender style single coils?  What about Gretsch Filtertron or Gold foil types?

    I'm mainly thinking in terms of the neck pickup of a T style guitar.

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  • Hello Ash, thank you for sticking around and sharing your expertise. Much appreciated. 

    My question is....

    When using a partial coil tap like PRS do so that a tapped 'bucker doesn't get quite as thin (and noisy) is there a way of calculating what would be a good choice for the resistor used?
    I look at the floor and I see it needs sweeping...
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  • normula1normula1 Frets: 348
    Not to steal Ash's thunder, get something like this https://uk.rs-online.com/web/p/trimmer-resistors/4748009/ and tie the wiper and one end together so you've effectively got a variable resistor and tune by ear until you get the tone you like, 
    Because it's multi-turn it's pretty easy to dial it in precisely. 
    I measured what I set the trimmers to and in my PRS spookily enough they came out to pretty close to stock even though I'm not using the stock pickups. In a Strat I have with a bridge humbucker I wanted position 2 to sound "normal" and it measured out to be 4.5k. The bridge split by itself is a far better match for the two single coils.than I was expecting.
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  • Thanks @normula1 that sounds like a very sensible idea!
    I look at the floor and I see it needs sweeping...
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  • impmannimpmann Frets: 8818
    I have a question:

    Perceived wisdom is that A2 and A3 magnets soften the attack and improve natural string vibration over other magnets (I know that’s a sweeping generalisation and doesn’t totally hold water, hence the ‘perceived wisdom’ thing)... so why do so few bass pickups use A2 and A3 magnets. Surely based on this, that scenario would be ideal?
    Never Ever Bloody Anything Ever.

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  • OilCityPickupsOilCityPickups Frets: 5059
    tFB Trader
    impmann said:
    I have a question:

    Perceived wisdom is that A2 and A3 magnets soften the attack and improve natural string vibration over other magnets (I know that’s a sweeping generalisation and doesn’t totally hold water, hence the ‘perceived wisdom’ thing)... so why do so few bass pickups use A2 and A3 magnets. Surely based on this, that scenario would be ideal?
    Because A2 and A3 have poorer low end bass response ... particularly in the attack envelope area. A5, ceramic and neodymium have much faster recovery time when their magnetic field has been disturbed by the string vibration ... in fact neos have virtually none.
    Professional pickup winder, horse-testpilot and recovering Chocolate Hobnob addict.
    Formerly TheGuitarWeasel ... Oil City Pickups  ... Oil City Blog

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  • StrangefanStrangefan Frets: 3696
    edited February 2019
    Hi Ash I have just bought one of your early transonics, it's been installed but doesn't want to coil split, it's replacing a seymour duncan solar and assumed the wire colours were the same but alas no coil tap  do you know what I have done wrong?  thanks 
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  • SD Solar amounts to a rebadged Duncan Designed HB-103 (Distortion). The 4-con + shield colour coding is the same as for USA Duncan.

    OCP uses the same four colours but not necessarily in the same order. 
    Be seeing you.
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  • SD Solar amounts to a rebadged Duncan Designed HB-103 (Distortion). The 4-con + shield colour coding is the same as for USA Duncan.

    OCP uses the same four colours but not necessarily in the same order.




    I came to the same conclusion, as I soldered the same colour wires the same as the solar.... So def different 
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  • Best to confer with the organ grinder rather than a monkey.
    Be seeing you.
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  • All sorted just had to swap the green and red :) 
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  • OilCityPickupsOilCityPickups Frets: 5059
    tFB Trader
    Sorry I've only just seen this ... yep we use the same wire colour code as Gibson and Bare knuckle ... Duncan and Di Marzio are totally different.
    Professional pickup winder, horse-testpilot and recovering Chocolate Hobnob addict.
    Formerly TheGuitarWeasel ... Oil City Pickups  ... Oil City Blog

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  • OilCityPickupsOilCityPickups Frets: 5059
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    crunchman said:

    Ash, sorry to lose you from the main part of the forum.

    I have a question about magnetic pull from pickups in the neck position.

    Do you know which types of pickups have the least magnetic pull?  Are humbuckers better than Fender style single coils?  What about Gretsch Filtertron or Gold foil types?

    I'm mainly thinking in terms of the neck pickup of a T style guitar.

    Okay ... lowest magnet pull pickups are usually those with magnets low output magnets mounted under the coils, like my own alnico 3 Riot acts for example. direct magnet pickups with powerful magnets ... like alnico 5 Strat pickups have relatively high String pull. 
    The big 'however' here is that some Ceramic humbuckers have very high string pull, and some even have direct magnets ,,, like the DiMarzio X2n. Also some Neodymium humbuckers that use bar magnets under the bobbins have innsanely high string pull.
    Re the T style ... lowest string pull would probably be a vintage alnico 3 style Tele, followed by a Gibson style PAF in alnico 3,2 or four respectively Filtertrons use huge A5 magnets but are really no worse than a standard A5 Gibson type. As for Gold Foils ... they vary hugely, from ceramic to rubberised magnets ... 
    However with all these pickups lowering them a bit goes a long way to curing the issue (except of course with some Gold Foils that can't be lowered due to being body mounted).   
    Professional pickup winder, horse-testpilot and recovering Chocolate Hobnob addict.
    Formerly TheGuitarWeasel ... Oil City Pickups  ... Oil City Blog

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  • FunkfingersFunkfingers Frets: 5907
    edited April 2019
    @OilCityPickups My question concerns the serial numbers on your Masterwound pickups.

    Is there a date or serial number after which the coil winding direction and the magnetic polarity orientation of single coils pickups was standardised?

    Alternatively, would a serial number relate back to written records of the magnetic polarity within a given set of your replacement pickups for Stratocaster?

    I currently have the one-off Masterwound Diamond Geezer pickup #11181965 from one of your 2018 clearance sales and the Route 66 trio #01192600/601/602. The magnetic polarity of the bridge and neck position pickups is the same but the coil wind direction on the DG is the opposite to the others.

    I wish to understand what is going on so that I can plan an order.
    Be seeing you.
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  • OilCityPickupsOilCityPickups Frets: 5059
    edited April 2019 tFB Trader
    My standard as of June 2018 is the same as pre CBS Fender and modern Seymour Duncan. Prior to that date I used the modern Fender polarity and winding directions if that helps. 
    One has to adopt one or other 'standard' and most aftermarket companies seem to go for the Duncan one ... so I followed ... and my pickups can be used with Duncan wiring schemes.  
    Professional pickup winder, horse-testpilot and recovering Chocolate Hobnob addict.
    Formerly TheGuitarWeasel ... Oil City Pickups  ... Oil City Blog

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  • FunkfingersFunkfingers Frets: 5907
    Thank you for clarification. The one-off DG must be pre-June 2018. I am sure that I can sort something out.


    BTW: Two flush pole Route 66s and a Scrapyard Dog Plus humbucker makes a rather nice set on my old Ibanez RG200. With American control parts and a carefully chosen partial coil split for the humbucker, the guitar should be fit for gigs and recording.  =)
    Be seeing you.
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  • DefaultMDefaultM Frets: 2756
    Hi I've bought one of your blackbird neck pickups from eBay and can't afford the bridge pickup at the minute. I've got a ceramic BKP warpig hanging about. Would that match up ok with it or be too overpowered?

    Alternatively I've got a scrapyard dog plus or a Void humbucker P90.
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  • OilCityPickupsOilCityPickups Frets: 5059
    tFB Trader
    The Dog Plus is a very good match :-)
    Professional pickup winder, horse-testpilot and recovering Chocolate Hobnob addict.
    Formerly TheGuitarWeasel ... Oil City Pickups  ... Oil City Blog

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  • FunkfingersFunkfingers Frets: 5907
    DefaultM said:
    BKP warpig ... Would that match up ok? 
    My experience has always been that the only sensible match for any BKP War Pig or Pig'90 pickup is another BKP War Pig or Pig'90 ... and a high quality volume pot per pickup.

    Modesty probably prevents Ash from saying how closely his Void pickup would match with the BK 'Pig.



    DefaultM said:
    I've got a scrapyard dog plus

    The Dog Plus is a very good match :-)
    There is your answer. Enjoy. :)
    Be seeing you.
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  • OilCityPickupsOilCityPickups Frets: 5059
    tFB Trader
    DefaultM said:
    BKP warpig ... Would that match up ok? 
    My experience has always been that the only sensible match for any BKP War Pig or Pig'90 pickup is another BKP War Pig or Pig'90 ... and a high quality volume pot per pickup.

    Modesty probably prevents Ash from saying how closely his Void pickup would match with the BK 'Pig.



    DefaultM said:
    I've got a scrapyard dog plus

    The Dog Plus is a very good match :-)
    There is your answer. Enjoy. :)
    My Void P90 is a fair bit more powerful than a War Pig as it uses alnico 8 magnets and has a smidge higher DCR
    Professional pickup winder, horse-testpilot and recovering Chocolate Hobnob addict.
    Formerly TheGuitarWeasel ... Oil City Pickups  ... Oil City Blog

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  • DefaultMDefaultM Frets: 2756
    Looking forward to it arriving now. 

    What would happen if I put the void 90 in neck position, with the ceramic warpig bridge? 
    The one I've got is the bridge version (if there even is a neck version?).
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  • OilCityPickupsOilCityPickups Frets: 5059
    tFB Trader
    Hummmm I really couldn't say 
    Professional pickup winder, horse-testpilot and recovering Chocolate Hobnob addict.
    Formerly TheGuitarWeasel ... Oil City Pickups  ... Oil City Blog

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  • DefaultMDefaultM Frets: 2756
    I put it with the SD+ in my PRS CE22. Very nice together.
    New record as well; had some Warpigs in there for 1 day before I took them out.
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  • DefaultMDefaultM Frets: 2756
    What an awesome pickup. When you hold a note, instead of fading out it starts to sort of turn in to harmonics. Not sure if thats because I'm sitting close to my speakers, but others don't do it.
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  • OilCityPickupsOilCityPickups Frets: 5059
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    DefaultM said:
    What an awesome pickup. When you hold a note, instead of fading out it starts to sort of turn in to harmonics. Not sure if thats because I'm sitting close to my speakers, but others don't do it.
    That's fun isn't it? :-)
    Professional pickup winder, horse-testpilot and recovering Chocolate Hobnob addict.
    Formerly TheGuitarWeasel ... Oil City Pickups  ... Oil City Blog

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  • SteveFSteveF Frets: 298
    @OilCityPickups not sure if you've seen but I've sent you a PM
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  • MolemanMoleman Frets: 19
    Hi Ash, I wanted to ask why there seems to be so very few PAF style humbuckers that measure out at around 10k or so resistance? An example would be the Seymour Duncan Brobucker from their custom shop: http://customshop.seymourduncan.com/brobucker/
    Also would you be able to wind such a pickup? 



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  • JonHoskerJonHosker Frets: 252
    Hi Ash
    Considering a Fender Ed O'Brien Strat at somd point. Do you make a single coil sized replacement that would swap for thd JB Jnr  bridge humbucker? Ie looking for a vinrage low /med output? Ta
    Jon
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  • OilCityPickupsOilCityPickups Frets: 5059
    tFB Trader
    Moleman said:
    Hi Ash, I wanted to ask why there seems to be so very few PAF style humbuckers that measure out at around 10k or so resistance? An example would be the Seymour Duncan Brobucker from their custom shop: http://customshop.seymourduncan.com/brobucker/
    Also would you be able to wind such a pickup? 



    The reason is that it's pretty well impossible to get enough normal 42awg wire on standard bobbins to get up to 10k. You can drop wire gauges to get more on ... but with most companies that means a drop to 43awg wire and that significantly changes the tone of the pickup. Those that do pickups around 10k (like my own Airship Trooper) tend to use '42.5' grade wire as it allows more wire without compromising too much of the the open tone of a PAF. 
    JonHosker said:
    Hi Ash
    Considering a Fender Ed O'Brien Strat at somd point. Do you make a single coil sized replacement that would swap for thd JB Jnr  bridge humbucker? Ie looking for a vinrage low /med output? Ta
    Jon
    Because of the complexity of building SC sized humbuckers, and the fact that there are so many low price ones about ... I stopped producing these.
    Professional pickup winder, horse-testpilot and recovering Chocolate Hobnob addict.
    Formerly TheGuitarWeasel ... Oil City Pickups  ... Oil City Blog

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