Ash at Oil City answers pickup questions:

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  • OilCityPickupsOilCityPickups Frets: 5384
    tFB Trader
    Zoolooter said:
    Ash, can you tell me what mags are in the Stone Tone pickups? 

    Alnico 5.

    An interesting fact is that all through the 'golden era' of Fender pickup making: the 50s and 60s they only ever used alnico 5 in Strats. Telecasters started with alnico 3 then moved to alnico 5 in 1952-53, but Strats never used alnico 3.
    Professional pickup winder, horse-testpilot and recovering Chocolate Hobnob addict.
    Formerly TheGuitarWeasel ... Oil City Pickups  ... Oil City Blog

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  • ZoolooterZoolooter Frets: 703
    Thanks Ash.
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  • timmypixtimmypix Frets: 1028
    edited April 2020
    Hi Ash,

    Just a curiosity question more than anything: how would you describe the differences between your Bean-o and Forces Sweethearts? Both appear to be A4 PAFs - is it just that one's masterwound and one isn't, or have they come from different design ideas/aims?
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  • OilCityPickupsOilCityPickups Frets: 5384
    edited April 2020 tFB Trader
    timmypix said:
    Hi Ash,

    Just a curiosity question more than anything: how would you describe the differences between your Bean-o and Forces Sweethearts? Both appear to be A4 PAFs - is it just that one's masterwound and one isn't, or have they come from different design ideas/aims?

    The main difference is the use of the US made, vintage specification PVA plain enamel wire on the Bean-o, along with US made, threaded baseplates, rough cast magnets and traditional maple spacers.
    The Sweetheart uses poly coated modern wire that is around 1/3 the price of 'vintage' wire plus far eastern sourced baseplates and modern polished magnets.
    The net result is the Sweetheart sounds a bit more 'modern' with a touch more top end and snarl.
    Professional pickup winder, horse-testpilot and recovering Chocolate Hobnob addict.
    Formerly TheGuitarWeasel ... Oil City Pickups  ... Oil City Blog

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  • timmypixtimmypix Frets: 1028
    There's a rather lovely looking Eggle in the classifieds at the moment with a set of Black Arrows in it; is there a neck model that's not described on your website, or is this likely to have the same 17k humbucker in both positions? Reading between the lines, this is a sightly better behaved JB, or have I misinterpreted?
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  • FunkfingersFunkfingers Frets: 8865
    timmypix said:
    is this likely to have the same 17k humbucker in both positions?
    I hope not. The neck/Rhythm position pickup would have to be set ridiculously low in the mounting surround to achieve an output level balance with the bridge/Treble position. 

    timmypix said:
    a sightly better behaved JB
    That would be a JB after an A2 bar magnet swap.
    Be seeing you.
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  • OilCityPickupsOilCityPickups Frets: 5384
    tFB Trader
    timmypix said:
    There's a rather lovely looking Eggle in the classifieds at the moment with a set of Black Arrows in it; is there a neck model that's not described on your website, or is this likely to have the same 17k humbucker in both positions? Reading between the lines, this is a sightly better behaved JB, or have I misinterpreted?
    No there is a neck Black Arrow ... 
    And the yes ... a more musical JB ... but still with the power of alnico 5. 
    Professional pickup winder, horse-testpilot and recovering Chocolate Hobnob addict.
    Formerly TheGuitarWeasel ... Oil City Pickups  ... Oil City Blog

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  • victorludorumvictorludorum Frets: 506
    Hello Ash :-) I have a Blitz Spirit from 2014 and I want to take the cover off, so I have 2 questions. What's the easiest way to remove the cover, with a sharp Stanley blade? If I do remove the cover, what colour are the bobbins likely to be?
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  • Tadragh1Tadragh1 Frets: 69
    I've just posted in an old thread, but here it probably makes more sense - Ash, are you still making the Buccaneer Wide Range Humbuckers?
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  • 4string4string Frets: 20
    tFB Trader
    @Tadragh1 ;I have @'ed Ash in the other thread. I am not sure what we have in stock parts wise at the moment as Ash has been locked in the workshop on his own for the duration of the emergency. Also means he may be a little slow in responding. Bare with us.
     
    Chief Bottle Washer @ Oil City Pickups.
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  • Tadragh1Tadragh1 Frets: 69
    Much appreciated, @4string ;
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  • OilCityPickupsOilCityPickups Frets: 5384
    tFB Trader
    Yes I still do stillmake the Buccaneer ... though as it is time consuming to hand craft, it's not up on the site and only available to special order :-)  If you are interested please PM me :-)
    Professional pickup winder, horse-testpilot and recovering Chocolate Hobnob addict.
    Formerly TheGuitarWeasel ... Oil City Pickups  ... Oil City Blog

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  • OilCityPickupsOilCityPickups Frets: 5384
    tFB Trader
    Hello Ash :-) I have a Blitz Spirit from 2014 and I want to take the cover off, so I have 2 questions. What's the easiest way to remove the cover, with a sharp Stanley blade? If I do remove the cover, what colour are the bobbins likely to be?
    We use a Stanley blade ... and default bobbin colour is black on covered pickups ... mostly :-)
    Professional pickup winder, horse-testpilot and recovering Chocolate Hobnob addict.
    Formerly TheGuitarWeasel ... Oil City Pickups  ... Oil City Blog

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  • victorludorumvictorludorum Frets: 506
    Hello Ash :-) I have a Blitz Spirit from 2014 and I want to take the cover off, so I have 2 questions. What's the easiest way to remove the cover, with a sharp Stanley blade? If I do remove the cover, what colour are the bobbins likely to be?
    We use a Stanley blade ... and default bobbin colour is black on covered pickups ... mostly :-)

    Thank you, sir! Much appreciated as always ;-)
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  • Not sure if I should ask this here or in Making & Modding, but I'd appreciate your opinion anyway Ash.
    I'm going to build an electric mandolin and need a pickup for it.  I've got a broken cheap lipstick (guitar) pickup where the wire has snapped off inside the coil.  I had the idea of possibly unwinding the pickup, shortening the bobbin and magnet, then rewinding it with the same wire to make a narrow pickup for the mandolin.
    Given that the pickup is useless now I've got nothing to lose by trying it but my time, so I'm just after an opinion on the likelihood of me ending up with a useful pickup or whether I'll just be pissing in the wind.  Is unwinding the wire going to make it so brittle I'll never be able rewind it successfully (bearing in mind I've not done it before)?  And is shortening the bobbin and magnet to 2/3 the original length going to mean that it'll end up too weak to function as a useful pickup anyway - should I try to cram as much of the wire back on as possible or is it number of turns that matter rather than length/resistance of wire?

    So, in short, I suppose I'm asking if you think it's worth a try or such a silly idea that I shouldn't even bother :)
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  • FunkfingersFunkfingers Frets: 8865
    I suggest that you check out Ash's existing threads about air coil pickup restoration/refurbishment. 

    Given that the bar magnet is the polepiece, it will be able to sense all of the strings on your mandolin, no matter what spacing you choose. There would just be a length of "unwanted" pickup to accommodate on the front of the body. This might not look very pretty. Then, again, neither would cut down sections of the chromed tube.

    One of the traditional choices for your sort of project is half of a Precision Bass pickup. It has the advantage of looking vaguely traditional. The disadvantage is that the polepiece spacing defines your string/course spacing. 


    Be seeing you.
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  • Yes, thanks @Funkfingers ;
    If the pickup was working I'd just use it as-is - I don't really care that much about the extra width. But as I have no spare working pickups and this dead one, my options are to buy something specifically (had thought about using half a bass pickup, which would look quite cool, or just another cheap guitar pickup) or to try and make something our of the dead lipstick.  I think shortening the tube (and the other physical mods to shorten bits) won't be hard - the bit I know nothing about is the unwinding/rewinding of the wire (which I'd have to do in order to rescue this pickup even if I didn't change its size).  But I'll have a look for Ash's other posts you recommended, thanks.
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  • OilCityPickupsOilCityPickups Frets: 5384
    edited May 2020 tFB Trader
    unwinding the wire is not really feasible ... it will break over and over again ...
    why not pop over to 'Scientific Wire' and pick up a cheap reel of 42 or 43awg wire ... they do tiny ones for hobbyists. You want solderable grade 1 ... in 0.063 (42awg) or 0.056 (43awg) ... the latter will probably give best power and balance for a mandolin
    Professional pickup winder, horse-testpilot and recovering Chocolate Hobnob addict.
    Formerly TheGuitarWeasel ... Oil City Pickups  ... Oil City Blog

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  • Thanks Ash, that's the type of answer I was after - I won't bother wasting too much time unwinding it then, but I may have a go at winding it with new wire.
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  • OilCityPickupsOilCityPickups Frets: 5384
    tFB Trader
    Thanks Ash, that's the type of answer I was after - I won't bother wasting too much time unwinding it then, but I may have a go at winding it with new wire.
    Don't be tempted to buy winding wire from certain UK parts suppliers ... it's hugely expensive for the tiny quantities they sell. 
    Professional pickup winder, horse-testpilot and recovering Chocolate Hobnob addict.
    Formerly TheGuitarWeasel ... Oil City Pickups  ... Oil City Blog

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