All this time, and stock pickups are fine for a Dummy

Discussion in 'Pickup Forum' started by brokenbar, Jan 14, 2022 at 3:54 AM.

  1. brokenbar

    brokenbar Strat-Talk Member

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    Such as those with ceramic bar magnets on either side of the slugs, or the ones with the single bar embedded, or the large bar stuck to the bottom. Cheap, people throw these away, post to FleaBay, loaded pickguards reverbErating everywhere. But they actually sound pretty good, especially the older ones where the wire was mostly copper. After trying alnico, even quarter pounder, I prefer ceramic for the higher output and deeper tone. And I am liking the definition for fast chords, the nastier pick swipe that single coil into distortion provides. This mod works fine for alnico too, but you'll want to replace mags with slugs. That is, if I can "induct" you into following this idea. So simple, so awesome for high gain:
    • Start with a stock Squier
      • original matched that have the reverse wound, reverse pole middle pickup.
      • Buy a three position switch.
    • Pull the magnet(s) from the middle pickup. Xacto knife will do it unless embedded. Leave the slugs.
    • Wire it up for the "Dan Armstrong's A More Versatile Strat" mod from Guitar Player, 1987
      • But now that the middle pickup is a "dummy coil"
        • we use a three position switch
          • No need for the middle pickup lead to the selector
          • Quack is fun, but a lot of us seldom use the middle one.
          • Wire in the neck and bridge
    • Lose the remaining tone control, or keep it if you like.
      • I shift volume blend pots down a spot
      • Gets volume out of the way of picking
      • Fill hole with "Morris 22384 Plastic Knockout Plug, 3/8-Inch, Black, 10-Pack"
    Night and day for hum cancellation. It's still slightly there, not 100% gone like the commercial solutions. But it totally works and only cost your time. There is slight treble loss but I like the sound, and the blend pot is there to bring back the treble as you like it.
     
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  2. Lucius Paisley

    Lucius Paisley Strat-Talker

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    There's clearly a purpose to ceramic pickups, this is just another one.
     
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  3. yettoblaster

    yettoblaster Strat-Talker

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    Love this!

    Fond memories of my first MIJ Squire Strat w slab magnets on the backs of the pu’s (likely ceramic?).
    Great sound through my BF Showman head and a D-120 JBL.

    Never thought of the above solution to hum control. Makes a lot of sense to me. :cool:
     
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  4. CB91710

    CB91710 No GAS shortage here Double Platinum Supporting Member

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    ????
    What do you think the wire in modern pickups is?
    It's all copper.
    There are different insulation coatings, some bright/transparent and some dark, but it's all copper wire.
     
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  5. Guitarmageddon

    Guitarmageddon Dr. Stratster

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    How in the world will the pickups still have magnetic pull and work without the magnets?
     
  6. CB91710

    CB91710 No GAS shortage here Double Platinum Supporting Member

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    He's talking about making the middle pickup a dummy coil to act as a humbucker.
    There have been variations of this implemented on P90 Les Pauls, and there is a company that sells dummy coils for Strats for something like $250.
     
  7. brokenbar

    brokenbar Strat-Talk Member

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    Philip Mcknight mentioned alloys in pickup wire in a video explaining why an import would be less than the real Fender, at 5:40:



    It made sense to me as the old imports are made of better woods than are found now, rosewood vs. laurel for example. If true, it would throw off the resistance reading we depend on for how hot the pickup is too.
     
  8. jvin248

    jvin248 Most Honored Senior Member

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    .

    Seems kind of clever. Show some pictures?

    If the 3-way middle position remains hum cancelling (with three active coils?), have you tried adding a 4-way switch? Then you could have both neck and bridge pickups in series.


    The wire alloy does not matter, it's the number of turns.
    Wood doesn't matter either, but if you think it does, then you'll need a theory for how the steel truss rod and plastic pickguard/trim rings matter too.

    Many of the Squier/import pickups were designed around the same number of windings as MIA Strats so they had around 6kohm +/-0.5kohm bobbins. Steel+ceramic magnets gave more output. Then when players set these pickups to the same 'factory spec' height these guitars 'sounded different' (aka 'bad'). Just lower the pickup height for the same tones as the weaker alnico. However, somewhat more recently, I've found a lot of Squier/import pickups with lower kohms in the 3-4kohm range. Which is the same type of change that Leo Fender did with G&L guitars to get more signal and less noise. Noise comes from the wire wraps not the magnets.

    I have also found, on average, that the Squier/import bobbins measure internal capacitance like they are hand-wound not machine wound. So they tend to be less muddy just like the old classic vintage guitars... you just need to lower the pickups by ear to get there.

    .
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2022 at 4:58 PM
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  9. archetype

    archetype Senior Stratmaster Silver Member

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    Feel free to ignore that nonsense. It's not true, no matter if there is someone on YouTube spouting the nonsense.
     
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  10. CB91710

    CB91710 No GAS shortage here Double Platinum Supporting Member

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    Can pretty much ignore anything from McKnight and Braun.
     
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  11. Guitarmageddon

    Guitarmageddon Dr. Stratster

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    I misunderstood, didn't know he meant just the middle pickup, thought he meant pulling all the mags from all the pickups....got it now!
     
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  12. CB91710

    CB91710 No GAS shortage here Double Platinum Supporting Member

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    The dummy coil would offset much of the hum in the middle position.
    Since they are not RWRP, the neck/bridge position would not be humbucking, so it would make sense to simply wire the dummy to the output.... I agree, the 4-way Tele wiring would be interesting.
    Basically, it would end up being a Strat that sounds like a Tele, but without the neck-dive.
     
  13. fretWalkr

    fretWalkr Strat-Talker

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    I rarely use the middle pickup by itself but I do use the middle pickup to get the "quack" in positions 2 & 4. The distance between the middle pickup and the neck and bridge gives that unique and characteristic stratty sound.

    I like the noise cancelling feature of this mod alot. But I gotta have the quack. That's one of the best things about the strat sound.
     
  14. brokenbar

    brokenbar Strat-Talk Member

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    Oddly, it is humbucking in the middle position, I guess because the dummy coil is in series with the output?

    The dummy coil can be hidden under the pickguard to keep all three pickups live and there are also the commercial options, but it's really easy using the existing middle pickup. The way we lot are here I expect most have an extra axe to whittle on when quack is required. That is interesting about a four way switch. This setup is functional, Kaish has a Korean made three way which has a great feel, and I like the fast, predictable switching that way.

    The existing five way can also be wired as three way, but positions 2-4 end up all being neck/bridge.
     
  15. Martian Eye

    Martian Eye Strat-Talk Member

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    I don't think makes sense? It takes two coils of differing polarities and phase to be humcancelling. A third coil would produce hum, I think.
     
  16. CB91710

    CB91710 No GAS shortage here Double Platinum Supporting Member

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    The added coil, connected out of phase, provides the hum canceling.
    Removing the magnets prevents the strings from generating voltage, so there is no output.

    The hum-canceling will work whether the added coil is in series or parallel, as the added coil is still picking up the same noise from the environment, and adding it to the circuit out of phase.

    Hum will increase slightly running both original coils and a single OOP dummy coil, but will still be significantly reduced over the two in-phase coils together.
     
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  17. BuddhaFingas

    BuddhaFingas Senior Stratmaster

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    So the idea is to reduce the middle pickup to an out-of-phase noise collector?
     
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  18. CB91710

    CB91710 No GAS shortage here Double Platinum Supporting Member

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    Bingo.

    A Tele with a dummy coil.

    I guess if you never use the middle pickup alone, and don't care for the "quacky" slot positions, it's not a bad way to go.
    Personally, I'd rather swap in a set of Vintage Noiseless pickups, or find a set of gold Lace Sensors, and maintain full functionality.
     
  19. BuddhaFingas

    BuddhaFingas Senior Stratmaster

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    I'm still a fan of shielding rather than cancellation, but to each their own.
     
  20. brokenbar

    brokenbar Strat-Talk Member

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    Here are pictures of the process, thank you for the kind words. This pickguard arrived for $20. If the holes do not match up the usual 11 hole Fender I'll swap to one that does. It looks to be from a 90's Squier, the pickups are 3.5K like you mentioned. There are some discussions about these pickups and many folks think they sound pretty good, darker. I had my hands on a 2008 Affinity Stratocaster pickguard, the leads on those pickups were steel. The leads on these are copper supporting the idea that some inexpensive older gear was made of better materials than is done more recently. The factory leads were long enough they could be turned to twisted pair to remove some interference. The five position is set to work as three, if I got it right, but will be replaced with a three position.

    My understanding of wire and resistance is that it is affected by alloy and gauge. So I think resistance will vary if the copper is cut with zinc or something to save money, or is a larger gauge, and which will affect the resistance reading for the same number of turns.

    20220115_210926.jpg 20220115_212037.jpg 20220115_225818.jpg 20220115_232624.jpg 20220115_232631.jpg
     
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