Question About Base Plates for Single Coil

zozoe

Strat-O-Master
Dec 19, 2018
519
Florida
Greetings,, & not to get caught up in their effectiveness, are they all pretty of equal composition w/similar potential results... Callaham, Fralin, Mill City (at only 9 bucks!!)....?
Thnx all~
 

archetype

Fiend of Leo's
Silver Member
Nov 26, 2016
4,578
Western NY, USA
Assuming you're talking about a steel add-on plate...

They're all about the same. The thicknesses will vary a bit between manufacturers, but the average will be 3/64" which is 0.046" There might be a change in their effect with a significant change in thickness, but who knows. I'm going to cut base plates from 3/16" thick bar stock and try them under a set of Tex-Mex Strat pickups, just because.

Stick them on with double-stick tape or hot wax. The goals are to keep them on and have no large air gap between plate and pickup base: we want nothing that might resonate. For god's sake don't glue them on. It's unnecessary and you risk destroying the pickup if you want to take them off.

Yes, they cost actual money. Folks think 'it's just a piece of metal with holes in it.' The costs of sheet metal, tooling to punch it, tooling to drill and tap it, hand finishing, labor, etc. add up.
 

joebtone

Senior Stratmaster
Silver Member
Jan 26, 2022
2,347
Northwest US
Assuming you're talking about a steel add-on plate...

They're all about the same. The thicknesses will vary a bit between manufacturers, but the average will be 3/64" which is 0.046" There might be a change in their effect with a significant change in thickness, but who knows. I'm going to cut base plates from 3/16" thick bar stock and try them under a set of Tex-Mex Strat pickups, just because.

Stick them on with double-stick tape or hot wax. The goals are to keep them on and have no large air gap between plate and pickup base: we want nothing that might resonate. For god's sake don't glue them on. It's unnecessary and you risk destroying the pickup if you want to take them off.

Yes, they cost actual money. Folks think 'it's just a piece of metal with holes in it.' The costs of sheet metal, tooling to punch it, tooling to drill and tap it, hand finishing, labor, etc. add up.
What are the plates suppose to accomplish? Shield?
 

archetype

Fiend of Leo's
Silver Member
Nov 26, 2016
4,578
Western NY, USA
What are the plates suppose to accomplish? Shield?

Not really. Shielding just the bottom is pointless.

I don't have a good tech explanation. They are sometimes described as reflecting the magnetic field upward, but that may not be a fact. They don't act as as the magnets' keeper, as they contact only poles of identical polarity.

My best *guess* is that being ferrous and in close proximity to the coil, they increase inductance and lower the resonant peak of the pickup's frequency curve.

The peak of a Strat pickup is in the mid-to-upper midrange and that peak moves a bit lower.

Again, purely a guess.

Paging @Antigua Cleanup of spilled base plates on aisle 12.
 
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Antigua

Senior Stratmaster
Feb 28, 2014
4,476
in between
Apparently partial shielding can reduce noise, so even though the baseplate doesn't surround the entire pickup, it can reduce noise, the explanation being that even though the hot side of the circuit is still exposed to electrostatic, the shielding still directs most of the noise to ground by having a higher potential than the hot side of the circuit.

Some people call that add on plate a "power plate", it's make of steel so it technically increases the inductance slightly, by about 50mH, it will lower the resonant peak by a tiny amount. It doesn't add any power, so as to say it doesn't improve the magnetic field at all because it's on the bottom of the pickup, the strings are on the top, and the permeability of the AlNiCo pole pieces is so low that the two don't interact much, not as much as if the pole pieces were steel.

I think the whole thing is sort of like a superstition that comes from the fact that Tele bridge pickups had a steel base plate, and people pretended that it made a big difference, but Fender stopped putting base plates on their pickups so even Fender decided it was a waste of time, but they have resumed putting them on vintage correct Tele bridge pickups. The original intent was likely to provide shielding, but also to stabilize the AlNiCo magnetic field, which is the same reason PAF humbuckers have "keeper" bars, but it proved to not really be necessary. The Jaguar single coils had a more aggressive steel enclosure, so they gave directing the magnetic field another try, but even that didn't have much of a benefit, and they didn't do that again, either (but you could say it was a crude precursor to the Lace Sensor). The time it takes to add a base plate to a Strat pickup is long enough to forget exactly hour it sounded without it, so it's easy to imagine you hear an improvement, if you're emotionally invested in hearing an improvement.
 

The_Whale

Strat-O-Master
Apr 11, 2020
646
Gaithersburg, MD
The original intent was likely to provide shielding,

That was my guess.

Combined with the bridge base plate and the neck pickup cover on a Tele, it sort of makes sense, thematically.

My best suggestion for making a Strat bridge pickup to sound more/most Tele-like; use a flat-polled, lowerish output pickup, and take a long time adjusting it. Also, don't expect it to match perfectly with the other two pickups when it sounds optimal.
 

Antigua

Senior Stratmaster
Feb 28, 2014
4,476
in between
That was my guess.

Combined with the bridge base plate and the neck pickup cover on a Tele, it sort of makes sense, thematically.

That bridge assembly design was originally used in their lap steels, and then adapted to the guitar.

1660672305547.png

It's interesting that for the Strat, Fender decided to do away with shielding all together, and not use three Tele neck style pickups for the Strat's three pickups. They must have figured that shielding didn't make much of a difference, which compared to humbucking, it doesn't.
 

The_Whale

Strat-O-Master
Apr 11, 2020
646
Gaithersburg, MD
That bridge assembly design was originally used in their lap steels, and then adapted to the guitar.

View attachment 584874

It's interesting that for the Strat, Fender decided to do away with shielding all together, and not use three Tele neck style pickups for the Strat's three pickups. They must have figured that shielding didn't make much of a difference, which compared to humbucking, it doesn't.

I forgot to mention the Tele bridge cover.....
 

sjtalon

Most Honored Senior Member
Oct 27, 2006
5,091
Upper Peninsula-Michigan
Oh, forgot to add, flatware, like for fishin', it's a pole holder.

:p

This thread has run off into the metal base plate field...............maybe I didn't catch that as his question.
 
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