Saturday, March 31, 2007

Tele pickups

Here are my first tele pickups:

Like the strat style all the work is in the preparation. 8800 winds on the bridge and 8000 winds on the neck. I'll do a little math with these figures to get a stock wind amount.

I like the string that protects the windings on the bridge pickup. Neat little idea. The string gets very hard after potting. I am pleased with the way these went together. I have to get a technique down with them as I feel there is a little too much distortion with the fiber board. I'll have to make a small jig to get the bobbin to press down neatly onto the magnets.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Tele pickups

I just received my tele stock parts. Now I have to make faceplates to mount them on the machine. Shouldn't be too hard and I am looking forward to this. I have a couple of orders to catch up on and then some spare time.

I am slowly building up my stock of parts. I have A2 and A5 rod magnets on the way and 4 different colours of covers. I figure that should cover all the bases, no pun intended.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007


Free is what you get when you put together a great vocalist, an amazing guitar player, a solid bassist and an understated but talented drummer. I really only had ever heard "All right Now" growing up and I purchased the BBC sessions based on comments on the LP forum. So I decided to look for some other recordings and decided on "Fire And Water" which is actually one of my faves from BBC sessions.

This is a really solid album. It's the re-mastered version and still closes with "All Right Now" but you get three different versions. This band really leaves a lot of space for the music. I find that is part of the brilliance. All the things that are not done are just as important as the things done. Usually I find some musicians take that stance to cover up a lack of musicianship, but these guys have talent and finesse enough to write the book on it.

Kossoff's playing on "Oh I Wept" is bang on, re-stating the lyric content in a short, concise choice of notes. This music is similar to the type of humour I like. They walk it right up to you but don't hit you on the head repeatedly with the concept. It's left up to you to get it.

Oh I Wept

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Modern wiring

Again, I admit I got this from somewhere but can't remember where:

I am posting this to correct some mis-information in the 50's wiring post. As you can see the capacitors are in the circuit, not out as I previously claimed. It was the wiring from RS that came with my production upgrade kit that has the cap going to ground. That's the one I was thinking of when I wrote that.

As with 50's wiring there are pros and cons and it depends on what you want. With this set-up the tone doesn't change as you roll off the volume but you lose highs. It's all a matter of taste and the sound you are going for.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Johnny Winter-Woodstock

One of the greats. Just right for a Saturday.

I have been reading recently that he is on the road to recovery after firing his manager. He's getting some of that old fire back.

Friday, March 23, 2007

50's wiring

I unashamedly admit this is not my work and I don't know who did it:

I prefer this wiring scheme. You don't lose treble as you turn down the volume which is a plus for me. I have done this to both of my guitars. With this wiring the quality and type of capacitor becomes important. It is "in the circuit" putting signal back into it, as opposed to the modern style where the capacitor takes signal out of the circuit to ground. You can shape your tone subtley with the type of capacitor. Right now I am hooked on paper in oil.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Fleetwood Mac "Oh Well"

I just can't get enough of this tune.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Jensen's installed

I apologize for the crappy picture. I just grabbed the digital camera which was the first one to hand.

They look really good in there. Still like little beer cans. I was a little sceptical that I would actually hear a difference but it is quite noticeable. More musical I would say. Dirtier in a good way. They are far more vintage sounding than the Hovlands but in all fairness I don't think the Hovlands were meant to be that. They are still miles clearer than the original caps. I am going to change the strings tommorow and really give the guitar a workout.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Tommy Emmanuel - Classical Gas

Incredible talent. One of my favourites.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Blue Sky

It what I have today in my neck of the woods and also a great cut off of "Eat A Peach". I haven't posted an mp3 in a while so here ya go.

Blue Sky

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Lots of bursts

All from the collection of Tom Wittrock. He posts regularly on the LP forum and was featured in the book "Beauty Of The Burst".

The second one down on the right hand side has that particular tailpiece to hide bigsby screw holes. Actually if you buy a subscription to the LP forum I think you can choose that poster as your premium.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Jensen PIO caps

They look like little beer cans:

RS Guitarworks has these done to their specs by Jensen. I am waiting on a chance to put these into my guitar. From what I have read these ones are more vintage sounding than the Hovland caps. A little dirtier and organic.

I have been interested in the paper-in-oil caps for a while and when I saw that RS was offering these I picked up a pair. They got them about three weeks after I purchased my RS kit with the Hovlands.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Allman Brothers

I just received "Eat A Peach" and the first album. Great stuff. Been listening to it all day. And winding pickups of course.

"Eat A Peach" is the album that Hot 'Lanta, Duane's second burst, can be heard one. Stellar tone. That guitar does everything you would expect a burst to do. This one has a nice gull-wing flame to it making it a very distictive guitar.

I believe this one is in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

ZZ Top

Found this shot on the web:

Early shot of the Reverend without his beard. Kind of looks like a schoolteacher.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Peter Green Fleetwood Mac

Ahhh, the real stuff. Two great burst players in action.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Single coil set

My first set of singles:

I ended up re-working the original faceplate design. Originally I had two and figured I would just swap them to do the RWRP middle but they were a little too out of whack. I made a tailstock plate that adjusts for centering. Much, much better. The middle and neck pickup on this set are a little close to the bridge output for my taste but they will work well together. Un-like the humbuckers all the work on these is in the set-up rather than the finish.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Mini Humbuckers

These were fun to wind. They have fairly small bobbins but I managed to get them into the mid 6k's. They're really tight to put together. Basically the only thing holding them together is the solder and the wax. I used the A5 short magnet that I ordered along with the parts but I can fit a long magnet in there. I have an order for an A2 9k bridge pickup which should be interesting.

I am really impressed you don't see my grinning mug reflected in the cover.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

My first single coil

And here it is:

Up until now I have only been doing Gibson style pickups but with the new winder I am expanding.

The most difficult part of this pickup is the assembly. Getting everything the correct distance apart and square. I have a couple of pieces of hardwood that space the top and bottom pieces. I used my ever handy drill press to push the magnet rods through the flatwork. It took me about 1 hour and 15 minutes to get everything together for three coils. They're a lot quicker in the finishing though. Once they're wound the leads are soldered on and that's it.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Polepiece screws

Finally got my hands on some screws with larger heads. They are larger than the ones I have been using but not as large as the Gibson ones. Screw used for polepieces have to be manufactured, you just can't pick them off the shelf. Fortunately this supplier makes them for another manufacturer and has some stock.

Now I have two different sizes to tailor the sound. The larger screws are a little thicker tone-wise. Now I just have to work on sourcing some slugs.

Monday, March 5, 2007

100 Easy Guitar Tunes

From French And Saunders. Very funny and a lot of familiar faces.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Spot the PAF

There is a great thread on the LP forum. One of the members has taken the time to record a set of original PAF's along with 4 from the most talked about winders. I am not one of them. Yet. Also the PAF's in another different guitar as a ringer. He has posted them and is asking everyone to identify the PAF. Great fun. I can't say for certain which is the PAF but I know which ones I prefer. They just had something extra to my ear.

One of the other members made some interesting, and I think valid, observations about the contest. He has had a lot of experience with originals and he has found them to sound different in different guitars. You just can't install a set of PAF's into any guitar and expect to get "that" sound. His main point was that they are un-potted and microphonic and pick up the acoustic properties of the wood as well as the strings. You can actually speak into them and amplify your voice. So you need a guitar that resonates well acoustically for the PAF's to really do their thing.

That is something that I had never considered. I make my own personal pickups un-potted and I do it at the request of the customer. I find them to be a little livelier than potted but I must confess I had not spent a lot of time considering why. The set I have in my Studio are a little too microphonic but sound great, considering the guitar. By too microphonic I mean I have to be careful where I stand, but they slide into harmonic feedback with the greatest of ease. The ones in my Historic are very nice but now I am thinking I might try a set that is wound a little looser.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Update on the winder

It's surprising how quickly I have become accustomed to it. I figured it would take a few coils to learn how to adjust it properly but I had it after one. The 50mm baseplate took a little fine tuning but everything fits now. I may try to find a more durable material for the plates, maybe something like that white plastic whose name escapes me. Not plexiglass, that would be too brittle. A plastic that is slightly softer than the bobbins would be ideal.

The lowest speed on the machine is about 1/3 faster than I could wind before. I found a magnetic reed switch used for alarm systems that has the correct re-set speed. Or enough in the same neighbourhood that I haven't noticed a difference. Before I used a mechanical switch and arm device that was noisy and un-balanced. I had to bolt the machine down to the table or it would walk right out the door.

Today I am going to wind a set of mini humbuckers. I have had the parts so long I almost forgot about them. I have to make a couple of jigs for the single coils so I can get them assembled and then wind a set this weekend.

Friday, March 2, 2007

Warning - Dropped guitar

I have decided to do away with the Tonefest clip on my site in favour of posting here. It's just easier. So I moved the existing one over.

This is Mike Bloomfield from the "Live Adventures Of Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper: recorded live at the Filmore. About two thirds of the way through Mike drops his guitar to the floor.


As always great tone and great playing.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

New winder

Here it is:

It took three days and a lot of fiddling but I finished it. It will take some time to get used to it. This one is a lot different to wind on than my original but it is a lot faster. I found a magnetic switch for the counter which is a lot quieter than the mechanical one I was using. You can see the first two coils I made on it in the picture. Took about 1/3 the time it used to.

There are probably some things that I will modify as time goes on but I am pretty pleased with it.