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Thread: wire insulation. why does it matter

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    Default wire insulation. why does it matter

    i read things like formvar, plain enamel, poly... Why does it matter? Teach me!

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    Ultimate Tone Slacker jtougas's Avatar
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    Default Re: wire insulation. why does it matter

    Running on pure speculation, I would have to guess it's due to two things:

    1) how tight the coil can get
    2) resistance to abuse to avoid short-circuits.

    But I may be talking out of my opinion.
    "Screw regulations. Bring the noise."

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    Default Re: wire insulation. why does it matter

    Here's an article from the website.

    http://www.seymourduncan.com/tales-f...e-way-of-wire/
    If you play guitar chest-high, you play from your heart.

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    Default Re: wire insulation. why does it matter

    Seymour's hair was epic.

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    Default Re: wire insulation. why does it matter

    The link wasnt helpful. It talks about the differences of wire not why it matters, what it does.

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    LoveMachineologist jeremy's Avatar
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    Default Re: wire insulation. why does it matter

    the size of the insulation matters since it will determine coil size. a thinner insultaion will result in a smaller coil given the same wind. i cant tell you why formvar sounds different than pe but i can tell you it does.

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    Mojo's Minions blueman335's Avatar
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    Default Re: wire insulation. why does it matter

    Quote Originally Posted by jeremy View Post
    the size of the insulation matters since it will determine coil size. a thinner insultaion will result in a smaller coil given the same wind.
    +1. And that's crucual to a PU winder.
    "Completely Conceded Glowing Expert."
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    "Wait, I know! Blueman and Lew can arm wrestle, and the winner gets to decide if 250K pots sound good or not."

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    Default Re: wire insulation. why does it matter

    So... hypothetically speaking a 1 micron thick formvar shouldnt be different than a 1 micron plain enamel...

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    Something Cool uOpt's Avatar
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    Default Re: wire insulation. why does it matter

    I think flexibility and stickyness has to do with it, too.

    A lot of the "life" in American pickups comes from them not being tied down like cast from concrete. If some wire has insulation that allows a little complexity in it's movement that should make a difference.

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    Ultimate Tone Member copperheadroads's Avatar
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    Default Re: wire insulation. why does it matter

    I was hoping some one else do it but here goes
    Plain enamel has probably the thinnest insulation of all the common magnet wire used for pickups & the most expensive ,It also has dielectric properties in the insulation that tames treble ,which gives it its more clear ,not so squeaky tones
    Heavy Formvar is wire with thicker or 2 coats of insulation ,which creates a thick bright but smooth tone .
    Formvar has similar tone to poly-nylon,poly,spn wire, that has similar bare wire diameter & insulation thickness

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    Mojo's Minions LtKojak's Avatar
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    Default Re: wire insulation. why does it matter

    Quote Originally Posted by orpheo View Post
    So... hypothetically speaking a 1 micron thick formvar shouldnt be different than a 1 micron plain enamel...
    In theory, yes, but the insulation differs in how it's been distributed on the wire, and that's the biggest factor that will affect what's called "coil geometry". I don't have the necessary scientific background to explain it and motivate it, mind you, but it just happens and what's documented on the different winders R&D processes.

    What I think is that in the beginning of coil winding applied to guitar p'ups, every manufacturer basically used the kind of wire they could get from the supplier, so wire was wire, just like a p'up was a p'up.

    I haven't seen all the different insulation under the microscope, but seeing at Plain Enamel, it looks a little bit like barb wire, and this helps with the coil keeping the shape it was wound in the first place without altering the coil geometry with time and without even using a lot of tension, allowing to wind "looser" coils without the need of potting to prevent squealing.

    Using poly nylon insulation, the surface of the wire is the smoothest, so if not enough tension is applied to the wiring, squealing is almost inevitable, so potting is a necessity, being the lesser of two evils. Fortunately, due to the dielectric properties making the wire "brighter", potting doesn't alter the tone in a bad way, and can even "enhance" the final outcome.

    The winder can take all this characteristics into count when designing a p'up to perform a certain task, so no method is inherently better than the other, just different and/or cheaper/more expensive, more/less traditional.

    In a nutshell, one can't really say potted vs. unpotted one is "better" than the other, as it all boils down to the intended design. The same with "coil mismatch". Historically, PAF coils were all mismatched only because they were wound carelessly with no quality control whatsoever. Hype made a fault to a feature. Also, the PAF p'up sold was NOT even the same as the patent applied by Gibson shows, and that the final outcome was "produced by commitee", and the complete disregard to the required specs by using whatever part was the cheapest, specially regarding magnet type. As long as it was "Alnico" written on the invoice, it was all good.

    HTH,
    Last edited by LtKojak; 06-08-2012 at 11:40 PM.
    Pepe aka Lt. Kojak
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